Names to know-College Football

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​We are three weeks through the college football season and there are plenty of players catching fans’ attention. While everybody was focused on Texas A&M vs. Alabama last weekend, Johnny Manziel and A.J. McCarron weren’t the only players to shine.  This week we’ll take a look on some lesser-known players whose name you should know by now and look forward to watching for the rest of the year.

Jameis Winston-Florida St

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​Before this season began, the only reason I had heard of Jameis Winston were because of his ridiculous quotes. Sure, he had some absurd athletic talent, but his sound bits were hilarious. He said to reporters, “if I get Manziel disease, I want everyone of you to get your mics and start slapping me on the head.” The Florida State QB is known to have a love of cheese balls and when asked if he would give up a national championship for a lifetime supply of cheese balls he had to think about but then said, “I would not, BUT I’m gonna get some cheese balls anyway.” A championship may not seem too far-fetched as the Seminoles are currently ranked No. 10 in the AP poll.
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To call Winston efficient would be an understatement. The kid is damn near perfect. In his two games as starter he has completed 40 of 45 passes for 570 yards. That’s an 88.9% completion percentage, or the percentage of fucks to total words in Bo Pelini’s leaked audiotape. He has a 234.8 passer rating and has scored eight touchdowns. If you didn’t notice, he has more touchdowns than incompletions. If you somehow have not heard of Winston yet, you better start paying attention. He’s dove headfirst into the Heisman conversation and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable with putting Winston on a pedestal after two games. In Jameis’ own words, “I could make you [a white reporter] feel at home in a black church.” The guy is hard to not like, and impossible to ignore.

Brett Hundley-UCLA

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​Brett Hundley may not be a stranger to fans of schools in the Pac-12, but he’s starting to become more known on the national stage. UCLA’s comeback against Nebraska on national television gave him the stage to make his name known. Hundley threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns and has UCLA ranked No. 13 in the AP poll. Hundley has 124 yards rushing this season with two touchdowns to go along with his 585 passing yards and five touchdowns.
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He’s not busting into the Heisman conversation, but he is making a name for himself. Hundley has achieved something that seemed impossible a few years ago — he has UCLA considered the better Los Angeles football team. As a USC fan, that’s what hurts the most.

Blake Bell-Oklahoma

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Texas A&M vs Oklahoma
​He had never started a game and Blake Bell made sure that it would be hard to not let him start another. The 6-foot-6, 252-pounder started Oklahoma’s game against Tulsa after starter Trevor Knight was injured. Bell laid a beating down on Tulsa, giving the Sooners a 51-20 victory. Although previously thought of as a bruiser and dual-threat quarterback, Bell looked at home in the pocket. Bell completed 27 of 37 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns.
Blake Bell
Bell had lost the quarterback competition against the freshman Knight during the offseason, but he seems to have gotten it back with his performance. Bell will be the starting QB when Oklahoma goes against Notre Dame this weekend giving him another chance to make his name known to college football fans.

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Tye Masters
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College Football or Johnny Football

heisman-johnny-manziel-football_jpeg8-1280x960The college football season kicked off this weekend and the opening week did not disappoint. In the weekend’s biggest game, Tajh Boyd and Clemson outgunned Georgia in an early season showdown. Teddy Bridgewater showed why people are talking about Louisville this season. Alabama’s special teams and defense outscored its offense. Seven FBS schools that scheduled FCS opponents for easy wins were shocked in upsets. And the most polarizing figure in college football made sure he continued to be talked about. Even though it was the first week of college football, the entire week was more about Johnny Football. Let’s look at this week in the Manziel saga.

 

 

THE SUSPENSION:   

Dez Bryant has lunch with Deion Sanders:

Suspended entire season

 

Terrelle Pryor and four other teammates sell rings, jerseys, and awards for tattoos:

Five players suspended for five games, Ohio State later receives bowl ban.

 

Reggie Bush and his family receive money from sports agents Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels:

USC receives two-year bowl ban, reduction of 10 scholarships a year over three years, four years probation, has BCS title vacated, and Bush has his Heisman revoked.

 

Johnny Manziel allegedly sells autographed memorabilia to broker:

Half-game suspension against the Rice Owls.

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Manziel began his week by bending over the NCAA. When the news dropped about Johnny Football’s suspension, everyone was thinking the same thing: that the NCAA infractions  committee is a hollow organization that operates under no standards absent a double-standard.  Am I mad that Manziel only received a 30-minute ban despite pretty strong circumstantial evidence? No, I’m even in favor of college players being able to profit from their talents. I mean the NCAA, colleges and everyone else is profiting from them, so why shouldn’t they? Manziel is truly a once in a generation college football player. Not only can he make a joke out of opposing team defenses, he can make a joke out of college’s leading organization. Apparently, Manziel can show the weaknesses of the NCAA as easily as he shows the weakness in other defenses.

The first weakness of the NCAA is that the NCAA has the investigative prowess of Helen Keller. Texas A&M and Manziel gladly accepted the half game suspension, basically admitting that Manziel violated NCAA rules in some way. Why take a punishment if you did nothing wrong? You can’t drop the hammer on someone when you don’t even have a hammer. Everyone on the NCAA investigative committee must have been the worst hide-and-seek players of all time, because they are incapable of finding anybody. To avoid embarrassment, the NCAA had to hand down some sort of punishment after it became apparent that Manziel received money for his autograph. A&M danced at the idea of a 30-minute punishment, and the NCAA showed itself capable of slapping wrists despite a high-profile case. Once Manziel received his punishment, I’m sure he called Cam Newton and they had a good laugh about the investigative powers of the NCAA.

