Complete Player Rankings & Projections l More Sit & Starts
The first cosmic warning occurred before the TCU-Boise State game when the announcers were going over the secondary injuries Boise was dealing with. “Mmm,” I thought.
Moments into the game, another warning was fired across my bow when those same announcers talked about a candid conversation they’d had with TCU coach Gary Patterson at the end of the week. Patterson had bluntly told them that the coaching staff thought it could go long against Boise State’s defensive backs. “Mmm, mmm,” I thought.
The third hint that I may have bitten off more than I could chew was when TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, whom I’d recommended sitting last week, connected on an easy as pie, cornerback-clutching-his-hamstring 74-yard touchdown pitch-and-catch. “Oh, my God,” I screamed at the TV. And it got worse from there.
A 75-yarder to Brandon Carter and a 69-yarder to Boyce in the second quarter confirmed that bubbling doubt in the pit of my stomach. The Horned Frogs were going bombing and Pachall was the pilot. My Einstein-ian rationale for sitting him was now, 30 minutes into the game, sitting like a tattered piñata around me. Let me tell you folks, I do pay attention to my suggestions during the weekend, and I was feeling low, lower, and lower still. “Moron,” I demanded my wife scream into my face repeatedly with each touchdown pass.
My only saving grace is that no one – and I mean no one – had an inkling that TCU would become the Texas version of Hawaii and throw the pill around all day long – to the tune of 473 yards and five scores for Pachall. Even now, as I write that, my chest pains start again.
“Moron!” Thanks honey.
Such is the life of a college football junkie carefully pondering the possibilities – sometimes you just can’t figure it. I was pleased with four of my six starts as Hansen, Washington, Smith and Radcliff had about 28 points or more – and Keith was decent at 21. I’d like to thank Riley Nelson for pissing away a golden opportunity with an injury.
On the sit side, Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas exploded and Oregon’s Darron Thomas was pretty good, but I’ll take wins on three of the sits, two of which were downright glorious picks.
Here’s the four-league composite scores for last week’s wins and losses (friggin’ Pachall).
Last Week's Starts:
Tyler Hansen (Colorado) 30, Taylor Martinez (Nebraska) 8, Tevin Washington (Georgia Tech) 28, Riley Nelson (BYU) 9, Brett Smith (Wyoming) 28, Ryan Radcliff (Central Michigan) 30, Spencer Keith (Kent State) 21.
Last Week's Sits:
Darron Thomas (Oregon) 25, Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) 45, Jacory Harris (Miami) 16, Kevin Prince (UCLA) 2, Casey Pachall (TCU) 50, Nick Fanuzzi (Rice) 2.
Grade: C- -
Week 11 is done and I can’t do anything about it. I can only toss out the tea leaves, read the pig intestines and spin around three times and spit and see if I can help you out a bit this week.
Let’s see what looks tasty in Week 12
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech:
All right, you called down the thunder my friend, let’s see you deliver again. You’re at home against a North Carolina defense that’s not what it has been the last couple of years. I’m going to say last week’s five total touchdown outing is the start of some good things for you. I like that you threw for 209 yards and three scores, but also rushed 18 times in the win Saturday. I want you to run because you’re very fast and athletic – I want you to keep it up. You’re going to make some fantasy players happy this weekend because you’re going to produce four scores and throw for more yardage. You slapped me around last week, dared me to love you. Fine, here’s your chance to help me help these players out there. And on top of that, I like this matchup on your home soil. You go, Thomas.
Robert Griffin, Baylor:
If you’re not starting this guy regularly, you’re a fool – or you have Collin Klein or Case Keenum. However, if you’re waffling about whether it’s Griffin or another quarterback, this is the week to pick Griffin. While the opponent is Oklahoma, the game is being played on Baylor’s turf and I like that. Baylor will be hard-pressed to stop Oklahoma's offense, so this one feels like it’s going to turn into a score-fest. Oh, goodie…that’s right up Griffin’s alley. I think this guy is as talented as anyone – yes, I said it – and will respond with a big game – in a losing effort. Don’t let it slip away.
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Normally, if you told me Indiana was on the road at Michigan State, I’d assume the Spartans would simply run the ball up, over and down the back of the Indiana defense. However, I like Cousins in this one. He’s thrown 10 touchdown passes against one pick in four of the last five games (his only pick was in the loss to Nebraska). I don’t have any qualms about assuming Indiana is just playing out the string in another lost season and will be torched nicely by the Spartans. I see three touchdown passes for Cousins in this one. Is that a total you could use?
Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi
Even though USM is on the road, I like the way Davis is playing and the lack of defense the Blazers are bringing to the table. What makes Davis appealing is that he’s a very good passer who is enough of a threat to run the ball that he gets that little extra time you need to make big plays down the field. UAB is playing out a futile season, and while they may offer up some resistance early on, Davis and his mates will have more in the tank than the Blazers can deal with. This is a Thursday night affair, so get your waiver wire claims in now, my friends.
