The Best College Football Quarterbacks Of The Decade

The Best College Football Quarterbacks Of The Decade

We are already rolling toward the second half of 2020, but a discussion of the best college football quarterbacks from the previous decade was sparked earlier this week. So, which quarterbacks were actually the best of the best in college football from 2010-2019?

 

5. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Cam Newton (started just one season but won a national title to begin the decade), Andrew Luck, and Baker Mayfield—and you can even make a case for Trevor Lawrence—were among the many quarterbacks that could have taken the No. 5 slot, but Lamar Jackson had to get a spot on the list. The reigning NFL MVP won the Heisman Trophy in 2016, and he played just as well in his final college season as a junior. Jackson was arguably the best runner in college football during his time at Louisville, and he was also a very good passer to all areas of the field. The Cardinals had a solid squad with Jackson, but imagine if the explosive quarterback was surrounded by the type of talent other top signal-callers had the chance to work with throughout their careers.

 

4. Joe Burrow, LSU

Joe Burrow is identified as a one-hit wonder for LSU, so you could make the case that he doesn’t belong in the top five ahead of other worthy options. However, Burrow was adequate as a junior in 2018 before taking it to another level last season; and the record-breaking 60-touchdown, Heisman-winning, championship campaign is enough to get Burrow into the top four. Last year in particular, Burrow played with unmatched poise while dealing the ball to his receivers in the pocket and improvising to make plays both with his legs as a runner and outside the pocket. The accuracy and clutch play also stood out for Burrow in 2019.

 

3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Speaking of improvisation, it did not get better than Johnny Manziel in recent years. “Johnny Football” took college football by storm during his first year as the starter for the Aggies, becoming the first freshman (he was a redshirt freshman) to win the Heisman in 2012. Manziel ran around and played a backyard style of game, terrorizing defenses with creative, freelance moments. He ran for 1,400 yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman before dialing back the rushing and upping the insane efficiency as a passer in his redshirt sophomore year—and remember, Johnny did it while leading a new-kid-on-the-block Texas A&M into the SEC. Manziel’s connection with Mike Evans might have been the best of the decade.

 

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Marcus Mariota became an immediate star for Oregon in 2012, and he was outstanding for his three college seasons, getting better every year. The Heisman Trophy winner had TD/INT ratios of 32:6, 31:4, and 42:4 with the Ducks, and that’s not accounting for his rushing touchdown totals of 5, 9, and 15. Mariota preferred to do his damage as a thrower in and outside of the pocket, but he would absolutely shred opposing defenses as a runner if they gave him open field. A prototypical dual threat with a laser-quick release and superb accuracy, it’s almost like Mariota was built in a lab, and he was much more than a product of Oregon’s spread attack.

 

1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Somehow, Deshaun Watson was left entirely off the post in question. While Watson is the only quarterback in the top five that did not win a Heisman Trophy, it’s odd that he apparently isn’t regarded as one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time. The former Clemson star played phenomenally well against two titanic Alabama squads in the national title game in back-to-back seasons, leading the Tigers to a championship in his final game. Watson had many highlight moments during his three years at school—including once playing on a torn ACL—and he helped take Clemson to powerhouse status under Dabo Swinney.

Early 2020 College Football Power Rankings

Early 2020 College Football Power Rankings

The LSU Tigers capped one of the greatest seasons in college football history by defeating the Clemson Tigers to complete a 15-0 year. Where do the current kings of college football rank in the very early power rankings for 2020-2021?

 

1. Clemson Tigers

Clemson’s 29-game winning streak was snapped last night, but they should be the definite favorites to get back to the national title game and win it next season. Trevor Lawrence returns for what will almost certainly be his final college season, and he and the Tigers will be determined after their first loss with him under center. Also, while they need to put in the work and take care of business every week, the ACC should be an easier path to the Playoff than the SEC or Big Ten.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

It’s almost a lock that Nick Saban will have his team in the mix for the SEC and the College Football Playoff, and Alabama just doesn’t seem likely to miss out on the top four two years in a row. The quarterback competition this spring and summer will be interesting, but Mac Jones has shown he is more than capable as the starter if Taulia Tagovailoa or incoming freshman Bryce Young don’t claim the job.

 

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State has a strong case for the No. 2 spot with Justin Fields returning to a stacked team, but the Buckeyes are losing star players Chase Young and Jeff Okudah on the defensive side of the ball, which could limit their overall upside. Still, despite playing in a difficult Big Ten conference, OSU will be the vastly superior team in terms of talent almost every week, and their huge out-of-conference game is against an Oregon team losing senior quarterback Justin Herbert.

 

4. LSU Tigers

As Kirk Herbstreit said on the national championship broadcast last night, LSU really had the perfect storm of everything coming together at the right time, leading to an unstoppable offense and a rare team. It’s hard not to be very happy for Ed Orgeron, who had been ridiculed to some extent throughout his coaching career—he made the right moves, did things the right way, and built the LSU program into a juggernaut. The Tigers will lose Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow among other key members on both sides of the ball, so it will be a major challenge to repeat next year.

 

5. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia has won the SEC East in each of the past three seasons, and they should remain the favorites under Kirby Smart in 2020. The Bulldogs defense did as well as any unit trying to stop LSU’s record-breaking offense, and the group could be the best in the nation next season. Losing quarterback Jake Fromm to the NFL draft is big, but the inexperienced wide receivers—led by George Pickens following a promising freshman year—should get better in 2020 after inconsistency this season.

 

6. Florida Gators

Florida will be happy to see Fromm out of the picture for Georgia, as the Bulldogs have dominated each of the past three seasons of the rivalry game. Meanwhile, the Gators have an excellent quarterback situation heading into 2020, with Kyle Trask and Emory Jones both set to return to an offense with an electric group of skill players. Dan Mullen is entering his third season at the helm, and it could be a year where Florida breaks through into the elite ranks.

 

7. Auburn Tigers

The power rankings get tougher after the top six, but Auburn looks like an underrated team as things stand. The Tigers lose star defensive linemen, but they still return several starters on defense, and it all starts with quarterback Bo Nix as he enters his second college season. Nix gained valuable experience as a true freshman, and he has excellent playmaking ability and upside in Gus Malzahn’s offense.

 

8. Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State doesn’t seem to get a lot of respect, but they’ve won 11 games in three of the past four seasons and will get a good number of players back in 2020. Toppling Ohio State in the Big Ten will be a tall task, but the Nittany Lions get to host the Buckeyes next season. One issue with Penn State is that players must step up for the receiving corps, especially in today’s game where you need to put up a bunch of points to win it all.

 

9. Texas Longhorns

Texas was one of the most disappointing teams in college football this season, but quarterback Sam Ehlinger is returning for his senior year, and the Longhorns should not be discounted having a similar 2020 campaign to the one Oregon—led by a veteran quarterback playing for the team he loved growing up—just had in 2019. The Longhorns have gone 3-0 in bowl games under Tom Herman, and their rout of Utah in the Alamo Bowl is a promising sign moving forward.

 

10. Oklahoma Sooners

These rankings are very early, and Oklahoma could stand to benefit the most from transfers again this year. Former Houston quarterback D’Eriq King could easily land in Lincoln Riley’s offense like Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurst all did, in which case the Sooners would likely be the clear Big 12 favorites. LSU blew out most teams this year, but the CFP Semifinal displayed that Oklahoma’s defense remains an issue.

2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game Preview And Prediction

2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game Preview And Prediction

A memorable college football season ends tonight with the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and the LSU Tigers. Both teams are undefeated and have shown the heart of a champion over the past several months, and we should get a spectacular game as they both look to finish their epic seasons at 15-0.

 

Tale of the tape

 

Clemson Tigers (14-0) vs. LSU Tigers (14-0)

 

Scoring Offense

Clemson: 45.3 points per game (4th)

LSU: 48.9 points per game (1st)

 

Scoring Defense

Clemson: 11.5 points per game (1st)

LSU: 21.6 points per game (29th)

 

Total Offense

Clemson: 538.4 yards per game (3rd)

LSU: 564.2 yards per game (1st)

 

Total Defense

Clemson: 264.1 yards per game (2nd)

LSU: 339.9 yards per game (29th)

 

Third Down Conversion Percentage

Clemson: .465 (17th)

LSU: .515 (4th)

 

Turnover Margin

Clemson: +16 (T-5th)

LSU: +9 (T-16th)

 

Sacks

Clemson: 41.0 (15th)

LSU: 35.0 (40th)

 

Overview

 

While LSU had a very difficult SEC schedule and an early-season win over a then-top-ten Texas team in Austin, both Tigers squads earned their 14-0 marks—this is a matchup of two legitimate powerhouse squads, and the winner tonight could be in the discussion among the greatest college football teams in history.

 

Offensively, both Clemson and LSU are absolutely stacked. We’ll get to the quarterbacks for both schools, but Clemson has two towering six-foot-four receivers in Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross on the outside, a tough complementary guy in Amari Rodgers over the middle, and one of the nation’s most explosive players in track-speed, home-run-hitting workhorse Travis Etienne at running back.

 

The SEC’s Tigers have one of the most underrated players in college football at running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was limited in the Peach Bowl but should be ready to go for the national title game. At receiver, LSU’s playmakers have been a huge reason for the team’s record-breaking success this season. Receivers Ja’Marr Chase (1,559 yards, 18 touchdowns), Justin Jefferson (1,434 yards, 18 touchdowns), and Terrace Marshall Jr. (625 yards, 12 touchdowns despite missed time due to injury) as well as tight end Thaddeus Moss (534 yards, two touchdowns; son of Randy Moss) are an NFL-caliber skill group. The receiving corps paired with the addition of former New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady to long-time offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger made LSU almost unstoppable throwing the ball around this season.

 

However, if a team can limit LSU’s offense, it might be Clemson. Despite losing four outstanding defensive linemen from last year’s national championship roster, the Tigers have remained exceptional on defense, allowing just 11.5 points per game (best in the country) this year. LSU has faced more difficult opponents, but their defense has been inconsistent throughout the year, so it would be interesting to see how they hold up if their own offense can’t dominate like they usually do.

