College Quarterbacks Trending Up Coming into The 2017 CFB Season

It’s the dog days of college football. We are a few weeks from removed spring ball and a few weeks away from the start of the summer practice for your favorite team. And every year the same question is posed: Which college quarterbacks are trending up?

By the end of the college football year come back to this article, and see which college quarterbacks stayed calm in the pocket or got sacked. Let’s get into the list:

Jake Bentley- South Carolina

Photo By: Gerry Melendez/ The State

By the end of the SEC year there were three young quarterbacks emerging onto the scene, South Carolina’s Jake Bentley, Georgia’s Jacob Eason and Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald. Bentley is on my list because he has proven to me to be a more effective passer than those three in only six games. And Gamecock Central‘s Collyn Taylor agrees with me. When we talked I asked him whose skills are you more confident in between these three and he said Bentley.

“I think I’d be more confident in Bentley’s skills. He was supposed to be in high school last season and came in made some phenomenal throws without a good offensive line. He’s shown he has an SEC caliber arm and can learn on the fly. If he continues to develop like he has been, he could be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference next season,” said Taylor.

Last year, Bentley really only had one bad game. When the Gamecocks visited their upstate rival Clemson, no one played well. But besides that game he shows so much promise.

Coming into the season, he didn’t start but when came in he balled out. The first three weeks Bentley did something USC hasn’t seen since 2014, three wins in a row. Remember, this guy still could have been playing in high school. He started the last seven games and won four of those games. His best game being against the Missouri Tigers. He threw for 254 yards on over 70 percent passing (second game in a row he did it) and two touchdowns.

More than anything he has given USC fans something to believe in. From a pure passing set, he is already one of the best QBs in Gamecock history. With the Gamecocks riding in the “Bentley”, they should be fighting for a SEC East title.

Mason Rudolph- Oklahoma State

Photo By: Sue Ogrocki/ AP

From a university in South Carolina to kid from the Palmetto State, Mason Rudolph has been one of my favorite quarterbacks since I saw him take down 4-Star QB and then-Georgia commit Jacob Park from my high school alma mater, Stratford High.

Last year he backed up his good 2015 campaign with a great 2016 campaign. He increased in completion, attempts, yards, touchdowns and QB rating. And also he had less interceptions down from a 9 in 2015 to only 4 in 2016. He has turned it up and has placed OK State back on the map for more than Mike Gundy telling us he is 40.

Last year his most impressive game had to be when outlasted Patrick Mahomes and Texas Tech and won 45-44. He had a higher completion rate and more yards (less attempts) than future first rounder Mahomes. Rudolph finished the game with 395 yards on 71.4 percent passing and a passer rating of 213.5.

He is definitely one of the better quarterbacks Gundy has had in Stillwater but there is still one obstacle in Rudolph’s way: Baker Mayfield and his Oklahoma Sooners.

Deondre Francois- Florida State

Photo By: Joe Rondone/ Democrat

From one 10-3 quarterback to another, Deondre Francois had one heck of a start to his collegiate career last year. Freshman Francois jumped out the gate in a neutral site game against of the better college quarterbacks Chad Kelly and came out battered, scarred and victorious.

Even since that first game, fans across the nation could tell he would be special. In one year, he is already the premier quarterback in the ACC. He finished the season with 3350 yards, 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also finished the season out strong winning his last five games.

His most impressive game to me, besides the Ole Miss game, was his first trip to Miami against a good talent in Brad Kaaya quarterbacking the Hurricanes. After the halftime break, he came back down 13-3 to rival Miami. In the third quarter, he led his Seminoles down the field twice for two passing touchdowns in consecutive drives. Both drives starting in Seminoles territory.

Last year he won over the fans and his fellow players and this year he has to win some championships. The ACC is his for the taking and if he can win the ACC he will be in the College Football Playoff.

Trace McSorley- Penn State

Photo By: Abby Drey/ Centre Daily Times via AP

Another 10-3 quarterback, Trace McSorley of Penn State. He and coach James Franklin are restoring the winning ways of Penn State. More or less 2016 was McSorley’s “freshman” campaign. In 2015, he only attempted 40 passes. In 2016, he took college football by storm. He finished with 29 touchdowns, 3614 yards and only 8 interceptions. He probably would not like me saying this but he reminds me of the college-Johnny Manziel/Baker Mayfield QB build. All three are short, true dual threat, accurate and flamboyant. They are big time players and I like that about them.

