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Week 7 - Who wants it more?

Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In the game of "Hot Potato", you pass an object back and forth with those playing and try not to be the one holding said object when the round stops. That is how the nation's premier teams are treating the top ranking in the national polls recently.

This was the second straight week that the No. 1 team fell from its lofty perch and, in both cases, that team fell hard.

The second half of the season has officially begun and just who comes out of the pack in position to play for the national title may not be determined until the very last week.

HANDLE WITH CARE: We view football players as modern day gladiators, who seem to be invincible for the most part. However, injuries like the one suffered by Rutgers defensive linemen Eric LeGrand this past weekend make us all think twice about these guys putting themselves in harm's way every time they suit up. LeGrand suffered a severe spinal cord injury on a special teams play against Army. He remains paralyzed from the neck down. While we all enjoy the physical nature of the game of football, we must remember the incredible risk these young men take every time they take the field.

Cameron Newton can pencil his name in as a Heisman finalist with another supreme effort this week against LSU.
INITIAL BCS RANKINGS RUFFLE SOME FEATHERS: The first BCS rankings came out on Sunday and because some of the top teams in the country lost over the weekend, the rankings look much different that expected just a few days prior. The Oklahoma Sooners sit atop the poll with a .922 BCS average. They are followed by the Oregon Ducks (.892), who sit atop the Associated Press poll, and Boise State (.890). Auburn (.864) and TCU (.857) to round out the top five. The BCS formula has coach Bob Stoops' Sooners sitting in the top spot, but Chip Kelly's Ducks, Chris Petersen's Broncos, Gene Chizik's Tigers and Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs will all have something to say about that in the next few weeks.

JUST WHEN IT SEEMED SETTLED: If you would have asked any Heisman Trophy voter two weeks ago who would win the coveted award this season, almost everyone of them would have said Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in a landslide. As we have seen in regard to the top spot in the polls, a lot can happen in just a couple of weeks. Robinson hasn't been bad during that time frame, but Auburn QB Cameron Newton has been sensational. Newton is built like a defensive end, but has been as nimble as any signal-caller in the country, destroying the competition with his arm and legs. Robinson used to be the frontrunner, but Newton has not only pulled up alongside the Wolverines' dynamic QB, but has passed him in my estimation. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton can pencil his name in as a Heisman finalist with another supreme effort this week against LSU and change it to pen if he does the same at defending national champion Alabama in the regular-season finale.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Auburn's Cameron Newton was the premier field general last week, passing for 140 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 188 yards and three more scores in a critical SEC West showdown with Arkansas. Not only did he give the Tigers a leg up in the division, but also gave himself a huge boost in the Heisman race.

Other QBs with big outings include Louisiana Tech's Ross Jenkins (422 yards, three TDs against Idaho), Tulane's Ryan Griffin (412 yards, two TDs against Tulsa), Indiana's Ben Chappell (382 yards, four TDs against Arkansas State), Southern California's Matt Barkley (352 yards, five TDs against California), East Carolina's Dominique Davis (376 yards, two TDs against North Carolina State), Missouri's Blaine Gabbert (361 yards, three TDs against Texas A&M), Kentucky's Mike Hartline (349 yards, four TDs against South Carolina) and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson (332 yards, four TDs against Auburn).

Wake Forest's freshman tailback Josh Harris gave a super human effort at Virginia Tech, but despite 241 yards and two TDs on the ground, his Demon Deacons were routed by the Hokies.

Plenty of other tailbacks enjoyed success as well in Week 7, including Louisville's Bilal Powell (209 yards, two TDs against Cincinnati), San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman (191 yards, two TDs against Air Force), Boston College's Montel Harris (191 yards against Florida State), Eastern Michigan's Allen Gillett (189 yards, two TDs against Ball State), Louisiana Tech's Lennon Creer (179 yards, two TDs against Idaho), Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey (169 yards, two TDs against Louisiana-Monroe), Iowa's Adam Robinson (143 yards, two TDs against Michigan), Baylor's Jay Finley (143 yards, two TDs against Colorado) and Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers (140 yards, three rushing TDs, one receiving TD against Washington),

Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon was once again electrifying. The nation's top wideout in terms of production had another monster game, hauling in 10 balls, for 207 yards and one TD against Texas Tech. He may have been topped, however, by Washington's Jermaine Kearse, who caught nine passes for 146 yards and four TDs against Oregon State.

Other receivers who performed at a high level were North Carolina's Dwight Jones (seven catches, 198 yards, two TDs against Virginia), Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles (15 catches, 182 yards, one TD against Iowa State), Kentucky's Chris Matthews (12 catches, 177 yards, one TD against South Carolina), Cincinnati's Armon Binns (eight catches, 175 yards, three TDs against Louisville), Miami- Ohio's Andy Cruse (eight receptions, 179 yards, two TDs against Central Michigan), Arkansas' Greg Childs (nine catches, 164 yards, two TDs against Auburn), Notre Dame's Michael Floyd (157 yards, three TDs against Western Michigan), Memphis' Marcus Rucker (four catches, 155 yards, two TDs against Southern Miss), Southern Miss' Kelvin Bolden (eight catches, 154 yards, one TD against Memphis) and Idaho's Justin Veltung (six catches, 140 yards, four TDs against Louisiana Tech),

SNEAK PEEK: There are four Top 25 showdowns this week, each of which will play a huge part in shaping up conference races. The Big Ten will take center stage in Iowa City with the 13th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes playing host to the 10th- ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The Big 12 is next on the docket with 14th-ranked Nebraska invading Stillwater to take on 17th-ranked Oklahoma State and third- ranked Oklahoma on the road against 18th-ranked Missouri. The premier matchup of the week, however, is an SEC West collision with fifth-ranked Auburn welcoming sixth-ranked LSU to Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Other intriguing matchups include a Thursday night clash between UCLA and newly crowned No. 1 Oregon, and Saturday affairs like seventh- ranked Alabama at Tennessee, North Carolina at 25th-ranked Miami-Florida, Air Force at fourth-ranked TCU and Washington at 15th-ranked Arizona.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Scott Haynes at shaynes@sportsnetwork.com.

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