- Ohio State
- Christian McCaffrey--Remember the all-everything back from last season, who finished second in the Heisman voting last year, and disappeared from almost everyone's list of contenders when Stanford staggered at the start of the season and lost to Washington and Washington State in back to back games? Well, folks, McCaffrey has almost the same numbers he had last season. His latest effort was 284 yards and 3 TDS in a 45-31 win over Cal on Saturday. Put him back in the Heisman race.
- Oklahoma--The Sooners were another of those walking dead teams with high pre-season rankings which evaporated when they lost to Houston and Ohio State in the first month of the season. The Sooners have not lost since September and routed West Virginia 56-28 at Morgantown on Saturday and are now at least in the discussion about Final Four teams.
- Florida--The Gators have gotten little respect, even in the SEC East, which is again the step child to the powerful SEC West (or at least it was perceived that way). So when the Hurricane Matthew make-up game against LSU was rescheduled for Baton Rouge --it was a Florida home game in September--the Gators faced a disadvantage on Saturday and were 2 touchdown underdogs. Final score: Florida 16 LSU 10. The win clinched the SEC East title for the Gators and sent them into the SEC title game next month against Alabama, another SEC West (and everywhere else) monster. That game will be played in Atlanta.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
- Rutgers--Same story different week. The Scarlet Knights are having trouble scoring against Big Ten opponents, much less winning. Their latest setback was a home game, Senior Day event against Penn State which posted a 39-0 win over the Scarlet Knights. Thankfully, the misery will end next week when RU travels to Maryland, where the Scarlet Knights will at least have a chance to score.
- Charlie Strong--Sorry Charlie. You can explain some losses as being "breaks of the game''. But you can't lose a game at Kansas or against Kansas...and in overtime when you can't even score a field goal. The embattled Texas coach is about to change his status to lame duck as Longhorn fans wait for Houston Coach Tom Herman to walk through the door as the next Longhorns coach.
- Louisville--The Cardinals were sitting on the edge of Final Four oblivion going into Thursday night's game against Houston. Following a 36-10 pounding by the Cougars, the Cardinals are last week's news. So bad was the pounding that Heisman front runner QB Lamar Jackson may have to scramble to avoid dropping from the No. 1 slot.
Did You Know
That: Running back Joe Thomas Sr. was presented with the game ball on Saturday after the walk on's efforts (4 carries, minus one yard rushing) in South Carolina State's 32-0 win over Savannah State. Why? Joe Thomas Sr. is 55 years old and the father of former South Carolina State player Joe Thomas Jr. who is linebacker for the Green Bay Packers....the start of the Texas State at New Mexico State game on Saturday was delayed because of a bus crash involving the Texas State team on the way to the game. Six people--staff members and boosters--were injured and taken to a hospital. The team re-boarded the bus and the start of the game was delayed for an hour and a half. And, in case you were wondering, New Mexico State won the game 50-10...If Texas coach Charlie Strong is fired it will still cost the Longhorns $10 million to buy out the remainder of his contract...LSU running back Leonard Fournette was supposedly out with a nagging ankle injury before Saturday 's game against Florida. But a pre-game skirmish between two players, including Fournette, caused him to change his mind and dress for the game. It didn't help, Fournette carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards in a 16-10 Florida upset.
It was a good weekend for the Service Academies. Navy raised its record to 8-2 with a 66-31 win over East Carolina, Army became bowl eligible with a 60-3 win over Morgan State and Air Force prevailed in a 41-38 squeaker against San Jose State....Kansas' 24-21 overtime win over Texas was only the Jayhawks' second win in their last 31 games.....Virginia Tech's 34-31 win over Notre Dame dropped the Irish to 4-7 on the year, including a 2-4 home record and guaranteed Notre Dame's first losing season since 2007.
Play It Forward
(Games of interest and importance for next week)
- Michigan at Ohio State--Can't get much bigger than this with conference and national championship hopes at stake.
- Washington at Washington State--Winner gets Pac-12 North title. If Washington wins, Pac-12 champ has a real chance to get to Final Four. Winner should be rooting for Colorado to beat Utah in the Pac-12 South showdown because if Utah wins, USC will be waiting and that won't be fun for anyone.
- Auburn at Alabama--Doesn't mean as much as it might since Bama has already clinched SEC West. But if Auburn can pull off the upset, the entire national picture becomes a chaotic jumble.
In Our Opinion
For the more than 900 Heisman Trophy voters out there, here's a question. Cast your Heisman vote yet? The answer should be an emphatic NO. It is way too early, there are games to be played in this age of electronic balloting, you could and should wait until AFTER the conference championship games are played on the weekend of Dec 2 and 3rd.
That won't happen, of course. But there is a bigger issue. It is the prevailing-and correct in many cases-- theory that the Heisman is not won on the field, it is won on television, when the national voices such as Verne and Gary and Chris and Herbie start spouting names and numbers of players that have their biggest and best games at the end of the season on national television.
it is probably a reason why players such as Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett and Alabama QB Jalen Hurts will jump into Heisman contention in the next two weeks if they have big games on prime time. It is a reason why, following a 36-10 loss to Houston on Thursday night, Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is no longer a mortal lock.
Conversely, candidates who have solid credentials such as San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey are now no longer on the leader board. Pumphrey was a model of consistency throughout his career, but suffered a double whammy over the weekend when his team lost a 34-33 decision to Wyoming on Saturday night and Pumphrey was held to 75 yards. Bye, bye so long.
Good individual numbers obviously help in the Heisman, but so does playing for a team contending for the national championship and, even more so, having your best games on national television at the end of the season.
It will be interesting to see how it turns out for Jackson, who had the Heisman ready to be shipped to Louisville until the loss to Houston, in which he was a non-factor in a one-sided pounding. Louisville has one game remaining in the regular season against Kentucky which won't draw much attention. If Jackson again comes up short and someone like Barrett or even Michigan linebacker/offensive role player Jabrill Peppers has a big defensive/offensive game, it will be interesting to see if the voting trends away from Jackson.
Or, there is the presence of Stanford's McCaffrey, who may be, once again, the best player in college football that not enough people will vote for in the Heisman because he wasn't in the prime game on television enough times.[/membership]