My BlogPoll ballot may be so erratic that it raises eyebrows around the blogosphere (although, fortunately, without causing any fair-weather Georgia fans to call me "an idiot . . . [n]othing more, nothing less") and generates legitimate questions (although, fortunately, without causing anyone to ask me if I am high), but my MaxwellPundit ballot is rock-solid, as the top five players remain unchanged from last week, albeit with a few alterations of the order.
In honor of Halloween, this week's MaxwellPundit ballot features the lovely and talented Jamie Lee Curtis.
These are the five most outstanding players in college football:
1. LaMarr Woodley (Michigan): The Wolverines' senior defensive end claimed the top spot on my ballot this week on the strength of his performance against Northwestern. When facing the Wildcats, Woodley registered four tackles, including a pair of sacks. In addition to costing the opposition 21 yards of lost real estate on his trio of tackles for loss, Woodley gave the Maize and Blue excellent starting field position for a six-play scoring drive that began at the 48 yard line, thanks to a sack and a strip by the defensive end. Woodley's numbers for the season are impressive: 26 tackles, 23 solo stops, 15 tackles for loss, 11 sacks for 111 yards, three fumble recoveries for 54 yards, and four forced fumbles. Those, in my opinion, are the numbers of college football's player of the year.
LaMarr Woodley . . . so good he's scary!
2. Troy Smith (Ohio State): Smith slipped to second place because he had what was, by his standards, a lackluster day against Minnesota, only completing two-thirds of his passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeye quarterback's passer efficiency rating for the game was his lowest since the showdown with Penn State, coming in at a mere 155.58. When that counts as a mediocre day at the office, you've set the bar pretty high. Over the course of the season, Smith has thrown for 1,898 yards and a remarkable 22-2 T.D.s-to-interceptions ratio. That's getting it done.
3. Patrick Willis (Ole Miss): I am sure there are those who took the view that my touting of the S.E.C.'s leading tackler was mere conference homerism, but anyone who saw the Rebels' near-upset of Auburn in Oxford on Saturday understands why I regard the Mississippi linebacker so highly. Willis recorded 15 tackles against the Plainsmen, bringing his total for the season to 101 stops, including 67 solo tackles. Willis now averages over 11 tackles per game, despite the new clock rules designed to shorten games by several plays. He is a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy and he is third on my MaxwellPundit ballot.
Patrick Willis . . . so good he's unstoppable!
4. James Laurinaitis (Ohio State): Woodley's and Willis's stellar Saturday succeeded in bumping the Buckeyes' defensive heat-seeking missile down to fourth, but Laurinaitis hardly had a sub-par day. O.S.U.'s leading tackler recorded 11 stops, including a six-yard sack, in the Buckeyes' shutout of Minnesota. For the fall, Laurinaitis has tallied 75 tackles, including eight for loss and four sacks to go with his four picks and two forced fumbles.
5. Ian Johnson (Boise State): The Broncos had an open date last weekend, but Johnson's numbers---1,181 rushing yards for the season, nearly seven yards per carry, and eight touchdowns in his last two games---keep him in the top five. We'll find out tomorrow whether he deserves to stay there, but I look for him to have a big night against Fresno State.
Ian Johnson . . . so good he's bad! (As opposed to Brendan Fraser, who's just bad.)
Those are my top five. Is there anyone I'm overlooking?