Building the All Under-23 Offense in the NFL

 

 

 

QB: Dak Prescott, Cowboys, 23 years old

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There is no doubt that Prescott is a candidate for ROTY, and he might even be the leading candidate. His poise in the pocket along with his ability to pose a threat with his legs is more than enough for him to make my team. Carson Wentz was also in consideration, but I was pretty much splitting hairs with this decision.

RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 21 years old

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Elliott has been running like mad man so far this season, with over 700 yards in only six games so far. He hasn’t rushed for under 130 yards in his last four games. ‘Nuff said. Todd Gurley was also in consideration, but in my opinion, he is a little too overrated, and he hasn’t been finding the holes this season like he did in his rookie season.

WR1: Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, 23 years old

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I promise that I’m not just choosing players from the NFC East! That division just has a lot of young talent at these skill positions. Odell Beckham Jr. is on track to become the best receiver ever, just look at the stats. He is so quick in and out of his breaks and he can stop on a dime. The only way to cover him is to get in his head and get him frustrated.

WR2: Jarvis Landry, Dolphins, 23 years old

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The other LSU receiver that was drafted in 2014, Jarvis Landry should really be one of the top 10 wideouts in the league, but playing for a lackluster Dolphins team has brought his hype down the last two years. Landry caught 110 balls last year for over 1,100 yards, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

WR3: Amari Cooper, Raiders, 22 years old

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I so badly wanted to put Mike Evans or Allen Robinson here, and I was considering Will Fuller, but he hasn’t proved enough yet. I just couldn’t leave Cooper off of this list. He broke the 1,000 yard mark for the Raiders last year, and he is already more than halfway there through six games so far in 2016. Cooper hasn’t put up Odell Beckham Jr.-like production, but being The Guy in your rookie season has to say something. Cooper is a fantastic route-runner, and while he won’t blow you away with speed, he is a very balanced receiver.

TE1: Hunter Henry, Chargers, 21 years old

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There are about no tight ends worth mentioning who are 23 years old or younger. Hunter Henry and Eric Ebron are about the only ones. I went with Henry mainly because he has posted over 300 yards in only six games, and he is still playing behind Antonio Gates for the most part. Also because, you know, it’s Eric Ebron.

 

 

Predicting Winners of Top WR-CB Battles for Week 6

Dez Bryant vs. Sam Shields:

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Both of these players didn’t play in Week 5 and are questionable to even play in Week 6, but in this article, I’m assuming that every player that is questionable will play. If both of these players are healthy, then we will see a rematch of the famous Dez Bryant “catch”. Remember that play? He “caught” that ball over Sam Shields. The speed of Sam Shields versus Dez’s ability to high-point the ball should be a joy to watch. At the end of the day, you can be a very fast corner, but all that Dak has to do is toss the ball up, and Dez will come down with it. Dez has built a whole career off of doing that. I’m not about to doubt him now.

Winner: Dez Bryant

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Vontae Davis:

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Is it DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller that is the top receiver in Houston? That’s been a pretty hot topic of debate recently, as Fuller has been torching defenses with his speed, and Hopkins has only turned on one 100+ yard day. I’m sticking with Hopkins as the top receiver on this Texans team. He has been for the past two years, so I’m not going to dismiss him supremacy after just five weeks. As far as him versus Vontae Davis, I give Hopkins the edge here. Davis is starting to age, and while he is still a top cornerback, I feel like this is DeAndre’s breakout game this season.

Winner: DeAndre Hopkins

Brandon Marshall vs. Patrick Peterson:

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It’s hard to think that Brandon Marshall is 32 years old, because he’s playing like he’s still in his prime. The veteran is preparing for life after football, as he has already started a broadcasting career on NFL Network, but the way that he’s playing right now, I don’t think he needs to think about sitting at the booth for another three years. Marshall may be having another Brandon Marshall-type season, but I never bet against Patrick Peterson. He can stay stride for stride with any receiver in the game and is the modern day Houdini, as he makes receivers disappear on the football field. The only way to beat Peterson is to put the ball perfectly overtop of him, an with the way that Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing, I can’t see him being able to do that.

Winner: Patrick Peterson

Amari Cooper vs. Marcus Peters –

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Amari Cooper went off against a Jason Verrett-less San Diego Chargers squad. His 138 yards came on 6 catches, and he finally took back the crown of the top receiver in Oakland. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Crabtree is having a fantastic season, but Cooper is and will be the top receiver every time that he steps onto that field. Marcus Peters has given up some big plays this season, but he has also made some huge plays. Peters is prone to give up the big play, but Cooper doesn’t have the long speed to get by Peters, and that’s usually where Peters experiences some issues. Peters will shadow Cooper the whole game and keep him from beating him deep. Advantage: Peters.

