Dropping Garrett Wolfe altogether, when his pace is still well over 2,300 yards for the regular season, may seem a tad harsh, but Western Michigan was a big game for the Huskies. And it was not a blowout that precluded running: WMU didn't go up two scores until late in the fourth quarter. Yet Wolfe only got 16 carries, and was targeted and stuffed. Which cannot be tolerated by Maxwell Pundit at the hands of the Broncos. SMQ loves ya, little guy, but that's how the chips fall when you play the pundit game.
Maxwell Pundit Ballot, Week Seven
1. Adrian Peterson Star-crossed Casualty of Cruel End Zone Dive-Punishing Fates, Oklahoma
The presumed script all along has called for Mr. Peterson to take his chiseled frame and talent to the professionals for incredible lucre following this season, which - assuming he doesn't return from the broken collarbone he suffered on a touchdown run last week - means the alleged amateurs have lost one of their greatest on-field assets of the decade. It's only appropriate, then, to give AP one last ride atop the float at the front of the Maxwell Pundit parade; he was only on pace to rush for almost 1,900 yards and score 20 touchdowns. What a shame he was never allowed to fully elaborate at this level on his virtuoso debut.
2. LaMarr Woodley Hybrid/Representative of Mass Destruction, Michigan
When SMQ saw this picture from the Penn State game (a game he did not see one second of, even in highlights), he knew someone from the Wolverine defense had to represent, and Woodley is the guy bringing home the meat: after a statistical lull the past three games, he smashed his way into the box score Saturday by getting two sacks, an assist for loss among three other tackles and a forced fumble; season-to-date, he's one of the top pass rushers in the country (7 solo sacks) and more than half of his tackles have been in the opponents' backfield. But Woodley's inclusion is at heart a shout out to the raging but disciplined hellions of the entire Big Blue front seven, against whom opponents have gained a little over 71 yards per game rushing...and lost about 39 of those. That leaves an average of 32.4 rushing yards per game, when most teams give up on a single carry in two games out of three. Take away Mike Hart and Kevin Grady, responsible for about 77 percent of all the team's carries, and the rest of Michigan's offense still equals the entire rushing output of every Wolverine opponent combined. Which is obscenity. And the defense - most prominently Woodley - is responsible for its promulgation.
3. Calvin Johnson WR, Georgia Tech
Stopped, finally, but only by a bye week (which probably pass interfered, anyway). Still projects as the nation's top touchdown receiver, behind only Rice's future all-American Jarrett Dillard.
4. Troy Smith Irresistible Force, Ohio State
SMQ has been cool on this season's apparent Chosen One since his so-so, two-pick game against Penn State, yet those mistakes remain the only ones he's made all year, and weren't the killers they could have been at, say, Texas or Iowa. Where he was a death machine. Smith's been ruthlessly efficient elsewhere, and SMQ saw him make another one of those Houdini touchdown passes at Michigan State Saturday, so there you go.
5. Tyler Palko QB, Pittsburgh
Remains behind Smith because of the competition he's faced, but SMQ remains unsure if Palko could do much better against no defense at all: his last four games, he's thrown nine touchdowns and 13 incomplete passes, none of them interceptions, while the Panthers have rolled up the rabble like, well, rabble, which didn't exist for Pitt last season. The only senior quarterback among the Big East's four contenders, and probably the one working with the least. Leads the nation in passing efficiency, whatever that's supposed to mean.
In The Zone
Aaron Ross, CB/PR, Texas
Reggie Nelson, Perpetuator of Fear, Florida
Garrett Wolfe, RB, Northern Illinois
Mkristo Bruce, Sackmeister, Washington State
Dan Mozes, Symbol of Unselfish Dominance, West Virginia
Daymeion Hughes, CB, California
DeSean Jackson, WR/PR, California
Erik Ainge, QB, Tennessee
Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee