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:

 

 

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.

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 7

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 7

The first College Football Playoff rankings will be announced in less than a month (Tuesday, November 5), and a lot will change between now and then. But this is where we see each team standing after the first week of October.

 

1. Clemson Tigers (5-0) | Last week: 1

Clemson had a bye week to take a step back and regroup after they were not as sharp as expected through five games and nearly fell to North Carolina a couple of Saturday’s ago. An ACC game against former perennial contender Florida State could be the matchup that gets the Tigers going in 2019.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0) | Last week: 2

Also coming off a bye, the Crimson Tide obviously have an excellent case to be the top team in the nation. Alabama has not had much trouble with their early competition, and they’ll now play in their first ranked matchup of the season when they face Texas A&M at College Station.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs (5-0) | Last week: 3

It was surprising that Georgia trailed a one-win Tennessee team in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs flipped the switch and dominated with 33 unanswered points in their eventual 43-14 victory to improve to 5-0. Georgia is currently top ten in both scoring defense and total defense, while they are top 15 in both scoring offense and total offense.

 

4. LSU Tigers (5-0) | Last week: 4

LSU leads the country in points per game at 57.8—edging out Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Alabama—which is not something many people expected despite the switch to a spread offense. That said, the Tigers have beaten up on Georgia Southern, Northwestern State, and Utah State in three of their five wins, so this Saturday against Florida will be a huge test.

 

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

Ohio State wasn’t quite as dominant as they had been this season in their 34-10 win over Michigan State, but they’re simply too talented and were able to separate with 24 points in the second quarter. The early performance by the Spartans showed that the Buckeyes certainly aren’t unbeatable in the Big Ten, especially against similarly tough teams like Wisconsin and Penn State. Ohio State now has a bye week.

 

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

The Sooners were held to their lowest point total of the season (45) in their win at Kansas, but the defense did well to hold the Jayhawks to seven points through the first three quarters. A loss in the Red River Showdown last year did not end OU’s Playoff chances, but in what looks like a stronger year overall, this Saturday will obviously be a critical game for Lincoln Riley’s squad.

 

7. Wisconsin Badgers (5-0) | Last week: 8 (+1)

Jonathan Taylor totaled five touchdowns in the Badgers’ 48-0 victory against Kent State, while the passing attack led by Jack Coan had ten different guys get involved with a reception. Wisconsin is averaging 42.3 points per game while allowing an FBS-best 7.3 points per game. They face Michigan State this Saturday.

 

8. Florida Gators (6-0) | Last week: 10 (+2)

After defending “The Swamp” with a great defensive performance versus an undefeated SEC opponent in Auburn, the Gators improved to 6-0 and move up a couple of spots in this week’s college football power rankings. The trio of quarterback Kyle Trask, running back Lamical Perine, and receiver Freddie Swain led the offense in the victory, and it was good to see Trask avoided a serious knee injury after it looked like his season might be over after being patient and waiting for his opportunity at Florida.

 

9. Texas Longhorns (4-1) | Last week: 9

Texas did force four interceptions on defense, but they gave up 31 points in what wasn’t a sharp game for the team. But this Saturday against Oklahoma will probably be about taking care of the football and taking advantage of every possession on offense, as a bunch of points should be scored between the two Big 12 rivals. The Longhorns should get big receiver Collin Johnson (hamstring) back in the lineup, which is key after he had 258 yards and two touchdowns in the two matchups last season.

 

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

Penn State has an obvious case for being ahead of the Longhorns at No. 9 in the power rankings. The Nittany Lions boast the No. 2 scoring defense in the nation behind only Wisconsin, they’re one of five teams averaging 50 points per game, and they’re 5-0. Things will start to get tougher moving forward, as Penn State plays Iowa and Michigan in back-to-back weeks.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 7)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 7)

The 2019 Heisman Trophy race remains incredibly tight after the first week of October. Tua Tagovailoa remains in the top spot for the second straight week, but the rest of the top five again shifts slightly.

 

1. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 1

The Crimson Tide had a bye over the weekend, but Tua Tagovailoa is still at No. 1 with impressive overall numbers (25 total touchdowns through five games) and no interceptions. Tua will look to do similar damage against his first ranked opponent this season when Alabama faces Texas A&M.

 

Season stats:

76.4% | 1,718 PASS YDS | 23 PASS TD | 0 INT

16 CAR | 45 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 2.8 AVG

 

2. Joe Burrow | LSU QB | Senior | Last week: 3 (+1)

Last week, Joe Burrow dropped one spot on the Heisman race while he was on a bye, but 386 total yards and six total touchdowns (five passing) helps put him back up to No. 2. Another strong performance and a win this Saturday night against No. 7 Florida would likely help Burrow reclaim the top position, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue playing well despite facing a tough defense.

 

Season stats:

78.4% | 1,864 PASS YDS | 22 PASS TD | 3 INT

29 CAR | 62 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 2.1 AVG

 

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

He totaled four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing), but Jalen Hurts’ outing wasn’t quite as impressive as usual through the air (just 228 passing yards on 16 completions), and the Sooners had their lowest point total of the season (45 points). But Hurts might now have his best opportunity of the season for a Heisman statement, as he participates in the Red River Showdown this Saturday at noon ET.

 

Season stats:

75.2% | 1,523 PASS YDS | 14 PASS TD | 2 INT

57 CAR | 499 RUSH YDS | 7 RUSH TD | 8.8 AVG

 

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

Jonathan Taylor continues to show his all-around ability with more usage as a receiver this season, adding 29 receiving yards and his fourth receiving score of the year to go along with another four rushing touchdowns in Wisconsin’s 48-0 rout of Kent State. Taylor already has 16 total touchdowns this season, and he’s squarely in the mix with these top quarterbacks for the Heisman.

 

Season stats:

103 CAR | 745 RUSH YDS | 12 RUSH TD | 7.2 AVG

12 REC | 114 REC YDS | 4 REC TD | 9.5 AVG

 

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

Justin Fields drops back down to No. 5 in this week’s Heisman Watch after Michigan State did a relatively good job of containing Ohio State’s offense on Saturday night. Fields and the offense started slow, and the sophomore quarterback ended up with just 206 yards passing; but a rushing score at the end of the game helped make it look like a better night and brought Fields’ touchdown total to 26 this season.

 

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.

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 6

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 6

We’re still over a month away from the first College Football Playoff Rankings, but things should really pick up in October. The rankings remain mostly the same from last week, but one team jumps a spot after another dominant performance.

 

1. Clemson Tigers (5-0) | Last week: 1

There’s undoubtedly a case for Clemson dropping a spot or two in the rankings. The Tigers have not looked as sharp in 2019, and they narrowly survived a 21-20 victory at North Carolina. A loss might have made it very difficult for Clemson to make the Playoffs considering the strength of other teams around college football and the struggles of the ACC, but a win is a win, and the defending champions are 5-0. The close win might have been a blessing for Dabo Swinney’s squad, as they might now have more of an edge moving forward.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0) | Last week: 2

Devonta Smith exploded for five receiving touchdowns (a school record) on 11 receptions for 274 receiving yards (another school record) in Alabama’s 59-31 win over Ole Miss. (Tua Tagovailoa had 418 passing yards and seven total touchdowns.) Nick Saban would probably like his defense to shut down opponents more than they have this season, but the Crimson Tide offense is scary.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs (4-0) | Last week: 3

After a tough win against Notre Dame, Georgia had time to regroup during the bye week. They’ll now start a long SEC slate of games starting this week at Tennessee.

 

4. LSU Tigers (4-0) | Last week: 4

LSU also had their bye, but they’ll now host Utah State in a game they shouldn’t have much issue winning. The Tigers will then play seven consecutive SEC games to end the regular season.

 

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

Ohio State has arguably been the most dominant team in the country through September. After a 45-21 win over FAU in which they took the foot of the gas a bit, these have been the results:

 

42-0 win over Cincinnati

51-10 win over Indiana

76-5 win over Miami (Ohio)

48-7 win over Nebraska

 

The Buckeyes play their first ranked game this Saturday when they host Michigan State.

 

6. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0) | Last week: 5 (-1)

Jalen Hurts totaled 485 yards of offense and four touchdowns in the Sooners’ 55-16 win versus Texas Tech. The Big 12 doesn’t present a ton of issues defensively, especially for a team as talented as Oklahoma, but this offense should keep them in the game against any team. Oklahoma’s defense is playing pretty well this season, too—they’re allowing just 14.7 points per game after giving up 31 points to Houston in the opener.

 

7. Auburn Tigers (5-0) | Last week: 7

Auburn was up 42-9 on Mississippi State at halftime over the weekend (an eventual 56-23 victory), and the passing attack got going with freshman quarterback Bo Nix throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns on 16/21 passing. Seth Williams, who had the game-winning touchdown in the season opener against Oregon, had eight receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers improved to 5-0.

 

8. Wisconsin Badgers (4-0) | Last week: 8

Wisconsin’s defense might be the best in the nation, and that paired with star runner Jonathan Taylor likely makes them a tough opponent for anyone. The Badgers gave up a couple of touchdowns on defense, but the unit scored a couple of times themselves in a 24-15 win against Northwestern. Offensively, the passing game will look to get something going this Saturday versus Kent State.

 

9. Texas Longhorns (3-1) | Last week: 9

The Longhorns had a bye last week, and they’ll now face a 3-1 West Virginia team on the road. The Red River Showdown looms, but Texas cannot look past this weekend. The status of senior receiver Collin Johnson as he battles a hamstring injury will be big for Texas.

 

10. Florida Gators (5-0) | Last week: 10

In his second career start, quarterback Kyle Trask completed 18 consecutive passes to break a school record for the Gators. Trask looks comfortable, and he’ll have to play well these next two weeks when Florida takes on Auburn (at home) and LSU (on the road). Florida boasts the No. 5 scoring defense in the nation (8.8 points allowed per game).

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 6)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 6)

If the 2019 Heisman Trophy race remains this close, it’s going to be an absolute headache trying to decide which player the honor should go to. There’s a new No. 1 in this week’s Heisman rankings as we enter October.

 

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

After 418 passing yards, six passing touchdowns, and a rushing score in Alabama’s 59-31 win over Ole Miss, Tagovailoa is in the top spot in the Heisman watch for the first time during the regular season. Tua’s 25 total touchdowns (23 passing and zero interceptions) would be a great season for most players in the country, and he’s on pace for well over 50 touchdowns this season.

 

Season stats:

76.4% | 1,718 PASS YDS | 23 PASS TD | 0 INT

16 CAR | 45 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 2.8 AVG

 

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

Hurts is having an outstanding season for the Sooners, but he remains at No. 2 partly because he isn’t getting the ball into the end zone quite as much as his old teammate at Alabama. Trey Sermon and Rhamondre Stevens scored three touchdowns on the ground for Oklahoma in their blowout win against Texas Tech, but Hurts did plenty of damage on his own with 485 total yards and four total touchdowns.

 

Season stats:

77.6% | 1,295 PASS YDS | 12 PASS TD | 1 INT

47 CAR | 443 RUSH YDS | 5 RUSH TD | 9.4 AVG

 

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

The bye week hurt Burrow in the Heisman race for now, but he will have plenty of opportunities to climb back up into a frontrunning position. Burrow should put up big numbers versus Utah State this Saturday.

 

Season stats:

80.6% | 1,520 PASS YDS | 17 PASS TD | 2 INT

19 CAR | 20 RUSH YDS | 1 RUSH TD | 1.1 AVG

 

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

After a 48-7 win versus Nebraska at Lincoln, Fields now has 23 total touchdowns (16 passing and seven on the ground) with no interceptions through five games. There’s little question Fields will have the numbers required for a Heisman winner this season, and he just needs to continue playing well while his team racks up wins.

 

Season stats:

69.8% | 1,092 PASS YDS | 16 PASS TD | 0 INT

42 CAR | 222 RUSH YDS | 7 RUSH TD | 4.8 AVG

 

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

Taylor drops one spot in this week’s Heisman watch, but he had another very good game, with 119 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in Wisconsin’s win versus Northwestern. The star running back might put up numbers that more closely resemble something you’d see in a video game this Saturday against Kent State.

