SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/01/2006 12:45:00 PM
Five Things We Learned This Weekend
What makes Anthony Gonzalez the Buckeyes' best receiver is the fact that he steps up in the huge games.
1) That the true Heisman front-runner right now is Garrett Wolfe. After piling up an astounding 353 yards against Ball State on Saturday, the Northern Illinois tailback has run for 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games. He’s averaging 236.2 yards per game; Barry Sanders’ single-season record is 238.9. And you can’t say he hasn’t played anyone, either -- Wolfe did amass 285 rushing/receiving yards against the No. 1 team in the country.
UPDATE: I just learned that Wolfe has rushed for more yards the first five games than any player in Division I-A history.
2) That Ohio State’s best receiver is Anthony Gonzalez. That may sound ridiculous considering Ted Ginn Jr. is a likely first-round draft choice, but in both of the Buckeyes’ biggest games, at Texas and Iowa, Gonzalez has made the back-breaking catches. He’s fast enough to catch the deep ball but also uses his size and shiftiness to get open across the middle. Plus he sleeps in that tent, which is pretty damn cool.
3) That Miami has found its first game-breaking tailback since Willis McGahee. While a 14-13 win over Houston is rarely cause for celebration in Coral Gables, one huge positive came out the game: The performance of true freshman Javarris "Baby Edgerrin" James, who ran for 148 yards on 18 carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown. Just to show it wasn’t the opposition: Charlie Jones netted his usual 3.3 yards per carry on 14 tries.
4) That Georgia has some serious problems offensively. One bad game (against an underrated Colorado defense) can happen to anyone. Netting 248 yards against Ole Miss -- Ole Miss -- means you’ve got issues. Trust me, Ole Miss’ defense is not that good. The O-line is struggling and the uncertainty at QB seems to be weighing down the Dawgs, who, to their credit, are still 5-0. They better figure stuff out in a hurry, though, with Tennessee coming to town.
5) That Boise State is the last hope for the non-BCS teams. Following their 36-3 stomping of Utah, the Broncos are the lone undefeated team from their ranks, and the one with the best chance of netting that necessary Top-12 ranking at the end of the season. Poor Dan Hawkins. His new team is 0-5; his old team may be about to go undefeated.
There's no doubt Wolfe is a legit Heisman finalists but I would still have Troy Smith on top of the list. His leadership, maturity and making game breaking plays when needed makes him a unique player and not to mention being a top quarterback for the No. 1 nation in the country.
6) With games remaining against Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State University (and USC, Cal, and Oregon...) the University of Washington can daydream about a bowl game without fear of psychiatric services for a delusional disorder.
I agree that Garrett Wolfe is oustanding; he coud get yards against any team in the country. Being an OSU fan, it's hard for me to put him about Troy but he certainly ought to be in one of the front seats at the awards ceremony. And Gonzo the Great is a treat to watch (as of course is Ginn et al.). Good luck to all teams, but go Bucks and go Boilers!
I love the Dawgs, but it's time to make some decisison in the quaterbacking department...You're right Stewart, Richt has to decide who to start and stick with that kid...the uncertanity is hurting the Dawgs...No matter who he starts it will be a first year guy...Joe T had little playing time and is not comparable to DJ...so put Stafford or Cox in and let them learn the hard way...If we lose to Tenn, Fla, and/or Aub. well fine, but you have a better prepared offense and quaterback to take you to a natnl championship next year and the next year...you have to think long term starting a freshman, and I think that would be his best bet...Your thoughts?
You're certainly right about several things here. First, Garret Wolfe is unbelievable. However, if he played the same buckeye defense today that he played in the FIRST game of the season, he wouldn't have come close to 300 total yards, but the fact is he did it then. He's a great back. Secondly, Gonzo is obviously the best route runner on the Ohio State team and, I don't know if you've noticed but, he's also the one that Smith throws to on almost every broken play. You see Smith break a tackle and run out of the pocket, Gonzo is always the guy finding the open spot in the zone and waiting for the ball. I'm really beginning to wonder about Georgia. The great Dawgs defense is still doing its job pretty well, but the offense is miserable! They can't run the ball, throw the ball, or catch the ball. How they've pulled out wins the last two weeks, I don't know but it will definitely stop once the real SEC teams come to town!