Winner: Marcus Peters

Julio Jones vs. Richard Sherman

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This is the marquee matchup of the week. Of course, there is no guarantee that Sherman will follow Julio all game long, and he probably won’t, because it’s the Seahawks scheme. This has obviously been the big topic of conversation regarding Richard Sherman and his standing among the top corners of the game. In the snaps where he is lined up on Julio, I can’t imagine him getting torched. Sherman will hold his own against Julio Jones, but don’t count on Julio being silent either. This is the closest call of the entire week, but I’ll take Julio Jones. He has a quarterback in Matt Ryan who is incredibly in form, and that is the deciding factor.

Winner: Julio Jones

 

 

 

Top 5 Heisman Contenders After Week 5

Louisville vs. Clemson. Washington vs. Stanford. North Carolina vs. Florida State. All three of these games have dramatically shifted my Heisman ranking, and as fun as they were to watch, who the heck is the top Heisman contender now? Week 5 shook up the Heisman race like a California earthquake, so how do things stand now?

 

Honorable Mentions:

Dalvin Cook – If the Seminoles didn’t have two losses, then you’d see him a lot higher up on this list.

Christian McCraffrey – Stanford suffered a terrible loss to Wisconsin, and while McCaffrey is amazing, he can’t be this entire Stanford offense.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. – This is your official dark-horse Heisman contender. He’s got Nebraska at No. 12 (AP Poll) in the nation with his arm and his legs.

 

5. Jake Browning – QB – Washington

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I’m absolutely in love with this Washington team, just check out my last article. While this defense is what really makes me believe in their chances as a Top 3 team, Jake Browning is absolutely fantastic under center. He isn’t draft eligible until next year, but Browning is already a lock to be a Top 5 pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Browning hasn’t topped the 300-yard passing mark in any game yet this season, but the Huskies are 5-0, and greatly because of him. The number one trait among Heisman winners: They win games.

4. Greg Ward Jr. – QB – Houston

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Not only can Greg Ward Jr. get it done through the air (over 1,300 passing yards thus far), but he also has the running ability of a running back. At 5’11”, Ward will probably never make it in the NFL, but he has certainly made his mark on College Football. Houston is currently ranked at No. 6 (AP Poll), and with only Louisville as the only real threat left on their schedule, Ward should be able to put up huge statistics and the Cougars should keep on winning games.

3. Deshaun Watson – QB – Clemson

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Last week, I didn’t even have Watson in my Top 5, as he’s thrown way too many interceptions for a Heisman contender and his team struggled in their first two games. After a huge win against Louisville, he jumps up my list in a major way. He threw 3 interceptions, but in a game like the one we saw on Saturday, when you have two Top 5 teams going up against each other, winning the game matters a lot more than statistics. Watson willed his team to win, so he gets a big bump up the rankings. Although he won, I’m not ready to forget about those first two games where he should’ve posted a lot bigger stat lines.

2. J.T. Barrett – QB – Ohio State

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It seems like people have just stopped watching Ohio State and Alabama. There is clearly a VIP section in the Top 25 rankings, and it’s at No. 1 and No. 2. Fans just assume that Ohio State and Alabama will consistently win, so J.T. Barrett seems to not get as much hype as he deserves. Barrett doesn’t have the stats that the other candidates do, and that’s because the Buckeyes have blown out every opponent that they’ve faced, so they take him out once the believe that they don’t need him anymore. Fun Fact: Barrett has only thrown SIX, yes six passes in the fourth quarter this season. Ohio State is winning and J.T. Barrett has done nothing to move him down the rankings.

  1. Lamar Jackson – QB – LouisvilleImage result for lamar jackson vs. clemson

I know that this is controversial, but it really shouldn’t be. With 2,313 total yards already this season, Jackson is putting together a historic season. Let’s put his stats into perspective. If Lamar Jackson were his own team, he would be the 30th best offense in College Football, above Ohio State and only 4 yards behind Clemson. Are you freaking kidding me? The fact that people had Lamar Jackson as the unanimous top Heisman contender before Week 5 and then fault him for losing to Clemson is insane. Jackson played an incredible game, and it wasn’t like Louisville struggled. It was an instant-classic type game that anyone could have won. I know that I’ve said that winning is the most important thing in these types of games, but Jackson willed his team to win, and maybe if James Quick had pick up the extra yard on that fourth down, we would be talking about one of the best players in college football history. Jackson is still the best in College Football by leaps and bounds.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