No better game speaks to that then the 2017 Rose Bowl. It was such a beautiful game. Going back and forth, tooth and nail with the USC Trojans on the biggest stage Penn State has been on in a while. Even though he fell short, he impressed many that night. He finished with 254 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. From 11:44 left in the second quarter to 1:55 left in the third quarter, Penn State scored on seven straight possessions. McSorley had all five of his touchdowns in that span.

Many Nittany Lion fans will remember his three interceptions but he had a adjusted QBR of over 70 and a completion rate over 60 in the game as well.

But the quarterback on the other side of this game might be trending even higher than McSorley.

Sam Darnold- Southern California

Photo By: Mark J. Terrill/ AP

The name everyone has been waiting for: Sam Darnold of Southern California. He didn’t start until Week 4. And since Week 4, the Trojans have not taken an L. Darnold led the Trojans to nine straight wins, which is the second longest active winning streak in college football. In that nine game span, only two games were decided by less than 10 points. He finished the season with 3086 yards, 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on over 67 percent passing.

Just like Trace McSorley, his best game was the 2017 Rose Bowl. He had 453 yards passing, five passing touchdowns and one interceptions. His most important passing touchdown came late in the fourth quarter. He drove his team 80 yards down the field in 39 seconds to tie up the game with his fifth passing touchdown. Eventually, Matt Boermeester would hit the 46-yard field goal and win the game.

Coming into his redshirt sophomore year, he is expected to lead the Trojans to their former glory. Also he has the expectations of being the odds on favorite as the best quarterback coming into the 2018 NFL Draft. Let’s see if he can keep trending up this season.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Terrance!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Oakland Raiders 2017 Draft Profile

The Game Haus is back with another edition of Draftmas. This is the 22nd edition of Draftmas and it focuses on the Oakland Raiders.

SUMMARY

Courtesy of USATSI

The Oakland Raiders had one of their best seasons since 2002. The 2017 Raiders went 12-4 but their postseason seemed to end for them before they even started. When Derek Carr went down in Week 16, Raider Nation and probably even the players and coaches knew their was no way to go far in the postseason. With Connor Cook behind center, the Raiders lost their first playoff game since 2002. The 2018 Raiders do have a lot of great pieces coming back to the team. Seven Raiders went to the Pro Bowl, a franchise-high since 1991, and the most players for any team in 2017.

PICKS AND NEEDS

The Raiders have eight picks in this draft, with one in each of the first six rounds and in the seventh round they have two picks.

First Round: (1) No. 24

Second Round: (1) No. 56

Third Round: (1) No. 88

Fourth Round: (1) No. 129

Fifth Round: (1) No. 168

Sixth Round: (1) No. 208

Seventh Round: (2) No. 242 and No. 244

Offense:

Running Back: Yes, the Raiders do likely have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield now, but that still doesn’t fill the void in the at the running back position. I could see the Raiders finding a back later in the draft, most likely late Day 2.

Defense:

Middle Linebacker: The Raiders need a rugged and power middle linebacker in that 3-4 scheme. They have Pro Bowler Khalil Mack on the outside, but they need a force up the middle as well.

Conrnerback: In this league, you can never have too many good corners. Oakland could definitely use another good corner to play with Sean Smith and complete their secondary.

Defensive Tackle:  The defensive tackles on this roster are awful, but they could get whole lot better. Defensive tackle is not a major concern, but the Raiders could get some value from this deep pool of defensive tackles in the draft.

TARGETS AND THOUGHTS

These predictions are without trades.

First Round, Pick 24: Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida

If Jarrad Davis didn’t have some durability issues he could be a Top 15 pick, but most likely he could slip into the late first round to the Oakland Raiders. He shows tremendous Football IQ as he breaks down plays and then attacks. He is very good against the run and his acceleration and closing speed makes him a very good blitzing inside linebacker. Davis also has some pretty fluid hips and can stick with most tight ends and some slot receivers. When you think of middle linebacker dawning the black and sliver, you think of an intimating presence. Davis has that. He wore a neck roll and didn’t wear gloves. That is the pure definition of a nasty Oakland Raider 3-4 inside linebacker.

Second Round, Pick 55: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Two Florida Gators back to back. Teez Tabor another one of the great cornerbacks Will Muschamp played in The Swamp before his departure. Tabor teases the quarterback into making bad plays and he makes them pay for it. And when you turn on the tape, you see that. He plays with the supreme confidence that every great NFL corner has. He has very good ball skills and will come back down with the ball in his hands more times than the offensive player.

