Dear Deshaun Watson (and fans of Clemson Football), I’d like to apologize. You were looking so good, and Clemson was on such a roll, and then I took you for my College Fantasy team. I’ve given in to my curse. Two straight weeks, two straight Heisman hopefuls injured. Taysom Hill, I apologize to you as well. After your injury I figured that was just me being unlucky, but two straight starting quarterbacks must be a sign. I’m doomed. I’m going to do my best to put these past two weeks behind me, as they have both been equally pitiful. I almost hate to say it, but barring another unforeseen injury, here are this week’s starters:
Quarterback 1: J.T. Barrett, Ohio State Buckeyes It’s not easy to replace Braxton Miller. It’s not easy to replace any Heisman candidate, period. Well, I mean, unless your name is J.T. freakin’ Barrett. Barrett shrugged off a slow start to the season, and in his last three games he has OSU fans saying, “Braxton who?” In just three games, Barrett has totalled 14 touchdowns, 909 yards through the air, 156 yards on the ground and even an additional rushing score. Talk about a one-man wrecking squad. This guy is as hot as hot can get, and this week OSU plays Rutgers at home. Rutgers just gave up 24 points to a Michigan team that looks like it could be beaten by most high school teams, so imagine what Barrett and OSU can do this week. To put it simply: expect scary, scary things my friends.
Quarterback 2: Bryce Petty, Baylor Bears Sometimes I take for granted just how great of a coach Art Briles is, and how special Baylor is as a team. The Bears came into a matchup against TCU this past week, a team widely acclaimed for having an excellent defense, a team whose coach considers himself a defensive guru, a team that just beat No. 4 Oklahoma for God’s sake, and put up 61 points. I don’t care who you are; you have to acknowledge that this team is special. Petty is the center of it all, and he’s quietly made quite a name for himself as a Heisman candidate. Petty has 15 total touchdowns in his last four games, and Baylor’s success completely hinges on how he plays. Petty threw for six touchdowns against that TCU defense, so imagine what he could do against West Virginia this week. WVU is very similar to Baylor in that it is offensively oriented, so I’d expect this game to be a shootout. Then again, every game Baylor plays is a shootout.
Running Back 1: Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska Cornhuskers He’s just really freaking good. Abdullah has only played six games so far this season, but in three out of those six he rushed for more than 200 yards. In four of those games he scored at least two touchdowns. He has at least one touchdown in every game. He’s just a talented player with a nose for the end zone. Nebraska plays Northwestern this week, and what did NU do the last time it played a talented running back? Well, that running back was named Melvin Gordon, and he managed a meager 259 yards on only 27 carries. If you can’t sense sarcasm, heed my words. Abdullah is going to explode this week.
Running Back 2: Jay Ajayi, Boise State Broncos Gordon is on bye, Gurley is suspended indefinitely, and I’m already starting Abdullah. That leaves the person who, in my opinion, is the fourth-best running back in the nation: Ajayi. I’ve only taken Ajayi on my team twice this season, but luckily those were his best two games this year. He’s my good luck charm, but it’s not just that. He plays an incredibly weak Fresno State defense this week, and he’s fresh off a bye week that followed a three touchdown monster of a performance against Nevada. Combining rushes and catches out of the backfield, Ajayi commands roughly 50% of his team’s touches. He’s an absolute work horse, and he loves to score. Only Wisconsin’s Gordon means more to his offense than this guy does to Boise, and I’d expect him to have a field day this Saturday against Fresno.
Wide Receiver 1: Kevin White, West Virginia Mountaineers See defense, Baylor. White has at least 100 yards in every game this season, and a touchdown in every game but one. WVU has the nation’s seventh-best passing attack, so if TCU can put up 58 points, imagine what White and the rest of this potent WVU offense can do. At least we know some of what White can do:
Wide Receiver 2: Amari Cooper, Alabama The consensus No. 1 receiver in the nation up against a Texas A&M secondary that is young and still getting its bearings? Why, sure, I guess I’ll take Cooper here. I’m not letting last week’s performance against Arkansas deter me. Cooper is still the best wideout in college football by far, and he’s ready to prove it this week in a tough matchup against the Aggies.
Defense: Oregon Ducks I have to take a member of the UO team every week, and since the UW defense scares me so much, this is who I’m taking. We’re at home, we lost our last home game and the crowd is going to be loud. Most importantly, we’re going to be fired up and ready to play. It also helps that Washington has debateably the worst offense in the entire conference.
Place Kickers: Florida State Seminoles FSU’s kicker Roberto Aguayo is widely considered the best kicker in the nation, and he is having another prolific season for FSU. The Seminoles play Notre Dame, and they’re going to need all the points they can get. If that means settling for field goals, so be it. It’ll make me happy, that’s for sure.
QB: Marquise Williams, UNC Tar Heels; Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati Bearcats
RB: Shock Linwood, Baylor Bears; Devon Johnson, Marshall Thundering Herd
WR: Hunter Sharp, USU Aggies; Rashard Higgins, CSU Rams
Well, here we go. This is a do or die week for me, because if I don’t turn it around now I might as well kiss that No. 1 spot good-bye. On the other hand, if another player gets injured this week I might as well quit.
Top photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org