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.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 5)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 5)

This race for the 2019 Heisman Trophy is off to a pretty crazy start, but the players that should be in the top five are clear as we enter the final weekend of September—it’s the order where things get complicated.

 

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

Burrow is back in the top spot in the Heisman race after lighting up Vanderbilt for 398 yards and six touchdowns as LSU began their SEC schedule. The shift in offensive philosophy is part of it, but Burrow is a big reason LSU looks like a completely different offense than they have in the past.

 

Season stats:

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

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

 

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

Hurts had off last week with Oklahoma having a bye week, but he’s basically tied with Burrow for No. 1 in the Heisman race. He should have an opportunity to put up massive numbers in a potential shootout versus Texas Tech this Saturday.

 

Season stats:

80.3% | 880 PASS YDS | 9 PASS TD | 0 INT

38 CAR | 373 RUSH YDS | 4 RUSH TD | 9.8 AVG

 

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

The Alabama receivers are doing a ton of damage after the catch, but Tagovailoa is putting them in positions to make chunk plays with accurate throws. Despite not playing full games and the Crimson Tide taking their foot off the gas a bit in blowout wins, Tua became the first quarterback in school history with four touchdown passes in consecutive games.

 

Season stats:

77.7% | 1,300 PASS YDS | 17 PASS TD | 0 INT

12 CAR | 44 RUSH YDS | 1 RUSH TD | 3.7 AVG

 

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

There was some thought to putting Taylor all the way up at No. 1 after he had no trouble toasting Michigan’s defense for 203 yards and two touchdowns despite missing some time with cramps. In just three games, Taylor has totaled ten touchdowns for what is now a top-ten Wisconsin team in the AP poll.

 

Season stats:

58 CAR | 440 RUSH YDS | 7 RUSH TD | 7.6 AVG

6 REC | 70 REC YDS | 3 REC TD | 11.7 AVG

 

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

You know the Heisman race is a good one when someone that totaled six touchdowns in a single quarter is down at No. 5. Fields threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more in the second quarter against Miami (Ohio), and he’s up to 19 total touchdowns and no interceptions this season. The next few weeks should be tougher for Fields and the Buckeyes.

 

Season stats:

69.5% | 880 PASS YDS | 13 PASS TD | 0 INT

34 CAR | 150 RUSH YDS | 6 RUSH TD | 4.4 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 4

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 4

This week’s college football power rankings remain the same No. 1 through No. 9 from last week, but there’s a new team in the No. 10 spot.

 

1. Clemson Tigers (3-0) | Last week: 1

Trevor Lawrence remains slightly off this season, and he’s already thrown more interceptions this year than all of last year—but he still totaled nearly 450 yards and five touchdowns in Clemson’s 41-6 win against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Just 166 days from a torn ACL, wide receiver Amari Rodgers had four receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns in a stunning return from an injury that easily could’ve knocked him out for the season.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) | Last week: 2

It’s only three games, but Alabama is ranked just 40th in total defense this season, giving up over 300 yards per game. The unit has young guys playing, though, and they’ll get better as the year progresses and they gain more experience. The offense is not having an issue putting up points, and the passing attack led by Tua Tagovailoa and a deep and talented receiving corps shouldn’t have much trouble continuing to put up huge numbers the next two weeks as they host Southern Miss and Ole Miss.

 

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

That was a nice tune-up for Georgia in their 55-0 rout of Arkansas State ahead of this Saturday’s primetime contest versus Notre Dame. The Bulldogs outgained the Red Wolves 656-220, and they’re now tied for seventh in total offense per game and tied for ninth in points per game. Notre Dame doesn’t make our top ten, but Georgia might jump into the top two in the AP poll (where the Fighting Irish are ranked No. 7) if they get a win this weekend.

 

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

Perhaps the entire team was a little spent after their close win in Austin the week before, but LSU’s defense wasn’t at the top of its game against Northwestern State, giving up 14 points in the first half before tightening up and not allowing any points in the final 30 minutes. The Tigers begin their SEC schedule this Saturday versus Vanderbilt.

 

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

Jalen Hurts can’t be playing much better than he is for the Sooners. Against the Bruins at the Rose Bowl, Hurts had 200 passing yards and 100 rushing yards… in the first half. Hurts has already led 17 touchdown drives in just three games, and the OU offense looks as good as ever to this point. Oklahoma is off this week.

 

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) | Last week: 6

Transfer Justin Fields also can’t be putting up much better numbers than he is through three games for the Buckeyes, as the former top high school recruit has totaled four touchdowns in each of his first three games. Ohio State dominated a 51-10 victory at Indiana, and now they’ll return home to play a Miami (Ohio) team they shouldn’t have trouble with before the Big Ten schedule picks up.

 

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

Auburn is 3-0 for the first time since 2014, so they’ll be confident as they begin their SEC slate in their second ranked matchup of the year when they take on Texas A&M at College Station. The Tigers had three 100-yard rushers (JaTarvious Whitlow, Joey Gatewood, and Shaun Shivers) in their 55-16 victory against Kent State.

 

8. Michigan Wolverines (2-0) | Last week: 8

Michigan had off last week, and there’s a case for them being outside the top ten of this week’s power rankings (the AP Poll has them No. 11, but the Coaches Poll has them No. 10). But things will work themselves out this week one way or another when the Wolverines look get a huge win over Wisconsin.

 

9. Texas Longhorns (2-1) | Last week: 9

Texas bounced back from their heartbreaking loss to LSU with a strong performance in a 48-13 win versus Rice. Sam Ehlinger had three touchdowns and just four incompletions on 23/27 passing, and we’ll see how the defense fares as the Longhorn’s Big 12 schedule gets underway this Saturday against Oklahoma State.

 

10. Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) | Last week: NR

Florida drops out of the No. 10 spot after losing starting quarterback Felipe Franks for the season to an ankle injury. Utah, Penn State, and UCF (off a blowout victory over Stanford) all have a case for this spot along with the Gators, but Wisconsin gets the nod after 49-0 and 61-0 wins against South Florida and Central Michigan. Now coming off a bye, the Badgers would be an undeniable top ten team if they top Michigan this Saturday.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 4)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 4)

After another sensational performance, Jalen Hurts narrowly takes the No. 1 spot over Joe Burrow in this week’s Heisman watch.

