Complete Week Eight Player Rankings & Projections l More Sit & Starts
Last Week's Quarterback Starts (points in parentheses):
Zach Collaros (40), Aaron Murray (25), Dayne Crist (32), Landry Jones (31), Nathan Enderle (28), Bryan Ellis (28), Trevor Vittatoe (0), Corey Robinson (7)
Grade: C-. The starts put up an average of 23 points and would have done much better if it weren't for Robinson's showing and Vittatoe's goose egg.
Last Week's Quarterback Sits:
Geno Smith (20), Kirk Cousins (13), Denard Robinson (17), Taylor Martinez (4), Alex Carder (20), Kyle Padron (30), Ryan Lindley (14), Ryan Aplin (33)
Grade: B+. The BCS sits were solid (although I was helped out by Robinson going down early). The non-BCS were a little bit sketchy with Aplin and Padron throwing off the numbers.
Week 8 takes us past the halfway mark of the season and is where your team starts to make their playoff push. In the world of college football, there are some nice matchups out there with the theme being "comebacks". Thomas is coming back from injury, Martinez is coming back from embarrassment, and Jerrod Johnson is coming back to form.
1. Darron Thomas, Oregon vs. UCLA
The Ducks will run, run, and run some more against the Bruins but Thomas will get his. Don't expect Thomas to take off too much, but they will get him running to keep the option honest. Also, you can always count on two or three aerial scores as defenses sell out to stop LaMichael James.
2. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State
Martinez was the second coming of Eric Crouch and then all of a sudden found himself roaming the sidelines. Well, against a suspect Cowboy defense, expect Martinez to return to form. I think you will see Martinez throw it a bit more than usual, but you will also see Martinez running downfield as a host of Okie State defenders pursue.
3. Robert Griffin, Baylor vs. Kansas State
Griffin has not received the fanfare of some other Big XII quarterbacks but is putting up stellar numbers as of late. K-State's defense is not the best and they will find it very hard to contain Griffin. The Baylor signal caller is truly a dual-threat as he can certainly hurt you with his track speed but if you take away the run, he can still wing it on you with great success. The Baylor defense will not slow down Daniel Thomas, so you can expect the Bears to have to put up some points to stay in the game, which bodes well for Griffin.
4. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M vs. Kansas
Johnson has had a rough time this season as he has had to throw a ton to keep his team in games, which has led him to throw a few times to the opposing team. However, against the Jayhawks, Johnson will find it much easier to complete his passes to the right jersey color and will have a breakout game.
1. David Piland, Houston vs. SMU
The SMU defense is actually better than most people think and Piland will be hurried at times when pursued by linebacker Ja'Gared Davis; who ranks fifth in the country with seven sacks. However, Piland is starting to get the feel of things and, after facing a stifling Mississippi State defense, the Mustangs will look more like ponies. Expect the youngster to flirt with 400 yards and toss at least three touchdowns.
2. Dominique Davis, ECU vs. Marshall
Davis and the Pirates made it through a tough stretch as they faced Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Southern Miss, and NC State in the past four weeks and you have to believe that they are excited about the soft Herd defense. Much like Piland, Davis will find some pressure from Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry, who is third in the country with eight sacks, but Davis is mobile enough to escape pressure and hurt opposing rush defenses. Davis will absolutely go off against the Thundering Herd and should coast through the rest of his team's schedule.
3. Dwight Dasher, MTSU vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Dasher had a rough return against Troy and an even harder time with Georgia Tech, but the talented gunslinger will get a break when his team takes on Louisiana-Monroe. This will be the game that Dasher rises up and returns to form. The Warhawks have not really stopped anyone this season and will have their hands full trying to contain the arm and legs of Dasher. Do not be surprised to see Dasher worth four total touchdowns against the Warhawks.