 

Quarterbacks

 

With Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft out of LSU, and Trevor Lawrence almost a lock to go No. 1 whenever he leaves Clemson (2021 or 2022), tonight is likely to be a matchup of two future top picks in the NFL draft. Burrow shattered SEC records with his 5,208 passing yards and 55 touchdown passes (six interceptions), and his natural feel for the game and his all-around ability in and outside of the pocket—while having elite weapons to spread the ball around to—is a headache for opposing defenses.

 

Meanwhile, Lawrence hasn’t lost a game since high school and has a realistic chance to go unbeaten in his college career given the dominance of Clemson, which would be absurd—but tonight, against another undefeated team, could be the toughest test in two seasons. Like Burrow a few times this season, Lawrence showed the ability to take over with his legs and do whatever it takes to win games during the Fiesta Bowl a couple of weeks ago. Both quarterbacks are uncommonly cool under pressure, and their play could make tonight a game where the team with the ball last wins.

 

X-factors

 

Clemson: Isaiah Simmons

A likely top-ten pick in this year’s NFL draft, Isaiah Simmons is an awesome chess piece for defensive coordinator Brent Venables and the Clemson coaching staff to utilize all over the defense. Simmons can wreak havoc on all three levels of the defense, and he always seems ready to make a game-changing play. The Tigers might use him as a spy to contain Burrow as a scrambler in key situations.

 

LSU: Terrace Marshall Jr.

Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson get a lot of the headlines, which isn’t surprising for a duo that has 18 receiving touchdowns a piece in 2019. However, as Clemson certainly knows, Terrace Marshall Jr. can also do a ton of damage to a secondary (80 yards and two touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl), and it’s difficult to stop a third receiver as talented as him. Safety Grant Delpit could be the X-factor on the defensive end for LSU.

 

Prediction

 

Ed Orgeron and Dabo Swinney have both done a tremendous job this season, and both LSU and Clemson are undoubtedly deserving, championship-level teams that could run through the competition most years—they just so happen to meet as heavyweight 14-0 competitors tonight. Swinney is using a Rocky analogy, framing his Tigers as Rocky going up against Ivan Drago in Russia (New Orleans, a huge homefield advantage for LSU), and I think that extra motivation as underdogs could help push Clemson to their third championship in four seasons.

 

Clemson Tigers 34, LSU Tigers 31

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Pre-CFP

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Pre-CFP

Where does each team stand heading into the College Football Playoff?

 

1. LSU Tigers (13-0) | Last week: 1

The Georgia defense was the biggest test of the season for LSU, and the Tigers passed with flying colors. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the rushing attack couldn’t get much going, but Joe Burrow was unstoppable through the air and did damage with his own legs. The LSU secondary blanketed Georgia’s depleted receiving corps, and freshman phenom cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. had a couple of big interceptions in the SEC Championship Game victory. LSU earned the No. 1 spot in the final CFP Rankings.

 

2. Clemson Tigers (13-0) | Last week: 2

Clemson was seen as the distant No. 3 by most people, but we have them behind only LSU in the power rankings. Somewhat quietly, sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence (304 yards, four touchdowns in ACC title game win) is playing about as well as anyone in the nation, including likely Heisman winner Joe Burrow. Dabo Swinney has led his program to five consecutive ACC championships, and the Tigers will be more than ready for the CFP Semifinal.

 

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0) | Last week: 3

Wisconsin put Ohio State on the ropes in the Big Ten Championship, but the Buckeyes responded with a dominant 27-0 second half to clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff—but it might have cost them the No. 1 seed. Teams like Wisconsin and Penn State were challenges in the Big Ten, but a matchup with Clemson will be on another level. Ohio State has a Heisman finalist on each side of the ball (Justin Fields and Chase Young).

 

4. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) | Last week: 5 (+1)

Sandwiching their conference title game win against Baylor, things had to go right (a Utah loss and a Georgia loss) for Oklahoma to make the Playoff, and they did. However, Oklahoma deserves credit for doing their part and winning the Big 12—the defense has been inconsistent, but the Sooners aren’t some pushover team that barely snuck in. And good for Jalen Hurts leading two schools to the CFP after starring for Alabama for most of his college career.

 

5. Oregon Ducks (11-2) | Last week: NR

Many were penciling Utah in as the fourth CFP team if Georgia were to lose to LSU, but Oregon had other plans in last Friday’s Pac-12 title game. As you would expect, it was obvious that senior quarterback Justin Herbert, who ran around more than he had for much of this season, really wanted to go out with a conference championship win, and the Ducks had a convincing win where they slammed the door shut in the fourth quarter after the Utes started to come back. Oregon now gets a well-earned Rose Bowl Game appearance.

 

6. Georgia Bulldogs (11-2) | Last week: 4 (-2)

With a less-than-100% D’Andre Swift (two carries, 13 yards) to go along with an injured receiving corps, Georgia was in a tough spot after falling behind 14-0 to LSU in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs gave up 37 points, but they were closer to limiting LSU than the 37 points allowed indicate—the Tigers simply made some fantastic plays in critical situations. Georgia gets another crack at the Sugar Bowl this season after their disappointing performance versus Texas last January.

 

7. Baylor Bears (11-2) | Last week: 7

Starting quarterback Charlie Brewer unfortunately left the Big 12 Championship Game in the second quarter, but Matt Rhule’s squad still fought and made a strong push against Oklahoma. Rhule has done an exceptional job with the Bears, and he can basically jump to the NFL whenever he wants. Baylor is looking to end their breakout year with a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia.

 

8. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2) | Last week: 9 (+1)

The top seven is pretty clear, but these final three teams were the most difficult to rank. It’s crazy that Alabama was down at No. 13 in the CFP Rankings, and they stayed there in the final rankings and will now play Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. The Crimson Tide only lost to LSU at home and Auburn on the road, but the Committee probably didn’t like their non-conference schedule.

 

9. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2) | Last week: 10 (+1)

Forcing turnovers helped, but Penn State arguably played Ohio State tougher than anyone this season, including Wisconsin, considering the game came in Columbus—it’s a complete toss-up, but we have the Nittany Lions one spot ahead of the Badgers. Penn State probably would have liked to play in the Rose Bowl, but they have another New Year’s Six appearance in the Cotton Bowl versus Memphis.

 

10. Wisconsin Badgers (10-3) | Last week: 8 (-2)

We think Wisconsin should have been an obvious choice for the College Football Playoff if they were able to hold on for an upset win against Ohio State (with the Buckeyes being eliminated), but it would have made for a crazy debate on Saturday night into Sunday morning. The Badgers could certainly stay up at No. 8, but Alabama and Penn State get the narrow edge. This ranking aside, Wisconsin will be just fine with the Rose Bowl nod.

2019-2020 Full College Football Bowl Schedule With CFP Top 25 Rankings

2019-2020 Full College Football Bowl Schedule With CFP Top 25 Rankings

There was little controversy for the College Football Playoff Rankings, with mostly everyone agreeing the top four teams of LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma were locked in. The two CFP Semifinal games will be played on Saturday, December 28 before the CFP National Championship Game is played on Monday, January 13. Here’s the full CFP top 25 and the bowl schedule from December 21 to January 13.

CFP Top 25

1. LSU Tigers (13-0)
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0)
3. Clemson Tigers (13-0)
4. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)
5. Georgia Bulldogs (11-2)
6. Oregon Ducks (11-2)
7. Baylor Bears (11-2)
8. Wisconsin Badgers (10-3)
9. Florida Gators (10-2)
10. Penn State (10-2)
11. Utah Utes (11-2)
12. Auburn Tigers (9-3)
13. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2)
14. Michigan Wolverines (9-3)
15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-2)
16. Iowa Hawkeyes (9-3)
17. Memphis Tigers (12-1)
18. Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2)
19. Boise State Broncos (12-1)
20. Appalachian State Mountaineers (12-1)
21. Cincinnati Bearcats (10-3)
22. USC Trojans (8-4)
23. Navy Midshipmen (9-2)
24. Virginia Cavaliers (9-4)
25. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-4)

 

Bowl Schedule

 

Saturday, December 21

 

Celebration Bowl

Alcorn State vs. North Carolina AT&T

12:00 PM ET, ABC

 

New Mexico Bowl

Central Michigan vs. San Diego State

2:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Cure Bowl

Liberty vs. Georgia Southern

2:30 PM ET, CBSSN

 

Boca Raton Bowl

FAU vs. SMU

3:30 PM ET, ABC

 

Camellia Bowl

Arkansas State vs. Florida International

5:30 PM ET, ESPN

 

Las Vegas Bowl

No. 19 Boise State vs. Washington

7:30 PM ET, ABC

 

New Orleans Bowl

No. 20 Appalachian State vs. UAB

9:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Monday, December 23

 

Gasparilla Bowl

Marshall vs. UCF

2:30 PM ET, ESPN

 

Tuesday, December 24

 

Hawaii Bowl

BYU vs. Hawaii

8:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Thursday, December 26

 

Independence Bowl

Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.)

4:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Quick Lane Bowl

Eastern Michigan vs. Pittsburgh

8:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Friday, December 27

 

Military Bowl

North Carolina vs. Temple

12:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Pinstripe Bowl

Michigan State vs. Wake Forest

3:20 PM ET, ESPN

 

Texas Bowl

No. 25 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M

6:45 PM ET, ESPN

 

Holiday Bowl

No. 16 Iowa vs. No. 22 USC

8:00 PM ET, FS1

 

Cheez-It Bowl

Air Force vs. Washington State

10:15 PM ET, ESPN

 

Saturday, December 28

 

Camping World Bowl

No. 15 Notre Dame vs. Iowa State

12:00 PM ET, ABC

 

Cotton Bowl Classic

No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 17 Memphis

12:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

*Peach Bowl (CFP)

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

4:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

*Fiesta Bowl (CFP)

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson

8:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Monday, December 30

 

First Responder Bowl

Western Kentucky vs. Western Michigan

12:30 PM ET, ESPN

 

Music City Bowl

Louisville vs. Mississippi State

4:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Redbox Bowl

California vs. Illinois

4:00 PM ET, FOX

 

Orange Bowl

No. 9 Florida vs. No. 24 Virginia

8:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Tuesday, December 31

 

Belk Bowl

Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech

12:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Sun Bowl

Arizona State vs. Florida State

2:00 PM ET, CBS

 

Liberty Bowl

Kansas State vs. No. 23 Navy

3:45 PM ET, ESPN

 

Arizona Bowl

Georgia State vs. Wyoming

4:30 PM ET, CBSSN

 

Alamo Bowl

No. 11 Utah vs. Texas

7:30 PM ET, ESPN

 

Wednesday, January 1

 

Citrus Bowl

No. 13 Alabama vs. No. 14 Michigan

1:00 PM ET, ABC

 

Outback Bowl

No. 12 Auburn vs. No. 18 Minnesota

1:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Rose Bowl Game

No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 8 Wisconsin

5:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Sugar Bowl

No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 7 Baylor

8:45 PM ET, ESPN

 

Friday, January 3

 

Birmingham Bowl

No. 21 Cincinnati vs. Boston College

3:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Nevada vs. Ohio

3:30 PM ET, ESPN

 

Gator Bowl

Indiana vs. Tennessee

7:00 PM ET, ESPN

 

Saturday, January 4

 

Armed Forces Bowl

Southern Miss vs. Tulane

11:30 AM ET, EPSN

 

Monday, January 6

 

LendingTree Bowl

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Miami (Ohio)

7:30 PM ET, ESPN

 

Monday, January 13

 

*College Football Playoff National Championship Game

LSU/OU vs. OSU/CLEM

8:00 PM ET, ESPN

2019 College Football Conference Championship Games: Schedule, Predictions

2019 College Football Conference Championship Games: Schedule, Predictions

The first full weekend of December delivers a promising slate of college football conference championship games. Most of the focus will be on the Power Five conferences, with an eye toward the College Football Playoff field being revealed on Sunday.