Lamar Jackson gets choked out by Ben Boulware, doesn’t get a flag

http://www.cleveland.com/osu/index.ssf/2016/01/jt_barrett_ohio_states_heisman.html

http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Deshaun+Watson/Clemson+v+Louisville/OFNY-TZYKGD

Greg Ward Jr. out for Houston, Kyle Postma will start

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/jake-browning-and-uw-offense-have-plenty-of-room-for-growth/

Why the Washington Huskies Are A Top 3 Team in College Football

          After a dominating, and I mean dominating, performance against Stanford, Washington should be expecting a huge jump up the rankings. Just how high should they be put? I don’t care if it’s an overreaction, but I like them as a Top 3 team. They obviously will never be put there, as the winner of Louisville vs. Clemson will gladly fill that spot, but if that weren’t an issue, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them right up there.

          Where do you start when talking about this team? Let’s start a Quarterback, where we have the pleasure to watch true-sophomore Jake Browning. In watching Browning, I noticed three things. First, his accuracy, particularly on the deep ball, is impeccable. Second, his decision-making is his best attribute. Third, he has NFL size. The only flaw that I noticed with him was his lack of arm strength, but that is something that can be fixed in the year-and-a-half that he has before he is draft eligible.

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          At the running back position, Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman have both had their breakout games, and both of them are capable of torching defenses. Receivers John Ross and Chico McClatcher combine to form one of the speediest receivers duos in college football.  Let’s also give some love to the offensive line, who kept Jake Browning’s jersey clean the entire game against Stanford.

          The offense is great to watch, but the defense is something else. Two years ago, it was the year of Shaq Thompson, Marcus Peters, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Danny Shelton, and after they left for the NFL, Washington had trouble reloading on defense. Well, Consider them reloaded, as their defense boasts several top names. They have two Senior Defensive Ends in Psalm Wooching and Joe Mathis. If you watched the Stanford game, you should already be acquainted with these two, as they were practically living in Stanford’s backfield.

          Azeem Victor is a tackle machine at linebacker, as he has 42 to his name. Jo-Jo McIntosh is another impact player on that defense as well, although the stat sheet may not show it.

          How could I talk about this defense without mentioning Budda Baker and Sidney Jones? Baker is the classic in-the-box type safety, always around the ball, and even though he is a little on the shorter end, it’s never been an issue when quarterbacks throw to him. Sidney Jones is a lockdown cornerback on the outside, and he is likely to be first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The same goes for Budda Baker.

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         Now, a team can have great players but not perform. That isn’t the case for this Huskies team. Playing out West, many people are already asleep by the time that Washington is playing, so they won’t get that recognition that they deserve. The best thing that could’ve happened to them was playing Stanford in Friday Night Primetime. People were finally able to watch the Huskies play, and like me, they liked what they saw.

          Washington has their signature win, along with the players, to succeed. Facing Oregon next week looks to be their only big test for the rest of the season, so Washington looks like it could roll to the College Football Playoffs. I could see them winning it all too. Quote me on that.

Photo Credits:

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/university-of-washington-ready-to-cook-with-budda-baker-040716

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/like-cals-jared-goff-uws-jake-browning-has-a-unique-feel-for-the-game/

Why the Patriots Will Go 4-0 Without Brady

The start of the Patriots season was looking pretty bleak without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski starting for New England. Despite the losses, the Pats managed to beat maybe the most complete team in football, the Arizona Cardinals, in Week 1. People doubted a Tom Brady-less New England squad, but most people forgot about one guy that is the biggest reason for the Patriots success.

Bill Belichick.

I don’t want to be that guy that just tells everybody ‘I told you so’, but, hey, I told you so. I predicted New England to beat Arizona, and I made that prediction solely off of my faith in Bill Belichick’s ability to rally his team together in moments like these.

A great coach is defined by many things: His ability to win, progress his players, and dial up the right plays, but there is one quality that I consider the most important. That quality is the skill of winning when you don’t have your best players. This is what won Bruce Arians his COTY Award in 2014, when he was down to his third string quarterback and still made the playoffs.

Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches of all time, and this is the reason why I never count the Patriots out, even if Brady and Gronk aren’t playing.

This afternoon, Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury, prompting third-string quarterback, and rookie, Jacoby Brissett, to take the reigns of the offense. Brissett played well, and Martellus Bennett served as a great safety blanket, but he still played like a rookie against the Dolphins.

