If you took my advice and started Kansas State’s Collin Klein this week, you were rewarded with a huge afternoon. I appreciate your thanks and your reverence for such an astute pickup.
Conversely, if you were dumb enough to agree with me on sitting Texas Tech’s Seth Doege, you watched him pick apart a once-proud Oklahoma secondary for a big afternoon. Again, I don’t know why I continue to talk myself into going against these proven spread attack quarterbacks. Even their bad days are better than most, but I continue to see the flaws in the machinery rather than the end product. You have my condolences. I went Crazy Ivan on that one.
Other than that, it was a quiet weekend, with Washington’s Keith Price struggling against Stanford as I suggested he would and Barrett Trotter watching his starting job go permanently to Clint Moseley.
I guess the shocker was the complete lack of production and, ultimately his removal, but Tommy Rees in Notre Dame’s loss to USC. I really thought he’d join in the passing festivities and make this a shootout – but to no avail.
I’d like to thank Rees for his crappy point total and pair he and Colorado State’s Pete Thomas together in a game we’ll call “Two-Starts-Who-Sucked.”
But that’s the way it goes sometimes – the obvious doesn’t pan out and the subtle rises to the top. You can’t cry spilled fantasy points, you just have to keep moving forward.
Last Week's Starts (and point totals):
Jeff Tuel (17), Geno Smith (18), Collin Klein (47), Tommy Rees (6), Casey Pachall (18), Taylor McHargue (INJ), Pete Thomas (1)
Grade: D. Not good.
Last Week's Sits:
Barrett Trotter (6), Seth Doege(46), Keith Price (13), Tim Jefferson(17), Austin Dantin(11), Dominique Davis (26)
Grade:D. Doege and Davis kinda stick out, eh?
Zach Maynard, California
Even though UCLA is at home, it feels like the Bruins have kind of thrown in the towel on the season and coach Rick Neuheisel. They can’t keep a quarterback healthy, their passing game is a wing-and-a-prayer and they seem to have lost a little of their fight the last few weeks. Maynard has had some good moments this season and will score touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
E.J. Manuel, Florida State
I’ll say it right up front – I don’t trust Manuel to be good very often, but it appears he’s reclaimed his starting job. With North Carolina State visiting Tallahassee, I feel this is one of those moments – those oh, so infrequent moments – when Manuel will rise above his empty promise of potential and actually put some numbers on the board. If you’re looking for a real outside-the-box fill-in type this week, or just want to howl at the moon with a quarterback pickup, I offer up E.J. Manuel as a tasty morsel.
Danny O'Brien, Maryland
Oh, Danny boy – you’re back. At least it looks like he’s back after new starter C.J. Brown took a nasty helmet-to-helmet shot that put him out last week. O’Brien was decent, hitting on 9-of-18 passes for 180 yards and a score – with no picks. O’Brien was the golden boy when the season started, but had faded into obscurity under a barrage of poor decisions, no scoring drives and generally poor play. Barring a return by Brown this week, it looks like it is O’Brien’s turn to get back in the game, and here’s betting he makes good on his second chance. If Brown does come back, though, forget everything I just said.
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Here’s a guy who isn’t getting a lot of national attention, but he’s played extremely well the last few weeks and should be a definite consideration as a waiver wire pickup. Even though this one’s on the road at Duke, I don’t think the Blue Devils have much of an answer for Thomas, who has scored 11 touchdowns in the last three games – six by pass and five via the run. He’s passing at a 65 percent clip and has nearly 1,000 yards in that same span. If you’re not in a howl-at-the-moon type mood, but want someone who could likely be on the waiver wire and who might have more of a long-term viability for you, this is a guy you should look at – hard.
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
Wyoming is coming to town and Wyoming, despite its improvement, isn’t that good. Lindley, who is not having the type of season many envisioned, will get a shot in the arm as the Cowboys struggle to handle all-world running back Ronnie Hillman – leaving plenty of room and time for Lindley to get back into a nice passing groove.
A.J. Graham, Marshall
Just two games into snagging the starting spot for the rest of the season (maybe), Graham was decent last week against Houston, throwing for 268 yards and a pair of scores. With UAB coming to town this week, I think Graham gets a chance to really kind of get comfy under center and make a bit of hay with the Blazers defense. This is a risky pick and certainly one I’ll likely regret, but I liked the way he played under the constant demands of scoring against Houston last week. Against a more reasonable opponent, I think he does well.
