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Caleb Williams arrives, power rankings, Heisman watch


Oct 17, 2021

College football Week 7 takeaways, including Caleb Williams putting to bed the Oklahoma quarterback controversy, college football rankings and Heisman race.

Lincoln Riley wouldn’t name a starting quarterback during the week and even had a media boycott after OU Daily, the student publication in Norman, reported Caleb Williams took the majority of the reps with the first team. It didn’t matter. Williams made the start without so much as a proclamation and the chance to revel in the news, but he knew the moment was his the second he led the Sooners to a comeback win against rival Texas last week.

Not only is Williams entrenched as the starter and Spencer Rattler glued to the bench, but he may have a chance at making a run at the Heisman Trophy despite not making his first start until mid-October.

The player nicknamed Superman looked the part for the second week in a row.

Williams was nearly perfect in the 52-31 win vs. TCU and it’s fair to wonder if the Sooners are the best bet at finding a way to score against the brick wall that is the Georgia defense. Williams completed 18-of-23 passes for 295 yards and throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for 66 yards and another score where he was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

The former No. 1 quarterback recruit out of Washington D.C. is so impressive you have to wonder why he wasn’t starting earlier. Rattler had high expectations as the preseason Heisman favorite and potential No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, but in hindsight, that feels like it was put on him because he was the starting quarterback at Oklahoma and not deserved or earned by his accomplishments.

Rattler is skilled and has a lot of potential, but he was a victim of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts being Heisman winners and Heisman finalists in the case of Hurts. Riley’s magic touch just didn’t work with Rattler, but it clearly is working with Williams who has Oklahoma looking like a completely different team. The weaknesses this team had under Rattler have vanished overnight with Williams under center. Rattler will have to remain committed to the team in case Williams has an injury, but it looks like he’s going to go the Kelly Bryant route and transfer at some point.

Bryant was the starting quarterback at Clemson the year before Trevor Lawrence arrived. He started the first few games when Lawrence was a freshman before Dabo Swinney had no choice but to go to the phenom. Bryant ended up transferring to Missouri and his career never amounted to much. Rattler is far more talented than Bryant, but teams in need of a quarterback for 2022 better start recruiting Rattler who is bound to enter the transfer portal where he’ll have a lot of options.

Purdue upsetting No. 2 Iowa shakes up College Football Playoff picture

After Iowa beat Penn State last week, there was a lot of chatter about the Hawkeyes being lucky Nittany Lions quarterback was injured so they could mount a comeback and get the win. Iowa moved up to the No. 2 spot in the AP Top 25 afterward and ahead of this week’s game vs. Purdue. Turns out, that was the worst possible outcome.

Purdue is the last team you want to face if you’re the No. 2 team in the nation. The Boilermakers upset the Hawkeyes, 24-7, and picked up their 13th win over the No. 2 ranked team. Only Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC and Oklahoma have more. Not bad company. As an unranked team, Purdue’s nine wins over the No. 2 team are the most in college football with four teams tied for second with six.

Luckily, for Cincinnati, the Boilermakers aren’t on the schedule this year.

The loss by Iowa sent ripples across college football.

Beginning, with Cincinnati, who moves up to No. 2 in the AP Top 25 but also has one potential undefeated Power Five champion bowing out for them to contend with. The Bearcats beat UCF, 56-21 in a game they needed to win with style points to impress the playoff committee. A Group of Five team has never made the playoff, as UCF fans can attest. Going undefeated is no lock Cincinnati will make the playoff but that’s the minimum to be considered. Winning in the manner they did vs. the Knights is what they’ll need to do the rest of the way while hoping more undefeated teams fall by the wayside.

Rooting for Purdue were Alabama and Ohio State who control their own destiny if they win out but the pair of one-loss teams benefit with Iowa falling to an unranked team. Both Alabama and Ohio State will make the playoff if they win out.

College football rankings

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) reacts after a touchdown against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the fourth quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama rebounds after loss to Texas A&M

Nick Saban improved to 16-2 after a loss at Alabama. Fresh off the stunning loss to Texas A&M last week, Alabama looked like Alabama in dispatching an overmatched Mississippi State in Starkville.

Was there ever any doubt this is how Alabama would respond?

