Safe to say, 2012 hasn't gone as planned for the USC Trojans. Billed as one of the preseason favorites for the national championship, the Trojans have already stumbled twice this season, losing to Stanford and most recently Arizona. Matt Barkley, a Heisman favorite heading into the season, has had some dominant games, though he's also had one or two clunkers and has fallen behind the likes of Collin Klein and Manti Te'o.
It hasn't been all bad for USC, though. In the loss to Arizona, Marqise Lee set a Pac-12 receiving record with a staggering 345 yards on 16 catches. The yardage total is good for fifth most in FBS history. Likewise, the Trojans play host to Notre Dame in the final game of the season with a chance to possibly derail the Irish title hopes, and even knock Te'o out of the Heisman conversation. As a result, there's still plenty to play for in Southern California.
Let's look at the rest of the college football scene in this week's Barometer.
Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio - Much was expected out of Tettleton entering the season, a dual-threat quarterback who combined for nearly 4,000 total yards and 38 touchdowns in 2011. The son of former MLB catcher Mickey, Tettleton had just one 300-yard passing game entering last week. That changed with a 302-yard passing performance at Miami of Ohio on Saturday, and the sophomore also rushed for his first touchdown since Sept. 8 against New Mexico State. Furthermore, the 7-1 Bobcats get Eastern Michigan on Thursday; the Eagles are 114th in the nation in points allowed, surrendering 37.5 points per contest. Tettleton should have a field day as a result.
Lanear Sampson, WR, Baylor - Terrance Williams has clearly been the top wideout for the Bears, and perhaps the nation, with 60 catches for 1,203 yards and nine touchdowns in seven games. However, there's certainly plenty of ball to go around, and Sampson has found the end zone in three of Baylor's last four contests. He has caught at least six passes in each of the last two contests. With Williams getting much of the attention, Sampson has carved out a nice niche for himself in the high-octane offensive attack.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama - McCarron deserves some credit for his continued improvement under center for the Crimson Tide. He'll likely get knocked because Bama's outstanding defense puts him in a great position to succeed, as well as the fact that he has not been involved in a close game this season. Nevertheless, he has emerged as a legitimate quarterback in 2012 after being mostly a game manager on last year's championship squad. McCarron has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 1,684 yards and 18 touchdowns. Perhaps most impressive, he has not thrown an interception all year. McCarron will face his stiffest test next weekend at LSU, but it would be foolish to underrate him at this time.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State - Archer helped the Golden Flashes pull off a stunning upset of Rutgers on Saturday, rushing 18 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. That was his fifth score in four games and ninth touchdown this season. He is averaging a superior 8.9 yards per carry en route to 766 yards rushing. Archer has also proven a superb receiver, catching 22 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns as well. Archer is actually the leading receiver for Kent State. The explosive junior should have another standout performance against 1-8 Akron this week.
Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt - Stacy left Saturday's game against UMass with a right ankle injury early in the first quarter. He wasn't needed in the 49-7 rout, but his status remains questionable. The leading rusher in Vandy history, Stacy has rushed for 683 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. Wesley Tate and Brian Kimbrow would receive more carries should Stacy miss next week's tilt at Kentucky and beyond.
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan - Robinson aggravated a nerve in his throwing elbow against Nebraska. Although he is expected to play at Minnesota this week, Robinson has had a down year by his standards with just 15 total touchdowns. He has not passed for more than 200 yards in each of the last five games, and has not rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last two contests. Minnesota is just 1-3 in Big Ten play, so Robinson certainly has the chance to break out if healthy. However, his injury status makes his ability to succeed a little more uncertain.
Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - Scott had a masterful performance in Saturday's 39-36 upset victory over Arizona. Scott completed 27-of-50 throws for 369 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 15 times for 100 yards and an additional score. The reason he's listed in this section as opposed to above? He suffered a head injury toward the end of the contest and was visibly woozy on the field. He was even seen throwing up at one point. Scott is a must-start if healthy, as he has shined in coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense, tossing at least three touchdowns in each of the last four games for the Wildcats. Monitor his status as the week progresses.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech - Amaro has an upper body injury, diagnosed as bruising in the rib area, and has missed the last two games for the Red Raiders. A tight end by trade, Amaro is a huge target at 6-foot-5, 257. In six games played, Amaro had caught 23 balls for 394 yards and four touchdowns in Texas Tech's impressive spread attack. He could be close to playing this week against Texas, and would provide a big boost if he can suit up.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina - Lattimore suffered a gruesome injury against the Tennessee Volunteers, dislocating his right knee, with ligament damage and a broken femur reported as well. It's possible Lattimore could miss all of the 2013 season as well. Pundits have compared the injury to that suffered by Willis McGahee in the 2003 national championship Game. Lattimore tore the ACL in his left knee in 2011 but made a full recovery. Senior Kenny Miles and freshman Mike Davis will attempt to fill Lattimore's shoes. It will be a tough task, though, as Lattimore had rushed for 662 yards and 11 touchdowns before the injury.
Joel Stave, QB, Wisconsin - Stave suffered a broken collarbone in Saturday's loss to Michigan State, ending his 2012 campaign. It's the third broken collarbone of the freshman quarterback's career. Stave had seized the starting QB job away from Danny O'Brien and led the Badgers to three straight wins before leaving the game with the Spartans due to injury. Stave was 9-of-11 for 127 yards and a touchdown at the time of his departure. O'Brien will once again take over under center, but it remains to be seen whether he can have similar success to Stave.
David Ash, QB, Texas - Ash was benched against lowly Kansas after completing 8-of-16 passes for 63 yards and two interceptions. He was replaced by Case McCoy, who led the Longhorns to a comeback victory over the Jayhawks. As a result, a full-fledged quarterback controversy is brewing in Austin. Ash has thrown four picks in his last three games, while finding the end zone just once. He started the season off with 11 touchdowns as compared with one INT.
Tracy Moore, WR, Oklahoma State - Moore was supposed to be the next great wideout for the Cowboys, following in the footsteps of Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon. After a four-touchdown performance on Sept. 8 at Arizona, it looked as though he would be living up to the hype. However, since that time, he has caught just 12 passes for 153 yards while failing to score a touchdown. In addition, he suffered an ankle injury and has missed the last two contests. He is now likely done for the season due to that injury in what will end a frustrating and disappointing 2012 season.
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