Tabor has the size to play the game and his style of play matches up very well with how the Raiders want to us their corners. He can definitely cover the third of the field and shut down most opposing number one and number two receivers right now in the league. And to be a Raider, you have to have some baggage. It’s how Al Davis would have liked it.

Third Round, Pick 88: Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson

If you need a defensive lineman, one of your first stops is definitely Clemson, S.C. Clemson has produced nine Top 100 defensive linemen since 2007. Last year Watkins led the National Champion Clemson Tigers in sacks from the interior. He is also sneaky athletic and in the 3-4 disguise can help the defense and help Khalil Mack get more chances to get one-on-one matchups.

CONCLUSION

The Raiders were one injury from a very interesting playoff push. If Derek Carr can come back healthy and if they follow this draft profile, they should have a season that could contend with the 2017 season.

You can read all previous Draftmas profiles here.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

 

More Than Just Football: If Colin Kaepernick Goes to the Chicago Bears

The Colin Kaepernick saga is coming to a close in San Francisco on March 9. The 49ers want to go in a new direction that won’t include the last 49ers quarterback to make it to a Super Bowl since Hall of Famer Steve Young.

Where will he go? Hopefully to another historic franchise on the downslide. More than just football, Colin Kaepernick to the Chicago Bears is a match made in heaven.

The Bears have been shopping Jay Cutler since the end of the season. Cutler has been the starting quarterback for the Bears for eight seasons. Chicago is expected to either trade or release him once he is healthy.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Cutler is due $13 million for next season. Whenever he passes the medical clearance, the Bears will do what they have to do.

The move to San Francisco could bring Cutler closer to the Shanahan family once again. Newly acquired head coach Kyle Shanahan is the son of Mike Shanahan. Mike Shanahan coached and drafted Cutler in Denver. Mike and his offense produced arguably the best Jay Culter we have seen in 2008.

In 2008, Cutler produced career highs in attempts, completions and yards. Why wouldn’t he want to go San Francisco?

Now back to Kaepernick.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/ AP

Kaepernick’s involvement in activism would be perfect for the Windy City. A city that is riddled with crime and violence and disappointing football seasons needs a person and a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick. It is also a good move for Kaepernick on the field.

The Bears have an upcoming defense and a good bit of offensive players that suit what Kaepernick can do. They have two big and shifty running backs in Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford.

They possibly have two big body deep threats on the edge with Kevin White and Alshon Jeffery. He also has a big and fast tight end in Zach Miller. It is similar to the roster he had in his early years in San Francisco.

The move that could bring Kaepernick to the Bears would be for so much more than football. This is one of the times where politics and sports do mix.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and sports articles from other great TGH writers along with Terrance!

The Hypocrisy of College Football

Eric Gay/ AP

Eric Gay/ AP

College football is my favorite sport and there is probably nothing that can change it, but the hypocrisy of college football is getting out of hand. I fully understand coaches breaking those hundreds of promises they make to players every year, like Ed Oliver, and leave “small” schools and go to “big” schools. They are chasing money and accomplishments. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone person in America has their right to pursue prosperity, except college football players.

It seems silly to me when coaches can go and get a future job, when he already has a preexisting job at school.

*cough Lane Kiffin cough*

He still has a possibility to coach two more games. But when Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery decide not to play in a meaningless bowl game, everyone wants to “protect the intergrity of the game.” That’s a bunch of bologna.

Courtesy of USATSI

Courtesy of USATSI

Think about last year’s Fiesta Bowl game, when Ohio State played Norte Dame. Former standout linebacker Jaylon Smith completely obliterated his knee playing in a big time bowl. Now look at him.

Was he drafted? Yes. Did Notre Dame do right by Smith? Yes, Notre Dame did properly compensate the former linebacker.

But, that $900,000 will never compare to the money a healthy Smith would have made in the NFL. He has even said himself that if he could go back to January 1, 2016, he would play again. Even though Smith feels that way about his and his former teammates, he still forwent his senior year and entered the draft.

But of course, he would play the game again. It was the Fiesta Bowl against Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, and other prime offensive players from The Ohio State University in a New Year’s Six Bowl. It was a huge stage to play on. That game was a barometer test for him. NFL scouts wanted to see if he could tackle and cover a great running back like Elliott. He needed that game.

Fournette and McCaffrey do not need to play in their bowl games to show their worth. Fournette has been a top five pick since last year. And after McCaffrey’s last year Rose Bowl 368 all-purpose yard performance, he needs to show nothing else.

