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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Down Week 9

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.

One week after the inaugural BCS Standings for the 2011 season were released, and already the big picture is becoming clearer. Wisconsin lost a stunner to Michigan State on a Hail Mary caught by former quarterback Keith Nichol. Meanwhile, Oklahoma found itself on the losing end of a shootout with the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. That leaves LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State sitting pretty up top, though Judgment Day on Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa is approaching fast. Stanford, Boise State and Clemson have to be feeling better about their BCS Title hopes as well.

Who else is surging, and who has been sliding? Let's take a gander in this week's College Football Barometer.

UPGRADE

Luke Wilson, TE, Rice -
The Owls aren't going to win much as a unit this season, but Wilson has had standout performances in two of his last three contests. On Saturday against Tulsa, the junior hauled in seven passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. He had five grabs for 58 yards and another score Oct. 5 as well. The Owls face highly-touted Houston this week and figure to be on the short end of a shootout, so they will likely have to pass a ton. Wilson leads Rice in receptions and receiving yards this year.

Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada -
A QB in the mold of former Wolfpack star Colin Kaepernick, Fajardo has taken Nevada by storm since being inserted into the lineup for senior Tyler Lantrip. Fajardo has completed 74 percent of his passes for 682 yards and two touchdowns. The freshman has also rushed 55 times for 384 yards and six additional scores. The Wolfpack travels to 3-4 New Mexico State this week, as the Aggies are 83rd in the nation in points allowed per game. Fajardo could light it up in the desert.

Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami -
There's chemistry, and then there's family. Streeter is cousins with starting quarterback Jacory Harris, and the two have finally been on the same page this season for the 'Canes. Streeter had a career-high 96 yards receiving Saturday in Miami's 24-7 victory over Georgia Tech. He had also found the end zone five times in the previous four games before Saturday's contest. A big-play threat averaging 20.4 yards per catch, Streeter should have another nice output at home against the mediocre Virginia Cavaliers.

Tim Jefferson, QB, Air Force -
Not intentionally picking on the great state of New Mexico this week, but if the Aggies are bad, the Lobos are that much worse. New Mexico is 0-7, allowing a staggering 47.6 points per game. Enter Tim Jefferson, the Falcons' triple-option quarterback. Jefferson has rushed for seven touchdowns this season, with double-digit carries in every game but one. However, Jefferson has also found some success through the air, tossing seven scores in his last five games as well. All in all, Jefferson should have a field day in the Land of Enchantment.

CHECK STATUS

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State -
One of the biggest injuries this weekend occurred when Blackmon exited OK State's 45-24 victory over Mizzou with concussion-like symptoms. With the Cowboys also losing Hubert Anyiam to injury for the season, Blackmon's status becomes even more important. A sure-fire first-round NFL draft pick next April should he choose to come out, the junior has snagged 61 passes for 662 yards and eight touchdowns this year. With the necessary sensitivity to head injuries, check back later in the week to make sure Blackmon passes all tests before Saturday's tilt with Baylor.

Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern -
It's been an injury-riddled year for Persa. Following Achilles' surgery that ended his 2010 season prematurely, it took Persa some time to get ready for the start of the 2011 campaign. Just when he appeared to be rounding into form, he suffered a turf toe injury which forced him out of Saturday's loss to Penn State. His status is uncertain heading into this week's game with Indiana, which could be a favorable matchup if he plays. The Hoosiers are also winless in conference play, surrendering 33.4 points per tilt.

Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC -
Bernard took a backseat to Ryan Houston on Saturday against Clemson, as Bernard did not start due to a hip injury. He still managed 44 yards on 11 carries, but was held to less than 100 yards for the first time in five games. Houston also managed two rushing scores to boot. When heathy, the freshman Bernard is a virtual must-start, but make sure Bernard is close to 100 percent before deploying him against a much-improved Wake Forest team. Otherwise, Houston may snipe some touches and ruin Bernard's fantasy day.

Ivan McCartney, WR, West Virginia -
McCartney suffered a knee injury in Friday's loss at Syracuse. The sophomore has had a breakout 2011 campaign, hauling in 35 passes for 464 yards and three touchdowns in coach Dana Holgorsen's high-powered spread attack. He caught at least five passes in four straight games until the injury. Tavon Austin and Devon Brown could see a bump in production should McCartney miss time, as Stedman Bailey has emerged as the No. 1 receiver for the Mountaineers this season.

DOWNGRADE

Tevin Washington, QB, Georgia Tech -
Washington was dreadful at Miami over the weekend, completing just 6-of-12 throws for 63 yards and an interception, while rushing 20 times for just 36 yards and a touchdown out of the triple option. After posting a 10:1 TD:INT ratio in his first five contests, Washington has now tossed four interceptions over his last three games without finding the end zone passing. Although he is obviously a greater threat as a runner, Washington will face a hungry and undefeated Clemson squad this week, and may likely be behind and forced to pass more. This does not bode well for Washington and the Ramblin' Wreck's ball-control offense.

Marc Tyler, RB, USC -
Fellow running back Curtis McNeal has run roughshod over opposing defenses in the Trojans' last two games, taking 41 carries for 204 yards and a touchdown. Over that same span, Tyler has received 24 carries for just 97 yards. It appears as if a timeshare is emerging, which obviously does not bode well for Tyler owners. Add to the mix a date with the undefeated Stanford Cardinal, and Tyler may be best left riding the pine this week.

J.J. McDermott, QB, SMU -
The Mustangs entered the season with Kyle Padron expected to lead the charge under center. However, McDermott snatched the starting job away from him after Padron tossed two interceptions in his first four passes during the season-opener at Texas A&M. McDermott settled in nicely until last game, when Southern Miss forced two picks and McDermott completed just 50 percent of his throws in a 27-3 loss. SMU faces another tough test this week at Tulsa, a squad which is undefeated in Conference USA thus far. Tulsa's three losses came against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State, three teams vying for a potential BCS national championship. The spread offense is always a plus, but McDermott's upside might not be as great this week.

Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois -
The Fighting Illini have fallen on some hard times since a 6-0 start, dropping consecutive conference contests. Scheelhaase has thrown just one touchdown over those two games, while also rushing for just one more score. Meanwhile, he'll face a Penn State defense ranked fifth in the nation in points allowed, surrendering a paltry 13.1 points per tilt. With the game in Happy Valley, the dual-threat quarterback could be in for a rough day, as the season appears to be slidding away from Illinois.