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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Down Week 10

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.

Judgment Day is nearly upon us, as LSU and Alabama will clash in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. The winner will be in the driver's seat to make it to the BCS national championship game. However, keep in mind that a rematch could take place between these two squads in the SEC championship game. Likewise, though Oklahoma State, Stanford and perhaps even Boise State could have something to say about it, the Tigers and the Tide could play each other in the title game as well, if a split occurred in the first two meetings. That would make an unprecedented three meetings between two teams in one season. A lot of dominoes need to fall for that to happen, but it is not outside the realm of possibilities.

Let's try not to get too far ahead of ourselves, though. Contrary to popular belief, other games will be played this weekend, too. Let's take a peek at the rest of the slate in this week's College Football Barometer.

UPGRADES

Shawne Alston, RB, West Virginia -
Freshman Dustin Garrison rushed for 291 yards Oct. 1 against Bowling Green, and the featured back position was his and his alone. However, Alston has rushed for five touchdowns over his last four games, including two on Saturday at Rutgers. Alston also had more carries (14) than Garrison (9) en route to his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. A bruising back with experience, Alston could be working his way to the forefront of West Virginia's stable of backs.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State -
Miller had arguably the best game of his young career Saturday in the upset of Wisconsin, completing 7-of-12 passes for 89 yards and a score, while also rushing 19 times for 99 yards and two additional touchdowns. The freshman gets to face lowly Indiana at home this weekend; the Hoosiers are allowing 36.2 points per game, good for 114th in the nation. Miller should run all over Indiana and could even find the end zone with his arm as well.

Zach Brown, RB, Pittsburgh -
Ray Graham was among the elite running backs in college football, but he was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered against UConn on Wednesday. Enter Brown, the Wisconsin transfer who has scored four touchdowns despite limited touches behind Graham this season. Brown also adds an element that Graham did not truly excel in; receiving ability out of the backfield. Brown caught nine passes for 84 yards against Connecticut once Graham exited. Brown has big shoes to fill but has the tools to succeed for the Panthers.

Charles Sims, RB, Houston -
Case Keenum hit nearly everybody in last week's record-setting, nine-touchdown gem against Rice. Sims was one of the chief beneficiaries, catching four balls for 73 yards and two scores out of the backfield. Sometimes the value of the running back gets lost in the spread offense, but Sims has caught at least two passes in every game he's appeared in, while also averaging 7.5 yards per rush. The Cougars get 1-7 UAB this weekend, meaning Keenum, Sims and the rest of the Houston offense could have another epic performance.

CHECK STATUS

Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson -
Ellington was active Saturday at Georgia Tech, but did not get a touch due to a nagging ankle injury. Ellington was a non-factor due to the ankle injury the week before against UNC, as well. It remains to be seen whether Ellington did not receive a touch as a precautionary measure or whether he is legitimately still hurt. Check back to make sure Ellington is fully healthy before deploying him against Wake Forest.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Georgia -
Crowell was in and out of Saturday's 24-20 victory over Florida due to a nagging shin injury. Although Crowell toted the pigskin 18 times for 80 yards, Richard Samuel received the lion's share of the touches in the fourth quarter. While Crowell should be good to go this weekend, the Bulldogs face lowly New Mexico State and could choose to limit his touches to keep Crowell fresh and healthy for the final push in Georgia's schedule, which includes matchups with Auburn and Georgia Tech.

A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois -
Jenkins is fourth in the nation in receiving yards with 1,030 and sixth in receptions with 68. However, he has failed to score in each of the last three games for the Illini. Perhaps not coincidentally, Illinois has lost all of those games. Likewise, after surpassing the 100-yard receiving plateau in four of his team's first six games, Jenkins has also failed to reach that mark during this three-game slide. His task gets no easier the next two games, as Illinois faces Michigan and Wisconsin back-to-back. Although he's still beastly, Jenkins' production is certainly not trending upward.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State -
The Beavers managed a mere eight points against Utah on Saturday; and the Utes had come into the game without a conference win and having allowed at least 31 points in each of their last three Pac-12 games. So what is OSU going to do against undefeated Stanford? The answer is likely not much. Wheaton, the Beavers' leading receiver, is having a stellar season with 57 grabs for 702 yards but has found the end zone just once this year. The likelihood of a breakout game with Andrew Luck and the Cardinal vying for a BCS championship berth is slim to zero.

DOWNGRADES

Dominique Whaley, RB, Oklahoma -
Whaley broke his leg early in Saturday's win over Kansas State and will miss the remainder of the season for the Sooners. Whaley was the leading rusher for Oklahoma, taking 113 carries for 627 yards and nine touchdowns before the injury. Roy Finch had nine rushes for 73 yards and a touchdown Saturday, while also catching seven passes for 69 yards out of the backfield in place of Whaley. Finch has the most upside in Whaley's absence.

Spencer Ware, RB, LSU -
I trust Alabama's Trent Richardson, even against the vaunted LSU defense. I'm not so high on Ware, who was suspended for the Tigers game against Auburn due to violation of the team drug policy. Ware has received 23 or more carries in five of the seven games he's played in, but it seems unlikely he'll have such a large workload versus the Tide. Averaging 4.0 yards per carry is also not spectacular, and he doesn't figure to have much room to roam Saturday in what is being billed as "The Game of the Century." Alabama is allowing a paltry 6.9 points per tilt.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas -
Wilson has an impressive 13:3 TD:INT ratio for the Razorbacks, but has thrown just one touchdown in his last two games, while completing just 56.3 percent of his passes in that span. He'll face the South Carolina Gamecocks this week, who boast the nation's 14th-ranked defense, allowing 17.1 points per game. In fact, over their last five games, the Gamecocks have only allowed double-digit point totals just twice. The most points they've given up in a single game over that span is 16. All in all, that means Wilson could find it tough to move the ball and ultimately find the end zone.

Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M -
Ryan Swope has overtaken Fuller as the No. 1 receiver for the Aggies and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as Fuller has found the promised land just once over his last five contests. By contrast, he caught 12 touchdowns with Jerrod Johnson under center just one season ago. Fuller is also managing a career-low 10.6 yards per grab as a senior. This week's opponent is an angry Oklahoma squad, fresh off both a staggering loss to Texas Tech and then a whipping of a previously undefeated Kansas State squad. Despite allowing 41 points to Tech, the Sooners are still 20th in the nation in points against. As a result, Fuller might not make the greatest play this week.

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