Halfway Home With A Few Gripes

By Adam Caparell - October 17, 2007

CBSSports.com came out with its College Football Halfway All-America Team this afternoon, and while the CBSSports.com staff did a pretty good job putting it together, here's a case for a few who maybe should have made the team over a few who did.

Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech over Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Ryan's getting all the Heisman pub when Harrell should be getting more. It's understandable considering the Eagles are now No. 3 in the nation, but have you seen the stats Harrell is putting up? Against similarly rather unimpressive competition like Ryan?

Harrell's thrown for 1,000 more yards than Ryan. Sure, Harrell's stats have a little something to do with the Mike Leach system in Lubbock, but Harrell hasn't thrown for less than 338 yards this season, has almost double the touchdowns of Ryan, a significantly better completion percentage and three fewer interceptions on 43 more attempts. Plus, he's accounted for 48 more points than anyone else in the country.

Harrell's leading receiver - freshman Michael Crabtree - made the list. Why not Harrell?

Kevin Smith, RB, UCF over Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
Mendenhall may be the third leading rusher in the Big Ten behind Mike Hart - the other All-American on CBSSports.com's list - but Smith is the third leading rusher in the nation, averaging 152.5 yards a game for the Knights, and is a big reason why UCF looks like its going to contend in Conference USA after many had them pegged to finish in the bottom half of the league's Eastern Division.

Smith already has two 200 yards games, racked up 157 against Texas in UCF's narrow loss to the Longhorns in Week 2 and has rushed for at least 100 yards in all but one of the Knights games. And that lone sub-100 performance came against USF. Only Hart, Ray Rice and P.J. Hill have carried the ball more than Smith. Mendnehall, on the other hand, is averaging over 30 yards less per game, has one less touchdown and has rushed for 100 yards or more in only four of Illinois' seven games.

Leodis McKelvin, PR, Troy over Jeremy Maclin, PR, Missouri
Maclin's already produced a few highlights in his freshman season, but if you want production look to none other than McKelvin.

The Sun Belt's best is averaging 25.6 yards to Maclin's 16 per return and both have two touchdowns returned already this season. But McKelvin's done it in three fewer chances - and one of those returns came in that beat down of Oklahoma State - and he's averaging five yards per return more than the nation's second leading punt returner. Maclin may be one of the best all around talents in the country, but when it comes to pure punt returning, the nod goes to McKelvin. Especially considering teams are starting to now kick away from him. Even his own coach, Larry Blakeney, says he wouldn't kick to him.

Others Worthy Of The List: Curtis Lofton, LB, Oklahoma; Greg Middleton, DL, Indiana; Marcus Herford, KR, Kansas

DISCLAIMER: CBS is the parent company of both CSTV.com and CBSSports.com.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 04:27 PM on October 17, 2007

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