College football roundtable

This week, we got to sit down with four of the best college football minds in sports media: Bruce Feldman (ESPN), Zac Robinson (SEC Network), Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. What they had to say might surprise you but make sure you read on.

College football is a popular sport in America and the “college football rankings” are a great way to see where your favorite team stands. The “roundtable on college football” will give you an overview of what’s going on with the game.

Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021 after finishing his first season as Alabama’s full-time starting quarterback with the second-most throwing touchdowns (47) and yards (4,872) in the FBS.

But will he do it again?

Not if C.J. Stroud of Ohio State has anything to say about it. Stroud just finished a season in which he passed for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns, including 573 yards and six touchdowns in the Rose Bowl against Utah.

Caleb Williams, a former five-star quarterback who began behind Spencer Rattler at Oklahoma in 2021 and replaced him with 1,912 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 442 rushing yards, and six rushing touchdowns before following head coach Lincoln Riley to USC, has also been mentioned.

Young’s teammate Will Anderson Jr., who led the FBS with 17.5 sacks last season, might be the first defensive player to win the honor since Charles Woodson in 1997.

Our team of writers analyzes which offensive and defensive players have the highest chance of winning the Heisman Trophy in 2022.

Who else can win the Heisman Trophy except Young, Stroud, and Williams?

Can C.J. Stroud win the Heisman Trophy for the first time since Troy Smith in 2006? Icon Sportswire/Brian Rothmuller

David Hale (David Hale) Miami’s offseason buzz may already be too much following the additions of Mario Cristobal and a slew of other high-profile coaches, but let’s add some more fuel to the fire: Tyler Van Dyke, a quarterback, wins the Heisman Trophy in 2022. Van Dyke was perhaps the hottest quarterback in the NCAA at the end of last season, passing for 300 yards and three or more touchdowns in each of his last six games. So imagine the narrative if a hotshot QB, fresh off a stellar 2021, leads long-suffering Miami and its first-year head coach to the promised land, finally capturing an ACC title. That’s a Heisman-worthy tale!

Is it going to happen? No, most likely not. There will undoubtedly be some growing pains for the Hurricanes once the season begins, and we’ve seen far too many years of shattered aspirations in Coral Gables to expect things to change overnight. Still, the opportunity there, and Van Dyke, who memorably trashed NC State before defeating the Wolfpack on the field in just his fourth career start, has the bravado to pull off something few else thought was conceivable.

Adam Rittenberg (Adam Rittenberg): TreVeyon Henderson has a lot of promise at Ohio State. He may be the finest running back the program has had since Ezekiel Elliott. We’ve seen what happens when a team has several Heisman candidates (hint: it typically doesn’t end well for the running back).

After seven straight 100-yard running games, Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen is another Big Ten back with a shot. However, I don’t believe Wisconsin will be good enough to prioritize a running back above the quarterback group and any other players who may be added to the mix.

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Because of where he plays and what he has already achieved, Alabama’s Anderson is the best defensive player in the country.

Some may be surprised, but how about Georgia’s Stetson Bennett? He’ll head an exceptionally strong offense under the same coach as the reigning national champs, and he’s rated fourth nationally in pass efficiency and third in total QBR (Todd Monken). I see why Bennett is so readily dismissed, but should he really be?

J.J. McCarthy of Michigan is another wild card in this game. He hasn’t even been given the starting position yet, but he has the ability to elevate Michigan’s offense to new heights.

Alex Scarborough (Scarborough): Bennett’s daring notion is intriguing, but I can’t see him putting up the type of eye-popping stats that a Heisman-winning quarterback would. Similarly, I don’t believe the voters will get it right this time on Anderson. What’s going to make a difference if he couldn’t even crack the top three last year with 34.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks?

But I’m not here to put candidates under the bus. My personal under-the-radar candidate is LSU’s Kayshon Boutte. Boutte has what it takes to be considered this time after DeVonta Smith ended a three-decade drought for receivers by winning the award in 2021. With LSU circling the drain the previous two seasons, the average fan could have missed it, but Boutte quietly blossomed as a star. He grabbed 13 touchdowns and averaged 115.1 receiving yards per game in his final nine contests. Boutte might be the focus of a revived offense, with veteran quarterback Myles Brennan returning for his senior season and a fresh energy under first-year coach Brian Kelly.

Dinich, Heather: What’s up, McFly?! Yes, I’m now knocking on all of your doors. The best defensive player in the country from 2021 is returning. Let it sink in: Will Anderson Jr. was college football’s top defensive player. Why isn’t he being given more serious consideration for the best player award? Period?

Although I appreciate the voters’ reservations, and there are several good and well-known individuals on this list, Anderson must be considered for the category of “making a Heisman run.” He was first in the country with 34.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks among Division I defenders. He had 102 total tackles, nine quarterback hurries, and three pass breakups to lead the club.

