Could the SEC's title run be finished? With Alabama's loss to Texas A&M, the best conference in college football needs some help for one of its schools to reach the BCS National Championship. Oregon and Kansas State would meet if the season ended now, concluding a streak of six consecutive titles for the vaunted Southeastern Conference. Of course, Oregon and Kansas State would have to win out, though Notre Dame is also unblemished on the year. If two of those three teams don't lose, it's likely the championship game will be void of an SEC squad, an unprecedented turn of events considering recent history.There's still plenty of pigskin left, though, so let's dive into this week's College Football Barometer.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: The catalyst for the Aggies' upset of the Crimson Tide was Johnny Football, as Manziel piloted A&M to the 29-24 triumph. A superior athlete, Manziel showed off his arm in this contest, completing a pristine 24 of 31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He showed off his wheels too, rushing 18 times for 92 yards. Manziel could be in the driver's seat for SEC Offensive Player of the Year, completing 67.6 percent of his throws for 2,780 yards and 18 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 1,014 yards and 15 more scores. Only a freshman, it's scary to think what Manziel could accomplish before his college football days are over.
Wesley Tate, RB, Vanderbilt: Tate has found the end zone in four consecutive games for the Commodores, filling in admirably for the hobbled Zac Stacy. He has received double-digit carries in three of those games. With Stacy continuing to battle an ankle injury, Tate should carry the load for Vandy this week against Tennessee. The Vols are just 113th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing a staggering 37 points per game this season. Tate is a good bet to score once again.
Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan: Gardner has been a touchdown machine for the Wolverines since taking over for the injured Denard Robinson. More of a pocket passer than Robinson, Gardner has passed for 520 yards and four touchdowns in just two games, while also rushing for three more scores over that span. With Robinson's return still in the air, Gardner could be a nice start against an Iowa squad that is just 2-4 in conference play.
Josh Huff, WR, Oregon: Quarterback Marcus Mariota has found his groove passing the ball over the last two games, and Huff has ben the chief beneficiary. Over that span, Huff has snagged six balls for 234 yards and five touchdowns. Oregon gets a stiff test against Stanford next week, but it'd be tough to bench Huff after his mammoth production the last two weeks.
Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame: Golson has matured for the Irish as the season has progressed. He has passed for at least 200 yards in each of the last two games, while scoring six combined touchdowns over that span. Golson's dual-threat ability makes him difficult to contain, as he is able to keep plays alive with his legs and either find an open receiver or run for the first down. Perhaps most important, he has taken care of the ball. Golson has a favorable matchup at home against Wake Forest this week, as the Demon Deacons are 72nd in the nation in points allowed.
Silas Redd, RB, USC: Redd did not play in Saturday's victory over Arizona State despite dressing for the game due to another undisclosed injury. Redd has been up and down this season but had come on of late, rushing 31 times for 149 yards and three touchdowns over his previous two games before the injury. USC's remaining schedule doesn't do Redd any favors ether, as he would face ranked opponents in UCLA and Notre Dame should he be deemed fit to play.
Sammy Watkins, RB, Clemson: Just as it appeared Watkins has turned the corner on his sophomore campaign, he was forced to leave Saturday's tilt with Maryland due to a lower leg injury. Watkins had exploded in his previous two games, hauling in 14 balls for 299 yards and two touchdowns. This season has been a far cry from the superior freshman season for Watkins. He has caught just 42 passes for 561 yards and two touchdowns after snatching 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Monitor his status for this weekend's tilt with NC State.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon: Barner left Saturday's game with Cal due to a hand injury. Although he returned, he managed just 65 yards on the ground and averaged 3.3 yards per tote. It was a much different outcome for Fantasy owners than the week before, when Barner torched USC for 321 yards and five touchdowns. Make sure Barner is healthy before deploying him against Stanford this weekend, as he is among the elite talents in college football.
Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State: Controversy seems to follow coach Mike Leach wherever he goes. In a curious situation, Wilson was first reportedly suspended from the team, but then indicated that he actually quit the squad due to what he called "physical, emotional and verbal abuse" by the WSU coaching staff. Whatever the case, Wilson will be difficult to replace. He was the leading receiver for the Cougars with 52 catches for 813 yards and five touchdowns.
Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida: Gillislee started the season with a bang, rushing for at least 100 yards or a touchdown in each of Florida's first five games. He has failed to do either since. Despite receiving double-digit carries in every game since that time, Gillislee is averaging less than three yards per carry. He has an extremely favorable matchup with Jacksonville State next weekend, but could sit in the second half if the game gets out of hand early. Gillislee is not running with the same authority as earlier in the year.
Keenan Allen, WR, California: Allen missed his second straight game Saturday against Oregon due to a knee injury. The dynamic junior had caught 61 passes for 737 yards and six touchdowns prior to the injury. Allen amassed 1,343 yards through the air in 2011. As a result, the Bears have been forced to go more run-heavy, relying on a combination of Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson. The results have not been favorable, though, as Cal has lost four straight contests. It's safe to say the Bears have sorely missed Allen.
Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford: Montgomery has been battling a nagging knee injury since early October. He was supposed to be a breakout star in 2012, but has clearly suffered from the absence of Andrew Luck under center for the Cardinal, as well as his inability to stay healthy. Although he has played in each of the last two weeks, he has caught just two passes for 10 yards, and is not expected to be healthy for the rest of the season. As a result, there are better options at wideout than the hobbled sophomore.