 

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

UCLA isn’t exactly a juggernaut, but Jalen Hurts continuing to put up video game numbers as Oklahoma begins competition against Power Five schools very impressive. Hurts is clearly a man on a mission this year, and it’ll be nearly impossible to deny him the Heisman if he keeps playing this well, even if some voters don’t want to give three consecutive Heisman Trophy winners to the same school.

 

Season stats:

80.3% | 880 PASS YDS | 9 PASS TD | 0 INT

38 CAR | 373 RUSH YDS | 4 RUSH TD | 9.8 AVG

 

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

Joe Burrow could certainly be in the top spot, as he was superb in the biggest win of the season for any team at this point, but he’s down to No. 2 after a blowout win over Northwestern State. Burrow already has 1,122 passing yards this season, as the Tigers have opened up their offense in a major way.

 

Season stats:

83.3% | 1,122 PASS YDS | 11 PASS TD | 2 INT

17 CAR | 40 YDS | 1 RUSH TD | 2.4 AVG

 

3. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 4 (+1)

After 444 passing yards and five passing touchdowns in Alabama’s SEC opener (a 47-23 win against South Carolina), Tua Tagovailoa moves up to No. 3 in this week’s Heisman watch. Tua hasn’t been completing passes at quite the rate of Burrow and has fewer yards, but he has a spotless TD/INT ratio and remains a threat to have an interception-less season.

 

Season stats:

76.9% | 1,007 PASS YDS | 12 PASS TD | 0 INT

9 CAR | 36 RUSH YDS | 1 RUSH TD | 4.0 AVG

 

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

Jonathan Taylor drops a spot because he and the Badgers were off during the weekend, but the star junior running back has a great opportunity to make a statement this Saturday at noon eastern when Wisconsin faces Michigan in a ranked matchup.

 

Season stats:

35 CAR | 237 RUSH YDS | 5 RUSH TD | 6.8 AVG

5 REC | 65 REC YDS | 3 REC TD | 13.0 AVG

 

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

Justin Fields is right there in terms of touchdown numbers with the other three quarterbacks currently in the top five of the Heisman watch, but he’s clearly behind Hurts, Burrow, and Tagovailoa while lagging in total yardage—and he simply hasn’t been quite as impressive to this point. There’s still a lot of time, though, and Fields doesn’t have as much playing experience as the quarterbacks ahead of him.

 

Season stats:

70.3% | 657 PASS YDS | 9 PASS TD | 0 INT

25 CAR | 114 RUSH YDS | 4 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 3

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 3

Because the College Football Playoff Rankings come out on Tuesdays, we’ll be doing our college football power rankings on Tuesdays this season. Where do the LSU Tigers rank after their huge win over the weekend?

 

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

The out-of-conference matchup against Texas A&M was probably Clemson’s biggest test of the regular season, and they passed with flying colors, as the game never felt like it was in question after a few minutes. Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence hasn’t been consistently super-sharp yet, but he continues to show the major flashes that make him a star—it’s only a matter of time before the passing attack really starts clicking. Clemson will be expected to run through their final ten games of the regular season slate, but the Carrier Dome this Saturday could present some issues.

 

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

Alabama is coasting against a light early-season schedule, and that should continue this Saturday when they start their SEC schedule versus South Carolina. A notable story off the field for the Crimson Tide is the program’s discontent with being scheduled for early home games in the sweltering Alabama heat, which makes it less likely for fans to stay for a full 60 minutes when they’re blowing teams out by 40 and 50.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0) | Last week: 3

Murray State surprisingly hung around during the first quarter of their game at Georgia, but the Bulldogs quickly turned it on after a 7-7 first-quarter tie, outscoring the Racers 35-0 in the second quarter. Five Georgia players had over 30 yards rushing in the 63-17 win, and they all averaged at least 6.2 yards per carry. Look for Jake Fromm and the passing game to get a little more work this Saturday ahead of their September 21 game against Notre Dame.

 

4. LSU Tigers (2-0) | Last week: 5 (+1)

Owning the most impressive win of the young season to this point, LSU has a case for anywhere in the top four of this week’s power rankings. Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow looks like one of the best players in the country through two weeks, as LSU’s transition to a spread offense cannot be going much better. Receivers Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and Terrance Marshall Jr. all had over 100 yards in the big-time win over the Longhorns in Austin.

 

5. Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) | Last week: 4 (-1)

Some might argue that Oklahoma shouldn’t drop after putting up 70 points (their first time hitting the mark since 2007), but going from No. 4 to No. 5 is more about LSU’s win than anything else. Jalen Hurts looks very comfortable in Lincoln Riley’s offense, and the unit is operating at an elite level despite losing key players to the NFL. The Sooners should handle UCLA this Saturday night.

 

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) | Last week: 7 (+1)

The thought was that Cincinnati might be somewhat of a challenge for Ohio State, but that was not the case as the Buckeyes overwhelmed in a 42-0 victory. Ohio State has too many athletes for their competition through two games, and they’ll take the show on the road for the first time this Saturday at Indiana.

 

7. Auburn Tigers (2-0) | Last week: 9 (+2)

This bottom four of the top ten gets complicated, but Auburn gets the No. 7 position for now with a ranked victory over Oregon to open their season a couple of Saturdays ago. Auburn only beat Tulane by a score of 24-6, but true freshman quarterback Box Nix is probably still finding a rhythm at this level. The Tigers face Kent State this Saturday before going to College Station in a couple of weeks.

 

8. Michigan Wolverines (2-0) | Last week: 8

Michigan did not look good over the weekend, and they probably got outplayed by Army in their narrow double overtime win. However, the Wolverines did come away with a victory—and remember, eventual CFB Playoff participant Oklahoma also needed overtime to beat Army last season. Michigan will undoubtedly have to pick it up as they head on the road to face Wisconsin, though, and the offense in particular needs to figure it out to get their new spread approach clicking.

 

9. Texas Longhorns (1-1) | Last week: 6 (-3)

Texas could remain as high as No. 7 after losing narrowly to a top-five LSU team. There are always a bunch of “what-ifs” in games, but if the Longhorns were able to stop Joe Burrow from stepping up in the pocket and making a fantastic play on third-and-17 late in the fourth quarter, a 38-37 Texas win might have been the most likely outcome. The home loss makes things more difficult for Texas’ Playoff hopes, but there’s a lot of football in front of them.

