CFB Top 25, Heisman Leaders – Week One

top25-heisman-graphic

Now that the extended college football weekend is over, it’s time to take a look at who is at the top of their game, and who fell behind. I don’t believe in preseason rankings because it doesn’t matter what happened last year, that was eight months ago. I’m for ideas that include waiting a few weeks before the real polls actually vote, that way people aren’t swayed by what people thought before a team took the field. Are most of the teams at the top deserving of those positions? Of course they are. Teams are voted up there thanks to recruiting classes, returning all-stars, and more. But it’s hard to tell without playing any type of preseason games or getting a feel for the teams at all minus a handful of practices.

So without further ado, here is my top 25 after week one. Now that we’ve seen teams play, we can get a better grasp for where they should be. It’s still too early, with some teams playing much harder opponents (Clemson/Georgia), and some playing terrible cupcake schools (Oregon/Nicholls State).

1. Oregon (1-0)

def. Nicholls State 66-3
Next week @ Virginia

Despite Oregon starting their season with another cupcake, I left last year knowing for a fact that Oregon was at least the second best team, if not the only team short of Texas A&M that could beat Alabama. Oregon was once again a scoring juggernaut, and with many returning players, I think they are most deserving of this spot…for now. I think Oregon’s one weakness in the public eye is that they lost to Auburn in 2010, therefore will always be second best to whoever is atop the SEC, which in this case is Alabama. That was a special team that had one of the most special players ever in Cam Newton. However, I think the past three years, Oregon has been on par with Alabama, but their occasional Pac-12 loss hurts them much more than Alabama’s SEC losses, which is justifiable, but I still think they are at the top.

I have been waiting for an Alabama/Oregon match-up for the last few years, and the playoff will most likely give it to us – if they don’t play this year. Let’s be honest, the one weakness Alabama has had is the fast paced spread offense, and Oregon is king. For now, they deserve my #1 ranking, but we’ll see how Alabama does this time against Texas A&M and if Oregon continues their domination against their mediocre first half schedule.

2. Alabama (1-0)

def. Virginia Tech 35-10
Next week – Open

So Alabama is still Alabama. However, for once, they have a real weak spot, and in my very biased opinion, it’s the most important place to be strong on the entire field, and that is on the offensive line. As mentioned in my Leaders and Lolligaggers, the Kouandjio brothers need some help, and if the line can’t get it together, it will be hard for the stable of running backs to continue their dominance. AJ McCarron was a bit slow in week one, but I think a lot of that was line issues as well.

The defense is in tip-top shape, and most teams will have issues with them. They will get tested obviously against Texas A&M, but I think they are up for the task. Also…have you seen their special teams?

3. Louisville (1-0)

def. Ohio 49-7
Next week vs. Eastern Kentucky

People will probably disagree that they are this high, but as good of a finish as they had last year against Florida in the Sugar Bowl, I think they are that much better. Teddy Bridgewater is going to be a serious Heisman contender, and the offense as a whole is going to be even better with the likes of 2010 BCS National Championship MVP Michael Dyer in the backfield. I hate that they don’t have a good schedule so they will probably miss out on a title opportunity even if they do go undefeated, but they are deserving of being near the top.

4. Clemson (1-0)

def. Georgia 38-35
Next week vs. South Carolina State

Clemson had the toughest test on week one, and they passed. Despite Georgia being one fumbled snap away from going to overtime, Clemson showed plenty to prove they are one of the top contenders to end the SEC’s title reign. Tajh Boyd is another Heisman contender who will be in New York at the end of the year, and Sammy Watkins will be right behind him. I can’t wait to see their game against Florida State and against South Carolina. They will have two great tests to prove that they will belong in the BCS title game should they go undefeated.

5. Florida State (1-0)

def. Pittsburgh
Next week – Open

May I introduce you to another redshirt freshman who just said he wants a piece of the Heisman trophy? His name is Jameis Winston. I hate to do this after one game, and only a little over one year on campus, but there are shades of a great athlete named Bo in this kid, who played baseball last year for the Seminoles and has already gotten off to a great start this season in football. Oh, and the rest of the team is pretty good too after a nice win over ACC newcomer Pittsburgh.

6. Ohio State (1-0)

def. Buffalo 40-20
Next week vs. San Diego State

I think Ohio State is overrated this season, and might end up in the championship solely on their easy schedule. It wouldn’t surprise me to see OSU lose to Michigan or someone like Nebraska in the B1G championship. They had a decent showing against Buffalo, but…that’s Buffalo. Watching games last year where OSU struggled against small FBS schools, and then this year where they still let up 20 points to one, makes me wonder what that defense will do should they face any of the teams above them right now (or below them). They get a few easy games up next, but when they face Wisconsin and Northwestern, things will get very real, very fast for the Buckeyes.

7. South Carolina (1-0)

def. North Carolina 27-10
Next week @ Georgia

All anyone heard about in the off-season was how Jadeveon Clowney was going to be the second defensive player to win the Heisman. Well, not anymore. South Carolina is plenty good this year, but the story is more on the offensive side of the ball with Connor Shaw and company than it is with Clowney and his “Heisman Run” in 2013. Clowney needs to get in shape and play more than half the ball game before he gets in the Heisman conversation. Their game against Georgia will prove a lot this week, especially with the Dawgs coming in hungry after losing to SC’s cross-state rival, Clemson.