The Patriots have the Texans and Bills to play before Brady gets back. I could care less who they have under center, because as long as Belichick is on the sidelines, the Patriots will always be a contender.

 

 

SP1 Elite’s Top 25 Rankings After Week 2

 

 

  1. Arkansas Razorbacks (2-0)

After squeaking by Louisiana Tech 21-20, many were suspect about the Razorbacks. All of those doubts seemed to go away after a 41-38 OT win against 15th-ranked TCU. Quarterback Austin Allen had one heck of a night, throwing for 223 yards and 3 TD’s. For this team to continue its successes, it will have to lean heavily on Allen.

 

  1. LSU Tigers (1-1)

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LSU experienced one of the farthest drops in the polls that College Football has ever seen, and despite a 34-13 win against Jacksonville State, they did nothing to show that belong back in the discussion of a Top 15 team. That loss against Wisconsin will continue to haunt the Tigers this entire season.

 

  1. Oregon Ducks (2-0)

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A 44-26 victory over UVA is nothing to write home about, but the nucleus of the Ducks, Dakota Prukop and Royce Freeman, each played exceptionally well. Prukop was the big question mark entering this season, but the former Montana State quarterback looks to have found a home in Eugene. The Ducks have a tough mid-season, seeing Washington, USC, and Stanford, but through the first two weeks of college football, Oregon looks the part of a Top 15 team.

 

  1. Florida Gators (2-0)

 

It’s no doubt that the defense is the strong point of this, allowing 14 points through two games, but against SEC foe Kentucky, the offense shined bright, putting up 45 points versus the Wildcats. All of the Gator’s stars were on display. Luke Del Rio threw for 4 TDs and 320 Yards, Antonio Callaway reeled in 129 Yards and a TD through the air, and Jalen Tabor and Marcus Maye each picked off Drew Barker. This team has a legitimate shot to shake up the College Football world.

 

  1. Miami Hurricanes (2-0)

 

Miami is making it look easy. After putting up 70 points in Week 1, they responded with 38 in Week 2. Brad Kaaya is obviously the focal point of this offense, but he threw two interceptions. What I like, though, is that even with Kaaya struggling, running back Mark Walton picked up the slack. Rushing for 155 yards and an insane 4 TD’s. The Hurricanes will see a rough mid-season schedule, but for now, they look the part of a Top 25 team.

 

  1. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0)

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I have no idea what to think of this Georgia team. After beating a solid opponent in North Carolina, they completely fell flat against Nicholls State. Georgia is still undefeated, but the 26-24 result could be a sign of bad things to come. The offensive line looks bad, and if they didn’t have one of the best running backs in the country to pick up the slack, I’d imagine that we’re talking about an 0-2 team right now.

 

  1. Baylor Bears (2-0)

It must be refreshing for Baylor to finally be playing football after the wild offseason that they had. The Art Briles era is no more, but Baylor still has that uptempo offense that they have become famous for. The real test for Baylor comes midseason, when they face Texas, TCU, and Oklahoma in consecutive weeks. There isn’t much to go off of for this team yet after games against Northwestern State and SMU, but that stretch of three game will determine if this team is for real or not.

 

  1. Ole Miss Rebels (1-1)

 

A loss to Florida State (more on them later) is about the best loss that a team can take. They hung with the Seminoles up until the end, but this loss shouldn’t be as devastating as LSU’s loss to Wisconsin. There is still hope for Ole Miss, and they have a chance to pretty much jump, no teleport, up the rankings if they can pull off the Week 3 upset against Alabama. Don’t count out the Rebels. Ole Miss has beaten Alabama in Week 3 of the 2015 season and Week 3 of the 2014 season. Who says that they can’t make it a three-peat?

 

  1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1)

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Yet another team that lost to a good team (if we’re ready to call Texas a “good” team yet”), Notre Dame is looking to get back into the picture by beating Michigan State this weekend. So far, the Fighting Irish have looked good, even in a loss to Texas, and DeShone Kizer looks like a perennial #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, so it isn’t crazy to think that Notre Dame will be able to scratch and claw it’s way back into the playoff discussion.

 

  1. Oklahoma Sooners (1-1)

Oklahoma will be rooting for Houston for the rest of the season, because if Houston is truly an elite team, then that loss will look a lot better. Baker Mayfield isn’t what he was last year, and Semaje Perine still can’t seem to break into that top-echelon of running backs, but Joe Mixon has been picking up the slack and more. I think it would be safe to say that Mixon is the best back in Norman this season. The Sooners have a huge chance to regain their reputation with a win versus Ohio State this upcoming weekend.

