STOCK UP: Navy. I love the Gansz Trophy. I want to take it to the club, drink champagne out of it, show it off to chicks, and tell them it’s the Stanley Cup. The Mids put on their best defensive performance of the season on Saturday, holding SMU’s run & shoot offense to 249 passing yards while grabbing two interceptions and allowing the Mustangs to convert only 4 of 12 3rd-down attempts. Navy’s defense played great against SMU last year too. I don’t know what it is about this game, but I’ll take it.
STOCK DOWN: Air Force. Air Force had a lot of the same hype this year that Navy had going into 2010. The results, however, have been a lot worse. The Falcons fell back to .500 after losing to Wyoming on Saturday, 25-17. Two of their wins have come against I-AA teams, which means that Air Force will not be bowl eligible if they lose either of their last two games. Fortunately for them, those two games are against UNLV and Colorado State, both of which are horrible (this is the Mountain West, after all). Still, things might get a little hairy if Air Force has to go without Tim Jefferson, who left the Wyoming game with an apparent concussion.
STOCK DOWN: Boise State. By losing to TCU, the Broncos will not only likely miss out on a BCS bowl, but they probably won’t even win the Mountain West. TCU is undefeated in the conference and will most likely stay that way with only Colorado State and UNLV left to play. Bonus stock down to the referee who called pass interference on Boise’s last drive. That was almost as corrupt as Pacquiao-Marquez. Almost.
STOCK UP: Houston. Boise’s loss opens the door for the undefeated Cougars to make a BCS bowl game if they win out. The highest-ranked champion of a non-AQ conference can earn an automatic berth if they are either in the top 12 of the BCS standings, or in the top 16 and ranked ahead of the champion of an AQ conference. Houston is already ranked in the top 12 and is on a collision course with Southern Miss in Conference USA. The Eagles might have an outside shot at a BCS bowl if they win C-USA instead, but they would need a lot of help getting into the top 16.
STOCK UP: Oklahoma State. A ho-hum 60-point conference road win helped to solidify the Cowboys as the #2 team in the country. And who doesn’t want to see the Oklahoma State offense take on the LSU defense?
STOCK UP: Georgia. South Carolina kept the pressure on Georgia in the race for the SEC East crown by beating Florida. After the game, Steve Spurrier said, “We’ll see how Georgia plays when they know they have to win.” Apparently they play pretty well, if their 45-7 thrashing of Auburn is any indication. After an 0-2 start that had some predicting Mark Richt’s demise, Georgia has won 8 straight and has only Kentucky standing between them and a spot in the SEC championship game. Kentucky was just blown out by Vanderbilt; we’ve been told they supposed to be SEC, but this year it’s been in name only. Everything’s coming up Bulldogs.
STOCK DOWN: Tim DeRuyter. The former Air Force (and Navy) defensive coordinator left his alma mater to take the same job at Texas A&M because, he said, it would help him prepare to eventually return to Air Force as head coach. Let’s all hope so. Texas A&M is the most underachieving team in the country; they were a preseason top 10 in both polls, but fell to 5-5 with Saturday’s overtime loss to Kansas State. Considering that the Aggies have scored no fewer than 29 points in any game this year, and coupled with the fact that 4 of A&M’s 5 losses have come as a result of blowing double-digit leads, DeRuyter might be available to go back to Colorado Springs sooner rather than later.
STOCK DOWN: Florida State-Miami. There was a time when people used to rank this rivalry up with the best in college football. I actually live in Florida, and this year I forgot this game was even being played. This is fine example of the difference between a great game and a great rivalry. One doesn’t make the other. Now that neither has been much of a national player for a while, the nobody seems to talk about the rivalry anymore.
STOCK UP: Brett Smith. A week after getting knocked out of an upset bid against TCU with a concussion, the Wyoming freshman led the Pokes to a win at Air Force, accounting for all three of his team’s touchdowns (1 passing, 2 rushing) while all but securing Wyoming’s status as the third best team in the MWC. Wiry but athletic, Smith has impressed me with both his poise away from Cowboy Stadium this year, as well as his progression in what can be a complicated Dave Christensen offense. The Cowboys still need one more win to get bowl eligible, but with a home date against New Mexico next week, something tells me that win will come real soon.
STOCK DOWN: Arizona State. It hardly seems like it was this season, but I’m fairly sure I watched the Sun Devils beat then 23rd-ranked USC in late September while asking myself, “is Dennis Erickson’s team good enough to win the PAC-12?” It looked like it at the time, but with three losses in the last four games, QB Brock Osweiler and company have come back down to earth. Granted, all three of those losses have been on the road, but the last two – to average UCLA and Washington State teams – have taken Arizona State out of contention for the league title. If nothing else, Saturday’s 37-27 loss at the hands of a backup quarterback shows that Arizona State is not, in fact, ready for the national spotlight.
STOCK UP: Kleining. Ok, it’s official; I’m starting the next viral posing movement. After two weeks of Tebowing in all public places to the looks of bewildered old people, I’ve decided to set up a tackling dummy and proceed to run over it. Again. And again. And again. I call it “Kleining,” – after the Kansas State quarterback, whose five rushing touchdowns lifted the Wildcats to victory in a wild three-overtime thriller against Texas A&M. Klein’s 24 rushing touchdowns this year are approaching (dare I say) Ricky Dobbs like numbers, and the junior quarterback’s passing prowess hasn’t exactly been suspect to boot. If the Wildcats finish out the season 10-2, Klein deserves to be invited to the Heisman ceremony.
STOCK DOWN: Cincinnati. Losing 24-21 to West Virginia doesn’t doom the first-place Bearcats, but losing quarterback Zach Collaros to a broken right ankle just might. Collaros ranked third in total offense in the Big East before the injury, and with back-to-back road games against Rutgers and Syracuse, his experience and knowledge of the offense will be missed as the Bearcats try to claw their way towards a BCS bowl.
STOCK UP: Utah State. For the first time this season Utah State won back-to-back games, keeping my postseason travel hopes alive with their second improbable fourth-quarter comeback in as many weeks. Once again, backup quarterback Adam Kennedy overcame a barrage of turnovers and miscues by the offense to rally the team, which trailed 33-21 with just over five minutes left in the game. With two wins in three tries my Aggies can get bowl eligible, but with a conference that is about as predictable as Logan’s weather, I’m not booking my plane ticket just yet.
STOCK DOWN: Others Receiving Votes. I’m not saying Georgia Southern (9-1) is not deserving of a spot in the FBS poll, but when even the AP voters take note of an FCS team, it’s not the greatest indicator of how strong the bottom half of the Top 25 is. Hats off to Coach Monk and Jaybo Shaw, however, who will get a chance to prove to the country how good they really are when they travel to face Alabama this weekend.