The State of College Football: Week 4
We’re a couple games into the season and the Heisman and QB1 battle is starting to take shape. This week we’ll look at some of the quarterbacks battling for both positions, as well as Weekly Awards, Right/Wrong, #AskMelloAnything, the USC job, the top running backs and more.
Top 25 Rankings
7. Texas A&M
8. Ohio State
10. Penn State
11. Notre Dame
13. Ole Miss
14. Iowa State
16. Coastal Carolina
19. Iowa State
21. North Carolina
22. Michigan State
23. Kansas State
25. Fresno State
Offensive Player of the Week: Matt Corral, Ole Miss - 335 passing yards, 68 rushing yards, 7 total touchdowns (3 passing, 4 rushing)
Defensive Player of the Week: Jaquan Brisker, Penn State - 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD
Freshman of the Week: TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State - 277 yards, 3 TDs
Coach of the Week: Luke Fickell, Cincinnati - comeback road victory against Indiana
Sam Howell, North Carolina - 307 passing yards, 5 TDs, 112 rushing yards
Jake Haener, Fresno State - 455 yards, 2 TDs
Tanner Mordecai, SMU - 395 yards, 5 TDs
Ty Chandler, North Carolina - 198 yards, 2 TDs
Tyler Goodson, Iowa - 153 yards, 3 TDs
Jaylen Warren, Oklahoma State - 218 yards, 2 TDs
Josh Downs, North Carolina - 8 catches, 203 yards, 2 TDs
Drake London, USC - 13 catches, 170 yards, 2 TDs
Charleston Rambo, Miami - 12 catches, 156 yards, 2 TDs
Sam LaPorta, Iowa - 7 catches, 65 yards, 1 TD
Gerrit Prince, UAB - 3 catches, 136 yards, 2 TDs
Marshon Ford, Louisville - 8 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD
Louisiana - 562 total yards, 310 rushing yards
Florida - 245 rushing yards, 4 TDs
Fresno State - 569 total yards, 455 yards passing, 114 rushing yards
Nolan Smith, Georgia - 8 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Kaimon Rucker, North Carolina - 5 tackles, 2 sacks
Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma - 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Jack Campbell, Iowa - 11 tackles
Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati - 9 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 Fumble recovery
Jared Bartlett, West Virginia - 5 tackles, 3 sacks
Verone McKinley III, Oregon - 3 tackles, 2 INTs
Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame - 10 tackles, 1 INT
Jalen Catalon, Arkansas - 9 tackles, 2 PD
Where I Was Right / Where I Was Wrong
I might be wrong about this one but I would bet most millennials somewhat like Virginia Tech. Watching Michael Vick take over at Tech when I was 13 years old really helped set the foundation for my college football fandom and every year I buy into the hype in Blacksburg, VA. But not this year. The Justin Fuente Virginia Tech teams just aren’t the Frank Beamer teams - not many teams or programs are - but that was proven once again Saturday against West Virginia. Virginia Tech was ranked 15th in the Nation and once again failed to beat a team they should have. However, Virginia Tech was actually the underdog in this matchup and most people probably had no idea. But once again, me and the other millennials overrated Virginia Tech early in the season. Just like we continue to do with Miami, Michigan, Texas, Texas A&M, etc...
For weeks I’ve thought no one had a chance at challenging Alabama and this weekend I was proved wrong. Florida did a damn good job against Alabama and were even able to fight back in the game after being down big ealy. This is a great sign for other members of the SEC and teams that will make it to the College Football Playoff. If Alabama looked vulnerable against Florida, schools like Georgia, A&M and Ole Miss might have hope after all.
—Is this the year Michigan beats Ohio State?
Two days ago I would have said this was crazy talk. But now, maybe, I don’t know, I think it could happen. Michigan has looked surprisingly good so far and even though Ohio State only has one loss they haven’t looked good in any of their games. We’ll figure out a lot more about Michigan and Ohio State before their November matchup but this rivalry has been very one-sided for years, maybe Michigan can keep the score close this year.
—Who will be the head coach at the University of Miami 2022 Week 1?
Manny Diaz is 15-12 at Miami but at the time it felt like this was a good hire for Miami. But with talented veteran players making up this Miami roster they are going to fall short of expectations - two losses already this season. I do not expect Diaz to be the coach in 2022 and one name I think would be an interesting hire is Ken Dorsey. Dorsey led the Hurricanes to the 2001 National Championship and has since made a name for himself in the coaching realm. Dorsey is currently the Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills and is will be a hot coordinator candidate this coaching cycle. Could he return Miami to glory again? Might be worth a shot for Miami and Dorsey.
—Is any team, aside from Alabama, actually good?