 

Season stats:

84 CAR | 559 RUSH YDS | 8 RUSH TD | 6.7 AVG

9 REC | 85 REC YDS | 3 REC TD | 9.4 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 5

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 5

After a big weekend of college football that included Georgia holding on for a home win over Notre Dame and Wisconsin dominating Michigan, the top ten teams in the nation are beginning to get clearer.

 

1. Clemson Tigers (4-0) | Last week: 1

Trevor Lawrence and other starters didn’t play much in Clemson’s rout of Charlotte, as a bunch of players at all positions received a good amount of playing time. It’s nice to see Dabo Swinney allow guys that are working hard in practice to get real action in the games, and he was right when he said the Tigers could’ve scored 100 points but that it’s not about stats and winning a Heisman.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) | Last week: 2

The Crimson Tide coasted to a 49-7 win against Southern Miss, with Tua Tagovailoa throwing more touchdowns (five) than incompletions (four). Running back Najee Harris got going on the ground, with 110 yards on 14 carries. Alabama is tied for just 24th in total defense, but they’re ninth in the nation in scoring defense, with just 10.8 points allowed per game.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs (4-0) | Last week: 3

It was a little too close for comfort, but Georgia was able to get a late stop to secure their 23-17 victory versus Notre Dame last Saturday night to improve to 4-0 on the year. Quarterback Jake Fromm isn’t putting up huge numbers, but he’s playing exceptionally well and keeps the Bulldogs in every game. Graduate transfer receiver Lawrence Cager came up big for Georgia, with 82 yards and a key touchdown in the win over the Irish.

 

4. LSU Tigers (4-0) | Last week: 4

LSU’s defense giving up 38 points against an inferior opponent doesn’t seem right, but it’s not the end of the world with the way the offense is playing. Joe Burrow threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns in the Tigers’ win over Vanderbilt, and the rushing attack did its part with over 150 yards. But Terrance Marshall Jr. (fractured foot) is a big loss for the offense, and guys will have to step up for the team’s leader in touchdown receptions this season (six).

 

5. Oklahoma Sooners (3-0) | Last week: 5

The Sooners had a bye week and actually dropped a spot in the AP poll, but they stay at No. 5 here. They host Texas Tech this Saturday.

 

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

After a 76-5 win over Miami (Ohio) in which Justin Fields scored six second-quarter touchdowns, Ohio State moved up to No. 5 in the AP poll. The Buckeyes are off to a very impressive start to the season and have superb athletes all over the field operating at a high level, but things should get more challenging the next two weeks when they face Nebraska and Michigan State.

 

7. Auburn Tigers (4-0) | Last week: 7

They let Texas A&M creep back into the game with 17 fourth-quarter points, but that was a strong effort overall for Auburn in their 28-20 win at College Station. Stud defensive lineman Derrick Brown recorded two sacks in the victory for the undefeated Tigers, while Anthony Schwartz showed that he might be the fastest player in the country after a blazing 57-yard touchdown run to set the tone for Auburn.

 

8. Wisconsin Badgers (3-0) | Last week: 10 (+2)

The Badgers had the benefit of playing at home, but there was no question they were the vastly superior team to Michigan over the weekend. Michigan had a chance to make it a two-score game late, but the matchup felt more lopsided than the 35-14 score indicates. Heisman contender Jonathan Taylor ran for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while the defense was lights out for most of the game.

 

9. Texas Longhorns (3-1) | Last week: 9

21 second-quarter points, a couple of key second-half scoring drives, and two interceptions by the defense powered Texas’ 36-30 win against Oklahoma State. Sam Ehlinger connected for four touchdowns to four different receivers, while he, Keaontay Ingram, and Roschon Johnson all did damage on the ground for the Longhorns. The defense must improve, though, and the team can’t look past a trip to West Virginia this Saturday with the Sooners on deck.

 

10. Florida Gators (4-0) | Last week: NR

Believe it or not, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask did not make a start since his freshman year of high school (for the junior varsity team) before starting for the Gators last Saturday in relief of Felipe Franks being done for the season. Trask looked pretty comfortable considering the situation, and he should only get better with more experience. The Gators and their talented roster should handle Towson this week before likely back-to-back top-ten matchups with Auburn and LSU.