3-point stance: Crimson Tide hurting

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
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1. Alabama is a unanimous No. 1 for a reason but injuries have just about used up the margin of difference between the Crimson Tide and the rest. The season-ending (and non-contact!) knee injuries suffered by wideout DeAndrew White and tailback Dee Hart Saturday bring to five the number of backs, receivers or safeties lost for the season to injury. The impact will come down most heavily on special teams. I’m guessing Nick Saban will use the off week to shore up the depth chart of his kicking game.

2. If you want a top running back to make the Heisman race, you’re going to have to take a workhorse, not a showhorse. Two of the top FBS rushers, Nevada junior Stephon Jefferson and Ohio junior Beau Blankenship, average more than 31 carries per game. If you’re looking for a tailback who plays a tougher schedule, keep an eye on Oklahoma State junior Joseph Randle, who ripped through Texas for 199 yards on 25 carries. Still, as the Heisman race goes, none of the rushers is keeping pace with the quarterbacks.

3. NCAA stats are reliable, even if they continue to list Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh as a sophomore instead of a redshirt freshman. But I digress. According to the NCAA, Nebraska junior Taylor Martinez, who is 12th in the FBS in passing efficiency, is the only Big Ten quarterback in the top 40. By contrast, the Big 12 has four of the top five and seven of the top 17. You can’t pin that on Big 12 defenses, the West Virginia-Baylor game notwithstanding. Conference play really hasn’t kicked in yet.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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