Favorites Remain at the Top in College Football

The NCAA Division I college football season is in full swing and, through nine weeks, has not disappointed. There have been countless upsets, coaching scandals, and many debates about the teams primed to make the four team playoff for the national championship. Six teams in the top of the current AP rankings were not there when the season started. Teams such as Texas, UCF, Florida, and Notre Dame are having surprise seasons, proving to many fans that they belong in the playoff conversation. However, with all the chaos and upsets that have occurred, there have been two constants: Alabama and Clemson. These two teams have shown, without a doubt, that they deserved the respective top two rankings that were given to them when the season started.

Clemson and Alabama have won the past three national titles and met in the 2017 national championship game. These two programs are starting to solidify themselves as national powerhouses. And, while other preseason title contenders, such as Ohio State and Georgia, have lost, it appears that Clemson and Alabama are on yet another crash course to meet in the national championship. Alabama has beaten every team by at least 22 points and currently has the Heisman trophy front runner, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, leading the team. Alabama looks nearly invincible and finally has the one piece of their team that they haven’t had since AJ McCarron in 2013, an elite quarterback.

As for Clemson, not only do they have three potential top-10 NFL draft picks on their defensive line, but they also appear to have a future star in top high school recruit and freshman starting quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. According to Trent Dilfer, a former super bowl winning quarterback, “Trevor is better than 15 guys in the NFL right now from a talent standpoint. Maybe more.”

Clemson plays in the ACC, a relatively weak conference. Because of this, Clemson has shown their dominance by blowing out other ACC teams. In week nine, they beat the supposed second best team in their conference, North Carolina State, by a score of 41-7, a game in which Lawrence threw for 308 yards and a touchdown. Both teams are currently undefeated. As seen time and time again, however, surprise upsets are nothing new in college football, and LSU and Michigan are two teams that have the best chance to compete with Alabama and Clemson.

Michigan and LSU have had solid starts to their seasons. They have beat a combined six top-25 teams, including consistently strong teams such as Wisconsin and Georgia, and have a few top teams remaining on their schedule. LSU plays Alabama in two weeks, in a game that could decide who makes it to and possibly wins the Southeastern Conference, which is often considered the top conference in the country. Michigan, on the other hand, still have a matchup with highly ranked Ohio State, a national championship contender even after a loss this past week to Purdue. Many analysts believe that if both teams win out, they would possess a serious opportunity to win the national championship, a game that often has the the Heisman Trophy Award winner in it.

The Heisman Trophy Award is given out annually to the top college football player in the country. Every year, college football analysts predict who will win the trophy. Often times, a player who initially was thought of having a very low chance of winning emerges and wins. This season, it appears as though the analysts chose correctly. The preseason and current Heisman Trophy favorite is Alabama quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa’s current stats are impressive: 2,066 yards passing, 25 touchdowns, no interceptions, and about a 70 percent completion percentage. These are among some of the top stats in the country, and Tua has yet to play in a fourth quarter of a game this year because of Alabama’s dominance. The aforementioned Trent Dilfer believes Tagolvailoa is one of the best quarterbacks to ever go through the Elite 11 football camp, a camp that has had countless NFL quarterbacks pass through it. The sophomore quarterback is the current Heisman front runner, and, if he and the Alabama football team can keep up their dominant form, nobody would be surprised to see Tagovailoa hoisting the trophy at the end of the year.

Other candidates that have a chance to hoist the trophy include Ohio State’s Dwanye Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Haskins currently has 2,801 yards passing, 30 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a 71 percent completion percentage. Murray, on the other hand, has passed for 1,977 yards, rushed for 428 yards, and has a combined 30 touchdowns. Both players are currently leading their respective teams to strong seasons and pose a threat to Tagavailoa’s chances of winning the Heisman. However, if Tagovailoa continues with the same level of play and Alabama reaches the national championship, nobody would be surprised to see another Alabama player celebrating this great achievement.

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