4. Ryan Colburn, Fresno State vs. San Jose State
Against San Jose State, Fresno will establish the run and you can expect Robbie Rouse to have a big day. However, Colburn is a master of the play action pass and will gouge the Spartan secondary several times before the game is done. This is the type of game that Colburn puts up around 280 yards passing and about three scores.
Sit Em! Quarterbacks
1. Ben Chappell, Indiana vs. Illinois
Illinois is holding opponents to under 200 yards passing per game and, with no ground game to lean on, Chappell and the Hoosiers will have a hard time moving the ball against the Illini. Add the fact that Illinois just got one of their top corners back in Terry Hawthorne and you have a recipe for disaster for Chappell.
2. Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech vs. Clemson
Last year, Clemson held Nesbitt to just 83 yards passing with two interceptions and just 91 yards rushing. Keep in mind that it was a home game for the Yellow Jackets and they still had Jonathan Dwyer in the backfield. Well this year it is at Clemson and Dwyer is gone. Defending the option is assignment football and the Tigers have plenty of stars to execute those assignments. Stopping the dive back will fall into the capable hands of defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins, handling the quarterback will be defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, and defending the pass/pitch will be stud safety DeAndre McDaniel. With playmakers like these defending the major aspects of the offense, expect Nesbitt to struggle to perform.
3. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri vs. Oklahoma
In this matchup, you have two unbeatens who are both ranked in the top 15 in the country with the Tigers coming in at number eleven and Oklahoma topping the list. The thing that will keep Gabbert from performing at his best is that he is still nursing a hip injury, but also that the Sooners just have a superior defense. Last week they registered a shut out against Iowa State. The Sooner defense features a pass rushing terror in Jeremy Beal who currently has six sacks on the season as well as speedy linebackers Ronnell Lewis and Travis Lewis. Look for Beal to dwell in the Tigers' backfield and wreak havoc on Gabbert.
4. Jake Locker, Washington vs. Arizona
This is a bit of a risky one but the game is at Arizona and the Wildcats feature the best defensive end tandem in the Pac-10 if not in the country. So far this season, Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed have combined for 10.5 sacks and should keep Locker from doing much with his legs. As for defending against the arm of Locker, that will be up to cornerback Trevin Wade who will shut down Jermaine Kearse and will have Locker looking to the other side of the field. All in all, the Wildcats will be playing inspired football and Locker will struggle against them.
1. Diondre Borel, Utah State vs. Hawaii
Borel is a talented quarterback who plays exceptionally well considering the lack of playmakers surrounding him. But, to see how he will fare against the Warriors, you need only look at how much trouble they gave Colin Kaepernick last week. What will happen in this game is that Hawaii will get the score up fast which will put Borel into a hole. In an effort to get his team back in the game, he will have to pass his way out thus making the offense one dimensional. The blitzes will come and the nightmare will continue for Borel and the Aggies.
2. Bryan Ellis, UAB vs. Mississippi State
I have been thoroughly impressed with Ellis as a first year starter, but he will find little success against the aggressive, blitzing defense of Manny Diaz and the Bulldogs. Mississippi State will keep running the ball which will keep Ellis off the field. When he is on the field, he will be playing from behind and the pass rush will tee off against the Blazer quarterback.
3. Tim Jefferson, Air Force vs. TCU
Jefferson has been a phenom as the quarterback for the Falcons, but he will find little room to run or pass against the stifling TCU defense. What makes things worse for Jefferson is that he will not have fullback Jared Tew to hand off to as he is gone for the season. The Horned Frogs have not only an extremely athletic and fast defense but one that is disciplined enough to shut down the option attack.
4. Andy Dalton, TCU vs. Air Force
First off, I do not think that Dalton will struggle against the Falcons. This would lead you to believe that you should start him right? Wrong. The Horned Frogs will find it very easy to rush the ball as the undersized Air Force defense. With a plethora of tailbacks to choose from, Dalton will not be asked to win the game. Ed Wesley, Matthew Tucker, and Waymon James will have big days while Dalton just does what his team needs him to do...turn around and hand off the ball.