 

Pac-12 Championship

No. 5 Utah (11-1) vs. No. 13 Oregon (10-2)

Friday, December 6 | 8:00 PM ET | ABC

 

The CFP Committee has given Utah a lot of respect this season, and for good reason: The Utes have the nation’s No. 3 scoring defense (11.3 points allowed per game), and their average scoring margin is +23.7 this season. Aside from their loss to USC in September and their five-point victory over Washington on November 2, Utah has beaten every team by at least 18 points, so they’ve been consistently dominant in the Pac-12. However, Oregon also boasts a top-ten defense (15.8 points allowed per game), and the Ducks have senior quarterback and Eugene native Justin Herbert, who is looking to end his final conference game with his first conference championship, leading their offense—I won’t discount a four-year starter making a huge impact. This matchup should be the best bet for a slugfest after last year’s Pac-12 title game was a 10-3 contest (Washington topped Utah).

 

Prediction: Oregon 17, Utah 14

 

Big 12 Championship

No. 7 Baylor (11-1) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (11-1)

Saturday, December 7 | 12:00 PM ET | ABC

 

The first matchup between Baylor and Oklahoma was a tale of two halves, with Baylor controlling the first 30 minutes before Oklahoma took control late. In the fourth quarter, the Sooners scored 17 points to cap a 24-0 second half, and aside from Jalen Hurts (who wasn’t his sharpest that night) basically willing his team to a win to avoid getting knocked out of Playoff contention, it was the defense that stepped up and made critical plays to help turn the tide in the game. The key to the rematch might be the defense that can make a gamechanging play (big sack, turnover, or third/fourth down stop), and the Bears (18.4 points allowed per game) might have the edge there going into the contest considering the play of their defense this season. But the Sooners will have star receiver CeeDee Lamb this time around, which gives the offense and entire team a boost.

 

Prediction: Oklahoma 33, Baylor 28

 

SEC Championship

No. 4 Georgia (11-1) vs. No. 2 LSU (12-0)

Saturday, December 7 | 3:00 PM ET | CBS

 

As is typically the case with the SEC Championship, this year’s game sells itself. LSU has opened up its offense and is having a remarkable, record-breaking season led by clear Heisman favorite Joe Burrow at quarterback, and they’ll be facing a Georgia defense that is second in the country in points allowed (10.4 per game, behind only Clemson at 10.1 per game) and has not allowed 21 points to any opponent this season. Kirby Smart gets his defense to play incredibly consistent, and his unit should be the biggest test for the Tigers offense this season. Georgia’s offense against LSU’s defense is nearly as intriguing. LSU has not had a top-tier defense this year, but they are very talented and could have the advantage outside (especially with UGA wide receiver Lawrence Cager out with an ankle injury and George Pickens suspended for the first half after getting ejected in the second half last week against Georgia Tech), making things more difficult on the supremely underrated Jake Fromm. I think the difference in the game will be the talent of LSU’s receiving corps compared to Georgia’s.

 

Prediction: LSU 27, Georgia 20

 

ACC Championship

No. 23 Virginia (9-3) vs. No. 3 Clemson (12-0)

Saturday, December 7 | 7:30 PM ET | ABC

 

Dabo Swinney already set the tone for his team this week when he said they have to go “30-and-0” to have any shot at the Playoff, so Clemson will undoubtedly be ready to play—as they always are at this time of year. Most people expect the Tigers to dominate, and if not, many classify it as a disappointment or subpar performance; but Virginia is not some pushover team after a 9-3 regular season. The Cavaliers rallied for 19 fourth-quarter points in their win over Virginia Tech to clinch an opportunity in the ACC Championship Game (their first), and dual threat quarterback Bryce Perkins is not an easy player to defend. But Clemson has too much firepower not to extend their winning streak to 28 games.

 

Prediction: Clemson 31, Virginia 13

 

Big Ten Championship

No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No 8 Wisconsin (10-2)

Saturday, December 7 | 8:00 PM ET | FOX

 

Like the Big 12, the Big Ten’s title game is a rematch from the regular season, but the first matchup went a lot differently. Ohio State demolished Wisconsin by 31 points at the end of October, and Wisconsin’s then-No. 1 defense has since taken a step back from completely shutting down most teams. But the Badgers are now clicking in a big way offensively. Superstar running back Jonathan Taylor (limited to 52 rushing yards versus the Buckeyes in the first game) had a stretch of three consecutive 200-yard games in November, and quarterback Jack Coan had one of the best games of his season in last week’s win at Minnesota. Ultimately, talented sophomore quarterback Justin Fields benefitting from J.K. Dobbins and the rushing attack setting up play-action passes to his stacked offensive weapons will likely be tough for the Badgers to slow down.

 

Prediction: Ohio State 37, Wisconsin 21

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 15

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 15

The second-to-last CFP Rankings will release tonight, but a lot is to be determined during conference championship weekend.

 

1. LSU Tigers (12-0) | Last week: 1

LSU was determined after their classic record-breaking overtime loss to Texas A&M last season, and they completely overwhelmed the Aggies in a 50-7 victory. Joe Burrow’s record-breaking SEC season will continue this Saturday in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, which might be the most difficult matchup for the Tigers’ explosive offense this season. If the LSU defense plays like it did last week, Ed Orgeron’s team will likely be ranked No. 1 on Sunday.

 

2. Clemson Tigers (12-0) | Last week: 2

Dabo Swinney voiced major displeasure with the way his team is viewed by the media, saying Clemson needs to go “30-0” to get the respect other teams get, and he’s probably right. After the Tigers nearly lost to North Carolina earlier this season, the talk was that the defending national champions aren’t the same this year. Clemson has dominated their competition and should get to 13-0 with their fifth consecutive ACC title this weekend.

 

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) | Last week: 3

Ohio State has had little trouble getting respect from the Committee, as they surprisingly jumped LSU in last week’s rankings—and they aren’t likely to move back down after demolishing the rival Wolverines in The Big House last Saturday. The Buckeyes have looked so good this season that there might be a chance they get into the Playoff even if they lose to Wisconsin in the Big 10 title game.

 

4. Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) | Last week: 4

It’s simple for Georgia: if they win the SEC Championship over LSU, they are a lock for the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs were certainly not looking past Georgia Tech, beating the in-state rival by their largest margin of victory in the series. LSU has faced some tough defenses in the SEC, but Georgia is probably the best group they will have faced to this point. Jake Fromm and company will be without receiver George Pickens for the first half of the conference championship because he was ejected for fighting in last week’s win.

 

5. Oklahoma Sooners (11-1) | Last week: 6 (+1)

Oklahoma had one of their best defensive performances of the season in their win over Oklahoma State, limiting Cowboys star running back Chuba Hubbard to 104 rushing yards on 24 carries. A similar defensive outing in this week’s Big 12 Championship Game could make the Sooners the favorites for the No. 4 spot pending a Georgia loss.

 

6. Utah Utes (11-1) | Last week: 8 (+2)

However, if they are able to win the Pac-12—especially in convincing fashion—on Friday night, Utah will have something to say no matter what happens in the other conference title games. Aside from their lone loss to USC and a five-point victory over Washington, the Utes have demolished all of their opponents this season. It’ll be interesting to see how Utah fares against senior quarterback Justin Herbert and Oregon.

 

7. Baylor Bears (11-1) | Last week: 9 (+2)

Baylor is considered the longest shot to make the CFP as a one-loss team, but a win with some serious style points against the Sooners on Saturday could put them squarely in the discussion for the No. 4 team. Remember, the Bears were up huge on Oklahoma in their first matchup, and the Committee might have to strongly weigh 11 wins and one excellent half compared to one bad 30 minutes.

 

8. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) | Last week: NR

Perhaps the most interesting potential outcome from this final week before the conclusive rankings determining the four Playoff teams is a Wisconsin victory in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Badgers were upset by Illinois on the road and blown out by Ohio State at home earlier this season, but they since own two ranked wins including a 21-point margin of victory at Minnesota. If Jack Coan plays like he did last week and Wisconsin wins, they could be seen as a clear top-four team right now despite two losses on their resume.

 

9. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2) | Last week: 5 (-4)

The top eight all figure to be in the mix for the Playoff, and a handful of teams could have taken these final two spots, including Florida and Auburn (coming off their massive upset over their rival). But despite the struggles of their defense in a couple of critical games this season, the Crimson Tide are still arguably the best team that won’t be in the Playoff this season. This is the first time Alabama will not be in the College Football Playoff.

 

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2) | Last week: 10

Their loss on the road to Minnesota doesn’t look quite as good now, but Penn State’s two losses this season have been on the road to the Gophers and the Buckeyes. It’s surprising that the Nittany Lions didn’t blow out Rutgers, but they improved to 10-2 and will likely be in a New Year’s Six Bowl.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 15)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 15)

A record-breaking day for Joe Burrow keeps him clearly atop the Heisman Trophy race heading into conference championship week.

