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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Down Week 8

Jesse Siegel

Jesse Siegel

Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

The BCS Standings are out, with no surprises near the top. In fact, the two games that could determine this year's BCS national championship likely will be LSU at Alabama on Nov. 5, and Oklahoma at Oklahoma State on Dec. 3. Wisconsin is the squad that could throw a wrench into the standings, with an easier path to an undefeated season due to residence in the Big Ten. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Stanford, Clemson and Boise State could end up on the outside looking in, even if they finish the season with unblemished records.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the College Football landscape for this week.

UPGRADE

John Hubert, RB, Kansas State -
Quarterback Collin Klein makes the Wildcats tick, but Hubert has churned up yardage for K-State. The 5-foot-7 sophomore has carried the ball at least 16 times in five of State's six games this season. He has averaged 5.2 yards per rush, including a 126-yard outburst against Mizzou on Oct. 8. The Cats face lowly Kansas this week, as the Jayhawks have allowed at least 45 points in each of their last four contests. Although Hubert has only found the end zone once this year, that should change at Rock Chalk.

Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State -
Unless you reside in the Pacific Northwest, you may not be aware of the season Wilson is putting together. The sophomore has hauled in 36 passes for 688 yards and five touchdowns this season for the Cougars. He was predictably held in check by Stanford last week but has already amassed three 100-yard plus games this season. He faces a Beavers defense this week that is 96th in the nation in points against, allowing 31.8 points per tilt. With QB Marshall Lobbestael having a sensational season, expect a big game from Wilson.

Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M -
On the wings of six touchdowns from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Aggies put up 55 points on Baylor last weekend. Ryan Swope and Jeff Fuller are the top two receivers, but Nwachukwu has proven a big-play threat as well in the A&M offense. He caught four passes for 94 yards against the Bears, including a 47-yard score in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. He even rushed twice for an additional 32 yards. He has caught four passes in each of the last four games and goes up against an Iowa State Cyclones' squad that is allowing a staggering 36.3 points per contest, including at least 49 in each of its last two games. Even the third wideout gets some love this week for the Aggies.

Justin Brown, WR, Penn State -
With Derek Moye recovering from a broken foot, Brown is the leading active receiver for the Nittany Lions. He garnered a season-high 86 yards against Purdue on Saturday, and this week will battle a Northwestern team that is 0-3 in conference play, allowing at least 38 points to every conference opponent thus far. Although the Nittany Lions remain a run-first offense with Silas Redd, Brown should get his share of looks versus the Wildcats.

CHECK STATUS

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan -
Robinson had perhaps his worst game of the season at Michigan State on Saturday as the Wolverines suffered their first loss of the season. He completed just 9-of-24 passes for 123 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while also rushing 18 times for a season-low 42 yards and another score. To add injury to insult, Robinson left the game with an undisclosed "upper-body" injury. The Wolverines next play host to Purdue on Oct. 29, perhaps giving Michigan a break regarding Robinson's injury status.

Jason Ford, RB, Illinois -
Ford left Saturday's contest against Ohio State due to a shoulder injury. The senior has had a disappointing 2011 campaign as well, averaging just 3.3 yards per rush and surrendering touches to freshman Donovonn Young and fellow senior Troy Pollard. The Illini face a mediocre Purdue squad this week, meaning Ford could have had a monster game if healthy. If he does not play, he risks losing hold on the starting job to the more explosive Young or the sneaky Pollard. As it is, this is a timeshare that does not appear to favor Ford moving forward.

Rodney Stewart, RB, Colorado -
Stewart likely will miss time after suffering a sprained knee on Saturday at Washington. Stewart leads the Buffs in rushing with 473 yards and is second in receiving with 435 yards. Look for another diminutive rusher, freshman Tony Jones, to pick up the slack, though obviously temper your expectations against Oregon. Certainly the timing could not be worse for CU, as even with Stewart it is 95th in the nation in points per game.

Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon -
Ducks have dropped likes flies lately, with Thomas the latest Oregon player to leave a game early. He exited Saturday's contest against the Sun Devils early in the second half with a left leg injury. It appears to have been merely a precautionary measure, but be sure Thomas is deemed ready before deploying him at Colorado this week. Oregon was already without Heisman candidate LaMichael James against ASU, though Kenjon Barner seemed to have no trouble shouldering the load for the Ducks.

DOWNGRADE

Tino Sunseri, QB, Pittsburgh -
This season was supposed to be a coming out party for Sunseri in new coach Todd Graham's high-octane offense. Instead, it has been a nightmare for the junior signal-caller, as he has been pulled in each of the last two games in favor of freshman Trey Anderson. Although Anderson has been pitiful as well in limited game action, Sunseri has more interceptions (7) than passing touchdowns (5) and has been sacked an astounding 32 times in seven contests. Pitt does not play until Oct. 26 against UConn, but Sunseri is best left on the bench thereafter until he proves he can handle the Panthers offense.

Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina -
Lattimore could not finish the game in South Carolina's grueling 14-12 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday due to a left knee injury and will miss the rest of the season due to torn ligaments and cartilage damage. It's no secret that Lattimore was among the elite running backs in the land, as he is seventh in the nation with 818 yards with 10 rushing touchdowns. A tough blow to both the Ol' Ball Coach as well as fantasy owners, as the sophomore will be nearly impossible to replace. Freshman Brandon Wilds should start versus the Vols on Oct. 29.

Alex Torres, WR, Texas Tech -
Torres leads the Red Raiders in receiving yards with 381 yards and is coming off a 12-catch, 104-yard performance against Kansas State last Saturday. However, Torres has found the promised land just one time this season, and Tech travels to Oklahoma to face the vaunted Sooners defense. With fellow wideout Eric Ward scoring eight times this season, aong with the possible return of Darrin Moore, Torres might not be the best option this week.

Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson -
It might be tough to bench Ellington, but something tells me he won't have nearly as much success against North Carolina as he did against Maryland. The junior exploded against the lowly Terps Saturday, rushing 24 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He has scored in each of the last seven games for the Tigers. However, UNC held the mighty Lamar Miller to just 29 yards on 16 carries last weekend. The Heels were gutted through the air by Jacory Harris, meaning that Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins should have a field day against North Carolina. There are certainly worse options out there than Ellington, but just be wary of a stingy UNC run defense.

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