Sandra Dukes/Icon SMI
"Mr. Anderson, you disappoint me."
--Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), The Matrix
Hype is a funny thing. For every Dark Knight there are countless Hulks or Daredevils that leave you wishing you'd instead spent those two-plus hours trapped inside of a whirligig instead of being subjected to such torture. It's the same story when it comes to preseason expectations heaped upon players (Heisman campaigns and All-America teams) -- while some handle the hype, others, well ... they make The Tenth Power's Anti-Heismans.
1. Curtis Painter, QB Purdue. Before the season, Purdue launched a Web site pimping the quarterback for the Heisman with the tagline "Painting A Masterpiece." If his 6-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio and benching (twice) this season weren't bad enough, Painter still has to blog about his debacle of a senior season on the site, which makes him No. 1 on this list.
2. Pat White, QB West Virginia. Without Steve Slaton and Rich Rodriguez, WVU used the "forget me not" statement of "Pat White Plays Here" on the QB's Heisman site. Interesting, since his senior year has been largely forgettable. White has struggled to stay healthy and his rushing totals are well short of the pace he set in 2007. He won't be giving Mountaineers fans a BCS title or a Heisman, but hey, at least fans can still declare "Pat White Plays Here," which is something.
3. Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB Ohio State. Wells was my preseason pick to win the award. Yes, he has missed three games, but still -- the biggest impact he's had on the season was introducing the most famous foot digit since Chris Rock and Tim Meadows were singing Suck Your Big Toe on SNL. Beanie has eclipsed 100 yards in four games, but he didn't play vs. USC and was held to 55 yards and no TDs by Penn State -- both Buckeyes losses.
4. James Davis/C.J. Spiller, RBs Clemson. The Tigers' vaunted duo of "Thunder and Lightning" has been more like "Dew and Drizzle." Davis is the only one with a 100-yard game this season. And while they have one more combined rushing TD than a year ago with 13, their combined yardage is still 871 short of '07.
5. George Selvie, DE South Florida. A year ago he was a consensus first-team All-America and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, racking up 14 1/2 sacks. Selvie hasn't lived up to those numbers in '08 with just five sacks so far. Maybe the Grinch's heart grew three sizes before the season.
6. Greg Middleton, DE Indiana. Middleton was last season's Juno, the come-out-of-nowhere sensation that led the nation with 16 sacks as a sophomore. This season he's found his way back to nowhere in registering just three sacks -- third on his own team.
7. Arian Foster, RB Tennessee. The first-team All-SEC preseason selection's season has been, much like that of the entire Volunteers program, interesting. Closing in on the school's all-time rushing record, Foster told reporters he would only do interviews in Pterodactyl and he missed Saturday's loss to Wyoming with a thigh bruise, much to the surprise of Phillip Fulmer. Oh, and he has just one 100-yard game this season and is 10th in the SEC in rushing.
8. Mike Goodson/Jorvorskie Lane RBs, Texas A&M. The other "Thunder and Lightning" (can we get an original nickname for an RB tandem?) has struggled even more than Davis and Spiller. During 2006 and '07, they teamed up for 3,063 yards and 39 TDs. This season they have 564 yards and five scores. Yes, they're running behind a woeful line, Mike Sherman has bailed on Lane (27 carries in '08) and Goodson has been injured, but these guys are harder to watch than Backfield In Motion.
9. Marlon Lucky, RB Nebraska. No Lucky has fallen by the wayside like this since HBO's ill-fated Lucky Louie. He entered the season as the Big 12's only returning 1,000-yard rusher, but now he's sharing carries. As part of a three-man rotation as the I-back, Lucky's touches are way down (114 after 206 in '07) and he's gone over the century mark just once.
10. Brandon Gibson, WR Washington State. Tenth on SI.com's preseason list of the Pac-10's best players, Gibson's face should appear on milk carton. After leading the conference with 67 receptions for 1,180 yards in '07, Gibson has 48 receptions for 587 yards as part of the Cougars' 105th-ranked passing attack.