 

  1. Texas A&M Aggies (2-0)

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Why did the Aggies start the season unranked? They have a quarterback who has proven himself a capable starter, a scary receiving corps, an offensive line that is deep with talent, and that’s just the offense. The defense features, in my opinion, the best player in this year’s draft class in Myles Garrett, a great defensive tackle in Daylon Mack, and a solid secondary lead by Armani Watts and Justin Evans. Now, this team looks great on paper, but how have they performed? So far, they have knocked UCLA out of the Top 25 and won their next game, albeit against Prairie View A&M, 67-0. This team has showed no signs of slowing down.

 

  1. Texas Longhorns (2-0)

 

I don’t think that there is a bigger man on that Texas campus than Shane Buechele, the freshman quarterback who is putting Texas back on the map and putting Texas in the CFP discussion. Of course, he hasn’t done it alone. Jerrod Heard has been making big plays and Tyrone Swoopes played a huge part in the red zone against Notre Dame. The Big 12 is stacked this year, but Texas is atop that division and doesn’t seem to be looking back anytime soon.

 

  1. Tennessee Volunteers (2-0)

A lot of people will fault Tennessee for play Appaclahian State close, but what most fans don’t realize is that this isn’t the Appalachian State from seven or eight years ago. Appalachian State actually almost made the Top 25 preseason poll. With that in mind, Tennessee starts to look a lot better. The theme this year for the Volunteers might be starting slow, as they let Virginia Tech get way out in front of them early before Tennessee reeled them back in, and eventually pulled ahead for the 21-point win. This win will go a long way in determining Tennessee’s rankings throughout the season, and it jumps them way up in my poll.

 

  1. Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0)

 

Is Iowa for real? As good as the Hawkeyes were last year, I somehow still can’t answer that question. Iowa’s performance in Week 2 helped make that answer a little more clear. I really wondered if they would be able to put points up on the board in bunches, and they showed me that it wasn’t an issue, as they piled up 42 points versus in-state rival Iowa State. The trio of C.J. Beathard, LeShun Daniels, and Matt Vandeberg is slowly becoming one of the most feared in college football. Iowa has shown no reason for them to be outside of the Top 15, and next week’s game against North Dakota State could be a game that pushes them up the rankings even further.

 

  1. Wisconsin Badgers (2-0)

Image result for vince biegel 2016 lsu

The big win is obviously the win versus LSU, but as we know now, the Tigers aren’t what we thought they were entering the season. Wisconsin feels like they could lose a couple straight games and then we could end talk about them being one of the most overrated teams this season. On the flip side, there is so much time left in the season that they could be for real and come out of nowhere to reach elite status. Corey Clement is the best running back that no one is talking about, and Vince Biegel is the best linebacker that no one is talking about. While individual players are flying under the radar, this team certainly isn’t lacking any hype. My only issue with this team is their schedule. Wisconsin starts an absolutely brutal, and I mean brutal, four-game stretch in Week 4 that features Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa, with the only home game coming against the Buckeyes. There is no way that the Badgers don’t come out of that with at least two losses. For now, the Badgers haven’t shown any reason for me to put them outside of the Top 15.

 

  1. Michigan State (1-0)

The Spartans didn’t play in Week 2, so I couldn’t move them up or down too drastically. However, there is still some fallout from their game against Furman, where they played them closer than they should have, only winning 28-13. I have no idea what to expect from this team, especially since they are entering the post-Connor Cook era, but they are still a contender. They just need to find their footing and then they will be off and running with the rest of the Big Ten.

 

  1. Washington Huskies (2-0)

 

Jake Browning is a legitimate Heisman candidate. Jump on the bandwagon now before it’s too late. The defense is something special, especially the secondary, led by Budda Baker and Sidney Jones. Washington should end up in the Top 10 of the final rankings, barring some major upset, as they really only have Stanford and Oregon as the big names left on their schedule. The Huskies are relatively new to the CFB big-time, so an upset could be more than likely.

 

  1. Louisville Cardinals (2-0)

Lamar Jackson is on his way to breaking records. He already has 13 TDs in his first two games. If Jackson kept up his current pace, he would shatter the previous record for most touchdowns in a season by about 21 scores. Obviously, the Louisville quarterback won’t keep that pace up, but it’s an interesting statistic. I am not completely on the Louisville hype train though, as I have seen former Heisman contenders fall flat on their face before (see Hill, Kenny and Smith, Geno). The defense, lead by Devonte Fields, is also a strength of this unit. Right now, the Cardinals are sitting pretty at No. 8 and depending on this weekend’s matchup against Florida State, they could either jump up to the Top 5 or drop out of my Top 12. This is the week where we finally get to know if this team is for real.

