Who's Hot/Who's Not

November 28, 2005

WHO'S HOT

Bears
Tackle Fred Miller played with a broken jaw (smashed in a fight with teammate Olin Kreutz), CB Nate Vasher picked off two more passes (six on the year), and Chicago moved to 7-3. Said Vasher after Sunday's 13-3 squashing of the Panthers, "A good Carolina team just got dominated. What does that tell you about the Bears?"

Ohio State football
After a pregame address from ex-Buckeye Eddie George--he said playing Michigan was bigger than the Super Bowl--Ohio State staged a late 13-point rally to stun an Ann Arbor crowd of 111,591 and beat the archrival Wolverines. That's six straight wins for Ohio State (9-2), which covets a BCS bid.

Rangers
Behind the superb play of unheralded goalie Henrik Lundqvist (left, 2.13 GAA) and top scorer Jaromir Jagr--"He's the director of everything," teammate Peter Prucha told the Daily News--New York's pucksters led the Atlantic.

Drew Brees
After a four-TD, zero-interception day that lifted the Chargers to 6-4, Brees (right) has transformed San Diego's once simmering quarterback controversy into a question of Philip who?

WHO'S NOT

Jets
From their season's first play from scrimmage (a muffed snap) to Sunday's 27-0 loss in Denver (the first time they've been shut out since 1995), the injury-riddled, 2-8 Jets have gone through five QBs and run aground. Says RB Curtis Martin, "This is like an NFL team's nightmare, what we're going through."

State of Michigan football
No major bowl bids here. Michigan State lost for the sixth time in seven games; Michigan coughed up a home game to, well, see "Hot"; and the state's NFL reps, the Lions, committed 17 penalties in a 20-7 loss to the Cowboys. Shouldn't the state that's hosting the Super Bowl be setting a better example?

Panthers
Behind the subpar play of much-heralded goalie Roberto Luongo (right, 2.91 GAA) and veterans such as Alexander Karpovtsev and Jozef Stumpel--both have been benched--South Florida's pucksters had lost 11 straight and were last in the Southeast.

Brodie Croyle
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! And eight more like that--'Bama's QB was sacked 11 times in a loss to Auburn. Croyle disliked being "manhandled." Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville? "It was a beautiful sight," he said.

SI PLAYERS POLL

Which is the NFL's classiest organization?
Patriots 26%
Packers 13%
Panthers 8%
Browns, Ravens 6%

Which is the least classy?
Raiders 27%
Bengals 16%
Cardinals 11%
Buccaneers 7%

FAST FACTS The Patriots received 16% of the "classiest" vote in their own AFC East; conversely, 53% of their fellow NFC South competitors voted for the Panthers.... The five "classiest" teams here have been to eight Super Bowls since 1997; the four "least classy" have made just two visits.

[ Based on a survey of 357 NFL players ]

For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.

PHOTOJOHN GRESS/REUTERS (BEAR CHRIS HARRIS) PHOTODAVID BERGMAN (OHIO STATE MASCOT) PHOTOBRUCE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES (LUNDQVIST) PHOTODENIS POROY/AP (BREES) PHOTODAVID DUROCHIK/SPORTPICS (PATRIOTS OWNER BOB KRAFT) PHOTOSTEVE JACOBSON (RAIDERS OWNER AL DAVIS) PHOTOJOEL AUERBACH/US PRESSWIRE (LUONGO) PHOTOBOB BRODBECK/AP (SPARTAN DREW STANTON) PHOTOBRIAN BAHR/GETTY IMAGES (JET VINNY TESTAVERDE)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)