Nearly as monumental a tumble from power this week as the Republican Party is that of Troy Smith, previously irresistable force, who hit a new season low in every possible passing category Saturday against, ahem, Illinois, which replaces Penn State as "Exhibit A" in the case against his inevitable Most Outstanding victory.
Otherwise, this is a hastily-assembled list on a too-busy morning:
Maxwell Pundit Ballot, Week Ten
1. LaMarr Woodley Hybrid of Mass Destruction, Michigan
Brian assures us Woodley was not responsible for most of Ball State's heavy breathing offensive efforts Saturday, but this pick remains sketchy in the wake of that game. SMQ, however, adheres to longstanding personal ethics dictating loyalty to large men ranking in the top five nationally in sacks, tackle for loss and forced fumbles. The Ohio State Game, of course, means everything.
2. Aaron Ross CB/PR, Texas
SMQ is similarly convinced by Peter about the value of the Longhorn cover guy, who - unlike another of Peter's homer darlings, Tim Crowder - has racked up many of his impressive stats against some of Texas' top opponents, namely Oklahoma. Even in a bad game (which everyone on this list, frankly, has had), Ross forced the victory from the clutches of defeat by getting the fumble-causing hit on Terrance Nunn against Nebraska.
3. Calvin Johnson WR, Georgia Tech
Back in the mix after a huge nine-catch, two-touchdown game against NC State, in which he singlehandedly warded off Chan Gailey Equilibrium. Hard to blame him for the Clemson game, when he wasn't given a chance, but it remains that even the most consistently unstoppable player in the nation was not a presence in any significant way in his team's biggest game of the season. His "platonic ideal" credentials continue to outweigh his actual production and consistency in the big picture, but again: his fault?
4. Troy Smith QB, Ohio State
Instant overreaction puts you on the slide, sir, which is actually a long time coming. SMQ expressed some reservations about Mr. Inevitable last week, and a less-than-middling game at Illinois only serves to make this force seem imminently more resistable. He continues to suspect the infiltration of hype is the only thing keeping Smith on this list at all, but there are still the Texas, Iowa and Michigan State games. And The Michigan Game, of course, means everything.
5. Robert Meachem WR, Tennessee
The one exception to the "everyone's had a bad game" dictum, because Meachem hasn't been worse than four catches for 47 yards (against Florida), and in addition to torching Air Force and Memphis has had big efforts now against Cal, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and LSU. SMQ wishes now he had give in to his instincts and bumped one of his early favorites from the `Honorable Mention' list sooner and looked really smart when Meachem displayed an extra level by making a young, inexperienced quarterback look great on two go-get-em deep touchdowns that kept Tennessee from being run out of the stadium by LSU. Second in the nation in receiving yards per game, and in terms of consistency and productivity, against consistently good competition, has been better than Johnson.
As if we were supposed to remember September.
Daymeion Hughes, CB/KR, California
Mike Hart, RB, Michigan
Dan Mozes, Symbol of Unselfish Dominance, West Virginia
Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
Ameer Ismail LB, Western Michigan
Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Colt Brennan, QB, Hawaii
John Beck, QB, BYU
Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Victor Abiamiri, DE, Notre Dame