 

  1. Stanford Cardinal (1-0)

 

While maybe not the most convincing win, the 26-13 win over Kansas State highlighted Stanford’s strengths, pretty much just playing through Christian McCaffrey. Quarterback Ryan Burns won’t be asked to do much this season, and if he ever gets into trouble, he always has No. 5 to dump it off to. Even though they only won by 13 points, I’m still on the hype train for Stanford. Peter Kalamabayi looked fantastic at the outside linebacker position in Week 1, posting 6 tackles and 2.5 sacks. After only playing one game, I can’t see enough to move this team up or down too drastically.

 

  1. Houston Cougars (2-0)

 

Everyone will talk about the win against Oklahoma, but I think that the game against Lamar showed a lot about this Houston squad too. With superstar quarterback Greg Ward Jr. out with an injury, the Cougars started Kyle Postma behind center. Him going 14 of 25 for 125 yards and 1 INT is not a good sign for this team, but the running game picked up all of the slack, with four different running backs combining for six touchdowns. I was a big believer that this team wouldn’t be the same without Greg Ward playing, but Houston has proved me wrong. The defense was amazing, shutting out Lamar. I know it’s Lamar, but credit where credit is due for this squad. If Houston is for real is a question that will be answered on November 17th against Louisville, assuming that the Cardinals are still a Top 10 team by then, but for now, I can’t any reason not to put the Cougars way up on this list.

 

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0)

Image result for jt barrett 2016

It’s okay Buckeyes fans! Don’t get mad at me for putting you guys out of the Top 4. It was a coin flip between you and Michigan and I was really just splitting hairs with the decision to put Michigan ahead. I should have a lot more clarity on this after next week, when Ohio State faces off against Oklahoma. The Buckeyes are an extremely young team, and some say that it is a rebuilding year for the Urban Meyer-coached squad, but remember last time the Buckeyes had a “rebuilding” year?

 

  1. Michigan Wolverines (2-0)

 

Finally, after so long, the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry will actually decide something beyond just bragging rights. Michigan has scored 63 points and 51 points in their first two games, respectively, and have allowed a grand total of 17 points through the first two weeks of the season. In two weeks, they face the Wisconsin Badgers, and I know that Wisconsin looks good, but watching this Michigan team so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Badgers get beat by four or five touchdowns. That’s how well-rounded this Wolverines team is this year. The receiving corps is fantastic, and the defense is one of the best that college football has to offer. If I had to put my money on it, I would say that the Wolverines will be in the CFP.

 

  1. Clemson Tigers (2-0)

 

Don’t overreact too much everybody! Every team has their close games, and while Deshaun Watson may not be playing like a Heisman contender, this Clemson team is JUST FINE. JUST….FINE. They have superstars all over their squad, from Cordrea Tankersley to Deshaun Watson to Mitch Hyatt to Mike Williams. Geez, how far can I go with this. Clemson just needs to find it’s footing and then it will regain its reputation as one of the best in college football. Just don’t overreact to the close game against Troy.

 

  1. Florida State Seminoles (2-0)

Image result for demarcus walker vs. ole miss

Deondre Francois looks like the star of this team when I watch the Seminoles play. Sure, Dalvin Cook is still amazing, but he has yet to rush for over 100 yards in a game yet, so Francois is the real impetus behind this team’s success. Of course, the defense is spectacular. Derwin James (Get well soon!) is a potential Top 10 pick who has to be stuck in college football for two more years, while DeMarcus Walker just can’t be stopped rushing off of the edge. This may not be the best team in college football, but it is the most fun team to watch.

 

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0)

Image result for jalen hurts

Alabama would be the most fun team to watch if they didn’t just blow out every opponent that they played. A 52-6 victory against a solid USC team felt like an NFL team versus a College team. Not Fair. Alabama continues to be the best team in college football, but Week 3 has not been their friend for a while now. The last two seasons, Alabama has lost Ole Miss in Week 3, and guess who they are playing this weekend! Now, Alabama has the talent to beat Ole Miss by four touchdowns, but at this point, it’s all a mental thing. If Alabama can get over this barrier that is the Ole Miss Rebels, then we might as well hand them the CFP Trophy right now.
Photo Credits:

http://www.scout.com/player/186194-jalen-hurts

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/florida-state-seminoles/os-fsu-demarcus-walker-transforms-in-second-half-against-ole-miss-20160907-premiumvideo.html

http://buckeyextra.dispatch.com/content/stories/2016/01/12/0112-looking-ahead-cfb.html

http://www.scout.com/player/148470-vince-biegel

Draft analyst: Myles Garrett brings to mind Von Miller

http://newsok.com/article/feed/1071160

Georgia QB Jacob Eason to make first start vs. Nicholls State

http://photos.oregonlive.com/oregonian/2016/09/oregon_ducks_against_the_virgi_127.html

http://www.buckys5thquarter.com/2016/9/3/12751654/lsu-wisconsin-preview-brandon-harris-bart-houston

 

 

 

 

The All-Preseason Week 3 Team

Week 3 of the Preseason is usually around the time when teams start to put in their starters for longer amounts of time. Of course, there is always risk involved with playing your starters in the preseason, as the Bengals and Ravens found out the hard way this week when the former lost 3 players to injury (although AJ Green is fine and Adam Jones actually was hurt during warmups) and the Ravens lost new signing and starting tight end Benjamin Watson for the season. I’m not here to talk about injuries and the depressing news, so let’s get right into the players of the week.

 

Quarterback: Jameis Winston – Buccaneers – (16/25 259 yards 2 TD’s)

Image result for jameis winston preseason

This could definitely be attributed greatly to his offensive line, who kept Jameis upright all game long, but Winston performed very well against the Browns. Aside the whopping stats, as 259 yards is pretty good for a preseason game, Winston dealt with pressure very well. If you watch his throws back, he was able to fire balls accurately and scramble out when the pocket was collapsing, that is the sign of a maturing quarterback.

 

Running Back 1: Ezekiel Elliott – Cowboys – (7 rushes for 48 yards)

 

Image result for ezekiel elliott cowboys preseason

I know, I know. “But Kip, Ezekiel Elliott is so overrated”. Sure, Elliott might be a little overrated, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t be a very special player for years to come. He showed that against the Seahawks defense, and I don’t mean their second team. If you watched his runs, you would see that he went at Kam Chancellor, probably the league’s hardest hitting safety, multiple times, and even Kam seemed to have met a viable competitor. Anyone who can hang with Chancellor automatically gets the nod for my team of the week.

Running Back 2: George Atkinson III  – Raiders – (7 rushes 35 yards and 3 rec 40 yards)

Atkinson made my team in Week 1, and he’s back for more now. Atkinson showed the versatility needed to be a running back in today’s NFL by racking up 40 yards through the air. I was also considering another Raiders running back here, DeAndre Washington, but I thought that Atkinson was more versatile against the Titans. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either one of those backs to breakout this season.

Wide Receiver 1: Mike Evans – Buccaneers – (5 rec 115 yards 1 TD)

Image result for mike evans preseason

Compared to my article on the All-Week 1 Preseason team, Week 3 features a lot more star players, like Mike Evans. Evans used all 6’5” of him as he high-pointed the ball over Jamar Taylor. He showed off his speed when he burned Justin Gilbert on a fly route. With all of the great receivers in today’s game, Evans was frequently forgotten, as he had a great year, but not a Top-10 quality year. He sure looks poised to bring himself into that conversation though.

Wide Receiver 2: Antonio Brown – Steelers – (4 rec 87 yards 1 TD)

When talking about the best receiver in the NFL, one name comes – “Antonio Brown” – up before you can even finish your sentence. See what I did there! Brown did his thing against the Saints, highlighting his day with a 57-yard touchdown. This man is not human, and if you didn’t realize that already, then I’m sure the 2016 season will change your mind.

Tight End: Kyle Rudolph – Vikings –  (3 rec 56 yards 1 TD)

Tight Ends often don’t put up huge number in the preseason, but Kyle Rudolph managed to surpass the 50 yard mark. Rudolph has been the definition of mediocre throughout his entire career, and that doesn’t look to change this season. Even though he coughed up the ball once, his overall game was still good enough cement him as the top tight end in Week 3.

 

Defensive Lineman 1: Jacquies Smith – Buccaneers – (4 tackles, 2 sacks)

Image result for jacquies smith preseason

When looking at the stats sheet from last year, you would think that Jacquies Smith had a solid season. Seven sacks is a little above average for his position, but when you realize that he only got 15 tackles and four of his sacks came in the first two games, then the picture starts to become more clear. Smith is prone to a breakout game every once in a while, as he racked up three sacks New Orleans in Week 2 of last season, and against the Browns, he racked up two.