 

10. Florida Gators (2-0) | Last week: NR

The week off after an emotional season-opening win over Miami appears to have done Florida good, as they looked much sharper in their 45-0 win against Tennessee-Martin. The matchup was a cakewalk, but it’s still as great sign that Felipe Franks went 25-for-27 with as many touchdowns as incompletions while the running game did some damage, too. The Gators begin their SEC schedule with Kentucky this Saturday.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 3)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 3)

After a spectacular performance in one of the early games of the year, a new player rises into the top five and all the way up to the No. 1 spot in this week’s Heisman Trophy watch.

 

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

LSU senior quarterback Joe Burrow took his five-touchdown performance against Georgia Southern to open the season and built on it by arguably playing even better while leading his team to victory against a top-ten opponent in Texas during a primetime matchup in Austin. Burrow’s throws were on the money as the Tigers gashed the Longhorns defense, and his clutch third-down 61-yard touchdown throw to Justin Jefferson was a legit Heisman moment that essentially iced the game for LSU.

 

Season stats:

81.8% | 749 PASS YDS | 9 PASS TD | 1 INT

10 CAR | 10 YDS | 1.0 AVG

 

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

As expected, Oklahoma had little trouble in their 70-14 win over South Dakota, so Jalen Hurts had a relatively brief afternoon. Before leaving, Hurts was 14/18 for 259 yards and three touchdowns while also adding another 47 yards on the ground. Hurts and the Sooners offense should again put up huge numbers this Saturday night at the Rose Bowl against UCLA.

 

Season stats:

82.9% | 591 PASS YDS | 6 PASS TD | 0 INT

24 CAR | 223 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 9.3 AVG

 

3. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Last week: 2 (-1)

Wisconsin also coasted to victory on Saturday—with a 61-0 thumping of Central Michigan—so Jonathan Taylor wasn’t needed for a ton of work. He still put up 102 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, and he also added three receptions for 17 yards and another score receiving. The junior running back has been more involved as a receiver this season, which will certainly help his Heisman candidacy. Taylor has eight total touchdowns through two games.

 

Season stats:

35 CAR | 237 RUSH YDS | 5 RUSH TD | 6.8 AVG

5 REC | 65 REC YDS | 3 REC TD | 13.0 AVG

 

4. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Last week: 4

Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide also didn’t have much trouble with their opponent, as they rolled to a 62-10 win against New Mexico State. Tagovailoa threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns, along with 33 rushing yards and another touchdown rushing. It’ll be interesting to see how long Tua keeps up his interception-less streak this season.

 

Season stats:

76.4% | 563 PASS YDS | 7 PASS TD | 0 INT

7 CAR | 48 RUSH YDS | 1 RUSH TD | 6.9 AVG

 

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

It was close for the final spot in the top five of this week’s Heisman Watch, but Justin Fields gets the slight edge over Travis Etienne after Texas A&M did a nice job of limiting the Tigers’ rushing attack. Fields scored another four total touchdowns (two through the air, two on the ground) as Ohio State shutout Cincinnati, 42-0, to bring his touchdown total to nine after two contests.

 

Season stats:

76.0% | 458 PASS YDS | 6 PASS TD | 0 INT

21 CAR | 103 RUSH YDS | 3 RUSH TD | 4.9 AVG

 

Dropping out

Clemson RB Travis Etienne (Last week: 3)

 

 

 

*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 2

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Week 2

The first full week of the 150th season of college football is in the books, so it’s time for the first set of power rankings after actually seeing the teams on the field. Moving forward, college football power rankings will come on Mondays, but they are on Tuesday this week after Notre Dame and Louisville finished up the weekend with last night’s Labor Day matchup.

 

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

While Clemson’s superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence was not on top of his game to open the year, the Tigers fired off three consecutive 14-point quarters en route to a 51-14 win against Georgia Tech—thanks in large part to 2018 ACC Player of the Year Travis Etienne, who had 205 yards on just 12 attempts for an absurd 17.1 yards per carry. Lawrence shouldn’t take much time to get into groove, but he might need to do it quick as his team takes on Texas A&M this weekend.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) | Last week: 2

Some were wondering the issue with Alabama after just a 14-3 halftime lead over Duke, but the Crimson Tide turned it on in the second half with a 28-0 margin. 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns, but look for Alabama to get the rushing attack on better track this Saturday when they host New Mexico State.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) | Last week: 3

Kirby Smart had Georgia’s pass defense ready to go in their first game, as they limited SEC opponent Vanderbilt to just 109 passing yards and 3.4 yards per pass in a 30-6 win. The Bulldogs had 115 yards in penalties that they’ll want to shore up, and they were just 1-of-7 on third down conversions, but they’ll look to get everything right these next two weeks against Murray State and Arkansas State before playing Notre Dame.

 

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

The Jalen Hurts era for Oklahoma went as well as possible offensively, as the former SEC Offensive Player of the Year totaled 508 total yards and six total touchdowns (three passing, three rushing) in his Sooners debut. The offense looks like it’ll be in great shape again despite losing a second consecutive Heisman quarterback. However, the defense is a concern after giving up 31 points to Houston.

 

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

LSU was a very heavy favorite against Georgia Southern, but it’s still a good sign that Joe Burrow threw more touchdowns (five) than incompletions (four) as he starts his second season as the program’s starting quarterback. The Tigers’ new spread attack will now go toe-to-toe with Texas this Saturday night in one of the best matchups all season.

 

6. Texas Longhorns (1-0) | Last week: 6

Texas lost eight starts on defense from last season, but they started off 2019 pretty well—especially against the run—in their 45-14 win versus Louisiana Tech. The Longhorns didn’t allow point until the fourth quarter, and the entire unit should have some confidence ahead of their primetime matchup against LSU.

 

7. Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0) | Last week: 7

The Buckeyes overwhelmed FAU and made things look easy for sophomore quarterback Justin Fields in his debut for the school, as the team put up 28 first-quarter points before letting off the gas a bit and ultimately winning 45-21. Facing Cincinnati this Saturday should be a tougher test, but Ohio State looks to have plenty of talent after again losing another excellent group of players to the NFL.

 

8. Michigan Wolverines (1-0) | Last week: 8

The first game for the Wolverines was a bit sloppy, and they surprisingly gave up 14 points in the first half to Middle Tennessee. The spread offense looks like it’ll take more time for the unit to get used to, which should probably be expected for a group that’s been used to more of a bruising power attack. Senior linebacker Jordan Glasgow had two sacks in the season-opening win for Michigan.

