The State of College Football – Week 7 Edition

Fresh Top 25, Players of the Week, $100 Handshakes and my WAAAY too early top 10 for the 2022 draft. Plus Zach Wilson

The last boring weekend is over and now Justin Fields and the Big Ten return (with zero off weeks) to give of a full slate of Saturday games – and some Fridays too. This week we saw the No. 2 team take on the No. 3 team, and it was a huge let down, but we also got a top five upset and some great performances from some unconventional places. Also the Mountain West is back. 

Top 25:
1 Clemson
2 Ohio State
3 Alabama
4 Penn State
5 Notre Dame
6 Minnesota
7 Georgia
8 Oregon
9 Michigan
10 Florida
11 Cincinnati
12 Arizona State
13 BYU 
14 USC
15 Oklahoma State
16 Miami
17 North Carolina
18 Wisconsin
19 Virginia Tech
20 Texas A&M
21 SMU
22 Coastal Carolina
23 LSU
24 Iowa State
25 Kansas State

Weekly Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Defensive Player of the Week: Grant Morgan, LB, Arkansas
Freshman of the Week: Jordan Addison, WR, Pittsburgh
Coach of the Week: Sam Pittman/Barry Odom, Arkansas

Where I was Right – Where I was Wrong
Right: On August 4th the Sun Belt announced their return to play and I tweeted “The Sun Belt is the most underrated conference in college football” and I stand by that statement. Most people know about Appalachian State (even though they probably didn’t realize they were a Sun Belt team) but the Fun Belt is much more than App State. In fact, Coastal Carolina and Louisiana could probably win the Big 12 as they have already beaten Kansas and Iowa State. Arkansas State is throwing the ball all over the field, again, and brings excitement no matter who they are playing. If I were Texas, I mean the Big 12, I would look at bringing in a couple Sun Belt teams. They may not have the name power that the Big 12 wants right away but neither did TCU or West Virginia and they fit in just fine now. And we know Coastal Carolina could at least beat KU every year. 

Wrong: Every summer I get a little over excited about teams that are returning a lot of talent. This year it was Louisville that got me going and boy was I wrong about it. The Cardinals returned their starting quarterback, running back and two great receivers and I expected them to put up pints in bunches against the ACC. But as the title says, I was wrong. Louisville is scoring just 24.6 points per game and so far have played Western Kentucky, Miami, Pitt, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Now, three of those defenses are good, but I thought this would be one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. So, if I led you on I apologize. It’s not you, it’s me. This won’t happen again. I’ll do better, baby. 

$100 Handshakes – Underclassmen that stood out or draft eligible players that improved their stock

Dillon Gabriel, UCF
Brady White, Memphis
Hendon Hooker, Virginia Tech

Running Backs:
Nelson Smith, FB, Navy
Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame

Receivers/Tight Ends:
DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Jonathan Adams Jr., Arkansas State
Marlon Williams, UCF

DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
JaDarius Robinson, Florida State
Quincy Roche, Miami

Dylan Moses, Alabama
Buddy Johnson, Texas A&M
Jamin Davis, Kentucky

Defensive Backs
Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Hudson Clark, Arkansas
Paris Ford, Pittsburgh

Final Thoughts:

Everyone in Mississippi, and the SEC, was excited about Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach taking over at Ole Miss and Mississippi State. What would recruiting look like for Ole Miss? Could Kiffin challenge Nick Saban? Would Mike Leach take the conference by storm with his air-raid offense? No. The answer is no. Ole Miss and Mississippi State looked good in Week 1 with conference wins but the Lane Train has been derailed and Leach looks like he’s already lost interest in Starkville and at a minimum hates his transfer quarterback. I think it’s safe to say the Mississippi schools are who they’ve always been – bottom feeders in the SEC West.  

Draft Twitter finally discovered BYU quarterback Zach Wilson on Friday night as the junior signal caller put on a show in a comeback win against Houston. Wilson has a Baker Mayfield feel to his game with a strong arm, good mobility and the swagger to match. His 1,600+ passing yards and 18 total touchdowns have been exceptional so far but my biggest concern with Wilson is competitive play. We knock players all the time for playing lesser opponents and the BYU schedule isn’t exactly tough this year. I put on the 2019 Utah game and I did not see the same arm talent or confidence from Wilson that we’re seeing this year. A lot can change over a year but we may need to pump the breaks on the Wilson hype train. Which leads me to my next point. On Friday night Andre Ware listed Wilson as QB2 for the 2021 NFL Draft and while I strongly disagree with Ware I applaud him for not being afraid to be different. Scouting for the draft has become a huge echo chamber where people are so afraid to be wrong on a player that they conform to what everyone else is thinking. Want proof? Go look at what EVERYONE said about Mekhi Becton before Daniel Jeremiah mocked him No. 4 overall on January 21st. I was in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and everyone was asking what DJ was smoking for having Becton that high. Shortly after the week everyone had moved Becton up their boards as well. And no it wasn’t because of his Senior Bowl performance. So good for you Andre Ware. The draft world needs more people that are not afraid to be wrong and have their own opinions. 

The old adage goes “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none” but Layne Hatcher and Logan Bonnor of Arkansas State are proving that wrong. I’m sure the coaching staff would love for one of the guys to out play the other but they are ok with both quarterbacks playing exceptionally well. On Saturday the duo combined for 529 passing yards and seven touchdowns while leading the Red Wolves to a 59-52 win over Georgia State. I have another adage for you, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The return of the Big Ten is this Saturday and I can’t wait. I want to see the true Baby Gronk – Pat Freiermuth, the Golden Gophers rowing the boat, Michigan fans thinking they can beat Ohio State, and who gets to rush for 1,00 yards for Wisconsin this year. The Saturday schedule has been lacking it’s usual hype but we get it back Saturday with Nebraska at Ohio State for the early kickoff. And yes I know Illinois at Wisconsin is Friday night but the real action starts Saturday. 

Week 8 Preview:
Nebraska @ 5 Ohio State, 11:00 am, FOX
23 NC State @ 14 North Carolina, 11:00 AM, ESPN
Oklahoma @ TCU, 11:00 AM, ABC
2 Alabama @ Tennessee, 2:30 PM, CBS
3 Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh, 2:30 PM, ABC
17 Iowa State @ 6 Oklahoma State, 2:30 PM, FOX
18 Michigan @ 21 Minnesota, 6:30 PM, ABC
9 Cincinnati @ 16 SMU, 8:00 PM, ESPN2

Scouting Notes and Questions – Way Too Early 2022
Why not? Here are 10 of my favorite players not draft eligible until 2022. 

Derrick Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State
George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
Dax Hill, S, Michigan
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

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