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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Who's Down Week 8

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.

Upsets of Stanford, Georgia and Oklahoma were the stories of the weekend in college football. However, it's a heavyweight matchup this coming Saturday that highlights Week 8. The Florida State Seminoles travel to Clemson to battle the Tigers. Both squads are undefeated, and both squads feature star quarterbacks. Freshman sensation Jameis Winston has torched ACC competition thus far, posting 13:1 TD:INT ratio through three conference games for FSU. Meanwhile, Tajh Boyd came back for his senior season at Clemson and has not disappointed, totaling 20 touchdowns to just two interceptions. The winner of this game will have a stranglehold on the ACC Atlantic and legitimize itself in the discussion for the BCS National Championship.

Let's look at the rest of the college football scene in this week's College Football Barometer.

UPGRADE

Byron Marshall, RB, Oregon -
The loss of De'Anthony Thomas has been Marshall's gain, as he has crossed the 100-yard rushing mark in each of the last three games for the Ducks. Marshall averages 6.2 yards per carry and has six touchdowns on the ground. Marshall was a big part of Saturday's 45-24 victory at Washington, carrying 10 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. The aforementioned Thomas dressed for the game but did not play due to an ankle injury. Even if Thomas returns soon, though, there appears to be enough ball to go around for both he and Marshall to be effective for the Ducks. After all, Oregon only averages 56.8 points per game this season, good for second in the nation behind only the Baylor Bears.

Rantavious Wooten, WR, Georgia -
Wooten wasn't supposed to play a vital role in Georgia's offense this season. However, injuries to Malcolm Mitchell, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley have thrust Wooten into the spotlight for the Dawgs. Wooten has responded with 10 catches for 121 yards and three touchdowns his last two games. Chris Conley appears to be the only other wideout with the confidence of quarterback Aaron Murray, so Wooten should continue to receive his share of targets due to the serious nature of the injuries to the above-referenced wide receivers. Snatch Wooten up if he's still out there riding the waiver wire.

Trey Williams, RB, Texas A&M -
Ben Malena remains the featured back for the Aggies, and Johnny Manziel can be a magician with his wheels. However, Williams has shown incredible shiftiness and been more involved in the rushing attack for A&M the last couple games. Williams has used his quickness and highlight-reel moves to carry 16 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns the last two contests. Williams has shown his big-play ability, averaging 7.8 yards per tote in 2013. Williams may be unadvertised in this offense, but his touches and thus his production have increased lately.

Nelson Agholor, WR, USC -
No Marqise Lee? No Lane Kiffin? No problem for USC, largely thanks to Agholor. The athletic sophomore hauled in seven passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's 38-31 in over Arizona. The seven grabs were a career high for Agholor, who did have 162 yards receiving in a game last season at Oregon. If the Trojans can find some semblance of consistency at quarterback (Cody Kessler has been better lately), Agholor could erupt for the remainder of the season. He is virtually the only reliable, trustworthy receiver on the squad at this time, and he's no slouch either.

CHECK STATUS

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech -
Thomas has been much better this season than he was in 2012, when he faltered following comparisons to former Auburn star Cam Newton. While Thomas still isn't Heisman-worthy, he has six total touchdowns and zero interceptions over his last three games, all victories for the Hokies. He has completed nearly 66 percent of his passes over that span. The Hokies have a bye, but then get to face a porous Duke Blue Devils defense. Duke has allowed 94 points in two conference games. With Thomas making better decisions and taking better care of the ball, expect a huge game against Duke's Swiss cheese defense. However, following that contest, Thomas and the Hokies will visit an upstart BC team that gave Clemson all it could handle last weekend, followed by a huge tilt on the road against the rejuvenated Miami Hurricanes. Thomas's progress will certainly be tested by the time this season is finished.