Sure, Gonzo might put up the stats. But he also got to play in the slot against Iowa LBs (Iowa does not play much nickel/dime, and keeps their LBs on the field). And Ted Ginn received double coverage all night against Texas. Not to disparage Gonzalez, but someone with his speed and route-running ability will almost always have a mis-match against one on one coverage.
thats the attention wolf derserves....troy smith and brady quinn have been over hyped..also gonzolez in the best TE in the nation he could evolve into an antonio gates or alge crumpler in one or two years.
can we please finally say that the Buckeye's best and most valuable player isnt ginn or smith or gonzalez? its pittman! the guy has great successes against some pretty good defenses. (think texas, penn state, iowa) he opens up the field so ginn and gonzalez can catch some balls, and throws some great blocks for troy smith to either run or pass.
Wolfe is the heisman front-runner........people often forget it is awarded to the player with the best season. Not the leader of the best team, or the most potential in the NFL or greatest hype. The past winners show this isn't necessarily true but it would be a crime for wolfe to amass over 2,000 yards and not get the trophy because Troy Smith leads a team (that anyone could win with) to the national championship. Go wolfe!!!!
1. Adrian Peterson - he doesnt have as many playmakers on offense than Troy Smith or Brady Quinn. Teams put 8 sometimes 9 in the box against him and he still has 4 100+ yard games
2. Troy Smith - Dual Threat QB is very mature on the #1 team in the nation
3. Garrett Wolfe - look what he did against Ohio St. even though NIU didnt win that shouldnt effect Wolfe's Heisman Candidacy remember the Heisman is awarded to the most Oustanding College Football Player in the United States it doesnt mention the record of a team
4. Brady Quinn - nice comeback against MSU and he threw 5 TDs against them
5. Calvin Johnson - not very many offensive weapons with him except for Reggie Ball
You got a lot of things right, all but the Heisman. Come on, Wolfe? NIU only plays two worthy teams, Ohio State and Iowa. He is a great player and will get a lot of yards. It's going to come down to Quinn or Smith, with the winner being Smith. He will go on to have a huge game in the rematch between Ohio St and ND for the National Championship, bringing the Buckeyes their second title in five years.
I am still amazed at the fact that Brady Quinn still gets considered in the Heisman race-- sure, he had that game at MSU- but after this week versus Illinois (1-24 in Big Ten play the last 3years before that game)- can we offocially acknowledge that MSUs defense is just plain awful?--- please, Brady Quinn is not Heisman material- you saw what a solid defense did against him in the Michigan game...
Larry Coker had a much easier start at Miami did than Pete Carroll did at USC, which makes Carrolls record in those 5 years even more amazing. Coker inherited Butch Davis' players, you may have heard of them. guys like dorsey, portis, and mcgahee. Carroll had to turn USC into a power again, Coker did not. and since the fiesta bowl against ohio state Coker is 30-10, which isnt good enough at da U. FIRE LARRY COKER
Garrett Wolfe? Saw him against Ohio State and he was fabulous. I think the Buckeye D has matured subsequently since then and I doubt Wolfe would have as big a day again. The most dominant player in college football is the weak-side tackle at Michigan (can't think of his name -- which is symptomatic of why he'll get little or no Heisman consideration!) I haven't seen such a man among boys since Orlando Pace a decade ago at Ohio State. The Heisman isn't about the best player in football -- it's about the high profile positions that bring oohs and aahs from the great mass of fans incapable of seeing that the game is truly played in the trench.
No, 'Justin from sc' you needn't say more...I'll say more. Over the past 4 seasons, Pete Carroll is 52-4, and Larry Coker is 43-11. Five years is a long time in college football. In fact, Coker has more losses in the last 1.5 seasons (5) than Carroll has in the past four-and-a-half (4).
Anthony Gonzales is without a doubt the best receiver for Ohio State. He is quicker that Ginn and there isn't another receiver in college football that could have made a run like Gonzo's second touchdown. I am saving up for my own altitude tent.
You're wrong when you say anyone could lead Ohio State. This team is no better than last year on defense and very similar on offense. The difference is in the leader, Troy Smith. I like Wolf, but he is hindered by playing lighter opponents. His yardage came against a young OSU defense after the game was decided. Sorry, but it's true. It's too early to decide anyway. Let's see the rest of the season!