 

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

An epic ranked victory over Oregon is enough to get Auburn into the No. 9 spot in this week’s power rankings. True freshman quarterback Bo Nix showed that he’s a gritty player, and that Tigers defense really tightened up against an experienced quarterback in Justin Herbert and a fast Oregon offense to give Nix an opportunity to throw the game-winning score to Seth Williams with nine seconds remaining. If the offense is on, Auburn can arguably compete with any team in the nation.

 

10. Texas A&M Aggies (1-0) | Last week: 10

Florida was in the mix for each of these final two spots, but Texas A&M gets the edge for No. 10 after the defense played exceptionally well versus Texas State. The Aggies totaled 246 yards on the ground, and a balanced approach is a must for their upcoming matchup at Clemson, and it sounds like they’re confident despite being over-two-touchdown underdogs.

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 2)

2019 Heisman Watch (Week 2)

Oklahoma quarterbacks have the last two Heisman Trophies, and they’re off to a good start in our first in-season Heisman watch for 2019. You can check out our preseason Heisman favorites here.

 

1. Jalen Hurts | Oklahoma QB | Senior | Preseason: 4

Jalen Hurts’ season at Oklahoma could not have started better, as he totaled 332 passing yards and three passing touchdowns (on 20-for-23 passing) along with 176 rushing yards and three rushing scores. Through just three quarters, his 493 yards of offense were more than Kyler Murray had in any full game last season. You have to be happy for Hurts with the way he handled a tough situation at Alabama and is starting off his new opportunity right. Expect more big numbers this Saturday against South Dakota.

 

Season stats:

87.0% | 332 YDS | 3 TD | 0 INT

16 CAR | 176 YDS | 3 TD | 11.0 AVG

 

2. Jonathan Taylor | Wisconsin RB | Junior | Preseason: 1

Already named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week to open the year, Jonathan Taylor is likely going to receive that honor at least a few more times this season. As he has through two seasons, Taylor looked completely dominant while leading the Badgers to a 49-0 win over South Florida. Taylor easily could’ve had a bigger game if it wasn’t a rout, but he still recorded four touchdowns (including his first two career receiving scores). Taylor will put up monstrous numbers on the ground, but he has the skill to contribute more as a receiver this year, too.

 

Season stats:

16 CAR | 135 YDS | 2 TD | 8.4 AVG

2 REC | 48 YDS | 2 TD | 24.0 AVG

 

3. Travis Etienne | Clemson RB | Junior | Preseason: 8

Trevor Lawrence was slightly off in Clemson’s 52-14 win against Georgia Tech, but Travis Etienne looked in midseason form, showing his ability as a big-play maven. Etienne gained 205 rushing yards on just 12 attempts, and he’ll be an obvious threat to get well over 2,000 yards in 2019. The junior running back can really make a strong early-season Heisman case with a huge performance versus Texas A&M this weekend.

 

Season stats:

12 CAR | 205 YDS | 3 TD | 17.1 AVG

1 REC | 3 YDS | 3.0 AVG

 

4. Tua Tagovailoa | Alabama QB | Junior | Preseason: 3

Alabama got off to a relatively sluggish start to open their season against Duke, but Tua Tagovailoa still went 26/31 for 336 yards and four touchdowns as the Crimson Tide rolled to 28 points in the second half. Tua connected with four different receivers on his touchdowns, but Jerry Jeudy did most of the damage with ten receptions for 137 yards and a score.

 

Season stats:

83.9% | 336 YDS | 4 TD | 0 INT

5 CAR | 15 YDS | 3.0 AVG

 

5. Justin Fields | Ohio State QB | Sophomore | Preseason: 12

The overall numbers—234 passing yards, 61 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns—were very good for Justin Fields in his first college start for the Buckeyes. But the Georgia transfer had a field day hitting wide-open receivers and running through wide-open holes, so he’ll have to do it against more challenging opponents to be higher than the guys that have proven it in past seasons. This Saturday versus Cincinnati will be a tougher test than FAU.

 

Season stats:

72.0% | 234 YDS | 4 TD | 0 INT

12 CAR | 61 YDS | 1 TD | 5.1 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.

Top Ten Tuesday: College Football Mascots

Top Ten Tuesday: College Football Mascots

With the season underway after Florida’s win over Miami on Saturday night, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over the best mascots in college football. Sebastian the Ibis and Albert and Alberta Gator were on the sideline to open college football’s 150th season, and they are among the mascots that narrowly missed the cut.

 

10. Ralphie

This list is a mix of live animal mascots and cartoonish costumed mascots, and it starts off with Colorado’s Ralphie the Buffalo. Ralphie is actually a female bison, and she leads the team out of the tunnel along with the “Ralphie Handlers”. Because of Ralphie, it’s a must-watch event whenever Colorado takes the field at home.

 

9. Stanford Tree

The Stanford Cardinal don’t have an official mascot, but the Stanford Tree makes the Top Ten Tuesday. The basicness of the mascot—a goofy face on a simple tree—is part of what makes it funny. Also, the Tree might remind some of a Christmas tree, which could be a bonus for those that love the joyous holiday.

 

8. Smokey

You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t like dogs, and Tennessee’s Smokey is the first pup to make the list. The Vols also have a costumed version of Smokey that works in tandem with the live animal. Smokey is a Bluetick Coonhound.

 

7. Brutus

Brutus Buckeye is a perfect representation of Ohio State’s logo—he’s just a giant anthropomorphic buckeye nut. The face of Brutus gives him a friendly appearance, which has proven to be harder than you’d think when developing a mascot.

 

6. Reveille

“The First Lady of Aggieland”, Reveille is also known as “Miss Rev” on Texas A&M’s campus, and she is the highest-ranking member in their Corps of Cadets. Reveille is a Rough Collie, and if she barks in class, the professor is supposed to end class because she is bored.

 

5. Bevo

There must be something about the mascots from the Texas schools, as Bevo showed that he does what he wants in last season’s Sugar Bowl when he decided to attack the bulldog Uga to set the tone for the Longhorn’s victory. Bevo is a massive longhorn steer that fits both the color scheme and logo for the University of Texas.

 

4. Sparty

Aside from the No. 1 mascot on the list, there arguably isn’t a better name for a college football mascot than Sparty, which gets the Michigan State mascot up at the No. 4 spot. Additionally, there isn’t a more jacked mascot than Sparty, and the Greek attire including a spartan helmet looks great.