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 1

LSU was able to get revenge on Texas A&M for last year’s 74-72 loss, and Burrow stayed red hot for an emotional night in his final appearance at Death Valley. Following a 352-yard, three-touchdown performance, Burrow now owns the SEC record for passing yards in a season and is tied for the SEC single-season record in passing touchdowns. Georgia will be his toughest test yet on Saturday evening in the conference championship, but only the unimaginable would knock Burrow off the top spot.

 

Season stats:

78.3% | 4,366 PASS YDS | 44 PASS TD | 6 INT

85 CAR | 248 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 2.9 AVG

 

2. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 2

Statistically, Hurts’ total yards and total touchdowns basically match Burrow, so he at least has an outside shot to make the race a debate with a monster showing in the Big 12 Championship Game. In the previous matchup versus Baylor, Hurts overcame a 28-3 deficit to win, 34-31, so the Sooners will hope to have a more complete game with their quarterback being the offensive engine as both a passer and runner.

 

Season stats:

71.9% | 3,347 PASS YDS | 31 PASS TD | 6 INT

196 CAR | 1,217 RUSH YDS | 18 RUSH TD | 6.2 AVG

 

3. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Last week: 3

Taylor didn’t extended his streak of 200-yard rushing games to four, but he totaled three touchdowns in Wisconsin’s win over Minnesota to key a Big Ten Championship Game berth against Ohio State. The snowy conditions on Saturday didn’t impact Taylor’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield with his fifth receiving touchdown of the season, and while the Heisman is obviously awarded based on one season, it will be good to see Taylor get recognized as a likely finalist for his historic career.

 

Season stats:

279 CAR | 1,761 RUSH YDS | 20 RUSH TD | 6.3 AVG

22 REC | 201 REC YDS | 5 REC TD | 9.1 AVG

 

4. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 4

Fields owning a 37:1 touchdown-interception ratio (with a chance to potentially get to 40:1) heading into the final weekend before the Heisman is awarded shows how top-heavy the field is this season, but he will likely need a slipup from Burrow to be a significant threat. The sophomore quarterback needed just 14 completions to throw for 302 yards and four touchdowns against Michigan.

 

Season stats:

68.2% | 2,654 PASS YDS | 37 PASS TD | 1 INT

111 CAR | 470 RUSH YDS | 10 RUSH TD | 4.2 AVG

 

5. Chase Young | Ohio State DE | Junior | Last week: 5

Young not even showing up in the box score for the biggest game of the year—even being a 56-27 victory for the Buckeyes—likely ends his Heisman hopes, but that doesn’t take away anything from his historic season. Before being unable to wreck the Wolverines, Young combined for 7.0 sacks against Wisconsin and Penn State in his two most recent appearances (surrounding a two-game suspension).

 

Season stats:

38 TKL | 19.5 TFL | 16.5 SK | 7 FF

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 14

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 14

Ahead of rivalry week, nine teams figure to have the best chance to make the College Football Playoff.

 

1. LSU Tigers (11-0) | Last week: 1

As expected, LSU did not have much trouble blowing out two-win Arkansas. Joe Burrow had another fantastic performance, but running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire again starred, with an absurd 188 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just six carries. Head coach Ed Orgeron says he hasn’t forgotten about the seven-overtime loss to Texas A&M last year, and the Tigers should be ready to go despite the SEC Championship Game coming up in a couple of weeks.

 

2. Clemson Tigers (11-0) | Last week: 2

Clemson had off last week, and they have the ACC title game coming up, but they are not going to look past a rival South Carolina team this Saturday. With all the hype surrounding Ohio State and the SEC, Dabo Swinney’s squad is a bit under the radar entering the final week of the regular season.

 

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) | Last week: 3

Ball security was an issue and helped allow Penn State to get back into the game, but Ohio State has so much talent that they are able to overcome costly turnovers against most teams. Getting stud defensive end Chase Young back in the lineup after a two-game suspension adds another element to the Buckeyes defense, as he’s an incredible force getting after the quarterback that’s a terror in one-on-one situations.

 

4. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1) | Last week: 4

Georgia again had a lead that was put in danger in the fourth quarter, but they were able to hold on for a 19-13 win against Texas A&M. This Saturday against Georgia Tech probably won’t be a cakewalk given that it’s a rivalry game, but the Bulldogs are still likely in a win-and-in scenario for the SEC title game on December 7.

 

5. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1) | Last week: 5

Mac Jones averaged 27.5 yards per completion and had more touchdowns (three) than incompletions (two) in his first start since Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury. It was against Western Carolina, but the Alabama offense has looked comfortable when Jones has been at quarterback this season. This week’s Iron Bowl will be a totally different test, and it’s possible the Crimson Tide need some “style points” to make a final statement for a chance get into the Playoff.

 

6. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1) | Last week: 7 (+1)

It’s obviously difficult to say what would’ve happened if Oklahoma was back on defense, but the Sooners arguably caught a break against TCU when it looked like Jalen Hurts was short of a first-down late in the game. Nevertheless, OU will take the victory and a 10-1 start with a chance to get to 12-1 with a couple more ranked wins and a conference title the next two weeks. Oklahoma is not in a bad spot after Oregon’s loss.

 

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-1) | Last week: 9 (+2)

Minnesota’s NFL-caliber receiving corps led by Rashod Bateman (seven receptions, 78 yards, three touchdowns) and Tyler Johnson (seven receptions, 125 yards, one touchdown) was tough for Northwestern to contain, but this week against Wisconsin should be a bigger challenge for the Gophers. Stopping star running back Jonathan Taylor (three consecutive 200-yard games) will be critical for Minnesota this Saturday with Paul Bunyan’s Axe on the line.

 

8. Utah Utes (10-1) | Last week: 10 (+2)

Utah had another physical effort in their rout of Arizona, and running back Zack Moss led the way with 203 rushing yards on offense. However, Oregon’s loss not only hurt their own chances, but it probably hurt the Pac-12’s chances overall (Utah) to get into the Playoff. The Utes just need to control what they can control, though, and they’ve been dominant since the USC loss early in the season.

 

9. Baylor Bears (10-1) | Last week: NR

It’s a great sign for Matt Rhule’s program that they were able to bounce back from their first loss of the season to handle Texas while clinching a spot in the Big 12 title game. Rhule and his staff have done an excellent job of turning around Baylor football. The Bears need to beat an upset-minded Kansas team this Saturday first, but the rematch against the Sooners—with a potential chance at the Playoffs on the line—is not something most people saw coming before the season for Baylor.

 

10. Penn State (9-2) | Last week: NR

The final two spots could have gone to a number of teams including Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan. But Penn State gets the nod after showing great heart and playing Ohio State tougher than anyone this season. The defense forced turnovers and made it a game in the second half, and the Nittany Lions should finish strong this week against Rutgers and get a New Year’s Six bowl appearance.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 14)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 14)

Ohio State stud defensive end Chase Young immediately worked his way back into the 2019 Heisman Trophy race, but a few other players rank ahead of the Buckeyes’ contending stars.

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 1

LSU’s wide receivers ran wide open against Arkansas’ defense, and Joe Burrow took advantage with 327 yards and three touchdowns to lead his team to 11-0. The Tigers clinched the SEC West, and Burrow is basically a lock for the Heisman if his team beats Georgia in a couple of weeks. To end the regular season, Burrow and his team will look to avenge last season’s 74-72 loss to Texas A&M.

 

Season stats:

78.9% | 4,014 PASS YDS | 41 PASS TD | 6 INT

79 CAR | 239 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 3.0 AVG

 

2. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 2

Oklahoma’s passing attack might have had its worst game of the season in their close win over TCU, but Jalen Hurts is doing what it takes to help his team win games. The senior quarterback had 28 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns (along with two passing scores) as well as the game-clinching first-down run at the end of the game. Hurts did have a couple of turnovers in the victory, but he currently remains the biggest threat for the Heisman.

 

Season stats:

71.4% | 3,184 PASS YDS | 30 PASS TD | 6 INT

180 CAR | 1,156 RUSH YDS | 17 RUSH TD | 6.4 AVG

 

3. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Last week: 4 (+1)

Since the Ohio State game a month ago knocked him down a bit in the Heisman race, Jonathan Taylor has responded with an absurd three consecutive 200-yard rushing performances. Taylor is now 315 yards from 2,000 on the season, and he could have a couple of games to do it before the Badgers’ bowl game. A big game against Minnesota and then a bounce-back outing against Ohio State in a potential Big Ten Championship matchup could make Taylor an intriguing option for voters.

 

Season stats:

261 CAR | 1,685 RUSH YDS | 18 RUSH TD | 6.5 AVG

20 REC | 162 REC YDS | 4 REC TD | 8.1 AVG

 

4. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 3 (-1)

Ohio State jumped to a 14-0 first-half lead, but Justin Fields and his team had to grind out a victory over Penn State. The sophomore quarterback made a number of key plays—from third-down conversions with his legs to a couple of nice deep ball touchdowns—to help the Buckeyes remain undefeated. Fields gets his first taste of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry this Saturday.

 

Season stats:

69.4% | 2,352 PASS YDS | 33 PASS TD | 1 INT

105 CAR | 445 RUSH YDS | 10 RUSH TD | 4.2 AVG

 

5. Chase Young | Ohio State DE | Junior | Last week: NR

Despite missing two games because of a suspension for an NCAA violation, Chase Young remains squarely in the mix for an invite to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Young had three sacks in last week’s win over the Nittany Lions, as he was basically unblockable in one-on-one situations. The stud defensive end set the school record for sacks in a season, and he has a chance to reach 20 over the next two games.

 

Season stats:

38 TKL | 19.5 TFL | 16.5 SK | 7 FF

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 13

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 13

A new team moves into the No. 4 spot in this week’s college football power rankings. How much do the Sooners rise after their win in Waco?

 

1. LSU Tigers (10-0) | Last week: 1

The defense of the Tigers is a bit of a concern after they gave up 37 points to Ole Miss, but Joe Burrow and the offense continue to light it up unlike any LSU team we are used to seeing. Defensively, Ed Orgeron’s squad will look to get things sorted out this Saturday versus Arkansas. The receiving corps led by Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson (339 combined yards against the Rebels) deserves a lot of credit for LSU emerging with an elite passing attack in 2019.