If NFL GMs don’t want to pick them just because they skipped one game, that’s their prerogative. But I would ask them this question: What if they both played their bowl game and entered the draft, as juniors, wouldn’t they still be “quitting” on their team?

Bill Feig/ Advocate.com

Bill Feig/ Advocate.com

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

I love College Football but I am not blind to the hypocrisy of college football. They let coaches leave schools under contract and coach the next year, but if Ed Oliver wanted to leave Houston he would have to wait a year to play college football again. That’s not fair. And neither is frowning upon players who want to not harm their NFL draft stock. If these players want to finally pursue a purse, what’s so wrong with that?

A Happy Game Haus Thankgiving

We decided a couple of weeks ago that we wanted to do a Thanksgiving piece and give our readers a chance to get to know us a little better! Below are some of the staff members of TGH telling you all what they are thankful for this holiday season. From Our Haus to Yours, have a very happy Game Haus Thanksgiving!

Jared MacAdam- Head of Esports: Well, I’ll go first, being the only Canadian and my Thanksgiving has passed quite some time ago. I’m thankful for the way this site has grown since its inception, how many great writers we’ve had and all the awesome content we’ve produced. I’m also immensely thankful for the way esports has matured in the past year; we’re seeing leaps and strides in key areas like players well being and stability. It’s an exciting thing to experience and to have a little part in. I’m also thankful for all the weirdos in the Front Office who lovingly mock my Canadianisms.

Josh Burris – Editor: I am thankful for sports. I am a proud Cleveland fan and with the exception of the Browns, good things are happening with our teams. I’m thankful I got to see a Cleveland team win a title. I am also thankful for my family and friendships I have at home, school, and from this site.

Ryan Moran – CFO: I am thankful for family, friends, and football. I am also thankful to be working for TGH and to belong to such an exciting community of sports and esports. I am also thankful of the unifying power of sports and their ability to bring anybody together win or lose.

Tim Miller – Vice President: Of course, when talking about being thankful, I have to be thankful for the opportunity to help lead The Game Haus. I’m also thankful to root for the mighty Ohio State Buckeye football team, and that Marvin Lewis should get fired after this year. I’m also thankful for a loving family and loving girlfriend. Finally, I’m thankful to live in a great country with freedoms like no other (no matter how you feel currently), and to go to a solid, christian university in Cedarville University.

Robert Hanes- President: While these last 365 days have been some of the most challenging times in my life, I can say that I have so many things to be grateful for. To start, everyone here at The Game Haus. These people are incredible, as you can read in their paragraphs of what they are thankful for. They have all gone through many things and have worked their butts off while working here. So thank you to all of the Front Office Members, Writers, Podcasters, and League Team Members! I am also very thankful for my friends. They have helped me through some tough times throughout the last year and I do not know where I would be without them. The same can be said for my Father, Mother and Sister. They have been my rocks as I have struggled many times this year. Lastly I am thankful to God and his son, while it sounds cheesy I know they have been with me every step of the way. From Our Haus to Yours, thank you and have a wonderful holiday season!

Terrance Singleton- Social Media Director: I am thankful for the life God has given me. Every time the holiday season comes around I think about how easily I couldn’t be here. My grandfather died on November 19, 2010 right before Thanksgiving. And I was in a pretty bad car accident on December 27, 2012 that broke my neck and cut my scalp open. So every time the holiday season rolls around I always think about how precious life, family, friends, and faith are important in my life and everyone’s life. So on this Thanksgiving when you are watching NFL football games and eating food until you can’t move, tell your loved ones how much you love them because tomorrow is not promised.

Dylan Streibig- NFL Writer: Whether we realize it or not, we all have a lot to be thankful for.  I am no exception this Thanksgiving or any other year. I am thankful to have a roof over my head and a family that loves me. I am grateful for the fantastic sporting events that go on all around the world. They provide me a momentary escape from my life with a physical disability. I am also thankful for my dog and the fact that I am now a published sports writer thanks to The Game Haus. Most of all, I am thankful for the loyalty of my close friends who do not give up on me, even when I give up on myself.

Matthew Hagan- Columnist: I’m thankful for the opportunity The Game Haus has presented me with. Writing about my favorite sport, football, and offering me a column has been one of the best things in my life. I am thankful to have parents, family and friends support while trying to get a degree in college. My mom has been the biggest reason I have made it this far and I am so thankful that I get to fly back to Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with her. I am also thankful I got to see the Cubs win a World Series and attend the victory parade in Chicago. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I am thankful for all the opportunities I have had in this amazing country. I am proud to be an American and this Thanksgiving is going to be one of the best ever. Thank you to everyone who reads my articles, weather you agree or disagree with them. I want to wish anyone who reads this, and anyone who may not, a safe, fun and amazing Thanksgiving.