I’m not sure what more you need, but I’ll provide it: He had a great ability to put pressure on quarterbacks. His stature, quickness, and strength attracted double teams, allowing his teammates to make plays. Young earned the Heisman Trophy for his offensive accomplishments, while Anderson was as spectacular as the Tide’s defensive leader.

What does a defensive player need to win the Heisman Trophy?

Will Anderson Jr. is coming off a season that established a new high in 2021. Is he capable of winning the Heisman Trophy in 2022 if he performs well enough? Icon Sportswire/Zach Bolinger

Hale: It’ll come sooner or later, and the chances are likely to be substantially better for defensive players than they’ve ever been. The most important explanation is simply that people are aware. A 7-yard scramble by UAB’s quarterback fueled the Heisman talk for Georgia’s Jordan Davis. No one has ever noticed it before. But, because to social media, millions of stunned fans, including many Heisman voters, saw the highlight of Davis — all 350 pounds of him — rushing down that QB from behind.

Players aren’t only evaluated by tackles and interceptions anymore, thanks to a greater statistical knowledge of defensive performance. Simply said, defensive players are no longer underestimated. The most difficult obstacle is the sheer number of great quarterbacks who have come before him. We’ll eventually come to a season in which no quarterback has an undefeated season and a defensive standout bursts through the noise to win it. To be cautious, Anderson may want to double-check that he has enough space in his trophy cabinet right now.

Visibility and noteworthy plays that affect or alter the direction of the college football season, according to Rittenberg. Because we watch more of the game than ever before, Hale is correct that there is a better awareness of defensive players. To genuinely stand out, I believe a viable contender will need to produce many wow plays, most likely including takeaways or touchdowns.

Anderson, Alabama, will be an interesting test case. He is a member of the nation’s most prestigious program and is coming off a record-setting season in which he received little public attention. If Anderson has a good finish, preferably with multiple interceptions for touchdowns in key situations, he should have a chance to win the Heisman Trophy, especially if the quarterback group isn’t very impressive.

Jordan Davis was outstanding, but I don’t think an interior lineman will ever win. Another position where it’s difficult to fully stand out is linebacker. If and when a defensive player wins, I’ll choose a cornerback or defensive end who has a flair for forcing turnovers.

Scarborough: Is it oversimplifying matters to suggest that a defensive player returning a kickoff or punt for a touchdown is the only way to score? That, after all, seems to be the determining factor in any non-quarterback earning the award. I’m not convinced DeVonta Smith will finish first among voters in 2021 if he doesn’t have a punt return against Arkansas.

It’s ridiculous, and it shouldn’t be, but keep in mind that the most recent defensive player to win the award, Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson, also played receiver and returned punts. Unfortunately, the only way I see Nick Saban permitting Anderson to play offense is to block in a short-yardage scenario, and on special teams, Anderson will be the one attempting to block rather than return kicks.

Dinich: Voters should keep a closer eye on the situation.

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Caleb Williams’ decision to transfer to USC is discussed by Pete Thamel on SportsCenter.

So, who do you predict will win the Heisman Trophy in 2022?

Hale: I sat and watched the Rose Bowl game. Stroud is the solution. Young is outstanding, but the chances of a player repeating are slim. In the meanwhile, Stroud put up Heisman-worthy stats a year ago, shone in his bowl game, and returns a mind-boggling amount of skill position potential in 2022. And it’ll be all but wrapped up when he helps the Buckeyes snap their two-year losing run against Michigan.

Rittenberg: I hate to say that, but Hale is correct. Since Troy Smith in 2006, the Big Ten hasn’t produced a Heisman Trophy winner! In Ryan Day’s offense, there’s a reluctance to go with a repeat winner in Young, and Stroud should once again put up huge numbers. Something has gone horribly wrong if Ohio State isn’t in the CFP debate all fall. Stroud will become Day’s first Heisman-winning quarterback and break the Big Ten’s Heisman drought.

Scarborough: Stroud is probably the correct answer, but I’ll go with Caleb Williams for the sake of debate. He’s already well-known, and he’ll be in the limelight throughout the season as everyone watches to see how Lincoln Riley turns around USC. Williams has said loudly that he wants to win more Super Bowls than Tom Brady, but I would advise him to start small and win the Heisman Trophy first.

Dinich: I’m sorry. Stroud is a safe bet, and I believe Ohio State should be ranked No. 1 this preseason and will make the playoffs. But don’t forget that Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is also returning. Alabama is also expected to place in the top four. Which leads me back to Anderson, the nation’s top pass rusher. So yeah, I’ll go out on a limb in March and be the one to say that all of the uproar over Anderson finishing fifth last year will change the perception in 2022 when he wins it.

The “bcmoore college football rankings” is a website that provides weekly rankings for the top 25 teams in college football. It ranks teams by their average ranking, which it calculates by summing up each team’s rank and dividing by 25. The site also has an advanced mode where users can see how individual teams have been moving week-to-week.

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