 

3. Mike the Tiger

LSU’s “Death Valley” is already intimidating enough, but a live tiger at the stadium can be really frightening for the opposition. The live animal mascot, Mike the Tiger, also has a costumed mascot to compliment him. (But in terms of a costumed Tiger mascot, Clemson and Auburn might have LSU beat.)

 

2. Oregon Duck

The Oregon Duck has to be in the top three among college football mascots, and he lands at No. 2 here. The Duck probably has the most personality out of all the anthropomorphic mascots, and it certainly helps that he’s based on Disney’s Donald Duck—the similarities are obvious—via a licensing agreement.

 

1. Uga

Starting in 1956 with Uga I, the Georgia Bulldogs have had an absolute classic mascot that tops the list of college football’s best. The “Uga” name is the acronym for the University of Georgia, and the line of succession has gone all the way to Uga X. The English Bulldogs always look happy, and they’re truly part of the team with a custom-made jersey and a spiked collar along with an air-conditioned doghouse with a bag of ice to stay cool.

 

2019 College Football Predictions: Conference Winners, Heisman Pick, CFB Playoff Picks

2019 College Football Predictions: Conference Winners, Heisman Pick, CFB Playoff Picks

College football is back, with Florida and Miami kicking things off on Saturday night in Orlando. Teams have not even hit the field yet, and no one really knows what’s going to happen over the next few months; but let’s dive right into the predictions.

 

Power Five Conference Predictions

 

ACC: Clemson

Nothing against the other ACC schools, but this is the easiest conference champion choice. Clemson is a powerhouse that should coast to a fifth straight ACC title.

 

Big 12: Oklahoma

Iowa State is an up-and-coming program led by head coach Matt Campbell, while Gary Patterson’s TCU squad should never be counted out, but I think the Big 12 will come down to Oklahoma and Texas. The quarterbacks leading the Sooners and Longhorns have a positive vibe about them—Jalen Hurts was highly successful at Alabama and is playing in an offense that helped produce the last two Heisman winners, while Sam Ehlinger has drawn Tim Tebow comparisons for his playing style—so both schools should feel good about their conference title chances in 2019. Oklahoma is the choice because of Hurts’ history of winning to start his career.

 

Big Ten: Michigan

The Big Ten is the toughest conference to pick in my opinion, but the two safest options are Ohio State and Michigan. I’ll go with the Wolverines because their matchup comes in The Big House this season, and they are due to break through under Jim Harbaugh. Nebraska in Scott Frost’s second year could be a big-time threat with Adrian Martinez at quarterback, and they host the only three preseason top-25 teams on their schedule (No. 5 Ohio State, No. 19 Wisconsin, and No. 20 Iowa). Also, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Penn State are always programs that could be in the mix.

 

Pac-12: UCLA

While Michigan and Ohio State were the safe choices in the Big Ten, the Pac-12 prediction goes in another direction with UCLA. The Bruins have a tough out-of-conference schedule that includes early-season showdowns with Cincinnati and No. 4 Oklahoma, but the Pac-12 isn’t expected to be challenging enough that they can’t be legitimate contenders for a conference championship. Chip Kelly is one of the best coaches in college football, and his team could surpass expectations and win the Pac-12 early before building up a potential national title contender over the next couple of years.

 

SEC: Georgia

The SEC is loaded, and LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, and Auburn all have the talent to beat any team in any week; however, Alabama and Georgia should be the favorites as top-three ranked teams heading into the season. The Bulldogs have come heartbreakingly close to toppling the Crimson Tide in their last two matchups (the title game two seasons ago and the SEC title game last year), so they’ll have the confidence that they can go toe-to-toe with them.

 

 

Heisman Trophy Prediction

 

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

There are many excellent Heisman Trophy candidates in 2019, but Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor should be the narrow favorite over Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Taylor is coming off a 2,194-yard season last season, and he had a 1,977-yard campaign as a true freshman. In what’ll likely be his final college season before entering the NFL, Taylor might have a chance to challenge Barry Sanders’ single-season record 2,628 rushing yards like former Badger Melvin Gordon did back in 2014 when he racked up 2,587 rushing yards. The Heisman has become a bit of a quarterback award, but Taylor has the all-around ability to make this year different.

 

 

College Football Playoff Predictions

 

Clemson

Again, Clemson is the best bet to win their conference, and they’re also the best bet to make the College Football Playoff because of that. The Tigers’ senior class from last year went 55-4 with two national championships, but the current guys in the program will look to continue putting their own stamp on things with another College Football Playoff appearance and a chance to continue this dynastic run.

 

Georgia

The team that wins the SEC should almost certainly make the Playoff, and I picked Georgia, so this was an obvious choice. One concern with the Bulldogs is the loss of three top receivers from 2018, but Jake Fromm is the type of quarterback that will still play at a high level no matter the receiving corps around him.

 

Michigan

I think an ACC champion Clemson and an SEC champion Georgia or Alabama would be locks for the Playoff, but the final two spots could get interesting. Perhaps other conferences could have multiple strong teams, but it’ll likely come down to champion representatives from the Big Ten, the Big 12, and a top-tier SEC non-champion. The Big Ten champion (Ohio State) was left out last season despite a completely dominant win against their rival to end the regular season before a conference title game victory (because Notre Dame was put in), but there’d be major drama if that happens two years in a row.

 

Alabama

We’ll see how the season actually plays out, but I’m predicting a one-loss Bama team in this case—which should be good enough to get into the top four. This could be the an occurrence with the Crimson Tide either getting left out of the SEC Championship entirely or suffering a close loss to the Bulldogs.

 

 

National Championship

 

Clemson over Georgia

Initially, Georgia was going to be the national champion pick, but it’s so tough to pick against Clemson. Trevor Lawrence is probably the best player in the nation, and he’s complemented by an exceptional supporting cast including stud junior running back Travis Etienne and monster six-foot-four receivers Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. Anything can happen in any game, but to beat Clemson, a perfect game will likely have to be played—Georgia certainly has that ability, especially with an elite quarterback of their own in Jake Fromm. But overall, the Tigers are probably going to be the favorites to win it all for as long as Lawrence remains in schools (which is at least the next two years).

