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Power 15 – Week 12

I’m going to try something new this week. In this week’s Power Rankings, instead of going over how the team fared the previous week & giving reasoning behind their particular station within the rankings, I’m going to go over that team’s best Heisman Trophy candidate! It changes things up a bit & keeps interesting. At least I have that going for me!

Just Missing Cut (in no particular order): Michigan St., Florida St., Missouri, South Carolina, Oregon St., NC State, Utah, Miami-FL, Arizona, Iowa, USC, Michigan

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 QB Cameron Newton: Newton has passed for 2,038 yards while rushing for 1,297. He has 38 total TD including 21 passing TDs to only 6 interceptions. His YPC is a ridiculous 6.3 & he’s basically become the best & most unstoppable college football player this season. What might be the most impressive, however, is his 68.2% completion rate. Just an incredible number & keep in mind that Newton could potentially come back for his senior. If not for all the allegations revolving around Newton, he’d win the Heisman by a mile.
#2 RB LaMichael James: The sophomore runner has had an outstanding year running the ball for the most dynamic offense in college football. James so far has rushed for 1,422 yards with 17TD. He’s averaging 6.32ypc & 158 rushing yards per game! I’m sure he doesn’t want to win the Heisman this way, but if Oregon runs the table & voters are turned off by all of the rumors surrounding Cam Newton’s recruitment, James is the runaway winner. He’s a rSO so he might not be back in 2011.
#3 DE J.J. Watt: Watt is a freakish athlete at 6’6/295lbs yet fast enough & agile enough to be a pass rushing DE in a 4-3 scheme. His NFL potential seems endless. His 17.5 tackles for loss leads the Badgers & ranks 9th nationally. Watt has only managed 6 sacks, but this has truly been a breakout year for him. He hasn’t declared for the 2011 NFL Draft & might not considering the incredible talent the DE position holds in the ’11 Draft. With QB Scott Tolzien not passing for crazy amounts of yards & RB John Clay being injured, Watt was the choice.
#4 QB Kellen Moore: The obvious answer really. Moore has had a spectacular season throwing for 2,921 yards to go with 28TD to only 5 interceptions. Moore has also completed a ridiculous 71.8% of his passes which ranks 3rd in the nation behind Wisconsin’s Scott Tolzien & Northwestern’s Dan Persa. Moore’s 188.85 passer rating leads the NCAA. He probably can’t win the award because his passing stats are insane, but Moore could get invited to New York which would be a pretty big accomplishment. Note too that Moore is only a junior!
#5 QB Andy Dalton: Sometimes it seems this year that Dalton has been a forgotten QB. It’s interesting in a way because Dalton is having a better statistical season in 2010 than he did in 2009. So far this year Dalton has passed for 2,482 yards with 23TD to only 6INT. He’s completing 66.3% of his passes & his 163.95 passer rating ranks 5th in the nation. Dalton has also rushed for 415 yards (5.5ypc) & 5TD. He & Kellen Moore are in similar situations being the QB of a non-AQ school. What could separate Dalton a bit is his running ability.
#6 QB Andrew Luck: From the Department of Obvious, Stanford QB Andrew Luck is the best player on the team. Luck has passed for 2,740 yards along with 24TD to only 7INT. His 70.2% completing rating is 6th nationally. The 24TD are 11th nationally. The 162.81 passer rating is 8th nationally. Luck is also A LOT more fleet of foot than you might expect. He’s rushed for 445 yards (9.1ypc!!!!) with 3TD. I don’t think Luck can win the Heisman with Newton in the race, but if the committee invites 5 players, he’ll definitely be 1 of the 5.
#7 WR Justin Blackmon: With the 3-headed monster of Blackmon, RB Kendall Hunter & QB Brandon Weeden, it was almost impossible to pick one of the 3, but I’m going with Blackmon for a few reasons. First, his 94 receptions ranks 2nd in the NCAA despite Blackmon missing a game. His 1,560 receiving yards & 17 receiving TDs rank #1 in the NCAA despite him missing a game! He also leads the nation in receptions per game & receiving yards per game. Nobody expected this of the rSO & all Blackmon has done is become the best WR in the NCAA. He could be back next season!
#8 LB Kelvin Sheppard: LSU has some awful players on offense so the obvious choice here was a defensive player. Sheppard has 98 tackles so far this season which leads the Tigers defense. His 9.5 tackles for loss is 2nd on the team & his 4 sacks is 3rd on the team. Sheppard has also broken up a couple of passes, forced a couple of fumbles & picked off a ball. The obvious answer here might be CB Patrick Patterson, but Patterson only has 5 passes broke up along with 4 picks. It might a situation akin to “Revis Island” but Sheppard has been indispensable in the LSU games I’ve seen.
#9 QB Terrelle Pryor: Pryor is kind of an easy pick, but he’s having a solid season albeit an overlooked one. Pryor has passed for 2,331 yards with 23TD to 10 interceptions. His completion rating of 65.7% is outstanding & Pryor has done a good job at getting the ball to guys like Dane Sanzenbacher & DeVier Posey. Pryor has also rushed for 590 yards (5.5ypc) & 4TD. I’d love to Tressel to one day just cut him completely loose but it’s unlikely to happen. The one good part about Pryor’s season is that it’s likely he comes back next year.
#10 QB Greg McElroy: It’s downright amazing I’m not writing Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson or Julio Jones into this spot, but none of the three had good statistical seasons & the Tide running game has been a mystery all year long. McElroy isn’t putting up gaudy stats, but he’s thrown for 2,390 with 17TD to only 5 interceptions. His 70.3% completion rating ranks 5th in the nation while his 165.59 passer rating is 4th in the nation. The thought was that the running game would be even better this year while McElroy would be a QB capable of putting up possibly Heisman numbers. McElroy didn’t get the running help.
#11 QB Ryan Mallett: Another easy choice, Mallett has lived up to his hype entering the year. He may not have surpassed Andrew Luck in NFL circles, but he should be considered the next best QB prospect. Mallett has put up gaudy passing numbers, throwing for 3,272 yards with 27TD to only 9 interceptions. Mallett has also completed 67.2% of his passes which is a fantastic number. Nationally he ranks 5th in passing yards, 6th in passing TDs, 3rd in Yds/Att, 3rd in passer rating, and 5th in Yds/G. Mallett could return in 2011, but he’s a goner.
#12 LB Von Miller: In my mind, Miller has been the best defensive player in college football this year. I’ve seen every single one of the top teams play & Miller has been the most outstanding to me out of all the defensive players. Maybe Ryan Kerrigan, the DE of Purdue, could surpass him, but Miller has been outstanding. His 11.5 tackles for loss lead the team as does his 7.5 sacks. Miller also has 6 passes broken up which is 3rd on the team. He’s a first round NFL LB talent & he’s easily the best player the Aggies have. Unfortunately he’s a senior so this is the last we’ll see of him. Enjoy him while you can down in College Station.
#13 QB Landry Jones: This was a really tough call between Jones & WR Ryan Broyles, but I’m going with Jones because of his sick passing numbers. Jones has thrown for 3,479 yards with 30TD to 7INT while completing 66.9% of his passes! Jones will surpass 4,000 passing yards this year & could potentially get to 40TD which is INSANE! Jones is 3rd nationally in passing yards & 2nd in passing TDs. His 316.3 yards/G is 3rd. Jones throws the ball an enormous amount which leads to high raw stats. He’s got a puncher’s chance at being #3 in Oklahoma history of all-time passers! If he sticks around for 4 years, he’ll put it completely out of reach.
#14 LB Lavonte David: I know you are thinking Taylor Martinez, but Martinez’s passing stats aren’t that great & David has simply been OUTSTANDING! Nebraska has a top-10 defense in regards to total defense & scoring defense & David is a HUGE part of it. He already has 120 tackles which ranks 10th in the nation. His 11.5 tackles for loss ties Jared Crick for the team lead. David’s 6 sacks is 2nd on the team behind Crick. The sick part? David was a JUCO transfer in & wasn’t a starter on the depth charts to begin the season. He’s going to compete for 1st Team All-American honors in his only season so far as a Nebraska Cornhusker!
#15 QB Tyrod Taylor: Like Terrelle Pryor in a way, Taylor has had an excellent year that almost nobody nationally has noticed. He’s thrown for 2,082 yards with 19TD to only 4INT. His TD to INT ration is almost 5! Taylor has also rushed for 589 yards (5.3ypc) & 4TD. Remember that Virginia Tech is now 9-2 having BLITZED the ACC. They are on a 9-game winning streak and those early season losses to James Madison & Boise St. were by the slimmest of margins. I often wonder whether Taylor would be getting a lot more hype had Virginia Tech been 11-0 right now instead of 9-2? The Hokies are likely to get to 11-2 before the bowl season. That’s fantastic.



