It’s October now so it’s already time to award the September Heisman. Past winners include Geno Smith, Darren McFadden, and Chase Daniel (there’s a lot of fun to be had in the Heisman Pundit archives). The last poll on Heisman Pundit actually gives the lead to Johnny Manziel (QB, TAMU) but I’m giving the title to Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson). Clemson actually got a first-place vote in this week’s coaches poll, joining only superpowers Bama and Oregon. It seems like a million years ago that Dabo Swinney was more punchline than esteemed coach but he seems pretty secure in South Carolina for now. I’m giving the September Heisman to Boyd because I think of it as an award that deserves to go to somebody who won’t win the Heisman. In the back of my mind I’m expecting Clemson to lose 3 times this yea and for Boyd to be at least a little bit exposed in those losses. I’m terrible at all of this, mind you, so don’t take my word for anything. I just don’t love Boyd as a player. Sammie Watkins (WR, Clemson) is actually my favorite player on the team.
There are certainly some guys who are effectively gone from the actual race and from my shadow contest to crown the best player in the land. With tears in my eyes, Storm Johnson (RB, UCF) is kicked off the show. He’ll play in the NFL but he’s probably closer to Bryce Brown than Adrian Peterson. Paul Richardson (WR, Colorado) is outta here. I’m gonna give Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State) and Mike Evans (WR, TAMU) a chance but I’m not writing either one of them up just yet. I think of Evans as some kind of weird WR corollary to Collin Klein, and I loved Klein (other than when he was trashing Miami) but it was with the understanding that there was never going to be a pro continuation of his schtick. Evans won’t have to fight to make an NFL roster next year but I don’t really see him as a star, just some kind of weird monster that works really well on the college level.
I could try to torture this whole exercise into some version of Prisoners because I watched it last night but the closest it will get is if it takes 3 hours to read it and you’re creeped out by Paul Dano. I won’t even attempt that but I will tell you that Prisoners is better than I thought but is also presenting a pretty strongly Christian (in the American sense) viewpoint of good and evil. If I were to go that route, let’s see… Johnny F’ing Football would be a kidnapping suspect (easy to root against even though his issues aren’t his fault, per se), Teddy Bridgewater would be the Terence Howard character (the quiet but consistent presence who takes the viewpoint of the audience), Brett Hundley would be the Aussie gone crazy (because I think of him as a raging avenger of some sort), Bishop Sankey would be Brett Hundley’s son (he’s there), Marcus Mariota would be Jake Gyllenhall (I’m not sure why), Nick Saban would be the old lady, Alex Collins and Zach Mettenberger would be the missing kids, Tajh Boyd would be Brett Hundley’s wife (seems integral to the story but isn’t really), AJ McCarron would be Teddy Bridgewater’s wife (because he seems matronly), Kevin Hogan is the dead guy in the priest’s cellar (more important to the plot than you realize but not actually a character in the story), and Sean Mannion, Bryce Petty, and Lache Seastrunk would be the crazy suspects. One of those last three guys is the priest. And Jameis Winston is, I dunno, a slightly better movie playing one screen over. So there. /Sports Guy’d
Jameis Winston is my favorite player in the country so far. If I had a ballot, right now, I would go 1) Jameis Winston, 2) Johnny Manziel, 3) Brett Hundley. I flip-flop a lot on this, though, and it really just matters who I watched the most of in a given week. Last week, when Upset Alert!s were blooming with FSU down 14 to Boston College, some sports writer with national acclaim (I want to say it was Bruce Feldman?) felt the need to say that Winston was struggling because now that defenses have seen FSU play a little bit he won’t be able to make his normal progressions and he would crash back to Earth. Of course, that was right about the time FSU ripped off a 7-play TD drive with Winston completing 5 of 5 passes. Winston also nailed a 55-yard Hail Mary to end the first half and the Noles were off to the races. If FSU’s defense is really as bad as it looked last Saturday that could paradoxically help Winston in his pursuit of trophy glory, since he won’t get to sit out many quarters. I keep saying it and I know I’m not alone but you have to make time in your viewing schedule to check this kid out. He is an absolute monster. If comparing Winston to Cam Newton isn’t good enough for you, try thinking of him as Johnny Manziel but huge.
I said it all through the offseason that once the games started a lot of the criticism for Johnny Manziel would die down because everybody would remember that he was always a little jerk, we just like watching him play football. I think that’s pretty much exactly what’s happening. Manziel is like a career mode version of yourself that you would make for NCAA 14 in an attempt to be realistic (OK, just a 90 arm strength, a little bit short for his position, only 83 or so on speed, 78 on accuracy, and a 100 for field vision, that makes him an overall… 99? Shit, I was trying to make him merely great. Oh, well, it is what it is). If you can’t get over your hatred for the Johnny Football character enough to enjoy watching the kid play then I feel bad for you. Seriously, you’re missing out on one of the more entertaining shows in college football history. JFF is off this weekend but he was his normal self last week against Arkansas even though he *only* accounted for 2 TDs. A conference win is a conference win and he’s got a ton of ground to cover to hide how atrocious his team on not-his-side of the ball.
UCLA didn’t play last week but they’re in a Thursday night game this week against Utah. It’s going to be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and should be a pretty good one. I’d heavily advocate for you to skip the Thursday night slop the NFL is feeding you (Buffalo at Cleveland) and tune into this Pac-12 matchup. I’d love to hear some feedback on what people think of Hundley. I liked him already coming in to this season but he’s become appointment viewing for me. I really think he’s going to be a star on the next level, more than I even believe it for Teddy Bridgewater. Hundley has 3 interceptions and they all looked like his mistake to me but his overall vision and arm talent (!!! – I love this term and might start using it more) make him look like a force of nature when he starts hitting his stride. Sidenote: if you haven’t watched UCLA much in recent years that Nebraska game wasn’t an anomaly, they have a little bit of a habit of taking some time to get going. Don’t be thrown off if Utah is up 14-0 or something early on. For god’s sake don’t turn the game off. The Bruins are a big, surprisingly brutish team. They wear teams out and when they do turn it on, it’s a thing of beauty to watch them start pushing their opponents around. Hundley is the key to it all and he’s as big as a lot of the front 7 defenders he faces.
I should point out, again, that Teddy Bridgewater has actually looked improved from last year to this year and the numbers bear me out on this. He’s currently #3 in the nation in pass efficiency (behind Jameis Winston and Bryce Petty) and he’s only taken 3 sacks through 4 games. It’s not a historically low number of sacks but it’s a huge improvement over last season. I don’t think a team would be giving up much to take Bridgewater over Hundley and the consensus is definitely in Bridgewater’s favor. I just see something different when I watch Hundley. Bridgewater is a safe pick, along the lines of Eli Manning. There’s nothing wrong with his game and I’ll be shocked if he isn’t a Pro Bowl caliber player for a long while. As for this year, there isn’t much in the way of competition to look forward to for Teddy so you’ll probably have to wait for the bowl game to fully appreciate all the little things that he does right that add up to him having the highest floor of any QB prospect this side of Andrew Luck.
I swear, I’m going to try to write up all the rushers and receivers that I’m currently giving short-shrift to and I’m hoping I can focus some attention on the Baylor and Washington goings on in particular but I don’t promise things to people I only know over the internet. I think I’m also going to change the name of these posts going forward. I didn’t notice until just now that Heisman Pundit already has an archive heading for Heismania! Heismanic might suit me a little better. Just be forewarned if for some reason you are coming back and looking for these things on a weekly basis.