 

2. Clemson Tigers (11-0) | Last week: 2

All the talk about Clemson not being the same this year looks way off now. The Tigers became the third team since 1936 to win four consecutive games by at least 45 points, and sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence had one of the best games of his career with 272 yards and four passing scores against Wake Forest. Clemson has off this week before facing South Carolina.

 

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) | Last week: 3

Ohio State doesn’t have four consecutive wins of 45+ points, but they have been as dominant as any team in college football this season. The Buckeyes have an average margin of victory of 43.5 over the past four contests, and their Big Ten play resumes with their toughest game of the year to this point when they host Penn State this Saturday.

 

4. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1) | Last week: 5 (+1)

Auburn made a late run to make it a 21-14 game, but Georgia was pretty much in complete control in the huge conference matchup over the weekend to clinch their third consecutive SEC East title. Kirby Smart will make sure his guys are ready to go these next two weeks, but an opportunity in the SEC Championship means the Bulldogs are almost certainly just a win away from making the Playoff.

 

5. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1) | Last week: 4 (-1)

It’s tough to see anyone get hurt the way Tua Tagovailoa did in Alabama’s win over Mississippi State, but it’s especially unfortunate for a good kid like Tua, who likely had his NFL draft stock take a hit following the serious hip injury. It will be interesting to see what the Committee does with the Crimson Tide with Tagovailoa done for the year, but Alabama is still an excellent team with plenty of playmakers for Mac Jones to distribute the ball to. Running back Najee Harris is likely to get a heavier workload moving forward.

 

6. Oregon Ducks (9-1) | Last week: 7 (+1)

Because it came on a neutral field against a great SEC opponent (Auburn) to open the season, Oregon arguably has the “best” loss of any of the contending one-loss teams. The Ducks have dominated USC and Arizona in the past two games, and they are on a path to a potential Pac-12 title. Might they already leapfrog Alabama tonight? If they do, it would bode well for their Playoff chances.

 

7. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1) | Last week: 9 (+2)

The Sooners move up a couple of spots after their gritty comeback win over Baylor in Waco on Saturday night. Without top weapon CeeDee Lamb on the outside, Jalen Hurts and the offense stayed composed despite falling behind—but the OU defense also deserves a ton of credit for making plays in the second half of the comeback victory. It’s probably important for the defense to pick up some style points over the next couple of weeks.

 

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1) | Last week: 10 (+2)

While they fell after their loss to Minnesota, the 9-1 Nittany Lions bounced back with a win against Indiana, and they would likely vault up to the top four if they are able to upset the Buckeyes in Columbus this weekend. This will be an incredibly difficult task for Penn State as they face former commit Justin Fields and the explosive Ohio State team.

 

9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-1) | Last week: 6 (-3)

Minnesota could arguably still be ranked above Penn State because of their head-to-head win, but it might have been a different story if that game was in Happy Valley. But Iowa is one of the toughest places to play at night, and the first loss for the Gophers does not knock them out of the Playoff discussion. Look for Minnesota to bounce back this week against Northwestern.

 

10. Utah Utes (9-1) | Last week: NR

UCLA came into last Saturday’s game against Utah with a lot to play for (a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth somehow still on the line), but the Utes completely overmatched the Bruins to improve to 9-1. Utah has the nation’s No. 4 scoring defense, and the team is really good in all three phases; they are already well-liked by the Committee and are very much in the Playoff mix.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 13)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 13)

Tua Tagovaioloa’s unfortunate season-ending hip injury puts the Alabama quarterback out of the Heisman running, and the top five remaining Heisman candidates are clear entering another big weekend.

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 1

Heisman frontrunner Joe Burrow threw for another 489 yards and five touchdowns as LSU put up 58 points against Ole Miss, but he did throw a couple of interceptions—no player is perfect, though, and turnovers are bound to happen when you throw 42 times in a game. The senior quarterback has led his team to a 10-0 start and should hit the 40-passing-touchdown mark this Saturday night against Arkansas.

 

Season stats:

78.6% | 3,687 PASS YDS | 38 PASS TD | 6 INT

75 CAR | 215 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 2.9 AVG

 

2. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 2

It wasn’t his best game, but Jalen Hurts showed incredible poise while helping his team comeback from a 28-3 deficit to defeat Baylor and stay alive for the CFP. Hurts threw four touchdowns and did a lot of the heavy lifting on the ground, with 27 carries for 114 yards—and he didn’t have top receiver CeeDee Lamb on the outside. There’s still a few more games left to play, but Hurts is probably the biggest threat to Burrow right now.

 

Season stats:

73.0% | 3,039 PASS YDS | 28 PASS TD | 5 INT

152 CAR | 983 RUSH YDS | 15 RUSH TD | 6.5 AVG

 

3. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 4 (+1)

Justin Fields had as many touchdowns as incompletions against Rutgers, but that type of performance was expected for the extremely talented Buckeyes against an overmatched Scarlet Knights squad. The outing has in some ways been the norm for Fields in his first season with Ohio State, as the team has had little trouble moving the ball on opposing defenses. These next two games against Penn State and Michigan will show a lot, and Fields has a chance to make the Heisman race more interesting.

 

Season stats:

69.1% | 2,164 PASS YDS | 31 PASS TD | 1 INT

84 CAR | 377 RUSH YDS | 10 RUSH TD | 4.5 AVG

 

4. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Last week: 5 (+1)

Following two consecutive 200-yard performances, Jonathan Taylor is up to No. 4 in the Heisman Trophy race. Clemson’s Travis Etienne and Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard are in the mix as premier running backs, too, but Taylor gets the nod in part because he plays tougher defenses in the Big Ten.

 

Season stats:

233 CAR | 1,463 RUSH YDS | 17 RUSH TD | 6.3 AVG

20 REC | 162 REC YDS | 4 REC TD | 8.1 AVG

 

5. Justin Herbert | Oregon QB | Senior | Last week: NR

Justin Herbert threw just his third interception of the season while tossing four touchdowns in Oregon’s rout of Arizona. The Ducks’ senior leader has not done much damage on the ground this season, but he’s keeping his team in the Playoff discussion while they compete for a Pac-12 title. Herbert probably isn’t having a prolific enough season to steal the Heisman from someone like Burrow as of yet, but he might have a case if guys currently ahead of him slip up.

 

Season stats:

69.6% | 2,662 PASS YDS | 28 PASS TD | 3 INT

36 CAR | -12 RUSH YDS | 1 RUSH TD | -0.3 AVG

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 12

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 12

After their huge win at Tuscaloosa, the LSU Tigers rise to the No. 1 spot in this week’s college football power rankings. Minnesota also continues their rise up the ranks.

 

1. LSU Tigers (9-0) | Last week: 3 (+2)

LSU now has four top-ten wins this season (Texas, Florida, Auburn, and Alabama), as Coach Orgeron has gotten his guys to take care of business every Saturday. Given how impressive Joe Burrow and the offense has looked this season, paired with the Tigers’ resume, they should be in the top spot when the latest CFP Rankings are released tonight. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire showed that he has the total package and is one of the best players in the nation with his 180 yards and four total touchdowns in the victory over Bama.

 

2. Clemson Tigers (10-0) | Last week: 1 (-1)

Clemson is clearly going to get into the top four this week after Penn State’s loss, but Dabo Swinney is still going to get his players to have an edge moving forward following the disrespect they’ve gotten despite a 10-0 start to the season. The Tigers probably badly wanted a shutout to send a message, but this Saturday versus a 7-2 Wake Forest team should be more of a challenge.

 

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) | Last week: 4 (+1)

Ohio State might have had last year’s narrow victory against Maryland in mind this time around, and they completely dominated in all phases of the game, as has been the norm for them this season. The status of star defensive end Chase Young, who is currently being investigated for a potential NCAA violation, is obviously huge for the Buckeyes’ title hopes.

 

4. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1) | Last week: 2 (-2)

The Crimson Tide should not drop too far in the rankings, and they should arguably be an unquestioned top-four team despite their first loss of the season. Alabama obviously would have loved to win the SEC and cannot afford another loss, but they might actually be in a fine position for the Playoff by just winning out. The early turnover certainly hurt, and the Crimson Tide outscored the Tigers 28-13 in the second half of the instant classic. Tua Tagovailoa showed that his team is never out of it with the big-play ability he has with his talented receivers.

 

5. Georgia Bulldogs (8-1) | Last week: 6 (+1)

A late goal-line stand preserved the shutout victory over Missouri for the Bulldogs, and Kirby Smart’s defense has been playing with a ton of energy over the last few weeks. Since the stunning loss to South Carolina a month ago, Georgia has a big win over Florida and two shutouts (against Kentucky and Mizzou). The only concern with Georgia is probably their receiver play, but Lawrence Cager is expected to be fine after leaving last Saturday, and George Pickens is emerging on the outside.

 

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-0) | Last week: 10 (+4)

We had Minnesota much higher than the Committee did last week, and we’ll see if they actually get enough respect to move into the bubble area of the CFP Rankings tonight. With a 9-0 mark and after beating the No. 4 team in the country, there’s a case for the Gophers being even ahead of Georgia. Minnesota has NFL-caliber weapons on the outside, and playmaking safety Antoine Winfield Jr. leads the defense.

 

7. Oregon Ducks (8-1) | Last week: 7

Oregon had off last week, and it’ll be interesting to see where they land tonight. They’re expected to be in the No. 6 or No. 7 spot, depending on what the Committee does with Minnesota’s win over Penn State. The Ducks are huge favorites against Arizona this Saturday night.

 

8. Baylor Bears (9-0) | Last week: 8

It took a comeback and then a competitive triple overtime to get it done, but Baylor improved to 9-0. The Bears have had some struggles offensively in the last two games, but they have shown to have a potent unit on that side of the ball, and the defense is playing well. Baylor’s CFP hopes undoubtedly ride on this Saturday versus Oklahoma.

 

9. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1) | Last week: 9

The Sooners looked to be in complete control at home against Iowa State, but the Cyclones scored 20 fourth-quarter points to put OU on the ropes. Jalen Hurts and the offense are outstanding, but the Committee cannot be liking what they’ve seen from the defense over the past two games. Perhaps this Saturday night in Waco will get the defense back closer to the level it was at a few weeks back.