2019 Heisman Trophy Candidate Countdown #1: Jonathan Taylor

2019 Heisman Trophy Candidate Countdown #1: Jonathan Taylor

Our 2019 Heisman Trophy concludes one day before kickoff of college football. Here’s the entire countdown:

 

#15: Michigan QB Shea Patterson

#14: Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond

#13: Texas QB Sam Ehlinger

#12: Ohio State QB Justin Fields

#11: Alabama RB Najee Harris

#10: Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

#9: Georgia RB D’Andre Swift

#8: Clemson RB Travis Etienne

#7: Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez

#6: Oregon QB Justin Herbert

#5: Georgia QB Jake Fromm

#4: Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts

#3: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa

#2: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

 

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor has over 4,000 rushing yards in two college seasons, and he’s the nation’s top Heisman candidate entering his junior year.

 

Why he can win it

Taylor’s rushing statistics from 2017 and 2018:

 

-2017: 299 carries, 1,977 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 6.6 yards per carry

 

-2018: 307 carries, 2,194 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns. 7.1 yards per carry

 

But in addition to putting up remarkable numbers, Taylor is simply an incredible player. Taylor has track-star speed in the open field, and he’s a beast of a runner that sheds arm tackles and runs defenders over. Every week, Taylor should have a gamebreaking highlight play, and he should have at least 300 carries, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities for him to do serious damage.

 

Why he won’t win it

Taylor hasn’t been heavily involved as a receiver to this point in his career (16 receptions through two years). Wisconsin isn’t a conference or Playoff favorite—they might have a few losses while other top Heisman candidates might be on undefeated or one-loss teams. Perhaps Taylor’s workload won’t be increased too much if the program has an eye toward keeping him healthy for the next level.

 

What must happen

Taylor must approach Barry Sanders’ single-season rushing record (2,628 yards) while leading Wisconsin to a double-digit-win season.

 

Stat projection

318 CAR | 2,417 RUSH YDS | 23 RUSH TD | 7.6 AVG

14 REC | 137 REC YDS | 2 REC TD | 9.8 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: Preseason

2019 College Football Power Rankings: Preseason

Clemson topped the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll, and they also top our preseason college football power rankings.

 

1. Clemson Tigers

Clemson loses a senior class that was 55-4 with four conference championships and two national championships, but the team might still be even stronger than they were last season. Phenom quarterback Trevor Lawrence immediately stepped into college football as a superstar, and he’ll now have a year of experience and an offseason in which he worked as the clear starter for the Tigers. Stacked with talent, Clemson should be in the College Football Playoff as the No. 1 or No. 2 team for a fifth consecutive year.

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

The result of last season’s CFB Playoff National Championship Game was no doubt a motivating factor during Alabama’s offseason, and the team will be as determined as ever to get back to that final game and win it in January 2020. The Crimson Tide are the only program to make all five College Football Playoffs since the format’s inception, and with elite talent on both sides of the ball, Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, and Nick Saban at head coach, they are a great bet to get back there again this season.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs

Alabama isn’t the only team with a bad taste in their mouth from the end of last season, as Georgia had the SEC foe on the ropes in the conference title game before narrowly missing out on the Playoffs and losing a sluggish Sugar Bowl to Texas. While the Bulldogs again lost talented players to the NFL, they’re basically in the same spot as Alabama and Clemson in that they’ll keep rotating in new players ready to contribute at a high level, leading to sustained success. Quarterback Jake Fromm is the nation’s most undervalued star and plays at his best in key moments.

 

4. Oklahoma Sooners

After last season, the Sooners looked like they might start this season in the bottom half of the top ten with the loss of a second consecutive Heisman Trophy winner to the NFL. But they had a major coup by getting former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts as a transfer, which should keep Lincoln Riley’s offense humming in the Big 12. Hurts was 26-2 as a starter and was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a true freshman at Alabama, so he immediately steps into the door commanding respect from his new teammates. All-American receiver CeeDee Lamb headlines the weapons Hurts has to work with on offense.

 

5. LSU Tigers

Led by preseason All-Americans Grant Delpit and Kristian Fulton in the secondary, LSU boasts a very fast, phenomenal defense that should help keep them in every game. Joe Burrows showed flashes of brilliance as the Tigers’ starting quarterback last season, and he should be more confident in 2019 for an attack that might spread things out more. Their second game of the season at Texas will be a huge test that will almost certainly keep or vault whichever team wins into the top five.

 

6. Texas Longhorns

As head coach Tom Herman enters his third season leading Texas, the program has elite upside to win their conference and make noise in the College Football Playoff. The Longhorns must replace several starters from last year’s defense, but the offense will be ready to go with dual-threat quarterback Sam Ehlinger showing improvement as a passer last season.

 

7. Ohio State Buckeyes

As usual, the Buckeyes are loaded with talent all over the field, but their success as a team will likely come down to the play of highly touted five-star transfer quarterback Justin Fields. The former Georgia Bulldog was granted 2019 eligibility despite transferring after one season, and he was considered by many to be the country’s top high school recruit even over Trevor Lawrence. If Fields matches expectations, Ohio State will remain a major factor in Ryan Day’s first season taking over for Urban Meyer.

 

8. Michigan Wolverines

There’s going to be a lot of noise about Jim Harbaugh’s teams not being able to win the most important games until they actually do it consistently, and many people expected them to at least win a conference title entering his fifth season at the helm. The Wolverines are going to open their offense up more in 2019, but the defense getting back on track after struggling in the final two games of last season might be the bigger concern.

 

9. Florida Gators

Florida had an up and down season last year, but overall it was a very good first season for Dan Mullen leading the program. If the Gators can get more consistent in 2019, they have the talent to make it a game against any team in the nation. There’s a lot of optimism around quarterback Feleipe Franks entering the year, and maintaining stability from week to week will be critical while facing tough SEC defenses.

 

10. Texas A&M Aggies

Oregon and Washington are a couple of the schools that were close to the No. 10 spot, but Texas A&M led by head coach Jimbo Fisher and quarterback Kellen Mond get the nod. The Aggies offense was on-fire to end last season, with point totals of 38, 41, 74 (in the seven-overtime thriller versus LSU), and 52 to end the year. They shouldn’t be counted out as serious title contenders in 2019, but they’ll have an extremely difficult test facing Clemson on September 7.

2019 Heisman Trophy Candidate Countdown #2: Trevor Lawrence

2019 Heisman Trophy Candidate Countdown #2: Trevor Lawrence

Our 2019 Heisman Trophy countdown is down to the final two.

