Week 9 Booms
Houston QB D'Eriq King -- 419 yards passing, five touchdowns -- vs. South Florida: On top of the impressive passing display, King also was outstanding on the ground; running for 132 yards and two touchdowns. King has now thrown for 400 yards in back-to-back games, and he has at least four touchdowns in seven-of-eight appearances. Ed Oliver is obviously the best pro prospect on the Cougars, but it wouldn't be foolish to say that King is the chief reason that Houston has just one loss right now, and is in prime position to challenge for an AAC championship.
Boise State QB Brett Rypien -- 399 yards passing, five touchdowns -- vs. Air Force: Remember when there were concerns about whether or not Rypien was a long-term answer for the Broncos? The only reasons those concerns are valid now is that Rypien is going to graduate and head to the NFL this year. The senior signal-caller had a few missed throws against the Falcons in the 48-38 win, but for the most part, it was an excellent effort by one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country.
Syracuse QB Eric Dungey -- 411 yards passing, three touchdowns -- vs. NC State : We weren't even sure if Dungey was going to start this game; not after he was benched in last week's game against North Carolina. Impossible to prove that the benching lit a fire under the quarterback, but, it clearly didn't hurt. Dungey also ran for a score, and played arguably his best game of the season against a one-loss Wolfpack club. Tommy DeVito is the long-term answer for the Orange at quarterback, but Dungey should remain the starter after this sensational performance.
Washington State QB Gardner Minshew -- 438 yards passing, three touchdowns -- vs. Stanford: Ho hum. Minshew remains one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and led the Cougars to a massive come-from-behind victory over the Cardinal that puts the Cougars in control of their own destiny. His accuracy has been sensational, but his ability to put touch on the ball and beat teams deep has been awesome to watch, too. Awesome to watch if you're not playing Washington State, anyway. Minshew is a legitimate Heisman trophy contender, and if Wazzu does win the conference, he should be considered among the favorites. That Tua guy probably has this thing on lock right now, though.
Arizona RB J.J. Taylor -- 212 yards rushing, two touchdowns -- vs. Oregon: We were pretty sure that we were going to get a star rushing season from Arizona this year. We just had the wrong guy. With Khalil Tate clearly limited by his ankle injury, Taylor has been up to the takt, and went over the thousand-yard mark after his performance in the 44-15 walloping of the Ducks. Taylor has nowhere close to elite size (listed at 5'6/164), but he's as shifty as they come, and he's very likely going to beat you in a one-on-one race on the sidelines. Just a sophomore, Taylor is going to be a player to watch over the next couple of years.
Utah RB Zack Moss -- 211 yards rushing, three touchdowns -- vs. UCLA: It happened at 10:30 eastern on a Friday -- you could almost call Moss's performance a news dump -- but boy was it impressive. If this game would have been remotely close (Utah won 41-10 and it was over early) this could have been an even bigger game for the talented junior. Not that he/we are complaining. When Moss is healthy, he's one of the best tailbacks in the country, and there's word that NFL scouts are starting to take notice. Utah has an excellent chance of winning the Pac-12 South.
Wake Forest RB Matt Colburn -- 243 yards rushing, three touchdowns -- vs. Louisville: Goodness gracious Louisville's defense is a trainwreck. All due respect to Colburn, but we could easily have just listed the Razorbacks' front seven in the "bust" section -- and the secondary wasn't any better. Enough of that, this is about Colburn, who took advantage of the situation and had several long runs in the blowout victory. The senior tailback has been mostly ineffective as a runner over the past month, so it was a nice reminder that Colburn is far from bereft of talent. Again, though, it helps when you're playing Louisville. Yeesh.
Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace -- 222 yards receiving, two touchdowns -- vs. Texas: It seems like virtually everyone was calling this upset, but it was an upset nevertheless, and Wallace was one of the key reasons for the 38-35 victory. To say that he's helped make up for the loss of James Washington and Marcell Ateman is an understatement; the sophomore wideout is just 60 yards away from a thousand-yard season already, and he's averaging 18.8 yards per catch. Wallace is going to continue to get better, but he's already among the very best wide receivers in the Big 12. Just like everyone thought.
Colorado WR K.D. Nixon -- 198 yards receiving, two touchdowns -- vs. Oregon State: Laviska who? No, not really. The Buffaloes clearly missed their superstar in a 41-34 loss to lowly Oregon State, but it wasn't Nixon's fault. The sophomore wideout snagged 13 receptions in the loss, and the two touchdowns give him three on the season. Sure it came in a losing effort -- most of the big games from wideouts this week did -- but it's clear that Nixon is a solid complement to the greatest show on Earth that is Laviska Shenault. Get healthy soon.
UNLV WR Tyleek Collins -- 170 yards receiving, four touchdowns -- vs. UNLV: We told you that most of the big receiving performances came in losses this week. This is one of them. The Rebels fell to San Jose State 50-37, but Collins was very impressive, even if it was in a loss to one of the worst teams in all of college football. The freshman wideout scored from four-yards out twice, and he also had long scores of 75 and 46 yards, respectively. UNLV is going the wrong way as a program, for the most part, but Collins offers some hope; he's really come on strong in the last few weeks.
Week 9 Busts
Oregon QB Justin Herbert -- 186 passing yards, two touchdowns -- vs. Arizona: Yep, the player who just might be the top pick in the 2019 draft is on this list two weeks in a row. We're surprised, too. Herbert's receivers didn't help, but he was 24-of-48 passing, and against a defense that has routinely been gashed in 2018, the Ducks were only able to put up 15 points. No one questions Herbert's talent, but the fact remains that the last three weeks have been relatively brutal; at least statistically. Herbert needs to play much, much better down the stretch if they're going to compete for the Pac-12 North, and need some luck doing it.
Anyone on Washington's offense -- 10 points -- vs. California: I thought about making Jake Browning the bust himself -- and Browning was far from great in this game -- but this was a team effort, or lack thereof. Facing a team that was walloped by UCLA 37-7 the previous week, the Huskies could do nothing on offense against the Golden Bears in a 12-10 loss. The receivers dropped passes, the running backs missed holes, and Jake Haener -- who replaced Browning -- threw a game-losing pick six. The Huskies were considered legitimate playoff contenders coming into 2018. They're going to be very fortunate to get to a decent bowl game now, as they still have games against Stanford and Washington State with a 6-3 record.
Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor -- 11 carries, 46 yards -- vs. Northwestern: Not all of this is Taylor's fault, of course. Northwestern had very little reason to respect the Badgers' passing game in the 31-17 victory over Wisconsin, and when Taylor was given the ball, he was facing eight-or-nine man fronts quite often. Still, considering what the sophomore tailback has done over the past year-plus, this is an extremely disappointing game from a player many believed was a Heisman contender -- maybe even favorite -- not too long ago. We also would point out that 11 carries for a player of this talent is ridiculously low, but again, disappointing is disappointing.
Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond -- 236 yards passing, one touchdown -- vs. Mississippi State: In a game where Nick Fitzgerald might have had his best effort of 2018, Mond probably had his worst. Add those both up, and you get a 28-13 upset victory for the Bulldogs that took A&M out of (specious) playoff contention. Mond has made big improvements this season, but there were plenty of moments on Saturday where the sophomore signal-caller looked like the one who struggled so much in his time in 2017. You have to take the bitter with the better, but Mond also has to be more accurate if the Aggies are going to complete with the better teams in the SEC.