Defensive Lineman 2: Damon Harrison – Giants – (7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF)

Damon Harrison is still in the Big Apple, he just switched locker rooms. Playing for a Giants team that spent huge on defense in Free Agency, Harrison is expected to collapse the pocket on a regular basis, but he is used to playing in a 3-4 scheme, and switching to the Giants 4-3 defense was a problem that I thought that he couldn’t overcome. Playing NT in a 3-4 grants you no glamorous stats, while a DT in a 4-3 scheme can become a superstar. Harrison racked up some pretty glamorous stats in Week 3, and it didn’t go unnoticed.

Defensive Lineman 3: Justin Trattou – Vikings – (5 tackles 2 sacks 1 FF)

Trattou is looking to earn a spot on one of the best defensive lines in the league, and by posting the kind of numbers that he did against the Chargers, I wouldn’t be surprised if he produces decent backup numbers for the Vikings this year. Trattou has played five years in the league and has never recorded a sack in the regular season. Maybe this year is his time.

Linebacker 1: Dekoda Watson – Broncos – (4 tackles 2.5 sacks 2 TFL)

The Broncos can find good pass-rushers anywhere, and their latest could be 7th year journeyman Dekoda Watson. Watson will have a hard time finding any playing time with this front-seven, but if there’s any way to make a push at it, I’d start with racking up 2.5 sacks.

Linebacker 2: Brennan Scarlett – Texans – (6 tackles 2 sacks 1 FF)

The rookie out of Stanford showed off his pass-rushing ability by posting 2 sacks against the Arizona Cardinals offensive line. Most have probably never even heard of Scarlett, but after a good Week 3, that could change. I’m not saying he is going for double-digit sacks, or even see playing time for the Texans, but if he has a good Week 4 next week, then I’d start to consider him as a viable backup.

Linebacker 3: Vince Williams – Steelers – (8 tackles 1 FF)

Image result for vince williams preseason

It’s been a while since a big-name player has appeared on this list, but that’s preseason folks! Players that you’ve never heard of trying to earn roster spots. Now, Williams isn’t on the bubble with the Steelers, after posting over 40 tackles in his only three seasons in the NFL, but just like any other player, he is pushing for some more playing time, and he was a tackle magnet against the Saints.

Cornerback 1: Anthony Brown – Dallas – (8 tackles 1 PD)

Picked in the sixth round by Dallas, Anthony Brown was nothing more than a backup who may not even make the final roster. To this day, he still is. Brown is still on the cusp, but showing his prowess against the run with 8 tackles certainly doesn’t hurt his case.

Cornerback 2: Kendall Fuller – Redskins – (3 tackles 1 INT 2 PDs)

Image result for kendall fuller preseason

Kendall Fuller would have been a huge name in the NFL Draft last year, and he likely would’ve gone within the top 15 picks, but he played through knee issues a solid chunk of the season, and his play dropped off as a result. After sitting out for the rest of the season, Fuller’s name started to be forgotten. With 3 PD’s in Week 2 and 2 PD’s and an INT against the Bills, Fuller is putting his name back on the map as one of the best corners in the 2016 Draft Class.

Safety 1: Shamiel Gary – Dolphins – (7 tackles 1 FF)

Shamiel Gary is playing in his second season out of Oklahoma State, and while he may not be vying for a starting position, he showed his run-defense prowess against the Falcons.

Safety 2: Dexter McCoil – Chargers – (11 tackles 1 FF)

Image result for dexter mccoil preseason

At 6’4” and 220 lbs, McCoil is the definition of a tweener. You could put him at linebacker, but he’d be too small. At safety, he would be too big. McCoil didn‘t seem to care where he was put, as he racked up the most tackles of anyone in the Preseason thus far.

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

http://www.chargers.com/galleries/2016/08/26/bolts-prep-preseason-game-3

http://www.redskins.com/news/article-1/As-Comfort-With-NFL-Comes-Kendall-Fuller-Beginning-To-Make-Big-Plays/862cc556-5183-4619-b814-1a3a94355e5a

http://www.abcactionnews.com/sports/football/tampa-bay-bucs/jameis-winston-shows-progress-in-tampa-bay-buccaneers-pre-season-victory-over-cincinnati-bengals

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-film-room/2016/5/20/11682202/steelers-film-room-vince-williams-pittsburgh-new-larry-foote-consistent-depth

Jacquies Smith Injury: Updates on Buccaneers DE's Hamstring and Return

Tampa Bay Buccaneers release statement on Mike Evans fight