Case McCoy, QB, Texas -
Just when it looked as though coach Mack Brown was on his way out, the Longhorns pulled off a stunning, blowout victory in the Red River Rivalry over Oklahoma on Saturday. The defense played a huge role in the win, but so did quarterback Case McCoy. McCoy completed 13-of-21 passes for 190 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. It was actually the second straight stellar output for McCoy, who gained 244 yards through the air the week before at Iowa State, while also tossing a touchdown. Can this stretch of prosperity last for McCoy and the Longhorns? Texas has a bye and then games against TCU, Kansas and West Virginia, all struggling squads in the Big 12. However, that will be followed by matchups with ranked opponents in Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor. In sum, it may be safe to roll with McCoy in the short term, but in the long run his inconsistency may get the better of him.

Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina -
It's been feast or famine for Ellington this season. He brutalized the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, hauling in six passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. However, just one week prior, Ellington managed only one catch for seven yards against the lowly Kentucky Wildcats. In fact, Ellington has had three games this season in which he has recorded just one catch. Meanwhile, Ellington had 111 yards receiving on Sept. 24 against Vandy and garnered 88 yards to lead the Gamecocks in receiving at UCF on Sept. 28. In other words, the two-sport star is a high-risk, high-reward play.

Bubba Poole, RB, Utah -
Who is Bubba Poole, you might be asking? Poole worked his way into the starting lineup for the Utes and was the unsung hero in Utah's stunning 27-21 victory over Stanford on Saturday. The sophomore running back carried 22 times for 111 yards against the Cardinal, keeping the Stanford offense off the field. Poole was also a vital portion of the passing game, hauling in seven passes for an additional 75 yards. Poole has caught 20 passes this season. He averages more than five yards per rush as well. Poole has only crossed the 100-yard mark one other time this season, while also scoring only one touchdown. If he can find the end zone with more consistency, Poole could be a monster.

DOWNGRADE

Matt Jones, RB, Florida -
Jones was supposed to shoulder the bulk of the rushing load for the Gators in 2013, replacing the incredibly productive Mike Gillislee. That hasn't materialized for the sophomore, who has battled injury and inconsistency this season. Jones missed fall camp and the first game of the season after battling a viral infection and struggled to get back in shape. He finally busted loose at Kentucky on Sept. 28 for 176 yards on the ground, his lone 100-yard output of the year. Unfortunately, Jones left Saturday's tilt with LSU after four carries due to a leg injury, and his status is up in the air. The injury also forced coach Will Muschamp to burn freshman running back Kelvin Taylor's redshirt. Taylor responded with 10 carries for 52 yards and will likely be used more and more. As such, even if Jones can suit up soon, he will have to battle Taylor and fellow rusher Mack Brown for carries. A disappointing season likely won't get better for Jones anytime soon.

James Franklin, QB, Missouri -
Franklin's promising season was cut short by a separated throwing shoulder in Saturday's surprise 41-26 triumph over Georgia. Franklin was having a bounce-back year for the Tigers, completing 67.7 percent of his passes for 1,577 yards, 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Franklin suffered through an injury-prone 2012 season, in which he passed for fewer yards and fewer touchdowns in nine games than he has in six contests in 2013. Unfortunately, Franklin will most likely be unable to improve his numbers, as the injury will sideline him for six weeks and perhaps the remainder of the regular season in 2013.

Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State -
Halliday has taken advantage of matchups against lower-tier opponents, but has struggled against upper-echelon squads. Halliday tossed three interceptions in Saturday's ugly 52-24 loss to Oregon State, bring his season total to 13 picks. In games against Stanford, Auburn, USC and the aforementioned Beavers, Halliday has thrown two touchdowns and been picked off nine times. Next up for the Cougars? A trip to Eugene to take on the mighty Oregon Ducks, a matchup which certainly does not bode well for Halliday's chances at success. It's best to avoid Halliday against an elite opponent like Oregon.

Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin -
Abbrederis left Saturday's game against Northwestern due to a concussion, but not before hauling in two passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Although the severity is unknown, the Badgers will undoubtedly proceed cautiously with the senior wideout, who has been wildly productive for Wisconsin. Abbrederis has 35 grabs for 645 yards and five touchdowns through six contests. Monitor his status, as he would be almost impossible to replace for both the Badgers and fantasy owners alike.