Alex Keller- Recruitment and Retention: What am I thankful for? Where can I even begin… I guess it would have to be with my family and friends. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if not for their love and support. But it’s so much more than that… the opportunity to even attend an institution like Georgia Tech, let alone graduate from it is an experience I’m incredibly thankful for. And of course, I have to thank everyone who’s been a part of making my experience with TGH so awesome. So, from our haus to yours, have a Happy Game Haus Thanksgiving everybody.

College Football Teams as Thanksgiving Food

The top four in College Football are the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Michigan Wolverines, and the Clemson Tigers. Some of the most famous Thanksgiving foods are turkey, macaroni and cheese, dressing, and stuffing. So which team is which food? It’s team to dig in. FYI: There is a difference in dressing and stuffing.

Alabama Crimson Tide- Turkey

Courtesy of Odyssey Online

Courtesy of Odyssey Online

Alabama is obviously the turkey. The Crimson Tide is the main course of the College Football season.

As college football fans, hate it or love it, we are waiting to watch the Tide every season. Every season, turkey is the marquee food everyone is waiting to eat. You might love your dressing, stuffing, or macaroni and cheese, but to make your Thanksgiving good, you need turkey. Alabama has been the “main dish” at the College Football table for about 10 years.

Ohio State Buckeyes- Stuffing

Rick Barnes/ US Presswire

Rick Barnes/ US Presswire

Ohio State is the stuffing, not the dressing.

According to Fitday.com, the difference is that stuffing is stuffed into the turkey and takes in some of the juices from the turkey. For many years, Urban Meyer coached against Nick Saban in the SEC and they had a pretty good rivalry in the 2000’s. In those years, both coaches learned a little something from each other. So when you bite into either the turkey or the stuffing, you will taste some of the same flavors because both Thanksgiving items spent so much time together.

When you watch Ohio State and Alabama, there are some similarities. One of the main similarities is that both teams’ dominance in their respective conferences. Both teams are tops in the nation when it comes to wins and recruiting. They attract people to the table.

Michigan Wolverines- Dressing

Patrick Semansky/ AP

Patrick Semansky/ AP

Michigan is the dressing because they make their own unique taste.

Fitday’s description of dressing is when you place it in a greased pan and bake it. Dressing is by itself and makes its unique taste. Jim Harbaugh is definitely unique and makes his own style. But even though there is a difference on how it is prepared it is very similar to stuffing. Just like how Michigan and Ohio State have some similarities.

Both teams are in the Big Ten for starters. Both teams have coaches prepare their teams differently but the result on the field is almost identical.

Coach Harbaugh brings a certain intensity that makes his team fear losing and only strive for the greatest. Coach Meyer has a sense of calmness about him and that makes his team very confident when they hit the field. Both coaches make their teams feel like they are the best on any field or against any team. If you didn’t see or know how both teams prepared, you would think they were very similar.

Clemson Tigers- Macaroni and Cheese

Courtesy of AL.com

Courtesy of AL.com

The Clemson Tigers are macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese is one of those Thanksgiving food items that needs to be made by the same person every year.

We have all had that aunt or uncle that elects to make the macaroni and cheese but everyone in the family knows your mother’s mac and cheese is better. That is what Clemson is for many people. One year they could be 14-1 and only lose to Alabama in the National Championship. The next year, they could struggle against Troy, North Carolina State, and lose to Pittsburgh.

Many people think Clemson is just too unpredictable and that turns them off. That is the same thing with macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving. You never know how good it is until you bite into. It could “14-1” good or “10-1” decent.

 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Terrance!
“From Our House to Yours”

Heisman Watch

It is mid-October, which means the College Football season is heating up. We truly have a good enough body of work to look at which players are ready for a run at the legendary 25-pound trophy named Heisman.

And in no particular order, here are the players I have on my Heisman Watch List. Every week, even if I don’t write about it, I always talk about my Heisman Watch list on my new podcast Across The Goal Line with my co-host Robert McCachren.

Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

One of the greatest beginnings to a season in college football history. Jackson has otherworldly tangible talent. He leads his teams in passing yards and is the team leader in rushing yards. Through Week 7, he has passed for over 1806 yards and has rushed for 832 yards. He has 15 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns. That is only through seven weeks. Many quarterbacks won’t get 30 touchdowns this season. But, that’s what makes Lamar Jackson who he is. Jackson, at the quarterback position, is the fifth-leading rusher in the FBS and he is the FBS leader in rushing touchdowns, from the quarterback position!

