Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Maxwell Smarts | by Pat

We missed the first week of this, but here is our 5-man selection for Week 2 of the Maxwell Pundit poll. If you're unsure what this is all about, check out the student-run ND blog, Rakes of Mallow, for the 411. This is a weekly poll where each participant picks 5 players that it thinks are the best in the country. Votes are tabulated and eventually a winner will shine forth in all his glory. Here are the overall results for Week 2. And here's our picks for this week.

1. Troy Smith.
Troy gets the top spot for taking his team deep into the heart of Texas and picking on those replacement Texas corners with efficient passing and a nice deep ball. The only odd stat about Troy Smith thus far in the season is that he has fewer rushing yards and fewer rushing TDs than Brady Quinn. I think a Week 3 visit from the Cincy Bearcats will cure that.

2. Adrian Peterson
The nation's best running back had another 150+ yard day, which is amazing considering how teams are gunning to take him out of the game and force Oklahoma to pass.

3. Brady Quinn
A few rough edges , and he isn't putting up Playstation numbers, but Quinn is managing the game with safe passes that keep the errors to a minimum and keep the opponent defense on the field far longer than they would like to be. He's also scrambled for a few key first downs. And that TD run against Georgia Tech wasn't too shabby either. It's a slightly more conservative Quinn thus far than the one that was flinging passes all over the place last year, but I think that is mostly by design. His passes down the middle to John Carlson against Penn State were things of beauty.

4. Dan Connor
I realize that Penn State has lost a game already and their defense didn't exactly slow down the Irish scoring last Saturday, but I've been incredibly impressed with Dan Connor in both the Akron and ND game. He's on track for 156 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, and 24 sacks this year. I doubt he reaches all of those numbers, but it's very possible that he will lead the nation in tackles this year.

5. Calvin Johnson
I have a hard time thinking any receiver will be able to convince me that he's a better all-around college wide receiver than Calvin Johnson. Samardzija is a close #2, but Johnson's size, speed, and hands are unfairly wasted as the target of Reggie Ball's errant throws. Just imagine what he could do with a Quinn, Brohm, or Stanton as a QB.

Other players who just missed out on the Top 5: Steve Slaton of WVU, Ian Johnson of Boise State, Tom Zbikowski of Notre Dame.