Most titled it “The Greatest Weekend in College Football History” and for the most part, it lived up to the hype. Two top five schools lost tough non conference match-ups while the Longhorns dethroned the Notre Dame Fighting Irish behind a true freshman and an eighteen wheeler named Tyrone Swoopes. While it is only week one, cases for the Heisman were both positively and negatively affected. This series will focus on Heisman contenders, pretenders, and the storylines each face in their next game. It will hopefully be a weekly series, focusing on college football’s most prestigious award, that will culminate in New York City with one student athlete becoming immortal. *These rankings are not listed in any particular order*
Off we go!
Christian McCaffrey: A 97 yard punt return was called back, but it showed how explosive MCCaffrey is and can be. Against an always tough Kansas State defense, McCaffrey ran for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also tacking on 7 receptions for 40 yards. This upcoming week, The Cardinal take on their southern rivals as the Trojans come to town. While USC is coming off a blowout loss to Alabama, this game always provides fireworks.
Deshaun Watson: While Watson only went 19-34 for 248 yards and a score, the key aspect of this game was that it was a tough win against a much improved Auburn program. Look for him to bounce back in the home opener against Troy.
Dalvin Cook: While Cook had to wait until Labor Day to make his statement. A pivotal matchup against No.11 Ole Miss, allowed Cook to flourish. With the debut of a Freshman Quarterback, Cook put together a rather quiet 192 yard night (91 rushing yards and 101 receiving yards). Cook will look to stuff the stat-sheet against Charleston Southern this weekend.
Leonard Fournette: For Fournette, his heisman chances don’t solely rest on his talent. If that were the case, he would have won it last year. Fournette has the misfortune of being in a stagnant and overall lackluster offense led by an average Quarterback. In a tough loss against the Wisconsin Badgers, he ran for 138 yards and added 3 catches for 38 yards. His rushing total’s were more than Brandon Harris’ passing numbers (131 yards). While the talent is there, Fournette will need to post even bigger numbers against Jacksonville State this weekend.
Nick Chubb: In one of the top games of the weekend, No. 18 Georgia took on No. 22 North Carolina. Nick Chubb took this game over running for 222 yards on 32 carries. This was Chubb’s first game back since he suffered a season ending knee injury in the middle of 2015. His 2 touchdowns helped Georgia take a win from an UNC team that was looking to continue their run. Chubb will look to continue his terrific season against Nicholls State this weekend.
Greg Ward Jr. : As a member of the Power 5, The Houston Cougars have been overlooked for the last few years. That looks to change as Tom Herman has lost one game over the last two years led by his multi-dimensional QB Greg Ward Jr. An opening weekend win against the No. 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners, Ward Jr., threw for 321 yards, and 2 TD passes. Ward Jr. is absolutely electric, not your prototypical passer but he is a perfect fit of this spread offense.
Myles Garrett: The Aggies had a tumultuous off-season, that saw their two top Quarterbacks transfer from the program. The Aggies knew they had to rely on stud Defensive End Myles Garrett to help them stay in games. Against No. 16 UCLA he did that and more, as Garrett had a sack, 3 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two Qb hurries which forced stud QB Josh Rosen to look over his shoulder the whole game. Garrett looks to continue terrorizing offenses against Prairie View A&M.
Like I said, it is only week 1 and things change. This Heisman race promises to be one of most heated in recent years. Personally, Dalvin Cook looks like the favorite. An all around dynamic and explosive runner, Cook can also catch the ball out of the backfield and is a very good pass blocker. Sadly for McCaffrey, he would need to pass his record breaking yardage total from last year to even be in the top 3 of the Heisman rankings with him dealing with the “East Coast Bias” that occurs. If there was one defensive player who could make a run at the Heisman, my bet would be on Myles Garrett. The top edge rusher in the country, a high sack total and all around dominance could land The Aggies another Heisman winner. This season has already been amazing, and it seems to only go up from here.