Those are all of his tangible talents, but this sophomore quarterback is a leader and has the respect of his team. His team looks to him when they are down and in a jam. He is the playmaker of the offense and he does not melt under the bright lights.

The Clemson game told me everything I needed to know about Jackson. Down 28-10 at halftime, he and the offense came out on fire. They started the second half with 26 unanswered points on a very good Clemson Tiger defense. Jackson never lost composure during the whole game no matter if the score was 28-10 or 28-36. He just has that baller mentality. He never quits and he goes 100% every play he is on the field. I love it.

Even though the Clemson game didn’t end in his team’s favor, it definitely won over many of the people watching him on primetime. After the game, he didn’t throw his receiver under the bus for not getting upfield and getting the first down. Instead, he took responsibility for the loss and took the loss like the veteran leader he has grown to be.

Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson

Courtesy of Sporting News

Courtesy of Sporting News

Last year, he was the premiere athlete at the quarterback position in college football. This year, he and his offense started very slow. He struggled to be the “Deshaun Watson” that we had deemed him to be. He had a slow start to the season opening up against Auburn on the road and at home against Troy. In those two games, his completion rate has about 53% and his adjusted QBR was 60.6. That is way below the bar Watson has set for himself. From Week 3 and on we have seen more of the Deshaun Watson we expected to see.

This year when the lights shined the brightest, Watson showed up. On Week 5 against Lamar Jackson and the surging Louisville Cardinals, Watson reintroduced himself into the Heisman race. He did throw three interceptions and one on a critical drive in the fourth quarter, but in Watson-like fashion he came back after being down 38-26 to win the game 42-38. Watson manufactured two straight touchdown drives in fourth quarter to give the Tigers a chance to win the game.

Yes, he started the season very slow. However, I like that after the second game of the season against Troy, he addressed his below average play. After that press conference, we were back to seeing the Deshaun Watson we wanted to see.

Through Week 7, Watson has thrown for 1950 yards, 20 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He has also contributed 279 yards on the ground and one score. If he can continue to win and play at a high level, people will start to forget his first two games of the season.

Jalen Hurts, QB Alabama

Ron Jenkins/ Getty Images

Ron Jenkins/ Getty Images

Surprisingly enough Jalen Hurts is still not on many people’s Heisman List, but he has been on my radar since Week 2. He is the quarterback of the best team in college football. How is this kid not getting any recognition? It’s because his numbers don’t really jump at you. He has 1385 yards passing, nine passing touchdowns, and three interceptions. On the ground, he has 428 yards and eight touchdowns. The kid is very special.

He is the first freshman to start for Nick Saban, ever! He is only 18. Think about what you were doing at 18 and I mean really think about it. Many of us were flunking our first year of college Spanish, drinking at frat parties, and making “Mom, I’m broke. Please send money” signs for College Gameday. This true freshman beat the odds and became the starting quarterback of the University of Alabama.

He has passed every test in front of him with flying colors. He beat USC in his first game on a neutral field. He has played some of his best ball against Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Most noticeable game being his last game against rival Tennessee on the road when he gained 275 yards rushing and passing and scored three times using his legs. That Tennessee game is not even his best statistical game, but this game was probably the most important game he has played. It really showed the whole nation that he should be on everyone’s Heisman watch list.

Even though his numbers don’t jump off the screen at you, his play on the field does jump out to me. He is playing some of the most efficient ball from all FBS quarterbacks. He doesn’t put his team in bad situations and he has the respect of his peers. Many college quarterbacks don’t do these things, but as a freshman, Jalen Hurts is a leader of men and that can’t be measured in the stat books.

J.T. Barrett, QB Ohio State

Courtesy of Sporting News

Courtesy of Sporting News

J.T. Barrett, just like Deshaun Watson, has managed Heisman hype in previous seasons and going into this season he was definitely on everyone’s Heisman watch radar. But during this season, he hasn’t been the consistent player we know he can be. Even though he has gained 1641 total yards and has scored 20 touchdowns, it just feels like he can do so much better.

Barrett and Watson are having almost completely different years. Watson started off slow and has picked up steam now. While, Barrett started off very hot out of the gate. In two of his first four games, he completed 70% or more of his passes. Also in that four game stretch, he completed no less than 63% of his passes.