 

10. Penn State (8-1) | Last week: 5 (-5)

Penn State can be a spot or two higher, and they still have two ranked matchups coming up in the next two weeks (vs. Indiana and at Ohio State) to climb back up the rankings. Journey Brown and the Nittany Lions’ rushing attack did serious damage in the loss to Minnesota, but they threw the ball 43 times and had three interceptions. They’ll look to get everything cleaned up as ranked Big Ten play continues for them this weekend.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 12)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 12)

The Heisman Trophy frontrunner distanced himself from the other contenders over the weekend, but there’s still a lot of season to play before a winner is locked in.

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 1

Joe Burrow played exceptionally well against Alabama, leading LSU to a 46-41 victory at Tuscaloosa. The senior quarterback spread the ball out to his weapons, throwing passes on the money to all areas of the field while avoiding mistakes and also doing damage with his legs in key situations. The 457 yards and three total touchdowns for Burrow could be the most-played highlight of his season if he goes on to win the Heisman.

 

Season stats:

78.9% | 3,198 PASS YDS | 33 PASS TD | 4 INT

66 CAR | 189 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 2.9 AVG

 

2. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 2

Oklahoma got off to a hot start led by Jalen Hurts, but the Sooners were only able to score one touchdown in the second half versus Iowa State. Still, Hurts is up to 39 total touchdowns this season, and he’s very much alive in the Heisman race. A huge performance against a tough Baylor team this Saturday night in Waco could build some momentum for Hurts as he looks to lead his team to a conference title.

 

Season stats:

73.3% | 2,742 PASS YDS | 24 PASS TD | 4 INT

125 CAR | 869 RUSH YDS | 15 RUSH TD | 7.0 AVG

 

3. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 3

The two turnovers were critical, but Tua Tagovailoa had an excellent performance while attempting to help his team stage a comeback against the Tigers—while showing off his superb deep passing ability in the process. A home loss to another SEC Heisman contender will be difficult to overcome, but Tua is clearly still among the top three Heisman candidates with a few weeks left in the regular season.

 

Season stats:

70.9% | 2,584 PASS YDS | 31 PASS TD | 3 INT

21 CAR | 25 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 1.2 AVG

 

4. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 5 (+1)

Justin Fields could be putting up even bigger numbers if the Buckeyes weren’t completely dominating every week, but he’s up to 37 total touchdowns and has thrown just one interception in his first season as a starter. The degree of difficulty is something mostly everyone can agree is holding back Fields’ Heisman candidacy, but that can change toward the end of the year. This week, Fields will look to put up crooked numbers against Rutgers.

 

Season stats:

68.2% | 1,859 PASS YDS | 27 PASS TD | 1 INT

81 CAR | 347 RUSH YDS | 10 RUSH TD | 4.3 AVG

 

5. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Last week: NR

Chase Young drops out of the top five after his issues with the NCAA, which is unfortunate after he looked like a defensive player with a legitimate shot at the award. This final spot came down to Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. It’s Taylor who gets the nod for now after a 250-yard performance to lead the Badgers over the Hawkeyes.

 

Season stats:

208 CAR | 1,259 RUSH YDS | 15 RUSH TD | 6.1 AVG

18 REC | 151 REC YDS | 4 REC TD | 8.4 AVG

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 11

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 11

The top five teams in the college football power rankings remain the same after they all had off last weekend, but things should get crazy over the next few weeks. This is where we see each team ahead of tonight’s initial release of the 2019 College Football Playoff Rankings.

 

1. Clemson Tigers (9-0) | Last week: 1

Clemson has scored 59 points in each of the previous two weeks, and they are outscoring opponents 208-45 (average of 52-11.3) in their four games since barely edging out North Carolina at the end of September. We’ll see what the Committee does with the Tigers, but it’s an easy argument to make for them being ranked in the top spot tonight.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) | Last week: 2

Tua Tagovailoa is expected to play for Alabama in this weekend’s highly anticipated matchup against LSU, but he’s unlikely to be at full strength after last month’s ankle injury. The Crimson Tide have dominated every opponent they’ve faced this season, so Saturday should undoubtedly be their biggest challenge yet. If Bama is ranked behind their SEC rival in the CFP Rankings, look for them to use that as motivation.

 

3. LSU Tigers (8-0) | Last week: 3

LSU has an obvious case for being No. 1 or No. 2 given their success this season, but the resume is slightly weaker after Texas has fallen off throughout the year (though winning in Austin early in the season is still very impressive). A win in Tuscaloosa this Saturday afternoon would make the Tigers a lock for the pole position next week. For those that missed it, a great video of head coach Ed Orgeron talking to a couple of stud Auburn defenders (Marlon Davidson and Big Kat Bryant) was released last week:

 

https://twitter.com/SECNetwork/status/1189349833485758470?s=20

 

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) | Last week: 4

There’s a chance Ohio State is ranked No. 1 in tonight’s rankings, as they’ve arguably been the most impressive team in the nation through the first couple of months. The Buckeyes boast the country’s top scoring defense (7.9 points per game) and third best scoring offense (48.3 points per game).

 

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-0) | Last week: 5

With the No. 2 scoring defense (9.6 points per game) and an undefeated mark, Penn State should be a lock for a top-five ranking. Considering the power of the four teams ahead of them, the Nittany Lions at No. 5 is probably the best bet of any ranking for tonight. After a week off, Penn State will face another unbeaten Big Ten team when they go to Minnesota.

 

6. Georgia Bulldogs (7-1) | Last week: 6

Florida was able to score 14 fourth-quarter points to make it a seven-point game, but Georgia was in firm control for the entire contest. Georgia shut down Florida’s rushing attack, holding the Gators to 1.1 yards per carry in the victory. And Jake Fromm was exceptional on third down, helping the Bulldogs convert on 12-of-18 third down attempts.

 

7. Oregon Ducks (8-1) | Last week: 8 (+1)

Oregon had a scare when Justin Herbert briefly went down with what appeared to be a knee injury, but thankfully the senior quarterback was OK and helped lead his team to a rout of USC. The Ducks started off slow and fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter, but they outscored the Trojans 56-14 over the final three quarters, and the defense was able to get pressure and force three interceptions.

 

8. Baylor Bears (8-0) | Last week: 9 (+1)

They aren’t earning style points every week with their wins, but Baylor continues to rack up victories and deserves serious consideration for a top-ten spot in the initial CFP Rankings. It’ll be interesting to see where the Committee puts the Bears, but Matt Rhule’s squad needs to keep taking it one game at a time with an upcoming stretch against TCU, Oklahoma, and Texas.

 

9. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) | Last week: 10 (+1)

Oklahoma is another interesting team, and we’ll see if they are ranked ahead of an unbeaten Big 12 school because of their high-powered offense and success over the past few seasons. Coming off the bye with extra time to think about their loss to Kansas State, the Sooners should be ready for this Saturday night versus Iowa State.

 

10. Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-0) | Last week: NR

Florida, Utah, and Auburn are among the teams with a case for the No. 10 spot, but undefeated Minnesota deserves it with the way they’ve been playing. The Gophers were able to start the year 4-0 after four one-possession victories, but they’ve routed each of their last four opponents in Big Ten contests. Snow is in the forecast for this Saturday’s huge game against Penn State.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 11)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 11)

The top-five Heisman Trophy candidates from last week are all coming off byes, so the rankings do not change ahead of a huge weekend of college football.

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 1

As stated a week ago, Joe Burrow is clearly in the driver’s seat for the Heisman Trophy entering November. The only question is whether he’ll be leading the No. 1 team in the country (or a lower ranking) when the initial College Football Playoff Rankings are released tomorrow night. This Saturday at Tuscaloosa will also likely be huge for Burrow’s NFL draft stock, so expect him to be on his A-game, as he has been all year.

 

Season stats:

78.8% | 2,805 PASS YDS | 30 PASS TD | 4 INT

52 CAR | 125 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 2.4 AVG

 

2. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 2

A major slip-up by Burrow against the Crimson Tide defense could open the door for Jalen Hurts to re-take the No. 1 spot in the Heisman race despite the Sooners coming off their own loss to Kansas State a couple of weeks ago. Hurts should put up more eye-popping dual-threat numbers this Saturday evening against Iowa State before a potential top-ten matchup versus Baylor in Waco on November 16.

 

Season stats:

73.9% | 2,469 PASS YDS | 21 PASS TD | 3 INT

103 CAR | 801 RUSH YDS | 13 RUSH TD | 7.8 AVG

 

3. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 3

Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be ready for this weekend’s showdown against LSU, and he might have to play to have a strong chance at the Heisman Trophy in a crowded field. Tua is used to playing through injuries, and—if he suits up—he’ll have an opportunity to silence some doubters in the biggest game of the season to this point.

 

Season stats:

74.7% | 2,166 PASS YDS | 27 PASS TD | 2 INT

18 CAR | 30 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 1.7 AVG

 

4. Chase Young | Ohio State | Junior | Last week: 4

There’s a realistic scenario where Chase Young rises into the No. 1 or No. 2 position in the Heisman watch by next week. The Ohio State star will have to continue his dominance this Saturday against Maryland, but he should have plenty of energy to get after the passer and make more impact plays after a week off.

 

Season stats:

29 TKL | 15.5 TFL | 13.5 SACK | 5 FF

 

5. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 5

It’ll be interesting to see where Justin Herbert and Oregon are ranked tomorrow night, and he’s certainly someone to keep an eye on after a four-touchdown performance in a rout of USC. It’s close, but Justin Fields holds the No. 5 spot in the rankings partly because of his added production on the ground.

 

Season stats:

68.8% | 1,659 PASS YDS | 24 PASS TD | 1 INT

76 CAR | 319 RUSH YDS | 9 RUSH TD | 4.2 AVG

 

*NOTE: White Wolf is not affiliated with the Heisman Trophy. This article is a staff opinion and is not an official Heisman Trophy watch

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 10

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 10

We are one week away from the first College Football Playoff Rankings of the season, but things have already gotten crazy throughout October. The top five teams are clear at this point, and the top four could arguably be in any order.

