The Three Biggest Disappointments
Southern California: The Trojans are college football's version of Robert Downey Jr.: talented, tanned and possessed of an appetite for self-destruction. Last season three USC players were suspended for a total of 18 games for NCAA violations. This fall six players have been suspended for a total of 10 games. The Trojans are 4-2, with Arizona State, UCLA and Notre Dame ahead.
The Big 12: Its teams have lost all four of their games against nonconference Top 25 foes. Especially egregious have been the performances of the six teams in the South division (notably Texas and Texas A&M), none of which are ranked in the Top 25.
Michigan: It's not the Wolverines' 4-1 record that's disappointing, it's the all-too-familiar way they have put it together: by winning a big one early, then blowing one by the second week in October. Three weeks after a stunning road win over Colorado on Sept. 14, Michigan squandered a 16-0 fourth-quarter lead and lost to Northwestern 17-16.
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Andy Katzenmoyer: Everybody knew the Ohio State middle linebacker was a player. After all, it had been more than two decades since the Buckeyes had given Archie Griffin's number 45 to anyone. With 34 tackles and three sacks this season, Katzenmoyer has at times been the best player on an excellent defense. Late in the first quarter of Saturday's win over Wisconsin, he stuffed tailback Carl McCullough for a seven-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the one. The play was crucial for the Buckeyes in a 17-14 squeaker.
Chris Claiborne: The arrival of this Southern Cal middle linebacker also was greatly anticipated. Keyshawn Johnson even offered Claiborne his number 3 as an inducement to sign with USC, although the school, which has the final say on such matters, gave the number to wideout Billy Miller. Since becoming a full-time starter three games ago, Claiborne has had 36 tackles and an interception.
Ron Dayne: How highly does Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez regard his first-year running back? Against Ohio State, Alvarez started the 5'10", 260-pound Dayne, who has 412 yards rushing and 5.3 yards per carry, over the talented McCullough, who rushed for 1,038 yards last season.
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Jason Taylor: In the last two weeks four NFL personnel directors and 13 scouts have passed through the Akron campus to get a peek at the Zips' senior defensive end. Taylor, a likely low first-round or high second-round pick in next April's NFL draft, has given the visitors plenty to talk about: He has 45 tackles and seven sacks this fall.