In his last two games he has not played up to his standards. In the Indiana game, he posted his career-low in adjusted QBR (46) in any game that he started and finished. In the first half of the Wisconsin game, he and his team struggled to move the ball. Barrett lead the troops in the second half and they escaped the upset at Camp Randall. All of his three touchdowns came in the second half and overtime.

Out of all four players on my Heisman watch list, J.T. Barrett has to show me he can keep the Indiana game and the first half of the Wisconsin in his rear view mirror. I think he can do that.

Heisman Watch Honorable Mention

Michigan defensive back/linebacker Jabrill Peppers is one of the most dangerous players in College Football. He is on the verge of being on my Heisman watch list. He is a game changer for the Wolverines on defense. He can play defensive back and he is even strong enough to come down and play linebacker. He also leads the country in punt return yards. The Wolverines have also used him to spark their offensive. In their last game, Peppers scored two rushing touchdowns. This player is probably the only player in the country that has the possibility to score every kind of touchdown. He can do everything on the football field. There hasn’t been a player like him since Charles Woodson, and Woodson and Peppers have something in common. The Maize and Blue.

 

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“From Our House to Yours”

Stanford v. Washington Preview

On Friday night, the Washington Huskies get their first test at home against the Stanford Cardinal. This is one of the three Top 10 matchup during Week five of College Football.

This game has the possibility to be one of the most explosive of the weekend.

John Froschauer/ AP

John Froschauer/ AP

The Washington Huskies’ offense features one of the great passing attacks in college football. Quarterback Jake Browning is tied for third most touchdown passes in college football so far. His passing offense is one of the more efficient passing attacks in college football. The Huskies have completed 71.4% of their passes, which is fifth in the nation. They are also second in the nation in quarterback rating.

Who have the Huskies played this year? They have not played a defense ranked higher than 61st in points per game, but that will change on Friday. The Huskies will play host to a Stanford defense that ranks eighth in points allowed.

That will be a deciding force in the game on Friday. It won’t be how great Christian McCaffrey is, because McCaffrey is usually lights out when the lights are the brightest. The difference will be if the Cardinal defense can get to the Browning and disrupt the passing game of the Huskies. If the Stanford defense shuts down the passing game and make the Huskies run the ball, it will be an easier game for Stanford on the road.

Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times

Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times

Stanford should escape Washington with a win because of this important stat: Since the 2010 season, both Washington and Stanford have played 23 ranked Pac-12 teams. Washington record against those opponents is 6-17. While, Stanford’s record is 17-6 against those teams.

Stanford is coming into this game with really good big game experience, while Washington’s big game experience is not too good in the recent past. David Shaw knows how to get his troops ready for a big game. And we have seen him do it countless times inside and outside of the Pac-12. Washington’s head coach, Chris Peterson, has good big game experience, but it was at Boise State, not Washington.

Washington is a team on the rise, but I will go ahead and go with the team that has done it before. So, I am picking Stanford to beat Washington in a close contest.

Stanford beats Washington 35-28.

 

Clemson v. Louisville Preview

The winner of this game will win the ACC and be the ACC representative in the College Football Playoff.

If I used that sentence in the preseason many people would think I was talking about the Clemson-Florida State game, but the game I am talking about is the Clemson-Louisville game. One of the surprise teams of the year, Louisville, will go to Death Valley and visit the reigning ACC Champions, the Clemson Tigers.

Both teams have great quarterbacks behind center. Clemson has Deshaun Watson. A year ago, Watson was the “it” quarterback of the ACC and the whole nation. Now, that quarterback is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. This year, he is lighting up the College Football landscape.

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

Lamar Jackson is on an otherworldly run right now. He has scored 25 touchdowns already and it is only the start of Week 5. Jackson is playing at level that college football has not seen in a while. His level of play has him compared to the first true spread quarterback, Michael Vick. Vick has said on Twitter that Lamar Jackson is way better than he was in college.

But my one question for the Jackson and his offense is: Has Louisville played a top notch defense? My answer to that is no.

Yes, they played Florida State, but actually look at the Florida State defense and stop looking at the name. This year, when they are playing Charleston Southern University, their defense has more holes than Swiss cheese.

Against FBS opponents, Florida State has given up 132 points and 1,360 yards. On average, the Seminoles are giving up 44 points per game and allowing the opposing offense to gain 453.33 yards per game.

Does that sound like a good defense? I thought not too.

I’ll show you a good defense. A defense that is sixth in total yards allowed, third in yards per game, eighth in points per game, and fifth in points per game.