 

1. Clemson Tigers (8-0) | Last week: 1

They’ve been sluggish at some points in the season, but Clemson has been completely dominant in their last seven quarters, and Trevor Lawrence appears to have found his groove. The sophomore phenom was 16/19 for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 59-7 win against Boston College. Clemson should handle Wofford this Saturday before being somewhere in the top four of the initial rankings next Tuesday night.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) | Last week: 2

Mac Jones did an excellent job of filling in for Tua Tagovailoa, throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns as the Crimson Tide demolished Arkansas by a score of 41-0 at halftime. Now Alabama will have a week off as Tagovailoa looks to get healthy enough to play versus LSU in a couple of Saturdays.

 

3. LSU Tigers (8-0) | Last week: 3

LSU passed another top-ten SEC test with their 23-20 home victory over Auburn, and they arguably own the most impressive resume in the country after a road win at a then-ranked Texas team and home wins over Florida and Auburn. Joe Burrow has made clutch plays all season, and he’s the clear Heisman frontrunner as the Tigers head into a bye before the huge game at Tuscaloosa.

 

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) | Last week: 4

No team has been a match for Ohio State this season, and the Buckeyes put up 38 points on Wisconsin’s No. 1 ranked defense entering the game. Led by superstar defensive end Chase Young, Ohio State is now the nation’s top scoring defense, giving up just 7.9 points per game after limiting the Badgers to seven points. The talent of Ryan Day’s squad has overwhelmed all eight opponents this season, and that should remain the case this weekend against Maryland.

 

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-0) | Last week: 6 (+1)

Penn State was leaped by Ohio State, but they still have the No. 2 scoring defense (9.6 points allowed per game) after topping Michigan State in East Lansing, 28-3. The Nittany Lions are 8-0 for the first time since 2008 (under Joe Paterno), and now they’ll have the bye to prepare for a potential top-ten matchup at Minnesota on November 9.

 

6. Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) | Last week: 7 (+1)

Winning the SEC will almost certainly get you into the Playoff regardless, but Georgia is creeping up the rankings after being joined by Oklahoma as a top-five team to lose to an unranked conference opponent this season. Georgia’s home loss was arguably worse, but things will work themselves out this Saturday versus Florida. Quarterback Jake Fromm could give the Bulldogs the edge, but playmakers must step up on the outside.

 

7. Florida Gators (7-1) | Last week: 8 (+1)

Assuming Clemson and Ohio State take care of business, the winner of the Georgia-Florida matchup will likely be the clear No. 6 team in the first CFP Rankings next week. The Gators defense has had some struggles the last couple of games, but they must keep Georgia in third-and-long situations to make things more difficult on Fromm and company. It’ll be interesting to watch how Kyle Trask, who has done a really nice job filling in for Feleipe Franks, plays at quarterback for Florida.

 

8. Oregon Ducks (7-1) | Last week: 10 (+2)

C.J. Verdell ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns (on 23 attempts for an 11.2 average) in Oregon’s close victory over Washington State, and the walk-off field goal by Camden Lewis kept the Ducks’ playoff hopes very much alive. With a more impressive loss (against Auburn in a nail-biter to open the season), Oregon should clearly be in position to get into the Playoff over Oklahoma at this point, but it’ll be intriguing to see how the Committee compares the resumes.

 

9. Baylor Bears (7-0) | Last week: NR

These final two spots were the most difficult to decide, as Auburn, Minnesota, and Utah are all in the mix. Baylor had the week off, but they move up to No. 9 after their 7-0 start. They’ve had some close calls this season, but Matt Rhule’s team gets three of its final five regular season games at home—including a key November 16 matchup against Oklahoma.

 

10. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) | Last week: 5 (-5)

The Oklahoma defense has been better than expected for most of this season, but the unit struggled mightily in the team’s stunning loss to Kansas State. It felt inevitable that OU would make it a game in the end when they were down 48-30, but they missed recovering the onside kick by about half-a-yard—the bottom line is you can’t expect to win games when you give up 48 points. There’s still a lot of football to be played, and the Sooners are still in it, but they’d almost certainly have to be behind a one-loss Pac-12 champion Oregon team in the end.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 10)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 10)

Where does Ohio State’s Chase Young rank in the Heisman Trophy watch after his dominant performance in the Buckeyes’ win over Wisconsin?

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 1

LSU is now the No. 1 team in the country, and Joe Burrow is the team’s leader coming off another strong showing with one touchdown passing and one touchdown rushing against a stingy Auburn defense. The Tigers now have a bye week ahead of the huge No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup at Alabama, but Burrow will clearly be in the driver’s seat for the Heisman Trophy entering November.

 

Season stats:

78.8% | 2,805 PASS YDS | 30 PASS TD | 4 INT

52 CAR | 125 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 2.4 AVG

 

2. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 2

Jalen Hurts basically did everything he could to bring Oklahoma back against Kansas State, and he remains in the second spot in the Heisman watch after totaling 491 yards and four touchdowns in the loss—the defense just did not back him up, giving up 48 points to the Wildcats. Hurts is still very much alive in the Heisman race, but the Sooners cannot afford to lose another game.

 

Season stats:

73.9% | 2,469 PASS YDS | 21 PASS TD | 3 INT

103 CAR | 801 RUSH YDS | 13 RUSH TD | 7.8 AVG

 

3. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 3

After missing one game with his ankle injury, Tua Tagovailoa will almost certainly need to return for the huge November 9 matchup against LSU to have a shot at the Heisman. But he’s still very much alive if he can get on the field and help lead the Crimson Tide to victory. Tua will take this extra week to rest up.

 

Season stats:

74.7% | 2,166 PASS YDS | 27 PASS TD | 2 INT

18 CAR | 30 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 1.7 AVG

 

4. Chase Young | Ohio State | Junior | Last week: NR

Chase Young’s dominant 4.0-sack performance helps puts him squarely in the Heisman Trophy race as a defensive player despite it already being a crowded field on the offensive side of the ball. Young has been nearly unblockable this season, with 13.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in just eight games. If Young continues to perform against top competition, he’ll find himself in New York as a Heisman finalist.

 

Season stats:

29 TKL | 15.5 TFL | 13.5 SACK | 5 FF

 

5. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 5

Justin Fields gets leaped by his teammate Chase Young, but he stays slightly ahead of Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor and Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert for the final spot on the list. Fields benefits from playing with a stacked supporting cast including a strong rushing attack led by J.K. Dobbins, but the sophomore quarterback is putting up numbers for one of the top teams in the country.

 

Season stats:

68.8% | 1,659 PASS YDS | 24 PASS TD | 1 INT

76 CAR | 319 RUSH YDS | 9 RUSH TD | 4.2 AVG

 

*NOTE: White Wolf is not affiliated with the Heisman Trophy. This article is a staff opinion and is not an official Heisman Trophy watch.

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 9

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 9

After a crazy weekend of college football that saw massive favorite Wisconsin lose to Illinois, which team makes it into the top ten for the final weekend of October?

 

1. Clemson Tigers (7-0) | Last week: 1

Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence again had some struggles last week against Louisville, throwing a couple more interceptions on deep shots to the end zone. Lawrence might be pressing a bit after a slow start following his phenomenal freshman season, but Clemson still had no issue blowing out the Cardinals. The defense was dominant, and Travis Etienne had 192 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0) | Last week: 2

The crazy week included another high-ankle sprain for Tua Tagovailoa—the same injury he had last season, but on the other leg. Tua had the same procedure—designed to speed up the recovery time and to make the ankle stronger to help prevent future injuries—last year, so he’ll know what he’s going through this time. Mac Jones will lead the Crimson Tide this week against Arkansas, and the hope is that Tagovailoa is ready for a huge potential top-two matchup with LSU in their next game on November 9.

 

3. LSU Tigers (7-0) | Last week: 3

LSU’s game this weekend before the bye week should be much more challenging than Alabama’s, as they’ll host Auburn in another top-ten SEC matchup this Saturday. Joe Burrow already set the program record for single-season touchdown passes (29) in the Tigers’ revamped offense, and the team’s defense will look to get after true freshman quarterback Bo Nix.

 

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0) | Last week: 4

The Buckeyes did not look ahead to their big game against Wisconsin, as they had little issue in their 52-3 rout at Northwestern last Friday night. Ohio State now boasts the No. 2 scoring defense in the nation (8.0 points per game), and they’ll face a Wisconsin team that still ranks No. 1 (7.6 points per game) despite their loss. This will undoubtedly be the biggest test of Justin Fields’ career to this point.

 

5. Oklahoma Sooners (7-0) | Last week: 5

The Oklahoma defense continues to play well, holding West Virginia to 14 points while Jalen Hurts (five total touchdowns) and the offense put up 52 points to improve to 7-0. The Sooners are 23rd in the nation in scoring defense (19.4 points per game), and they’re only allowing 326.3 yards per game despite playing in the Big 12. They’ll face a 4-2 Kansas State team this Saturday.

 

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0) | Last week: 7 (+1)

K.J. Hamler starred in Penn State’s 28-21 win over Michigan, with 108 receiving yards and two touchdowns as well as the game-sealing first-down run where he showed great toughness on the inside. The Wolverines fought back to make it a game after the Nittany Lions jumped to an early lead, but quarterback Sean Clifford and company made timely plays to secure a second consecutive ranked win.

 

7. Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) | Last week: 8 (+1)

Following their first loss of the season, Georgia clearly came out angry, determined, and ready to make a statement; the defense certainly did that, shutting out Kentucky while allowing just 17 passing yards. It took the offense until the second half to get going, but they rode the rushing attack with D’Andre Swift (179 yards and two touchdowns) and Brian Herrien (60 yards and one touchdown) to wear down the UK defense.

 

8. Florida Gators (7-1) | Last week: 9 (+1)

Kyle Trask threw four touchdowns and led the Gators to 21 fourth-quarter points in their bounce-back victory over South Carolina. However, Florida’s run defense is a bit of a concern after another week of giving up chunk plays on the ground, this time to former Clemson running back Tavien Feaster (25 carries, 175 yards, one touchdown). They’ll need to get it sorted out quickly for the Georgia-Florida game.

 

9. Auburn Tigers (6-1) | Last week: 10 (+1)

Coming off a bye week, Auburn bounced back from their own top-ten SEC loss with a 51-10 drubbing of Arkansas. Bo Nix might have had his best game of his true freshman campaign to this point, and he’ll have to play well at Death Valley this weekend. Amazingly, Auburn set the FBS record for consecutive made PATs (303) before missing the very next attempt.