8. Texas A&M (1-0)

def. Rice 52-31
Next week vs. Sam Houston State

Johnny Football’s ego took the best of him in this game. First he was forced to sit out a half for selling who knows how many autographs. Then he got penalized and benched in the second half for too much smack talk. He just needs to relax and play some football. If he doesn’t lead A&M’s offense to a successful campaign against Alabama, you might as well stick a fork in him, he’s done. And if things get too out of hand, Matt Joeckel looked plenty capable of stepping in. On the other side of the ball, there is cause for concern when it comes to A&M’s defense, after giving up way too many points to Rice. This is not an SEC defense, so when Alabama and LSU come knocking, you really have to wonder what they will do against this defense.

9. Stanford (0-0)

Open
Next week vs. San Jose State

I think Stanford is the one team that can take out Oregon this year in the regular season, but we have to wait to see them debut until next week. I expect them to be higher, but until they actually take the field, I’ll keep them down here.

10. LSU (1-0)

def. TCU 37-27
Next week vs. UAB

LSU looked pretty good in their win over TCU, although TCU is poised to have a good season as well after seeing how they played in the game. I think the Mad Hatter is going to have a team that can beat Texas A&M again, and challenge Alabama. The defense gave up more than I would have thought going into the game, but still a solid performance from the Tigers to earn them a spot in the top 10.

11. Georgia (0-1)
12. Texas (1-0)
13. Florida (1-0)
14. Oklahoma State (1-0)
15. Michigan (1-0)
16. Oklahoma (1-0)
17. Wisconsin (1-0)
18. UCLA (1-0)
19. Northwestern (1-0)
20. Notre Dame (1-0)
21. TCU (0-1)
22. Nebraska (1-0)
23. USC (1-0)
24. Washington (1-0)
25. Ole Miss (1-0)

—-

Heisman Leaders

These are in no order, just the five guys I think actually deserve to be in the discussion at this point in time. The Heisman trophy is not a career trophy, it’s for the best player THIS season. Therefore, everyone’s resume began this past weekend. It doesn’t matter how good you were last year, it’s a new season, and a new opportunity to prove yourself once again, even if you’ve already proven yourself before.

Jameis Winston, Florida State

vs. Pittsburgh
25/27, 356 yards, 4 TD
8 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD

Winston’s performance last night against Pitt was probably one of the best Freshman first game performances ever. Responsible for five total touchdowns and going 25 of 27 passing is stellar, I don’t care who you are against. Many plays he made in this one game alone reminded me of the top plays from Johnny Manziel last year. He did a great job escaping pressure and and finding open receivers, and even finding holes to run through. Winston is already a front-runner and it’s only week one and he’s a redshirt Freshman.

Christion Jones, Alabama

vs. Virginia Tech
2 receptions, 47 yards, 1 TD
209 return yards, Kickoff return TD, Punt return TD

Christion Jones was definitely the MVP of the Tide’s opening game with three of their five touchdowns, the other coming from TJ Yeldon and the Tide defense. Jones is now primed to be one of the top receivers on the team now with more coverage on Amari Cooper after his standout year last season. AJ McCarron will be targeting him a lot more and on returns, Jones will continue to be deadly. What makes his performance that much more special was that it was against Beamer Ball, which is supposed to be one of the best special teams in the country. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it up.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

vs. Nicholls State
12/21, 234 yards, 1 TD
5 carries, 113 yards, 2 TD

Mariota is primed to lead Oregon to another great season, even without Chip Kelly. With weapons like De’Anthony Thomas and Josh Huff back this season to compliment Mariota’s skill, he will continue to thrive under this fast paced offense.

Teddy Bridgewater

vs. Ohio
23/28, 355 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT

Bridgewater ran all over Ohio this past weekend, and while it was only Ohio, he is working on improving his stellar season last year, and is off to a good start. One again, having weapons behind him such as Senorise Perry, Kai De La Cruz, and even Michael Dyer now is going to help him that much more. I look for him to continue to put up great stats, and hopefully Louisville’s weak schedule won’t hurt his Heisman status.

Tajh Boyd

vs. Georgia
18/30, 270 yards, 3 TD
13 carries, 42 yards, 2 TD

Five touchdowns later, Boyd and company had a win over a top 5 program to start the season off right. Clemson is ready to take over the ACC and try and be the team to finally end Alabama and the SEC’s reign of dominance. Boyd is a QB that can get it done, proving it by taking a huge first step over last year’s SEC runner-up, Georgia. Watkins is another name to keep an eye on, but he is also boosting Boyd’s numbers as well. After being responsible for all of the TD’s in Clemson’s win, I look for him to continue that momentum into ACC play after this week at South Carolina State.

SHARE
Previous articleCollege Football Week One Leaders and Lolligaggers
Next articleBeta Review – Hearthstone (PC)
Jon Lunceford is a sports media broadcaster and digital professional. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alabama school of journalism, and played football at Birmingham-Southern College. He has also won two AHSAA Football State Championships while at Homewood High School and was a two-time World Cyber Games Team USA representative. He currently hosts Primetime on WJOX 94.5 and runs the high school athletics site JoxPreps.