Now, that sounds like a good defense. This defense belongs to the Clemson Tigers. This is where the game inside of the game lives. Can Clemson’s defense contain Louisville’s run game? If they can get Louisville into third and predictable, Clemson can win the game. The Louisville passing attack is good, but Clemson’s pass defense is really good. Clemson’s defense ranks third in allowed passing yards per game, while Louisville’s offense ranks 10th in passing yards per game. But, if Lamar Jackson and running back Brandon Radcliff are running like crazy, Clemson will have no shot in winning this game. The Cardinals rushing attack fuels their passing attack and if opposing defense can’t stop their run game, the game is lost.

Courtesy of Sporting News

Courtesy of Sporting News

Clemson’s offense should start to click as we go into October. Since 2009, Dabo Swinney has only lost two home conference game in the month of October. Which means Deshaun Watson has not lost an October home ACC game ever in his career. In fact, Clemson has only lost one ACC game where Watson completes the game (they lost was an overtime game against Florida State). That was also Watson’s third game of his freshman year and it was his first road ACC game. At home against an ACC foe, Swinney is Mr. October.

This game is played at night, at Death Valley, and it will be played under Dabo Swinney and the quarterback for Clemson is still Deshaun Watson. Clemson plays the underdog card well and gets the win in front of their home fans. The score will be high, Clemson wins the game 45-35.

What’s Next For LSU?

Stacy Revere/ Getty Images

Stacy Revere/ Getty Images

Les Miles has been on the hot seat since the end of last year, and after the heartbreaking loss against Auburn, the seat got too hot.

On Sunday, Les Miles was fired and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was also relieved of his job. Ed Orgeron will be the interim coach of the LSU Tigers the rest of the season.

So what is next for the LSU football program?

In the short term, interim head coach Orgeron needs to get his football team focused on winning the SEC West. Year in and year out, the SEC West is one of the hardest divisions in college football and the LSU Tigers are always in the hunt. That needs to be the prime objective for Orgeron and his football team. The first step to doing that is to rebound against the Missouri Tigers this Saturday.

The Missouri offense has been putting up a lot of points and also features the second-leading passer in college football. Drew Lock, through four games, has already thrown for over 1500 yards and has 14 passing touchdown. The Missouri offensive line has kept Lock pretty clean in the first four games, as opposing defenses only have one sack on Lock.

Courtesy of LSU Sports.net

Courtesy of LSU Sports.net

That number might be a little bit higher after Lock leaves Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. The LSU Tiger defense features the nation leader in sacks. sophomore Arden Key, who has 6.5 sacks. It will be near impossible to beat LSU at home, at night and after a heartbreaking loss. The LSU Tigers should win these game rather easily.

Winning the SEC West will be a whole lot harder. As of Week 5, LSU is fourth behind Alabama (A team they have not beaten since November 5, 2011), Texas A&M and Auburn. So, the Tigers of LSU have some work to do if they hope to get Atlanta and play in the SEC Championship game.

In the longer term, LSU needs to find a new head coach and to find a good one fast. Nick Saban and Les Miles were the last two hires for this job. LSU has to get a coach with a big name and a coach that will win early and often. Les Miles leaves LSU as the winningest head coach in school history. He finished with a record of 141-55.

So who do I think LSU could get?

Courtesy of CBS Sports

Courtesy of CBS Sports

I think the first candidates would be the Stanford head coach David Shaw and the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. LSU has enough money to pay both of those candidates. Shaw has done a great job with Stanford and would only make sense for a SEC school to try and bring him to the southeast.

And Mike Tomlin is probably one of the only NFL coaches now that I could see making the move to the college level. He will definitely connect with the players and could definitely keep recruits at LSU and take some from other schools. He can also make a new recruiting pipeline in the state of Pennsylvania for the LSU Tigers.

Courtesy of AP

Courtesy of AP

They could also give one of the great college football coordinators a promotion. If they are looking for a more offensive-minded coach, look no further than Lane Kiffin. Kiffin has been waiting for the perfect head coach spot since September 28, 2013, and LSU is that perfect head coach spot. He would already be in a state to recruit in and he has his two pipelines to California and Alabama. Those three states continually pump out great high school talent.

Another option is Clemson’s defensive coordinator Brent Venables. He is one of the great defensive minds in college football. And has produced many top college defenses. He is also a great recruiter. His high-energy attitude helped him to become the National Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com.

Whoever they pick to become the next LSU head football coach will have huge shoes to fill.

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