 

10. Oregon Ducks (6-1) | Last week: NR

Oregon rallied for a 21-10 second half to top Washington and improve to 6-1 overall while remaining unbeaten in the Pac-12 this season. The Ducks defense, which has been superb this year, struggled in the first half, but they tightened up and made key stops late. Justin Herbert threw four touchdowns in the victory, and the senior quarterback and his hometown squad remain alive in the Playoff race.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 9)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 9)

The extremely competitive Heisman Trophy race continues to heat up after an injury to Tua Tagovailoa and Wisconsin’s first loss of the season.

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 1

It’s the middle of October, but Joe Burrow has already set LSU’s school record for touchdown passes in a season after throwing four touchdowns at Mississippi State to bring his season total to 29 scores through the air. Burrow hit four different targets for his four touchdowns, and the Tigers’ offense again looked completely different than it has in years past—Burrow’s play is probably the main reason for that.

 

Season stats:

79.4% | 2,484 PASS YDS | 29 PASS TD | 3 INT

39 CAR | 94 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 2.4 AVG

 

2. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 3 (+1)

Jalen Hurts jumps back up to the second spot in this week’s Heisman Trophy candidate rankings, as he totaled another five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) in Oklahoma’s rout of West Virginia. Hurts was exceptional as a passer, going 16/17 for 316 yards and the three scores, and he again led the team in rushing. Through just seven games, Hurts has 20 touchdowns passing and ten touchdowns rushing.

 

Season stats:

74.0% | 2,074 PASS YDS | 20 PASS TD | 3 INT

84 CAR | 705 RUSH YDS | 10 RUSH TD | 8.4 AVG

 

3. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 2 (-1)

There’s a chance Tua Tagovailoa continues to fall in the Heisman rankings depending on how much time he misses with his high-ankle sprain. This is the opposite ankle that Tua injured last season, and he had the same surgery as last year to fix the issue—it might be difficult for someone that undergoes surgery in middle of the season to win the Heisman, especially in a year this crowded. Tua will miss this week, but the hope is he can return to face LSU in Alabama’s next game after the team has a bye week.

 

Season stats:

74.7% | 2,166 PASS YDS | 27 PASS TD | 2 INT

18 CAR | 30 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 1.7 AVG

 

4. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Last week: 4

A loss for Wisconsin might hurt Jonathan Taylor’s Heisman candidacy overall because an undefeated season would have been massive in a tight race, but the star running back did his part with 132 rushing yards and a touchdown in the loss to Illinois. Taylor has a prime opportunity to create a memorable moment when the Badgers look to bounce back in Columbus this weekend.

 

Season stats:

157 CAR | 957 RUSH YDS | 15 RUSH TD | 6.1 AVG

16 REC | 138 REC YDS | 4 REC TD | 8.6 AVG

 

5. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 5

Meanwhile, Justin Fields has a chance to make a statement of his own against the stingy Wisconsin defense this Saturday, as it should be the biggest test of the season for Ohio State after coasting through the early schedule with all wins by three possessions or more. Fields might break all the way into the top three if he has an outstanding game this weekend in a Buckeyes win.

 

Season stats:

70.7% | 1,492 PASS YDS | 22 PASS TD | 1 INT

63 CAR | 291 RUSH YDS | 8 RUSH TD | 4.6 AVG

 

*NOTE: White Wolf is not affiliated with the Heisman Trophy. This article is a staff opinion and is not an official Heisman Trophy watch.

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 8

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 8

How far do the Georgia Bulldogs drop in this week’s college football power rankings after their stunning home loss to South Carolina?

 

1. Clemson Tigers (6-0) | Last week: 1

Clemson came off the bye and completely dominated against ACC rival Florida State, scoring 14 points in each of the first three quarters while jumping out to a 42-0 lead. The game could have been an even bigger blowout than the 45-14 final score, but the Tigers took their foot off the gas a bit after their six-touchdown lead was established just over 35 minutes into the game. After a relatively sluggish open to the season, Clemson might start destroying teams now.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) | Last week: 2

In a ranked SEC matchup on the road at College Station, Alabama had little trouble taking care of Texas A&M to improve to 6-0. Tua Tagovailoa threw another four touchdowns in the victory, but the Crimson Tide had a little more balance on offense, with Najee Harris (114 yards on 20 carries) and Brian Robinson Jr. (51 yards and a touchdown on ten carries) getting their most extensive work of the season.

 

3. LSU Tigers (6-0) | Last week: 4 (+1)

With two top-ten wins this season (on the road at Texas and at home against Florida), there’s a strong case for LSU being in the top spot of the power rankings. The defense is somewhat concerning, but the Tigers’ rushing attack led by Clyde Edwards-Helaire (134 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Gators) helped make the offense look unstoppable while complementing Joe Burrow and the passing game.

 

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) | Last week: 5 (+1)

Ohio State had off last week, and they’ll now play a Friday night game at Northwestern. The Buckeyes should be able to improve to 7-0, but they can’t look ahead to an October 26 matchup with Wisconsin.

 

5. Oklahoma Sooners (6-0) | Last week: 6 (+1)

Anything can happen, and games toward the end of the season—including at Waco and at Stillwater—won’t be cakewalks, but the Sooners passed what will likely be their biggest test of the regular season with a Red River Showdown win versus Texas. While the Longhorns came back and had a shot at the end, Oklahoma was in full control of the game in large part because of the play of their defense. If OU plays defense like they did last Saturday, this could be their best team under Lincoln Riley.

 

6. Wisconsin Badgers (6-0) | Last week: 7 (+1)

Wisconsin is off to a 6-0 start, and their games haven’t even been close. The Badgers own all more-than-one-possession victories by scores of 49-0, 61-0, 35-14, 24-15, 48-0, and 38-0, with the second-best point differential in the nation. The elite defense has scored as many touchdowns (four) as it has given up (four), which is mind-boggling—that, paired with an offense led by Heisman hopeful running back Jonathan Taylor, makes the Badgers a scary team.

 

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0) | Last week: 10 (+3)

The Nittany Lion defense has not been quite as impressive as Wisconsin’s, but they had another outstanding game in last Saturday night’s win at Iowa (a very difficult place to play). Penn State hasn’t allowed more than 13 points in a game this season, and they’re behind only Wisconsin in points allowed per game this season (8.2). It’s a White Out this weekend in Happy Valley when Penn State hosts Michigan.

 

8. Georgia Bulldogs (5-1) | Last week: 3 (-5)

That was obviously a very disappointing loss for the Bulldogs, but by no means does it end the school’s College Football Playoff chances this season. They’ll have as many as four ranked SEC matchups over their final six games, including road games against Florida and Auburn. But Georgia will need to figure out some things offensively, as they’ve had trouble getting chunk plays down the field after losing a few receivers to the NFL in the past couple of seasons.

 

9. Florida Gators (6-1) | Last week: 8 (-1)

Florida drops just one spot after their first loss of the season in Death Valley, and they’re another team that should remain in the Playoff mix if they finish their SEC slate without another loss. Quarterback Kyle Trask played well in the Gators’ defeat, and the offense is in good hands with him (and Emory Jones mixing in) targeting talented playmakers on the outside. The defense will look to get back on track this week against South Carolina before a matchup with Georgia.

 

10. Auburn Tigers (5-1) | Last week: NR

Coming off a bye, Auburn is back in the top ten after they lost to Florida a couple of weeks ago, and they still have games versus LSU, Georgia, and Alabama left on the schedule—so there’s certainly still hope for them in the Playoff discussion. True freshman Bo Nix might have to play out of his mind for the Tigers to even get one win in that span, but the first order of business is winning this Saturday at Arkansas.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 8)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 8)

After another top-ten win for LSU, Joe Burrow reclaims the top spot in the Heisman Trophy rankings for the middle of October.

 

1. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 2 (+1)

Facing a tough Florida defense, Joe Burrow was again outstanding for LSU, throwing for 293 yards and three touchdowns with just three incompletions. The Tigers scored 21 points in each half against the Gators, and Burrow leads a team that’s currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest AP poll.

 

Season stats:

79.6% | 2,157 PASS YDS | 25 PASS TD | 3 INT

35 CAR | 105 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 3.0 AVG

 

2. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 1 (-1)

Tua Tagovailoa’s interception-less season came to an end, and he was held to under 300 yards in Alabama’s win over Texas A&M. But the junior quarterback still tossed another four touchdowns, and he has 29 total scores with just the one interception on the season. It’s surprising that Tua has not done more damage with his legs this season, but he hasn’t had to do much running around when he can instead distribute the ball to his elite weapons on the outside.

 

Season stats:

73.6% | 2,011 PASS YDS | 27 PASS TD | 1 INT

17 CAR | 35 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 2.1 AVG

 

3. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Last week: 3

Former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts is doing plenty as a runner for the Sooners this season, as he’s by far the team’s leading rusher with 630 yards, and he’s coming off a 17-carry, 131-yard, one-touchdown performance on the ground along with 235 yards and three touchdowns passing in Oklahoma’s Red River Showdown win. It was not Hurts’ sharpest game passing, but it was another excellent performance that also included a memorable highlight play when he put the ball behind his back while escaping a sack.

 

Season stats:

71.5% | 1,758 PASS YDS | 17 PASS TD | 3 INT

74 CAR | 630 RUSH YDS | 8 RUSH TD | 8.5 AVG

 

4. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Last week: 4

Michigan State did a nice job of limiting Jonathan Taylor on the ground, but he still had 80 yards and a couple of touchdowns while adding 22 yards as a receiver. Taylor is now up to 18 total touchdowns this season, and he’ll look to have a bigger outing overall this Saturday when the Badgers face Illinois.

 

Season stats:

129 CAR | 825 RUSH YDS | 14 RUSH TD | 6.4 AVG

15 REC | 136 REC YDS | 4 REC TD | 9.1 AVG

 

5. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Last week: 5

Justin Fields and the Buckeyes were off over the weekend, but the transfer quarterback remains in the thick of the Heisman race with 26 total touchdowns in six games.

 

Season stats:

69.5% | 1,298 PASS YDS | 18 PASS TD | 1 INT

57 CAR | 283 RUSH YDS | 8 RUSH TD | 5.0 AVG

 

*NOTE: White Wolf is not affiliated with the Heisman Trophy. This article is a staff opinion and is not an official Heisman Trophy watch.