The Game of the Century lived up to the hype - well, sort of. The defenses took charge as expected in a 9-6 LSU victory over Alabama. The odds of a rematch appear slim, at least as long as Stanford and Oklahoma State remain in the title picture. The Cowboys won a thriller against K-State in Stillwater, while the Cardinal took care of business against the shorthanded Oregon State Beavers. Stanford and Heisman-frontrunner Andrew Luck have by far their stiffest test of the season Saturday against Oregon. For OK State, Dec. 3 against rival Oklahoma looms.
Let's look at the rest of the ups and downs in this week's College Football Barometer.
Jordan Jefferson, QB, LSU - Jefferson ran the option effectively at Alabama last Saturday, while Jarrett Lee tossed two interceptions. Jefferson also tallied season highs in completions, attempts and passing yards. The Tigers get a reprieve from SEC conference play this week against lowly Western Kentucky, and Jefferson should find success versus the struggling Hilltoppers in what should be his most extensive game action of the 2011 season.
James White, RB, Wisconsin - Montee Ball is having a ridiculous season as the featured back for the Badgers, rushing for an astounding 21 touchdowns thus far in 2011. However, the Badgers have been in so many lopsided affairs, that White, the backup to Ball, has rushed for 524 yards and six touchdowns as well. This week's tilt with Minnesota figures to get out of hand quickly, as the Gophers rank 102nd in scoring defense, allowing 33.7 points per game. White should be foaming at the mouth at his prospects in this contest.
Jacory Harris, QB, Miami - It's been a year of redemption for Harris, a player once thought to be prone to interceptions. He has proven his doubters wrong as a senior, posting an 18:4 TD:INT ratio, while completing a career-high 64.1-percent of his throws. He is sixth in the nation in passer-efficiency rating, trailing only Russell Wilson, Case Keenum, Robert Griffin III, Kellen Moore and Andrew Luck. Harris and the Canes travel to Florida State for a rivalry game with the Seminoles, with Harris posting a 6:0 TD:INT ratio in his previous two games.
Conner Vernon, WR, Duke - The Blue Devils have yet to find their groove as a unit, but Vernon is putting together another stellar campaign for Duke. He has recorded at least four catches in every contest this season, including two 100-yard outputs. He found the end zone for the fourth time in 2011 in a loss at Miami last Saturday. The Virginia Cavaliers, this weekend's opponent, have allowed at least 230 yards passing in each of their last three contests. Expect another nice output for Vernon, even if the Blue Devils don't ultimately get the victory.
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M - Michael left Saturday's loss to Oklahoma in the third quarter with a knee injury, putting his status in question at Kansas State on Saturday. Michael averages 6.0 yards per carry en route to 899 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Counterpart Cyrus Gray has been just as effective, though, rushing for 733 yards and seven scores. K-State has allowed more than 50 points each of the last two weeks, meaning that Michael could lose some serious stats if he is forced to sit.
Bryn Renner, QB, UNC - Renner was sent to the bench early with concussion-like symptoms, but not before tossing two interceptions at N.C. State in an eventual 13-0 shout loss to the Wolfpack. Renner passed for 2,195 yards and 19 touchdowns this season before the injury. As we know, concussions are handled with care these days, and rightly so. The Heels do not play again until Nov. 17 at Virginia Tech, giving Renner some extra time to pass all appropriate tests. However, even a healthy Renner could have a tough time in Blacksburg against the No. 6 defense in points allowed this season.
Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - It's been a rollercoaster season for Martinez, who has mixed in spectacular performances with clunkers. For instance, last week in a loss to Northwestern, he was 28-of-37 for 289 yards and two touchdowns. Just one week prior to that, though, he totaled only 103 yards, yet the Huskers defeated Michigan State. This inconsistent pattern will be put to the test once again this week in Happy Valley against Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions. Penn State is third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing a mere 12.4 points per tilt. Something tells me Martinez is due for a letdown.
Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern - With Dan Persa's status constantly in doubt, Colter could be poised to assume the reins for the Wildcats. Colter led a stunning 28-25 triumph over Nebraska on Saturday, passing for 115 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 57 yards and two more scores. If Dan Persa can't go this week due to a shoulder injury, Colter could have a huge output against the Rice Owls, a Conference USA team allowing 37.6 points per game. Make sure Persa is ruled out first, though, before inserting Colter into your lineup.
Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma - One of the nation's best receivers, Broyles' collegiate career is over after tearing his ACL against Texas A&M Saturday. Broyles was having another superior season for the Sooners, hauling in 83 passes for 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns before the injury. Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds should find significant upswings in production as a result, but Broyles will obviously be a tough wideout to replace.
Savon Huggins, RB, Rutgers - Huggins had already lost his job to Jawan Jamison earlier this season, but suffered a potentially serious right knee injury in the second quarter of Saturday's win over USF. He was carted off the field, with tests upcoming. One of the most highly-touted recruits in Rutgers' history, Huggins' usefulness from a fantasy perspective is all but gone.
Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington - Kearse is having a down year in his final season with the Huskies. After hauling in 12 touchdowns as a junior with 1,005 receiving yards, Kearse has just 34 grabs for 419 yards and six touchdowns with three games to go. He is also battling an ankle injury, which limited him to just three catches for 24 yards against Oregon last week. This week's opponent is USC, certainly no slouch. Kearse is also averaging a career-low 12.3 yards per catch. With no touchdowns in his last three games to boot, Kearse's numbers are not trending in the right direction.
Casey Pachall, QB, TCU - Pachall has piloted the Horned Frogs to a 7-2 record this season with a 19:5 TD:INT ratio. However, he has failed to throw for more than 230 yards in each of the last four games. He also did not find the end zone last week at Wyoming. Up next? TCU gets mighty Boise State this weekend on the Smurf Turf. The Broncos allow just 16.8 points per tilt. Pachall may be better served to ride the pine in Idaho.