Last year's Butkus and Bednarik awards winner has struggled a bit in the early going. One thing that has held him back is the knee brace he must wear after hurting his knee in the Orange Bowl. He's also had some trouble making the move to inside linebacker in Penn State's new 3-4 defense. He'll have his hands full trying to contain Ohio State QB Troy Smith, a leading Heisman candidate at this point.
2 of 10John David Mercer/US Presswire
Colt Brennan, QB, Hawaii
Brennan has flourished in June Jones' pass-happy attack. Last season he threw for 4,301 yards and 35 touchdowns and he's off to a great start in 2006 (646 yards and four touchdowns in two games). No. 25 Boise State has been solid against the pass this season. In last year's 44-41 loss to the Broncos, Brennan threw for 426 yards and four touchdowns.
3 of 10Rick Scuteri/US Presswire
Willie Tuitama, QB, Arizona
The Wildcats' sophomore slinger suffered a concussion in Arizona's 45-3 loss to LSU, but he looked good coming off the bench last week against Stephen F. Austin. Tuitama will have to be on top of his game against an athletic Trojans defense. Tuitama did not play in last year's 42-21 loss to USC.
4 of 10AP
Todd Blythe, WR, <br> Iowa State
Texas usually employs heavy doses of man-to-man coverage, and if the Cyclones are to have a chance, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Blythe will need to have a huge day. ''I'll take my chances in man-to-man any day of the week,'' Blythe told the Associated Press. He has hauled in all three of Iowa State QB Bret Meyers' touchdown passes in 2006.
5 of 10AP
Brent Schaeffer, QB, <br> Ole Miss
Ed Orgeron named Schaeffer Ole Miss' starter basically the moment Schaeffer decided to transfer to Oxford. But behind a questionable offensive line, Schaeffer has struggled mightily, turning the ball over six times and sitting at ninth in the SEC in passing efficiency. Can he snap out of his funk against 3-0 Wake Forest?
6 of 10AP
P.J. Hill Jr., RB, Wisconsin
In his first three games in uniform, the 242-pound load has rushed for 415 yards and five touchdowns and earned comparisons to Badger Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. But those games were against Bowling Green, Western Illinois and San Diego State. Hill will face his first true challenge in the Big House against an aggressive Wolverines defense that just shut down Charlie Weis' Notre Dame squad.
7 of 10Harry How/Getty Images
Rudy Carpenter, QB, Arizona State
After Dirk Koetter reversed his initial decision and named Carpenter the Sun Devils' starting quarterback, the sophomore came into the season with heightened pressure to perform. Thus far it has been an up-and-down season for the signal-caller who led the nation in passing efficiency last season. While he has thrown for 842 yards and nine touchdowns, he also has four interceptions. It's a safe bet that Carpenter will go after Cal freshman CB Syd'Quan Thompson, who was burned repeatedly by Tennessee.
8 of 10Bob Rosato/SI
Ken Darby, RB, Alabama
He rushed for 2,304 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons as the Tide's No. 1 running back. But in 'Bama's first three games of the season, Darby has yet to reach the end zone and has only 169 yards rushing on 51 carries. In their road opener, the Tide need Darby to return to his dominant self.
9 of 10John Biever/SI
Brady Quinn, QB, <br> Notre Dame
He entered the season as the Golden Child for the Golden Domers. But a lackluster, three-pick performance in a 47-21 loss to Michigan has brought him back to Earth. Now he's looking for revenge against QB Drew Stanton and Michigan State, who beat Notre Dame 44-41 in overtime last season. Quinn threw for 487 yards and five touchdowns in the losing effort.
10 of 10Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Hunter Cantwell, QB, Louisville
Louisville had already lost one Heisman Trophy candidate for the season in running back Michael Bush. Then, in last week's blowout win over Miami, the Cardinals lost another Heisman hopeful in QB Brian Brohm, who tore a ligament in his right hand and will miss a month. Cantwell will start under center against undefeated Kansas State. Last season he started two games and went 1-1 after Brohm's season-ending knee injury.
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