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Maxwell Pundit, Week Two

Assessing the Most Outstanding College Football Player in the Country

SMQ's second ballot for Rakes of Mallow's prestigious "Maxwell Pundit" roundtable contains just one holdover from his Week One top five, Robert Meachem, but there is the creeping suspicion that at least two of his new compatriots are making arrangements for long stays on the slate.

It should be noted this week's ballot, and all future efforts unless instructed otherwise, reflect the season to date, and not only last week.

Week Two Maxwell Pundit Ballot

1. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State
We all want to tout some gem in the rough up here, some secret weapon waiting to burst out and vindicate our superior sensibilities, but damn if Troy Smith isn't in some sort of transcendental, hype-affirming zone right now: 68.6 percent completion rate, 283 yards per game, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, biggest win of the year to date. On the road. Apparently without breaking much of sweat. And he hasn't even started running yet.

Quarterback, it would appear, is an integral facet of the game

2. Erik Ainge QB, Tennessee
Clearly, there's much confusion about UT's weird reversion against Air Force, but this was mostly defensive deficiency; Ainge remains the national leader in passing efficiency, tied for the lead in passing touchdowns (7), second in yards per attempt (to, somewhat ironically, USAFA's Shaun Carney), fourth in yards per game and third in completion percentage among QBs with at least 20 passes this season - i.e., virtually flawless in two games. So what happened here? Is David Cutcliffe a licensed psychiatrist? Perhaps he should consider it.

3. LaMarr Woodley Hybrid of Mass Destruction, Michigan
Listed as an end and an outside linebacker in Michigan's ever-morphing 4-3/3-4 defense, but he's pretty much unblockable regardless when not hobbling around or - per Brian's assessment - held back by conservative scheming that makes him think and stuff. On pace for 24 sacks, 30 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles; projections may skew downwards beginning this week, but should still be impressive. Not mentioned below, but teammate Mike Hart is also firmly on the radar.

4. Robert Meachem WR/KR, Tennessee
Benefactor or beneficiary of Ainge's rapid, ongoing rehabilitation, Meachem is using his quarterback to maximum effect: he hauled in eight more balls against Air Force, and two more touchdowns - including the Vols' final, eventually decisive score. Averaging nearly 23 yards per catch.

5. Adrian Peterson RB, Oklahoma
Must be keyed on by half the defense on every play, but still productive at well over five yards per carry, plus one very long receiving touchdown that was the difference in victory and humiliation against UAB. Probably the most important player in the country to his team.

Honorable Mention
In no particular order...

Ian Johnson RB, Boise State: Ten yards per carry and five touchdowns against any PAC Ten school (other than Stanford) will not be denied. Can really fly.
Garrett Wolfe RB, Northern Illinois: The only player even considered from an 0-2 team. Huskies should fair better outside of the state of Ohio.
Brady Quinn QB, Notre Dame: Manchurian Candidate's circuits programmed to "assassinate" against Penn State
Buster Davis LB, Florida State: Killer tackles down, game-icing interceptions up. Obviously still everywhere you don't want to be if you're an opposing ballcarrier.

Buster Davis saves FSU the most humiliating defeat in its history - and his spot in the general Maxwell consciousness

Ted Ginn Jr. WR, Ohio State: Never, ever, ever even consider covering him man-to-man ever again. Blew away Texas' - and therefore one of the nation's - best cover guy on one of the game's most crucial drives.
Maurice Crum LB, Notre Dame: Forced the "it's over" fumble against Penn State; one of the country's top-ranked solo tacklers and tacklers for loss to date.