 

#15: Michigan QB Shea Patterson

#14: Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond

#13: Texas QB Sam Ehlinger

#12: Ohio State QB Justin Fields

#11: Alabama RB Najee Harris

#10: Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

#9: Georgia RB D’Andre Swift

#8: Clemson RB Travis Etienne

#7: Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez

#6: Oregon QB Justin Herbert

#5: Georgia QB Jake Fromm

#4: Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts

#3: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa

 

Clemson sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence tops many Heisman candidate shortlists entering 2019, and for good reason.

 

Why he can win it

Lawrence leads the defending national champs and preseason No. 1—a team that should push for an undefeated regular season and is the best bet to win their conference and make the College Football Playoff. As a true freshman that split time to open the year, Lawrence put up tremendous, efficient numbers (30 touchdowns, four interceptions) and those statistics might be his floor if he stays healthy in 2019. Lawrence is considered the best player in the nation by many, and the best player on the best team should have a very strong Heisman candidacy.

 

Why he won’t win it

Teammate Travis Etienne is a top Heisman candidate himself that could take votes away from Lawrence. Clemson’s biggest out-of-conference game (and perhaps their toughest test of the regular season) comes on September 7, which will likely not be in front of the Heisman voters’ minds at the end of the race.

 

What must happen

Clemson must make the College Football Playoff again, with Lawrence leading the way with spectacular numbers.

 

Stat projection

304/447 (68.0%) | 4,023 PASS YDS | 41 PASS TD | 3 INT

68 CAR | 265 RUSH YDS | 2 RUSH TD | 3.9 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.

Trevor Lawrence, Jonathan Taylor Among Top College Football Players For 2019

Trevor Lawrence, Jonathan Taylor Among Top College Football Players For 2019

Our countdown to the kickoff of college football resumes with a shortlist of the best players in the country for the 2019 season. There’s a ton of offensive firepower around college football, so the top ten slants that way, but many players that missed the top ten also have a case to be on here.

 

10. Ohio State DL Chase Young

LSU safety Grant Delpit, Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, and Alabama defensive lineman Raekwon Davis are among the players that just missed the top ten. Preseason All-American defensive end Chase Young has been given a captain title at Ohio State, and those two honors could be the start of a huge season. With Nick Bosa away from the team last year, Young stepped up with 14.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, and he figures to show more progress entering what could be his final college season before he’s a likely first-round pick in the NFL draft as an all-around talent.

 

9. Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert could have gone to the NFL after his junior season, but he returns to his hometown of Eugene for one last go-around with the Ducks as one of the top players in the nation. At six-foot-six, Herbert has the intelligence and arm talent to win from the pocket, along with the mobility to escape danger and do some damage in the open field. There’s a case for Herbert being the most valuable player in college football this year.

 

8. Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy

Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy pops off the screen when you watch him play, and he’s drawn comparisons to a few different professional receivers after emerging with 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide in 2018. Jeudy is a major big-play threat that averages 19.3 yards per reception through two college seasons, yet he’s also a technical player (like many Alabama receivers over the last several years) that’s excellent at everything he’s asked to do on the outside.

 

7. Clemson RB Travis Etienne

Receivers Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins on the outside could also be on here for Clemson, but running back Travis Etienne should be considered a no-doubt top-ten player in college football for 2019. Etienne has top-tier speed that allows him to break big plays when just a little crease is there, but he’s also improved his build and power since making an impact as a freshman a couple of seasons ago. Etienne should be in the thick of the Heisman race all season long.

 

6. Auburn DL Derrick Brown

Like some Clemson defensive lineman did last year, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown returned to school for his senior season when he could’ve gone to the NFL and been a high draft pick. Wreaking havoc on the inside, Brown will lead an intimidating Auburn front that’ll be the strength of the team in 2019. Despite a huge frame, Brown has the athleticism and quickness to be a disruptor on Saturdays throughout the fall.

 

5. Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts

As the starting quarterback for Alabama as a young true freshman and sophomore in 2016 and 2017, Jalen Hurts led the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record while winning SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a young 18-year-old in his first season. The sudden emergence of Tua Tagovailoa during the 2018 title game relegated Hurts to a backup role, but he showed notable promise and progression as a passer when he hit the field last year. Hurts is an experienced dual-threat with the past success to back up his ranking among the top-five college football players entering 2019.

 

4. Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor

This ranking is really tough, as Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor has a legitimate case as the best player in the nation this season. He’s already racked up 4,171 rushing yards and 29 rushing touchdowns in just two seasons for the Badgers, and he has exceptional talent that includes track-star speed complementing a big frame that delivers blows to defenders. There aren’t many players on any level that are as fun to watch as Taylor.

 

3. Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa

In his first season as Alabama’s starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa was simply phenomenal. To have a former SEC Offensive Player of the Year hit the bench, it shows that Tua is a heck of a player, and his play (rarely making mistakes while putting touch and anticipation on his throws) and statistics (43 touchdowns compared to six interceptions while averaging a crazy 11.2 yards per attempt) put him squarely among college football’s best.

 

2. Georgia QB Jake Fromm

The conversation about top college football quarterbacks and players overall tends to be a conversation that centers around Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, but Georgia’s junior quarterback Jake Fromm should be in that discussion. Fromm is as cool as it gets in the biggest games and on key drives, and he’s a very efficient passer that should continue to play at an extremely high level despite losing more top skill position players around him from last season.

 

1. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

It’s difficult to imagine a better freshman season than the one Trevor Lawrence had last season, as he led Clemson to a 15-0 record and a national title while throwing 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions—keep in mind he started the year splitting time with Kelly Bryant, so his numbers could’ve been even bigger if that wasn’t the case. The generational quarterback put his ability on display in last year’s title game, calmly delivering perfect passes throughout the night while looking more like a tenth-year NFL veteran All-Pro than a college freshman. Lawrence should be the best player in college football over the next two years at least.

2019 Heisman Trophy Candidate Countdown #3: Tua Tagovailoa

2019 Heisman Trophy Candidate Countdown #3: Tua Tagovailoa

We’re into the top three of our 2019 Heisman Trophy candidate countdown. Here are the top candidates to this point:

 

#15: Michigan QB Shea Patterson

#14: Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond

#13: Texas QB Sam Ehlinger

#12: Ohio State QB Justin Fields

#11: Alabama RB Najee Harris

#10: Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

#9: Georgia RB D’Andre Swift

#8: Clemson RB Travis Etienne

#7: Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez

#6: Oregon QB Justin Herbert

#5: Georgia QB Jake Fromm

#4: Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts

 

Tua Tagovailoa was a Heisman frontrunner for much of last season, ultimately finishing as the runner-up to Kyler Murray. Tua will likely be in the top five again in 2019.

