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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Down Week 14

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 Game of the Century likely will be a repeat affair in the BCS national championship, as LSU completed an undefeated regular season while Alabama took care of business in the Iron Bowl. The respective defenses dominated the first matchup, which ended in a 9-6 overtime victory for Les Miles and the Tigers. It'd be tough to expect anything but the same in part deux.

BCS implications still abound this weekend, though, as conference champions will be decided. The aforementioned Tigers look to capture the SEC crown with a triumph over Georgia, while Oklahoma State plyas host to Oklahoma with only a slim chance for the Cowboys to reach the BCS title contest. The Sooners would love nothing better than to capture the Big 12 title in the Bedlam game. Houston looks to complete its perfect season and capture a possible BCS berth with a victory over Southern Miss in the C-USA championship. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech plays Clemson for the ACC ticket, while Oregon looks to dismantle UCLA; the Bruins only get to play because of USC's postseason ban. And the Big East, well ... an 8-5 team could win the conference. Enough said.

For many teams, this is the end of the line for the college football season. Let's look at who's peaking and who's sliding as the season draws to a close.

UPGRADES

DeAnthony Thomas, RB, Oregon -
Thomas is a threat to find the end zone each and every time he touches the ball. Although sharing carries out of the backfield with LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, the dynamic freshman has scored on passes in each of the last three games for the Ducks. Thomas averages 8.3 yards per rush, 14.0 yards per catch and even 27.7 yards per kickoff return. Add two return touchdowns to the 14 Thomas has accumulated in Oregon's potent offense, and he is a safe bet to wreak havoc on the average UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 title game.

Matt Miller, WR, Boise State -
Miller has emerged as the No. 2 wideout for the Broncos this season, hauling in 53 passes for 585 yards and eight touchdowns. He has found the end zone in four of his last five contests, while also catching at least four passes in all but one game over that span. With Kellen Moore at his disposal, Miller will face the lackluster New Mexico Lobos, a 1-10 team allowing 41.4 points per game, good for 119th in the nation. Miller should find the promised land at least once in what should be a romp in Idaho.

Roy Finch, RB, Oklahoma -
Finch has been the chief beneficiary since Dominique Whaley went down, averaging 5.6 yards per carry while receiving at least 16 touches in each of the last five games for the Sooners. Although running quarterback Blake Bell has sniped goal-line carries from Oklahoma's backs, Finch should churn up yardage at Oklahoma State on Saturday in a game that should be a bona fide shootout.

David Graves, QB, Hawaii -
Bryant Moniz is lost for the year, but that doesn't mean the Warriors will shy away from tossing the pigskin. The stand-in under center, Graves has totaled six touchdowns in his last two games in Moniz's stead. Although this week's opponent is 8-3 BYU, the Warriors likely will be behind for most of this contest, and as a result may take to the air even more so than usual. The sophomore has rushed 19 times for 90 yards and two scores over his last two games as well, giving him that dual-threat capability that college offenses love.

CHECK STATUS

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor -
A Heisman frontrunner with his recent play, Griffin suffered an apparent concussion during the first half of Baylor's 66-42 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday. Griffin's absence would hinder the Bears, to say the least. RG3 is completing 72.6-percent of his passes, accumulating 3,678 yards passing en route to a 34:5 TD:INT ratio. Add 612 yards rushing and seven more scores on the ground, and it's clear how Griffin has placed himself among the elite gunslingers in college football. Check back during the week for his status against Texas.

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon -
After having problems with his right elbow, James injured his left elbow in the third quarter of the Civil War against Oregon State on Saturday. James had already rushed for 142 yards at that point, and the game was out of hand, so the Oregon coaching staff could have merely taken James out as a precaution. Nevertheless, the Ducks play host to the inagural Pac-12 Championship game this weekend, and coach Chip Kelly would like to have his stud running back at his disposal. Since the Ducks have a plethora of skill players, make sure James is deemed fit before deploying him.

Kevin Price, QB, UCLA -
Oregon's high-powered offense gets all the pub, but the defense allows just 23.0 points per game. And let's not forget that opponents are usually trailing and forced to pass, which pads their yardage totals. The Bruins are 88th in the nation in scoring and were shut out, 55-0, at USC on Saturday. Prince has been up and down this year, but has tossed three interceptions in his last three games. Temper your expectations in the Pac-12 Championship, as the Bruins are overmatched in most facets of the game.

Bobby Eveld, QB, USF -
Eveld is a much more conventional passer than starter BJ Daniels, and Daniels missed the game against Louisville with a sprained shoulder. Eveld was average against the Cardinals, completing 20-of-35 passes for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It remains to be seen if Daniels can give it a go in the regular-season finale for the Bulls against West Virginia. However, the Bulls likely will be playing from behind in this contest, giving Eveld, should he indeed be the starter, a chance to put up some big numbers for USF.

DOWNGRADES

Orson Charles, WR, Georgia -
The Bulldogs' leading receiver this season, Charles has hauled in 40 passes for 530 yards and five scores. However, he gets the vaunted LSU defense this weekend in the SEC Championship. The Tigers have allowed one offensive touchdown or less in each of the last eight games. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray likes to spread the ball around as well, meaning opportunities for Charles will be few and far between. LSU is on a mission; it may not be best for Charles and UGA to step on the tracks when the train's coming through.

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson -
Boyd has tossed up consecutive duds for the Tigers, completing just 32-of-63 passes for 321 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions over that span. And Boyd's rushing has been non-existent. After tossing three interceptions through Clemson's first eight games, Boyd has thrown seven picks over his last four tilts. The ACC title game against Virginia Tech is up next for Boyd, and the Hokies allow just 15.5 points per contest, good for seventh in the country. With Boyd's numbers trending in the wrong direction, this game could be trouble for Tajh.0.

Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State -
The first time the Spartans played Wisconsin, Baker had 11 carries for just 15 yards. Baker is not the pass-catching back that teammate Le'Veon Bell is and has seen fewer touches overall than Bell out of the backfield. Bell had 114 yards from scrimmage against Wisconsin in MSU's remarkable Hail Mary victory last time, so expect Bell to see the majority of the touches once again versus the Badgers.

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse -
The Orange have lost four in a row, and Nassib has completed just 55.3 percent of his throws over that span. Although Nassib has just seven interceptions this season, three have come in his last three contests. Syracuse faces Pittsburgh in its season finale; the Panthers have not allowed more than 26 points in each of their last five games. With the season slip-sliding away for Cuse, Nassib's accuracy issues could be problematic in its last game.

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