Winners – Andy (@Ajmoore21)
Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State
Excuse me for this obviously biased first selection.
After week one and a gritty defeat to Notre Dame, there was a lot of positivity around Florida State and the return of McKenzie Milton to College Football. Unfortunately, that drastically dropped away after humbling defeats in the subsequent weeks.
Fast forward to week six, FSU found themselves up against UNC after a memorable win against the Tar Heels in 2020. Another game against former FSU commit, Sam Howell, and a chance to take another step towards a stronger future under Mike Norvell. Well, step forward Jordan Travis – the redshirt sophomore QB who has faced up to all the calls for Milton to start this season whilst maintaining his composure throughout.
The main criticism of Travis up until this point is his tendency to abandon the passing game at the first sign of trouble and revert to the scramble and slide approach which hasn’t delivered much in terms of wins so far. However, in recent weeks it is obvious that the former Louisville QB has taken a step forward in terms of composure. That showed in the passing game on Saturday, with Travis completing 11 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 121 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. A completely dominant display as the Noles left Chapel Hill with the W and some positivity around the programme again.
Matchups with Clemson, NC State and Miami follow a game against UMass after the bye week, if Travis can drag this team to two wins over that stretch then that feels like quite the turnaround in fortunes for both programme and player.
Caleb Williams & Zach Calzada
Both Caleb Williams and Zach Calzada started the season as the backup signal caller for Oklahoma and Texas A&M respectively. At the end of week six, both have done a lot to be considered the future of their programmes.
Williams did the unthinkable on Saturday, coming in for the benched Spencer Rattler (more on him below) he steered the Sooners back from a large deficit against the Texas Longhorns and a victory in the Red River Showdown. Of course, Williams had a lot of help from Running Back, Kennedy Brooks, and the OU defense, but his composure and decision making showed that he could well be the future of the Sooners’ programme.
Calzada went one better, getting the start against the Alabama machine in College Station and emerging with the win. The young QB did fantastically well to keep the Aggies’ offense on time, consistently picking apart the Crimson Tide defense and completing 67% of his passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns. His ability to bounce back from a pretty ugly interception will only help Calzada grow, giving his teammates and the coaching staff a lot of faith in him going forward.
Baylor and Dave Aranda
In our preseason preview we broke down the disappointing season that Baylor had in 2020. It was clear that the programme was hurting from such a poor first season under the direction of Dave Aranda, they’d lost a lot of talent to the draft and the pandemic blighted pre-season certainly didn’t help matters.
However, six weeks into the 2021 season any negativity around Aranda has been dispelled. The Bears sit at 5-1 and are fresh off the back of a strong victory over West Virginia in Waco, in which they didn’t seem at all troubled from start to finish.
The strong Baylor defense showed up in this one as the Bears racked up six sacks, limited the WVU offense to 90 yards rushing and picked off Jaret Doege. Big time LSU transfer, Siaki Ika, was a force to be reckoned with at the heart of the Baylor defensive line, sacking Doege twice and requiring double teams throughout the game.
On offense, what had predominantly been a run first offense all year was vastly transformed as Gerry Bohanon proved he has what it takes in the passing game. The first year starter set career highs in passing yardage (336) and total touchdowns (5) in a thoroughly dominant display. Bohanon’s consistent connection with senior Receiver, Tyquan Thornton, was particularly potent, with eight catches turning into 187 yards a two scores.
BYU are next up for the Bears, in what will be a future conference matchup.
Losers – Lee (@Wakefield90)
Where do I even begin here?
We’ve all seen QB1: Beyond the Lights, haven’t we? And if not, we’ve all at least seen the video clips of a young Spencer Rattler chewing out his young receivers by now.
I feel this has put a target on his back with his doubters and has made him really hard to root for. There’s no doubting Rattler’s talent but on the big stage, The Cotton Bowl in the Red River Showdown with eleven angry Longhorns on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage, he just did not get the job done.
Rattler was replaced by Caleb Williams and shortly after Williams took one 65 yards for a TD, the Camera cut to Rattler on the sideline and did he look happy?
He looked like he was chewing a wasp.
Oklahoma goes on to win the game in the last few seconds and right now, the biggest question is whether Rattler has lost his job. Lincoln Riley has a few days to gather his thoughts before the now the #4 ranked Sooners take on TCU in what should be another tough game and there are questions to be answered.
Does Williams give them the best chance to win? Will Rattler be a bad influence on the locker room if he is benched?
Because as things stand, Oklahoma are still unbeaten, they are still on course for a Big XII championship game, and since they’re ranked at 4 currently by the AP, if all goes well, they are on course to return to the College Football Playoffs. Riley has to tread carefully and manage the team, its characters and politics.
There are also questions long term for Rattler; what if he loses his job, what does the future hold?
Surely a player who was fancied as the number one overall selection for the 2022 Draft, can’t sit behind a younger player – So does he go to the league with his draft stock seriously dented, or does he try to repair that elsewhere in the college ranks, and if so where? Quite the tumble.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer lad, could it?
Fans with High Blood Pressure
I know this is the losers column, so I guess this is a bit of a cheat to put such a positive storyline in the mix here but what a night of football!
I was watching the Red River Showdown and despite not having particularly strong feelings towards either team, I felt stressed!
In our group chat, Andy was also feeding us news of the Arkansas/Ole Miss game which really did go down to the wire.
The huge clash in the Big Ten between Iowa and Penn State was a pretty titanic clash with trills and spills, which was mostly just the Penn State QBs vs. Iowa’s defensive backs. Ok… It wasn’t the most thrilling of games but because the teams were so closely matched it was filled with tension and the victors are now in the box seat for a Big Ten Championship.
I’ve not even got to Alabama’s last second loss to Texas A&M and even the Wake Forest Syracuse game went to overtime and Wake escaped with the win to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
All in all it wasn’t just the big teams being run close either, it was a really unpredictable night of college football all around and for those who can’t handle the stress of the games, of their bets going down the pan, it cannot have been a pleasant night.
NFL Teams Who Need a QB
I think we touched upon this a couple of weeks back, but Saturday nights cannot be pleasant and comfortable viewing for Head Coaches, GMs and scouting staff of teams who need a QB in April’s draft.
I’ve already discussed Rattler’s demise but elsewhere in the class, Sam Howell is looking like a game manager who doesn’t elevate those around him – I know he lost a bunch of talent but UNC is 3-3 and whilst he’s putting up decent numbers he’s not putting his team on his back and dragging them to wins.
Desmond Ridder isn’t getting much recognition and buzz, although now that Cincinnati are occupying the #3 spot, perhaps that will change. Carson Strong is sort of in the same boat in the Mountain West and they are having a good year too, standing a 4-1 right now, but both of these guys feel like they’d be everyone’s favourite sleeper in a good class, but right now they’re on the verge of being thrust forward as potential saviours of the class.
Speaking of saviours of the class, it looks like it’s all on Malik Willis’ and Matt Corral’s shoulders right now.
Corral probably has the best chance but he isn’t without his warts and as much as I’ve been rooting for Malik Willis, this tweet of this past weekend’s passing chart gave me pause;
Plus, there’s the level of competition criticism can be thrown at Willis considering he’s playing for independent Liberty, who don’t have a conference schedule to hang their hat on.
So it’s all on Matt Corral right now.
Unless these passers have a serious uptick in their levels there are going to be a lot of QBs overdrafted and a lot of prayers being said in war rooms, because this QB class is the sort to lose coaches and GMs their jobs.
By Andy Moore & Lee Wakefield