I agree with Wolfe being #1. Wolfe set a Division I-A record for most rushing yards in the first five games of a season, breaking the 1981 mark of Marcus Allen of USC; Wolfe now has 1,181 yards. Garrett Wolfe has more yards rushing than Troy Smith has passing and rushing total! Garrett Wolfe has 1,181 yards rushing, 11 rushing TD's, and 159 yards receiving and 1 receiving TD. Wolfe has averaged 9.3 yards/carry. That's basically an output of 1 first down per rush. THAT'S INSANE!!!
Troy Smith is a great athlete but hardly the best Quarterback in the country nor the top player. He happens to be the QB for the #1 ranked team at this point but he's hardly setting the world on fire. His decision making is average at best and as the draft approaches next year you'll hear how he's a top 10 quarterback and not the best in the country. Ted Ginn is atheletic but isn't the clutch player that Gonzo is and that should prevent him from getting serious consideration.
Wolfe is a legitimate star who doesn't have the benefit of being surrounded by quality talent. That said he won't win the Heisman.
Brady Quinn and Smith will likely go down to the wire for the trophy but Quinn will play behind a center on Sundays whereas Smith will likely play on special teams at the next level.
The Heisman is a hollow award because it doesn't recognize the top player in college football-instead it awards popularity. That's why so many winners of the award are unable to transition to the next level.
Puh leez!!!!!!! Adrian Peterson is the most over rated player in the HISTORY of College football, next to Reggie Bush and the love affair with Notre Dame, the most over rated team ever. Troy smith or Wolfe is the front runner... hands down.
Pete Carroll's loses are a lot more spread out. Coker has lost more games recently than he has won. Also Coker won with Butch Davis' talent. I don't know if his recruiting is at the level it should be at a program at Miami.
For Wolfe not to be in New York for the ceremony would be a crime, but nobody has done more on his shoulders than Peterson from OK, I'm sure every game plan is to stop him and he still does it all for his team!
"Troy Smith leads a team (that anyone could win with) to the national championship."
I think anyone who follows Ohio State football will tell you that if Justin Zwick was still leading this team, we sure as hell wouldn't be undefeated right now.
Troy Smith may not have the gaudy numbers like Wolfe, but history tells us that the majority definition of "most ouststanding college football player" does not just include raw statistics -- a lot can be said about leading an undefeated national championship team.
Having sat through the Ball State vs. NIU game, I can say Wolfe certainly is deserving of consideration for the Heisman. More so than Brady Quinn who's only claim to Heisman is consideration is the fact he's playing at ND.
how can anyone thing adrian peterson or reggie bush are overrated? peterson puts up insane stats in a legit conference with no passing game to spell him and no offensive line to open holes for him. as for reggie bush, as much as i hate him, ive never seen so dynamic a player (save possibly barry sanders) at his position (if you can even say that he has a position). has anyone really proven they can stop him consistently. as for my beloved notre dame, yeah, they're overrated, that defense is atrocious (although i like the front four) the o-line is miserable and brady, although he has the tools still has some lapses and seems to be having trouble with his mechanics/timing. the throws aren't as crisp as they were last year. that said he seemed more impressive last year than he actually was (i admit i bought into the hype) because his receiving corps caught everything (similar to this year) and in so doing absorbed some bad throws into the completion/touchdown/yardage columns. i personally am not yet sold on the genius of weis. lots of penalties and lots of turnovers for an experienced team are unacceptable. penn state was down (caught them at the beginning of a reloading season), georgia tech inexplicably stopped throwing to calvin johnson, we were throttled by an overrated michigan team, only beat msu because stanton and/or smith were bought off and struggled defensively against a purdue team that epitomizes mediocrity. that said because we have the hype machine in motion and a cupcake remaining schedule we will make the sugar bowl at 10-2 and get blown out by a down usc and whoever we overmatched against in the bowl game
To the person who commented above that Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush is and was the most overrated blah, blah, blah. You obviously are an idiot of the highest order....Please think before speaking/writing next time. It's people like you that bring good conversation and debate to a level that compares to one I had in Jr. High back in the day. Let me guess, you're an "bonghorn" who is so eaten up with beating the likes of Sam Houston State and Rice that you can't think logically. Thank you for proving what everyone already knows, UT program is a fraud!!!!! Vy is the ONLY reason that you guys have won 1 national title in the past 30 years! Get a life and post an educated response next time.