DROPPING OUT

#12 Michigan St. Spartans: I hate dropping Michigan St. out of the Power 15 especially because they are 10-1, but they haven’t looked good recently. They probably should have lost to Purdue this past Saturday which would have been a disaster. They almost blew it to Northwestern & did blow it against Iowa, a team both Wisconsin & Ohio St. beat. If Michigan St. beats Penn St. this upcoming week in Happy Valley, I don’t see how you CANNOT rank an 11-1 Big 10 squad among the 15 best so my guess is that Sparty gets right back into the Power 15, but for now they slip out after an ALMOST loss to the Purdue Boilermakers.

#14 South Carolina Gamecocks: No real good reason to drop South Carolina out of the Power-15 other than I wanted to keep Virginia Tech in & I felt like Oklahoma and Texas A&M deserved their shot in the sun. South Carolina’s record is only 8-3 which isn’t fantastic, but it’s the same as Texas A&M’s. Plus the SEC already has 4 of the 15 teams in the Power 15. Putting South Carolina gives them a third of the teams listed. Given what they’ve accomplished, they deserve to be there just as the SEC is easily the best conference in college football. If they beat Clemson, my hunch is that they’ll be back in the Powe-15 as will Michigan St. if the Spartans win.

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November 22, 2010 - Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Boise St., LSU, Nebraska, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Oregon, Power 15, Stanford, TCU, Texas AM, Virginia Tech, Week 12, Wisconsin

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