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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Who's Down Week 3

Daniel Kennedy

Daniel Kennedy

Kennedy covers college football and college basketball for RotoWire. A veteran reporter, Kennedy has covered sports for various newspapers in the Southeast.

Revamped scheduling in college football has not disappointed. Heavyweights were again tested in the second week on the gridiron, as rivalries were rekindled between Miami and Florida and Georgia and South Carolina, as well as Notre Dame and Michigan. Even Oregon took its high-octane offense all the way across the country to face Virginia. Much was learned from these showdowns, besides the head-scratching "revelations" of Steve Spurrier and Brian Kelly that their clubs have fewer natural nemeses than originally thought.

Who shined and who slumped in Week 2? What might this week's matchups hold for these individuals? Answers to these questions and several more are found in this edition of College Football Barometer.

UPGRADE

Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan -
A former four-star recruit, Gardner entered the 2013 campaign with inflated expectations for his first full season as starter for the Wolverines. Perhaps those expectations were not high enough. He turned in arguably the greatest performance of the young season Saturday night against Notre Dame before the largest-recorded crowd in NCAA history. Although Gardner was likely among the first quarterbacks selected in most college football drafts, his stock is rising, nonetheless. With the exception of Oregon's Marcus Mariota, there might not be a more valuable dual-threat quarterback heading into Week 3. Expect another brilliant performance as Akron visits the Big House.

Tony Jones, WR, Northwestern -
Jones had nine catches for 185 yards and a touchdown Saturday in a win over Syracuse. He also scored in his first game and is developing into a reliable weapon for the Wildcats. So much of Northwestern's offense depends on the health of versatile playmaker Kain Colter, and Jones' value is no different. With Colter in the lineup against the Orange after missing most of the season opener with a concussion, the junior receiver doubled his receiving yards from Week 1. Operating within a potent offense, Jones is trending upward.

Odell Beckham, WR, LSU -
Entering the season, the Tigers wideout had two career 100-yard receiving games. He already has two such performances in as many weeks. Beckham has been known throughout his career primarily as a prolific return man but started to come into his own in 2012, improving drastically as a receiver. With the advances made in the passing game by new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and overnight maturation of quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Beckham appears headed for stardom. This week's matchup with Kent State looks stellar.

Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina -
Nine days after posting a strong performance in the season opener against North Carolina, Davis came back with 149 yards at Georgia. The sophomore has now ripped off a 75-yard touchdown run in each of his first two games and is a home-run hitter for the Gamecocks. Big plays are only a part of his arsenal, however, as the 215-pound back is a tough runner between the tackles. Ahead on the schedule, Vanderbilt, Central Florida and Kentucky represent terrific opportunities to continue his hot start.

CHECK STATUS

Travis Wilson, QB, Utah -
Two walk-through opponents gave the sophomore a chance to showcase his ability, and he will now face his first conference game of the season. This week's tilt with Oregon State is primed to be a shootout, however, and the Beavers have one loss already this season to FCS opponent Eastern Washington. With 566 yards passing and seven total touchdowns versus Utah State and Weber State, the trigger man for the nation's 10th highest-scoring offense is a high-upside play.

David Ash, QB, Texas -
He left Saturday's loss to BYU with a head injury after completing 19-of-34 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns. The Longhorns were reeling before his injury, but now face what could be a must-win stretch of games to save coach Mack Brown's job. The question is whether they must do so without Ash at quarterback. If he is on the field Saturday at home against Ole Miss, he is a slam dunk to start all leagues. Despite the injury and Texas' woes so far, he has tallied more than 700 yards passing and rushing combined. His team's leading rusher, Ash also accounts for seven touchdowns.

Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana -
Coach Kevin Wilson continues to perpetuate a quarterback carousel by starting Tre Roberson and then replacing him with Nate Sudfeld in each of the last two games. Regardless of who is playing quarterback, the Hoosiers are scoring points by the bushel, and Bolser is a big part of that. The nation's seventh-highest scoring team has amassed 108 total points without a 100-yard game or a touchdown from Cody Latimer, the team's leading receiver from last year. Bolser leads his squad in receptions and receiving touchdowns but also has the most to lose in the event of a quarterback breakdown or reemergence of Latimer. Monitor the production of others in Indiana's talented offense.

Jordan Hall, RB, Ohio State -
Fresh off a monster game in which he tallied 159 yards and two touchdowns, the senior's encore was more solid than spectacular. Several players helped account for Hall's drop in production. An injury to Braxton Miller forced Kenny Guiton - who led the team in rushing Saturday - onto the field. Coach Urban Meyer reinstated Rod Smith, who was favored to be the team's starting tailback in the preseason. The looming reinstatement of last year's starter Carlos Hyde further complicates the matter and increases the probability Hall will eventually shift to the scat-back role he was expected to fill this season, possibly limiting his touches.

DOWNGRADE

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State -
Miller left Saturday's game against San Diego State with a knee injury that cost him more than three quarters of action. His status for this week's contest with California remains in doubt. Even if he does start, it seems unlikely he will play the entire game. The Golden Bears lost a great deal of talent from a team that took the Buckeyes down to wire last year and surrendered 41 points in a loss to Northwestern in Week 1. Senior Kenny Guiton filled in admirably for Miller last week and should be called upon to do so again, sooner or later.

Marquise Lee, WR, USC -
The Trojan's talent is undeniable. Barring an incredible turn of events, he will be taken in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for the electric receiver, the quarterback situation in Los Angeles is abysmal. Neither Cody Kessler nor Max Wittek offer any answers, and coach Lane Kiffin seems destined to burn a redshirt year for freshman Max Browne. Held to 27 yards by Washington State, Lee is a hazardous play no matter the matchup or who is behind center.

Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida -
Sometimes statistics lie. If taken at face value, numbers from the Gators' first two games might appear palatable. Driskel has totaled 440 yards passing, including 291 last week against Miami. The reality, however, remains that the senior is overmatched against BCS opponents. Veiled somewhat by one of the most talented defenses in college football, Driskel's weaknesses are gradually being brought back to light. Big games against Georgia and Louisville last season - both losses - each produced two interceptions. Even in a 14-6 win at home against LSU, he threw only 12 passes. This season's first big game of the year resulted in two more picks and another loss.

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech -
An absolutely deplorable game against Alabama was cause for concern, even against arguably the nation's top defense. Thomas followed that up with 200 passing yards and two interceptions against just one touchdown in Saturday's win over lowly West Carolina. The frustration continues for those who held out hope on the supersized signal caller who had these types of slumps last season.