 

Why he can win it

If not for Murray’s sensational season and strong finish last year, Tua would be the reigning Heisman winner with a realistic chance to become the second-ever two-time winner; however, not winning last year could make it more likely that he gets love from the voters this season. Tagovailoa had 48 total touchdowns (43 passing) in 2018, and many of his weapons return, including Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. He’s a humble player with another year of experience under his belt. Alabama will almost certainly be ranked near the top of the college football rankings throughout the entire season, and they’ll be in the SEC Championship and College Football Playoff mix.

 

Why he won’t win it

It’s not easy to put back-to-back Heisman caliber seasons together. Alabama could potentially not air the ball out as much, or pull Tagovailoa early in blowouts, in an effort to keep him healthy for late in the season.

 

What must happen

Tagovailoa must remain on the field and record the same type of numbers as last season while again leading Alabama to a Playoff appearance.

 

Stat projection

249/358 (69.6%) | 4,045 PASS YDS | 45 PASS TD | 4 INT

39 CAR | 156 RUSH YDS | 4 RUSH TD | 4.0 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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best 2019 College Football Games

Top Ten Tuesday: Best 2019 College Football Games

We’ll be counting down to this Saturday’s kickoff of the 2019 college football season all this week, and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over the top games on the schedule this year. 2019 has a strong slate of games, and there are five conference and five out-of-conference games on the list.

 

10. No. 9 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Michigan (Sat. 10/26, TBD)

Last season, Notre Dame jumped out to an early 14-0 lead against Michigan and didn’t look back in a win that was more convincing than the 24-17 score indicated. This year, the series moves to the Big House, as the Wolverines get the top-notch homefield advantage as they look for a little redemption on their sour start to 2018. Also, the matchup this time around comes in middle of the season, so we should get a better idea of where each of the two programs stand in what’ll likely be a primetime matchup if they are both in the College Football Playoff hunt.

 

9. No. 12 Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Clemson (Sat. 9/7, 3:30 PM ET)

Kellen Mond (430 yards and three scores) and the Aggies nearly staged an amazing comeback against the Tigers in their September 8 matchup in 2018, and now they’ll run it back almost exactly one year later when they square off on September 7. Texas A&M had the benefit of playing at home in the previous matchup, so a trip to Clemson Memorial Stadium will be a major challenge, as will sophomore sensation Trevor Lawrence entering this campaign as the unquestioned starting quarterback for Clemson.

 

8. No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 16 Auburn (Sat. 8/31, 7:30 PM ET)

This Yahoo article on Oregon senior quarterback Justin Herbert, which reveals that he’s basically a genius with a 4.01 GPA, helps set the table for a highly-anticipated opening-week contest between the Ducks and the Tigers at the neutral site of AT&T Stadium. Herbert is one of the top NFL prospects entering the 2019 season, and facing an elite Auburn front could spark a magical season by Herbert and his hometown team. Meanwhile, head coach Gus Mazlahn—who should have some tricks up his sleeve for the opening game—and Auburn are looking to put up points with a new undetermined quarterback under center after Jarrett Stidham left for the NFL.

 

7. No. 8 Florida vs. No. 6 LSU (Sat. 10/12, TBD)

The first conference game on the Top Ten Tuesday comes from the SEC, and it’ll happen on October 8 when two Playoff hopefuls play in “Death Valley”. Florida handed LSU its first loss of the season last year in Gainesville, and the Gators also won their last contest at Tiger Stadium in 2016. Each of the past five matchups between the two schools has been within one possession, and we should see the same in this year’s version.

 

6. No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Texas (Sat. 10/12, 12:00 PM ET)

The Red River Rivalry (or Red River Showdown) should be intense in 2019, as the two Big 12 rivals are both ranked in the preseason top ten and are coming off two matchups last season, with Texas taking the regular season game before Oklahoma claimed the conference title and a Playoff appearance. Two experienced quarterbacks (Sam Ehlinger for Texas, and Alabama transfer and former SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts for Oklahoma) lead their teams, but the play of the defenses in an offensive-slanted conference could determine the outcome.

 

5. No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 8 Florida (Sat. 11/2, 3:30 PM ET)

Since 1990, Georgia has won just eight matchups in the Florida-Georgia rivalry, but they have been dominant in the last two seasons, with 47-7 and 36-17 victories. With no regular season matchup versus Alabama this year, this could be the toughest test on the schedule for the Bulldogs. Both teams have difficult slates leading up to this November 2 game, so perhaps this won’t be a top-five game for 2019 by the time it rolls around; but in the preseason, it looks like one of the games to most look forward to.

 

4. No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 16 Auburn (Sat. 11/30, TBD)

Alabama will almost certainly enter this game as the clear favorites, but the Iron Bowl will always be among the best games in any college football season no matter how good or bad the two teams are—and Auburn should be very good themselves in 2019. The Tigers’ offense will need to perform if they are going to be national title contenders, but the talent on defense should make this close for at least a bit.

 

3. No. 6 LSU vs. No. 10 Texas (Sat. 9/7, 7:30 PM ET)

After the big-time Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia last season, Texas will have the confidence that they can beat any team in 2019. And from LSU’s perspective, they might be looking to not allow the Longhorns to beat two consecutive SEC teams, especially after the mock chants during that Sugar Bowl. The September 7 contest will be one of those games where the fans of each conference will likely be pulling for their rival.

 

2. No. 9 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Georgia (Sat. 9/21, 8:00 PM ET)

Notre Dame tends to get too much hype from the media, and they could certainly get run out of the building while having to face a top-three Georgia squad at Sanford Stadium. However, the narrow 20-19 victory for the Bulldogs in 2017 gives hope that this year will be another close one. If the Fighting Irish win, they’ll be squarely in the Playoff conversation early in the season; and even if they just play well an make it close on the road, they’ll likely again get the benefit of the doubt from the media again.

 

1. No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Michigan (Sat. 11/30, 12:00 PM ET)

Despite it being played in Columbus last season, Michigan entered “The Game” as the favorites before getting demolished, 62-39, for their seventh consecutive loss to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won 14 of the last 15 of the matchups between the storied programs, and this is currently tied for their longest winning streak in the rivalry, so they’ll look to make it eight while Jim Harbaugh looks to get his first victory over Ohio State as a head coach. There’s a good chance Playoff hopes are riding on this one, and most college football fans will be locked on their televisions for November 30 at noon ET.