Fast guys who get the ball make a minor comeback after a couple more defensive-centered weeks. Most interesting this time is the level of turnover at this point in the season - nobody's delivering much consistency out there. The top guy below, McFadden, wasn't even in the `Honorable Mention' stack until last week, and now he's busted his way to the top of the list. Until he meets LSU.
The showdown all season has been leading to Michigan-Ohio State, and for Maxwell Pundit purposes, this means LaMarr Woodley head-to-head against Troy Smith. Not literally, that would be a penalty on LaMarr. But remember Saturday that little known and self-congratulatory blog awards are on the line, too.
Maxwell Pundit Ballot, Week Eleven
1. Darren McFadden RB/Single Wing Tailback, Arkansas
Strong, fast, quick, unstoppable at the moment. What are Arkansas' chances at home against USC if McFadden's healthy? Over 1,200 total yards following three straight huge rushing games, in which he proved his value on top of his carries by drawing the lion's share of defensive attention from the shotgun on the Razorbacks' terrifying speed sweep/option/draw/whatever sets whether or not he keeps the ball. Plenty productive regardless the attention; pretty much doing whatever he wants with obscenely talented impugnity.
McFadden puts everyone in front of him and Arkansas on notice
2. LaMarr Woodley Hybrid of Mass Destruction, Michigan
Quiet couple of games, statistically. One of a handful of guys averaging a full sack per game, none of the others for more lost yards than Woodley's total, and none of them playing for a defense allowing less than 30 yards rushing per game. Again, most teams allow at least one 30-yard carry in every game. Remains a symbol of his unit's dominance, much like...
3. Troy Smith QB, Ohio State
Don't know what to do with him. The numbers say the unified front willing to deem Smith Most Outsanding Player since just after the Texas game is overrating him for lack of other quality options, and SMQ and other Maxwell voters are following the hype for the same reason, but man lives not by statistics alone; SMQ could not justify McFadden, Woodley or Calvin Johnson below - originally slotted ahead of Smith - if he did. The guy's just been money and better at every important juncture, save Penn State, when even amidst probably his worst game until Illinois a couple weeks ago he delivered his personal play of the year in the rain and muck. Tiny, barely perceptible little fissures are beginning to show in the wall of unanimity advancing Smith's unparalleled merits, and nobody's compared him to Vince Young for a few weeks, but this all will be corrected if OSU wins and he doesn't look terrible (which is probably redundant) Saturday. If OSU loses, unless Smith is amazing in the loss (an oxymoron this time), consider his campaign done.
Just what are you all about, Smith?
4. Calvin Johnson WR, Georgia Tech
Another maddening lull in production. We know he's the best receiver in the country, right? So is there anything he can do about a scheme that seems to forget about him out there? SMQ didn't watch Tech against North Carolina, but unless UNC improbably shut Johnson out, seven Tech points would seem to stand as evidence that his three catches weren't enough. Earned an extra game to prove himself on a national stage in the ACC Championship.
5. Colt Brennan QB, Hawaii
Combine the nation's best completion percentage with its most yards per attempt in one of its pass happiest attacks, and the results are straight ungodly stats from the junior. Has tossed 43 touchdowns, best in the country by a mile, and has the best touchdown percentage and highest passer rating - again, by a mile - as a result. Has thrown at least four touchdowns in eight straight games. If you're keeping track, that's best in the nation in five telling statistics, and "attempts" is not among them. Nor is the not-so-coincidental fact Hawaii leads the nation in total and scoring offense, or has won seven straight while racking up 61 or more in four of its last five (and 49 in the fifth). Trash the competition if you must - and you must - but some quarterbacks couldn't do all that against no defense at all.
The other Colt goes down, but you, sir, may proceed.
Daymeion Hughes, CB/KR, California
DeSean Jackson, WR/PR, California
Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
Dan Mozes, Symbol of Unselfish Dominance, West Virginia
Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
Ameer Ismail, LB, Western Michigan
Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
John Beck, QB, BYU
Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Victor Abiamiri, DE, Notre Dame