The short answer is no. But there is a lot of season left and teams still have time to find their identity and become successful. I still like Georgia and their offense is starting to click. If JT Daniels can stay healthy I think their offense could be good and that defense is one of the best in the country. Oklahoma has had it’s struggles but it hasn’t faced a tough opponent yet. They look a little complacent (bored/overlooking teams) but could turn it on and become the team we thought they were in the preseason. Ohio State is similar to Oklahoma but not complacent. They look like they need to figure out what is going to work for them on offense and defense. But they’re a young team with a ton of talent. If they can figure it out soon they will be tough to beat in November/December.
Outside contenders - Iowa and Oregon are other teams that are red hot right now but I still need to see more from their offenses. Both defenses are legit good, and Oregon is missing two of their best defenders. Another team to watch is Cincinnati. The Bearcats have been good against solid competition and are a team that could peak in November. We’ll know a lot more about Cincinnati after their Oct. 2nd matchup against Notre Dame.
—Clay Helton Finally Fired at USC. Clay Helton might hold the record longest amount of time on the hot seat. But after a loss to Stanford USC finally pulled the ripcord on Helton. Now all attention has turned to who will take Helton’s place. Early favorites are James Franklin (Penn State), Luke Fickell (Cincinnati) and Matt Campbell (Iowa State).
Let’s start with James Franklin. Franklin has helped rebuild Penn State post Joe Paterno and rumors say he has already expressed interest in the USC job behind closed doors. Penn State is a big time program but the USC reputation might be too much for Franklin to pass up.
Luke Fickell was hired at Cincinnati by the current USC athletic director and is already a big time coaching prospect for the next big opening. Add those two pieces together and it’s clear to see that Fickell is a legit candidate for the USC job. The only hang up is Fickell’s interest in his alma mater Ohio State - butI don’t think that job is opening anytime soon.
Matt Campbell has been a top coaching candidate for college and NFL teams for a few years now but he always finds himself back at Iowa State. Many people have also said that Campbell is not a fit in Southern California and would probably want to be close to or in the Midwest. But let me tell ya - I’m about as Midwestern as they come and I would not turn down the opportunity, or money, to go to Southern California. I think some of y’all are over thinkin Matt Campbell and that USC money, I mean scenery, err - football progr’m.
—Big Three Running Backs are Back
This year has not been the best for the top running back prospects - Breece Hall, Isaiah Spiller and Kyren Williams - but each member of the trio had a nice bounceback weekend, which will hopefully see them get back on track to what they were in 2020. Hall (Iowa State) had 21 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns against UNLV. And yeah, he should be productive against UNLV but it is nice to see. Spiller (Texas A&M) had 15 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown against New Mexico - again not the toughest opponent. Williams (Notre Dame) had 12 carries for 91 yards and one touchdown against Purdue - the most challenging of the three opponents. I know they weren’t the toughest games but I did like seeing each of the running backs involved in their teams offenses again and maybe this was the kickstart each back needed to get things going and give us some running backs names for the 2022 NFL Draft.
We knew, or should have known, that this year’s quarterback class was going to be hard to figure out and that QB1 was never solidified. Spencer Rattler came into the season as the Heisman and first overall pick favorite, but has struggled so far this season and looked unimpressive against not great teams. But other running backs are starting to emerge as QB1 and Heisman candidates. Let’s take a look at some of the top guys.
Malike Willis, Liberty
Willis has been a guy to watch in the draft community since he burst onto the scene last season and he is proving last year was no fluke. So far this season Willis has thrown for 613 yards and seven touchdowns, while adding 225 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The biggest questions surrounding Willis were accuracy - he still has a lot to prove but completing 71% of his passes has helped quiet the noise. Liberty will take on Syracuse next week.
Matt Corral, Ole Miss
I will admit that I have been a Matt Corral doubter but his play on the field has been outstanding. Corral is the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy now and absolutely lit it up this week accounting for seven total touchdowns. Corral has a live arm and a ton of athletic ability. Hell, Corral might be who everyone wanted Spencer Rattler to be. Ole Miss gets a week off before traveling to Tuscaloosa, Alabama October 2nd. This will be a must watch game for draft and college football fans!
Sam Howell, North Carolina
Howell had a rough opening game against Virginia Tech - in Blacksburg - and because of that his name took a drop in the Heisman and QB1 discussion. But Howell is back to playing excellent football and proving he can beat you on the ground too. Howell has put together back-to-back 100+ yard rushing games! Howell is close enough in the running that he could still be a Heisman contender and he was never out of the running for QB1 - his new found running game will also increase his draft stock!North Carolina will take on Georgia Tech Saturday.
Week 4 Games to Watch
Notre Dame @ Wisconsin - in Chicago, 11:00 CT, Fox
Texas A&M @ Arkansa - in Dallas, 2:30 CT, CBS
Clemson @ NC State, 2:30 CT, ESPN
Rutgers @ Michigan, 2:30 CT, ABC - this sounds like a joke but I’m for real.
Louisville @ Florida State, 2:30 CT, ESPN2
West Virginia @ Oklahoma, 6:30 CT, ABC