Bryce Young topped 300 yards and threw three touchdowns to look like the Heisman candidate that he is. Will Anderson looks like the second coming of Derrick Thomas off the edge and could be a candidate to be one of the first players picked in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Crimson Tide controls their destiny and will meet Georgia in the SEC Championship Game if all holds. The two teams are the best teams in the nation regardless of what the AP Top 25 says. The only team Georgia doesn’t want to play is Alabama. The only team Alabama may fear is the Bulldogs. This is the game college football fans deserve. If the Tide wins it, they’ll join Georgia in the College Football Playoff. The only chance of a playoff taking place without Alabama is if Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs beat them, no one in the SEC West is going to do it. Sorry, Auburn.

It’s time to give some credit to Michigan State and Oklahoma State

Michigan State and Oklahoma State remained undefeated with wins over Indiana and Texas, respectively, but neither program has received an ounce of praise outside of East Lansing, Michigan and Stillwater, Oklahoma. It’s about time that changes.

The job Mel Tucker is doing with the Spartans is remarkable. It’s been a stunning turnaround after going 2-5 in 2020, Tucker’s first season. After raiding the transfer portal for impact performers in the offseason where they took Heisman candidate, Kenneth Walker III from Wake Forest, Tucker has the Spartans in the Top 10 and undefeated ahead of the rivalry game with Michigan, who is also undefeated and coming off their open week. Michigan State still has games against Penn State and Ohio State on top of the Wolverines, so this may be as good as it gets this year, but credit Tucker and the Spartans for the transformation.

Mike Gundy has had good teams throughout his Oklahoma State tenure and he always seems to be underrated. It’s always Oklahoma that gets the bulk of the spotlight from the Big 12, and when they win it as often as they do, it’s understandable. After that, it’s Texas and the perpetual question of wondering they’re back or not. They’re not, no matter how many coaching changes they make, they’re not near being a premier program. But Oklahoma State is.

The Pokes overcame a 14-point deficit to pull out a win in Austin where No. 1 recruit Arch Manning saw Texas collapse for a second straight week. Comebacks are nothing new for Gundy who has the most 14-point comebacks in the FBS since he’s been the Oklahoma State coach. Sure, you’d rather he have the lead more often and not need to have those types of comebacks, but it speaks to the character of his players and coaching staff that they are so capable of doing it.

Oklahoma State’s schedule sets up nicely for them to be undefeated for Bedlam where Oklahoma could also be undefeated. If that’s the case, we may get a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game depending on what happens with Baylor, but the loser will most certainly be eliminated from College Football Playoff consideration.

College football Week 7 takeaways

Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen. (Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)

College football hot seat: Ed Orgeron saves his job, puts Dan Mullen on thin ice

Ed Orgeron won’t be fired this week. He may be fired later this month or at the end of the year, but he won’t be fired after leading LSU to a 49-42 win over rival Florida. The 49 points are the most LSU has ever scored in a game against Florida. The Bayou Bengals got a single-game rushing record 287 yards on 36 carries from Tyson Davis-Price and an opportunistic defense that picked off Florida quarterbacks three times, including once for a touchdown.

Coach O had to respond to criticism around the nation, especially from ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit who accused the team of quitting on their coach earlier in the day on College GameDay. LSU made Herbstreit eat crow after the performance that saved Coach O’s job for at least a week and put Dan Mullen on the hot seat.

Mullen is now 4-6 over the last 10 games, which includes a historic loss to Kentucky and an embarrassing loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl when practically everyone on the team opted out of playing beside Kyle Trask. Is Mullen going to get fired this year? No, he won’t. At least, he shouldn’t, But a modest buyout may make things interesting. Georgia is next on the schedule for the Gators and Anthony Richardson should be making his first career start after replacing Emory Jones. If Mullen put him in earlier, he may have had enough time to lead the comeback. Alas, the Florida defense had no answer for the LSU offense.

Will the Florida offense have an answer for the Georgia defense that’s allowed 47 points all season? No team has scored more than 13 against the Bulldogs defense that may see every starter drafted into the NFL, but if the Gators get routed, the heat on Mullen’s seat will be similar to the surface of Mercury.

College football rankings after Week 7

  1. Georgia
  2. Cincinnati
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Alabama
  5. Penn State
  6. Michigan
  7. Michigan State
  8. Oklahoma State
  9. Oregon
  10. Iowa

Heisman rankings after Week 7

  1. Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State, RB
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama, QB
  3. Matt Corral, Ole Miss, QB
  4. Kenny Pickett, Pitt, QB
  5. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State, QB
  6. Caleb Williams, Oklahoma, QB

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.

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