Dominique Davis, East Carolina
Okay, I’m flip-flopping on this guy, but I’m guaranteeing you he is going to tear poor Tulane – visiting Tulane, to boot – a new hole where their defense used to be. This is about the time that Davis went on his tear a year ago and I’m going to bank on a little thing called “karma” to deliver him to the ranks of the potent once again. And let’s face it – Tulane on the road – I can’t see much of a reason for the Green Wave defense to be anything other than its matador self. This is it, I feel it – Davis unleashed this week.
Riley Nelson, BYU
The Friday night trip to TCU isn’t going to be as much fun as the Cougars may think. Granted, this is not the TCU defense of old, but in the last two games it has done a much better job of defending the pass and creating opportunities defensively than it had previously. The Horned Frogs shut down a pretty good San Diego State passing game and handled New Mexico easily – well, I guess that’s not too surprising, is it? Nelson has enjoyed a resurgence in his career after it looked like career-backup status was his as he sat behind Jake Heaps. Well, in the warmth of Fort-Worth, Texas, Nelson is going to come to grips with just how improved TCU is on defense. He won’t like it. Neither will you.
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Yes, I predicted the Spartans would hold Michigan’s Denard Robinson down – and they did. I’m a Michigan State fan and love Kirk Cousins – but he’s going to struggle on the road at Nebraska. In every season, quality teams have one or two clunkers in their bag that, should they manage to win, propels them to special seasons. At the halfway point of the season, the big wins and huge efforts are going to take a toll against Michigan State and Cousins is going to have a much tougher time than many think. I see a line of about 240 yards, 1 score and 2 picks. The Spartans may still win this one, but Cousins and his teammates will struggle after a bunch of emotional efforts leading up to this game.
Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
While the Penn State offense is a testament to struggle and strife, the Nittany Lions still play a pretty good brand of defense. That’s going to be a problem for Scheelhaase and the offense on the road at Penn State. After a hot start, Scheelhaase has hit a wall the past two games (both losses), throwing for less than 400 yards with one score and two picks. He continues to run the ball 12 to 15 times a game, which is really where the danger has come from, but even those efforts of late have been less than stellar. Expect that to continue this week with Penn State delivering a third loss to Illinois and few usable stats for Scheelhaase.
Brett Smith, Wyoming
Smith has performed beyond expectations as a true freshman starter for the Cowboys, but on the road at San Diego, he’ll probably need to win a shootout and I don’t think he’s ready for that. He looks like a quarterback Wyoming can hang its hat on for the next three years, but there are going to be growing pains. Normally, you wouldn’t think of SDSU as being a place where growing pains arise, but this week, the grind of the season, the evening road game and inexperience will conspire to hurt his numbers.
Kriss Proctor and/or Trey Miller, Navy
Love me the dual-threat quarterbacks, but I’m not liking this road trip to Notre Dame. The Irish were humbled by USC last week and have been called out by some of the Trojans for “quitting” during the game. Oooh, that’s not going to make coach Brian Kelly and his staff very happy. Expect Kelly and the Irish to do some calling out of their own, which likely means Navy – and Proctor (or Miller if he starts) – are going to face a very fired up, very angry Notre Dame defense in this one. I’m not a Notre Dame fan, but history shows us that teams that are accused of quitting tend to rise up the next week and deliver a huge effort. Notre Dame is going to do that this week and the Navy signal caller will pay the price.
Tommy Rees/Dayne Crist, Notre Dame
Here’s the deal, I think Notre Dame will beat Navy beneath the formidable gaze of Touchdown Jesus, but the time has come to see a little something from the Notre Dame quarterback position. Coach Brian Kelly came to Notre Dame with a rep for a high-octane, exciting and productive passing offense that has been nothing of the sort to this point. Rees and Crist have volleyed the position back and forth the last two years, with neither really delivering the kind of boffo performance that stakes claim to the position. My advice at this point is to stay away from the Notre Dame quarterback spot this week and perhaps even longer as the team tries to right itself emotionally – at least on the offensive end – after the clunker of a performance it laid on the field against USC.