Tuesday, October 10, 2006 Updated: October 12, 8:53 AM ET
Top players, coaches story lines this season
By Jim Donnan ESPN.com
ACC Plus: Georgia Tech's play since season-opening loss to Notre Dame Minus: Virginia; The Cavaliers lost to Western Michigan and ECU Push: Wake Forest; 5-1 start was great, but it was exposed by Clemson Team moving forward: Clemson Team moving backward: Florida State Coach of the mid-year: Tommy Bowden, Clemson (Honorable mention: Chan Gailey, Georgia Tech) Player of the mid-year:Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech Emerging stars:Daniel Evans, NC State; C.J. Spiller, Clemson
Big East Plus: Louisville-West Virginia showdown (Nov. 2) Minus: West Virginia's schedule; I'd like to see better games, because I believe WVU would do well Push: Pitt and Rutgers; they've shown improvement but still have a way to go to be national powers Team moving forward: Rutgers Team moving backward: UConn Coach of the mid-year: Greg Schiano, Rutgers (Honorable mention: Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia) Player of the mid-year:Tyler Palko, Pitt Emerging star:Matt Grothe, South Florida Big Ten Plus: Ohio State's dominant defense, after replacing nine starters Minus: Michigan State's collapse Push: Wisconsin; it's favorable schedule will allow it to have a great season Teams moving forward: Michigan, Ohio State Team moving backward: Michigan State Coach of the mid-year: Lloyd Carr, Michigan (Honorable mention: Jim Tressel, Ohio State) Player of the mid-year:Troy Smith, Ohio State Emerging star: James Laurinaitis, Ohio State Big 12 Plus: The Big 12 North's improvement Minus: Colorado's decline Push: Nebraska; I'm looking forward to seeing them where they should be Team moving forward: Missouri Team moving backward: Colorado Coach of the mid-year: Gary Pinkel, Missouri (Honorable mention: Mack Brown, Texas) Player of the mid-year:Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma Emerging star:Chase Daniel, Missouri Pac-10 Plus: USC's ability to persevere through injuries Minus: Pac-10 football in the state of Arizona Push: Cal dropped an important game to Tennessee, but has bounced back in dramatic fashion Team moving forward: Washington Team moving backward: Stanford Coach of the mid-year: Pete Carroll, USC (Honorable mention: Ty Willingham, Washington) Player of the mid-year:Dwayne Jarrett, USC; Nathan Longshore, Cal Emerging star:Isaiah Stanback, Washington
SEC Plus: Florida's undefeated record vs. tough competition Minus: SEC football in the state of Mississippi Push: I was skeptical of the hiring of Gus Malzahn, but I've been impressed with Arkansas' offense and defense Teams moving forward: Arkansas, Tennessee Team moving backward: Mississippi State Coach of the mid-year: Urban Meyer, Florida (Honorable mention: Houston Nutt, Arkansas) Player of the mid-year:Erik Ainge, Tennessee; Chris Leak, Florida Emerging star:Darren McFadden, Arkansas
National Plus: Athletic defenses; each of the top four schools have 'em Minus: Officiating in the Pac-10 Push: Comeback stories; it's good to see Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee, Michigan and Arkansas back in the national picture Team moving forward: Tennessee Team moving backward: Fresno State Coach of the mid-year: Bobby Petrino, Louisville (Honorable mention: Phil Fulmer, Tennessee; Jim Grobe, Wake Forest) Player of the mid-year: Troy Smith, Ohio State Emerging star:Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois Jim Donnan was the head coach at Georgia and Marshall and is an ESPN college football analyst.