Bottom line is that Trot Smith is the front runner for the heisman. he went INTO Texas and was the best player on the field. he went INTO Iowa and was again the best player on the field. Wolfe is a good player, but Smith put up outstanding numbers on the road against top ranked teams.
I respect Garrett Wolfe's stats, but Ball State, Indiana State, Ohio.....those teams aren't exactly putting together top 5 (or 65 for that matter) defenses. Auburn's freshman running back had 111 yds on 7 carries versus Ball State. If he had had as many carries as Wolfe he would have put together over 400 yds. Again, its impressive, but the level of competition matters a lot.
I agree that gonzo is an amazing wide receiver, but lets also remember that he draws coverage from LBs and the occasional FS where as Ginn is constantly drawing double coverage from a DB and a FS. I think that the two compliment each other perfectly and neither would be as good without the other drawing coverage away from them. As for smith, not only is he amazing in clutch situations (see michigan game last year) but the fact that he knows when to take charge and when to step back and let someone else takeover the game i.e pittman is what makes him the best player in college football. Although wolfe is an amazing running back despite being undersized.
In response to this comment by someone earlier "The most dominant player in college football is the weak-side tackle at Michigan (can't think of his name -- which is symptomatic of why he'll get little or no Heisman consideration!) I haven't seen such a man among boys since Orlando Pace a decade ago at Ohio State". The guy's name is LAMAR WOODLEY-future first round pick. He is a monster and don't forget about Manningham. He is lighting up every team this year. Give the guy some respect, he has been unstoppable all yr.
as much as wolfe DESERVES to be the heismen front runner he wont get to many votes cause of his school.....so in that case the front runner should be A.D. Adrian Peterson.....everyone knows hes the main focaus and will get at the very leats 20-25 carries and he's still manage to get over a 100 yards and at least one touchdown each game hes played this year....the Heismen is for the BEST PLAYER NOT THE MVP of a team....thats why Troy Smith as good as he is( THE BEST QB THIS YEAR BUT NOT THE BEST PLAYER)shouldnt be the leader////i hate how the QB ON THE NUMBER 1 TEAM ALWAYS gets some votes........this is coming from a diehard but suffering FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLE FAN
Referring to the heisman, troy smith is the clearcut winner, and garret wolfe plays for to weak of a team and he will be the maxwell winner. Coker does't go, miami is no top 20 team this year,gonzalaz is osu's top clutch reciever, Go Bucks and Midshippmen
Gonzo is Ohio State's and the country's most complete receiver and go to guy, he blocks, runs great routes, and makes the big play everytime. All this and a brillant student, spokesman and teamate, unselfish and complimentary of team before self.
For those that don't think Troy Smith will be a quarterback in the NFL, think again a cannon for an arm, faster and stronger than Brady Quinn with the tools to throw left, right and deep and the ability to read and react to defensesive schemes.
Regarding Quinn and the MSU comeback: There's a reason MSU has a reputation as inconsistent chokers. They come out with scary talent and versatility - nobody wants to play them early in the season (see last years early Heisman watches for how good Stanton looked), then they absolutely fall apart. I'm talkin about embarassing lack of effort, communication, discipline, execution, motivation, you name it. No doubt their defense is not very good, but perhaps, recognizing the kind of team they tend to be, ND should get some (minor) props for finding MSU's self-destruct button. As for Smith, look at the one secondary he and Quinn have both faced: Penn State. Advantage goes to Quinn there. Wait until Nov. 18 till you throw Brady out because he got rocked by Michigan - we haven't seen Smith against them yet.
Ohio State fans are hilarious. The "Wolfe is good but if he played us today...." arguement is classic. Wolfe is quite simply the best player in college football today. Watch him play and see for yourself. Don't buy into the non-bcs bias.
Come on...give credit where credit is due...did you even watch the Ole Miss game? Ask any Georgia player if they saw some serious defense out of #49 All American linebaker, Patrick Willis...the answer is a resounding YES!