Cody Fajardo, Nevada
With Louisiana Tech coming to Reno for a showdown of the two top teams in the WAC, this one could be a goodie. Fajardo has energized this offense with his passing and running ability. He’s coming off a four score day against Hawaii and has passed for nearly 900 yards and rushed for 200 yards in the last three games, delivering 14 scores in that span. I love his dual-threat ability and the way he’s taken hold of this job and made it his after starting the season on the bench. You want a big-time sleeper quarterback this week – I offer one Cody Fajardo for your consideration.
Corey Robinson, Troy
All right, Robinson went off last week and has the pleasure of playing host to winless Florida Atlantic this week – he’s got to have a big game, right? Robinson threw for 267 yards and four scores last week against North Texas, so I’m liking his ability to make FAU pay dearly for being a poor defensive team. I mean, the logic is sound, right? FAU sucks, Robinson is pretty talented, so the upshot of that should be a nice statistical afternoon for Robinson. Good, I’ve talked myself into it. Robinson will deliver this week.
Derek Thompson, North Texas
On Oct. 22 and Nov. 12, Thompson got to throw the ball 39 and 38 times, respectively, putting up 663 total yards and five scores. He got to attempt only two passes in the game between those two outings, so one has to wonder what the deal is. If this kid gets the start this week, he’s got a nice matchup with Western Kentucky coming to town. I don’t know what he has to do to solidify his hold on the job, but if he gets the nod this week and you’re feeling like doing something daring, take a chance on this kid.
Zach Maynard, California
You are going to Stanford for the Big Game and the Cardinal will not only be very unhappy after the loss to Oregon, but the emotion of this game will make sure they don’t overlook their Bay Area rivals. Maynard has suffered from accuracy-interuptus of late and I don’t like a riled-up Stanford defense swarming all over the place. I love receivers Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones, but I’m not sure I’d really want to face Stanford the week after they got shellacked on national television.
Seth Doege, Texas Tech
I’m going against my hard-earned advice by picking a spread quarterback, but I think the Red Raiders are swooning big-time – and Doege is leading the way. The Raiders got ambushed by Oklahoma State last week, their third straight blowout loss in a row. Doege threw for less than 170 yards last week and while his yardage total will be better, I think the die has been cast – Doege and Texas Tech are feeling the effects of the long season and defenses are catching up with their offense. I have a bad feeling the bad results are just going to keep coming on the road at Missouri this week.
Justin Worley, Tennessee
Okay, the freshman has three starts under his belt for the injured Tyler Bray, but even with this being a home game, I’m not convinced a much-improved Vanderbilt defense won’t be a little more than he can handle. He’s had some good moments and some bad as he’s learned the ropes of being a major college quarterback. My guess is that, given Vandy’s solid defense, he’ll have more of the same this weekend. Stay away from that type of inconsistency.
Sean Mannion, Oregon State
Oh, I’ll toss in another big school because I hate the way the Beavers can’t run the ball anymore and that’s causing Mannion, an exciting drop-back passer, to be less and less effective with each rush for -4 yards. Washington, having gotten hammered by USC, will be another team looking to get healthy emotionally on one of the league’s struggling teams. Mannion has the look of a quarterback who could be big-time in the Pac-12 before he’s done. Unfortunately, if you can’t run the ball – and right now the Beavers can’t – your quarterback is going to pay for it. Mannion is finding that out right now.
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
With star running back Ronnie Hillman banged up and Boise State coming to town with a bit of a snarl after the tough loss to TCU, I’m not sure that Lindley’s struggles with accuracy are going to get any better. Expect Boise to do something with a secondary that was exposed by TCU in preparation for Lindley. You’d like to think that, having been given a blueprint by TCU, San Diego State would be able to attack the deep part of the field with Lindley and Co. Unfortunately, Lindley doesn’t have TCU’s receivers and will face a Boise team that’s looking to take out its frustrations on someone. Lindley will be that someone, particularly if the running game doesn’t materialize.
J.J. McDermott, SMU
The Mustangs will visit a red-hot Houston team and the prospects for a good old-fashioned spread offense shootout are too tantalizing to ignore. Unfortunately, given McDermott’s form of late, it’s hard for me to see him hanging with Case Keenum for very long. McDermott showed a lot of promise early, but the Mustangs have kind of hit an offensive wall with point totals of 3, 7 and 17 in three of their last four games. Their lone win in that stretch, a 45-24 win over Tulane, is hard to figure in the mix. After all, it’s Tulane (sorry, Green Wave). Something’s not clicking right now with coach June Jones’ run-and-shoot offense and with the pressure to keep up with Houston offensively, I don’t like the way this one could go for McDermott. There’s a lack of confidence in his play and a lack of confidence in the offense as a whole. That’s not a good bet to play when you’re about to visit the best dealer in the house in Keenum.