People try to discredit Garrett Wolfe's accomplishments by saying look at the teams he faces. I however counter that with look who his teammates are. He has 1 star OL in Doug Free, but besides that the team is pretty bad. No good QB, No good receiver (in fact the leading receiver is a converted QB who is only his second year as a WR). Their defense is horrible. Teams know that Wolfe is their only weapon and stack the line with 8 and 9 in the box, but he still gets his yards. If you put some of these other backs from power conferences in that situation, I bet that they would not even get the yards that they are currently getting now.
As much as I would love to see Troy Smith bring home the hardware to Ohio State, I saw in person what Wolfe can do to a defense and my hat is off to this young man. He may not get a sniff from the NFL, but that should not negate the season he is having this year at the collegiate level. If I had the vote, it would be Wolfe 1, Smith 2, and Peterson 3.
For those that say Wolfe couldn't put up those kind of numbers against an SEC or Big 10/Big 12 twelve defense, would he if he had an SEC or Big 10/Big 12 offensive line in front of him ? Every "Major Conference" team he's played, he's been succesful, and that was with a "inferior" MAC offensive line. Wolfe did not get most of his yards in garbage time against Ohio St. look it up.
Wolfe won't and can't earn the Heisman. He is in a terrible conference and so his numbers are going to be inflated. The fact is, in order to win the Heisman you have to be a top performing player from a top team. Even if the qualifications for the award don't state this, precedent over the last few years especially does.
And another thing, is it any surprise that MSU has gone into the crapper? They do this every year after they play ND. It's like they consider ND their one game season, and then just give up.
I respect Wolfe. He was phenomenal against what has become a very good OSU defense. But the thing you neglect to mention is that even though Troy Smith's stats are just above average, you will see him involved in every play. He blocks for his receivers AND for Pittman, as you could see in the game @ Iowa Saturday. How often do you see a QB risk his health (albeit not the smartest decision) to help his teammates? That is why they respect him and trust he will get the job done. That is the Craig Krenzel-ish presence that won OSU the National Championship in 2002 on the back of a solid defense. Wolfe is good, but Smith is the total package.
p.s. If you don't believe that Troy Smith is the reason this team is doing so well, compare last year vs. Texas (when he co-starred with a less confident Justin Zwick) to this year AT Texas (where he started and won decisively). He is indeed supported by an astounding offense and great RBs and receivers, but he also knows how to lead and instructs his players very specifically about what he needs from them. He scrambles almost as well as Vince Young and has good accuracy in a clutch (his only INTs thus far were in a rainy game!).
FINALLY! it needed to be said. wolfe is the best player in the country. the fact that he's not the frontrunner on everyone's list is based solely on idiotic sportswriter snobbery. the award is supposed to go to THE BEST PLAYER IN THE COUNTRY. NOT THE BEST PLAYER ON THE BEST TEAM IN THE COUNTRY. there's a huge difference! i'm glad one of you guys actually had the guts to speak the truth! his stats are untouchable and he might break one of the last 'unbreakable' records - barry sanders' single season mark. all you osu fans can quick your silly whining. 'he got all those yards in clean up duty....' whatever. plenty of running backs have had ample 'clean up time' against osu and NONE of them have even come close. this guy is averaging almost 10 yards per carry, for crying out loud! that's unheard of for a 1000 yard back! and this guy might just break 2500 before the season's done. GIVE THE MAN HIS TROPHY!
i agree 100% with you mandel. but on another note, i would like to bring into consideration Mike Hart for a heisman candidate. Without him last year Michigan went 7-5 their worst season in 22 years. key stat Michigan 13-1 when he rushes for over 100 yards, that is a huge impact on a team. GO BLUE!!!
Leadeship,maturity?...Troy Smith? didn't he embarass OSU last year by making a few "mistakes"? Wolfe is the man. Anyone who doesn't think he deserves to be considered on top of the list, has not watched him run in more than one game. He's an explosive, durable back, running behind an O-line that is good, but not nearly as big as OSU's line. If Wolfe was running behind them, he'd most likely be averaging over 300yds per game. He hits the hole in fourth gear and still seems to have one or two gears left. He can cut like Barry Sanders and when he is in the open field he is uncatchable. He is a thrill to watch and a class act to boot. He is worthy of a Heisman. Playing at NIU in the MAC doesn't give him quite the recognition he deserves, but the MAC is getting to be a tougher conference every year. Need I remind everyone until the Iowa game, NIU scored more points against OSU than any other team, including Texas!