The next weakness is that college football marketability and profitability overrule NCAA ethics. The NCAA couldn’t afford to hand down a harsh punishment to Manziel.  Texas A&M will be playing Alabama in two weeks and every fan of college football demands Manziel to be in that game. That marquee game becomes ignored if Johnny Football doesn’t play. Big time players just don’t miss big time games. Look at the case of Newton. Newton was ruled ineligible for an entire day before being reinstated prior to the SEC Championship game and continuing to the National Championship.  Pryor and other would be suspended players were handed down their punishments prior to Ohio State’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl. The NCAA however ruled that the players’ suspensions wouldn’t begin until AFTER the big-time game. The supposed ethical standards that the NCAA pursues can take a backseat when money comes into the picture. But hey, what can you expect from an organization that had Paul Dee as its committee on infractions chairman. Yes, the same Paul Dee that was athletic director of Miami during the Nevin Shapiro scandal (in which Miami players received benefits such as cash, prostitutes, parties and even an abortion) was the chairman of the committee that handed USC its crippling suspension. I don’t know if any of these people should be preaching about ethical standards.

THE GAME:

Manziel began and ended the game against Rice in timeout. Manziel served his suspension in the first half of the game and entered the second half with his team up by a touchdown. Manziel did exactly what everyone expected him to do once in the game. Manziel completed 6 of 8 passes for 94 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also scrambled for 19 yards on 6 carries. You can’t find much to complain about when a guy scores three touchdowns in a quarter-and-a-half. This is Johnny Football we’re talking about though, there has to be something for people to argue about. Manziel didn’t disappoint as he proceeded to talk shit to a Rice player and then point to the scoreboard, earning himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the process. He then proceeded to arrogantly walk by his coach and take a spot on the bench. Matt Joeckel went back in for the final series of the game but you can’t argue that this is Manziel’s team.

Manziel is one of the most talented quarterbacks in college football and he knows it. He’s arrogant, egotistical and young. At the same time he’s a great leader, team player and aggressive. This young quarterback has the entire nation forming an opinion about him. Manziel’s teammate best expressed why people love him after the Rice game.  A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi said, “He’s a fiery guy; that’s what we love about him. He’s not quiet. He’s not shy. He’s going to be loud and aggressive, and that’s what makes him Johnny Football.” Manziel’s aggressive, loud and in-your-face personality has won him millions of fans. Johnny Football is living the dream of every college guy. He’s a top quarterback, a celebrity and does pretty much whatever he wants. If you told me I was the best player in college football at the age of 19, I’d probably make some poor decisions too.

The same antics that have won over millions, have condemned him in the minds of millions of other fans.  They see him as a careless, selfish and pompous young kid given the Heisman too early. No matter your opinion, nobody can argue the fact that everyone is completely fascinated by Johnny Football. College football fans around the world will tune in to see what happens next in the Manziel saga and watch him play. Love him or hate him, you can’t escape him. He’s at the very center of the college football universe and there is no bigger story. It’s early in the season and all we need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride that is Johnny Football. College football is Manziel’s world right now, the rest of us are just part of it.

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Tye Masters
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Good,Better,Best:The Heisman Race

2011 Heisman Trophy Winner Portraits

Every year, there’s a player that takes over college football and shines above the rest.  It’s hard to predict who will be best player in college football this year. After all, Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton weren’t even on the preseason radar in the years that each of them won. The Heisman Trophy is one of the most exclusive fraternities in sports, and if you are deemed to be the best college football player, your name will forever be followed by “Heisman Trophy winner” (unless you’re Reggie Bush).

One can’t help but notice though that eight of the last 10 winners in the past decade have been quarterbacks, with the other two being running backs. So, is the award really given to the best player in college football? You can’t dismiss the argument that the Heisman has turned into a popularity contest given to the player marketed best on the best team. There is no way that in the history of the Heisman Trophy that the best player in college football was not a pure defensive player. Hell, I remember how dominant Ndamukong Suh was in 2009. He won the AP Player of the Year, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy Award, but finished decisively fourth in Heisman voting. Now Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart and Colt McCoy were all good and dominant players, but you can’t say that they were decisively better football players than Suh. This might be the year the bias against defensive players changes. If young Jadaveon Clowney can perform like he did last season and match the hype, we may have our first pure defensive player win the award.

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Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina

Position: Defensive End

2012 Statistics: 54 total tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 3 forced fumbles

I don’t know if there has been a pure defensive player ever more poised to snag the Heisman Trophy than Clowney, who should be considered the best college football player hands down. Clowney’s hit against Michigan’s Vincent Smith during the 2013 Outback Bowl has gone viral and served as a coming out party to the world. Only a sophomore last year, Clowney wrecked opposing offensive lines, having half of his tackles go for a loss and recording 13 sacks. Clowney blew through double teams and may have been the No. 1 overall pick if he was able to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft. Even more impressive is the fact that he is setting sights on Derrick Thomas’ 27-sack single-season record and no one is doubting that it’s within possibility. If Clowney can have another highlight like he did against Michigan, he very well may get the hype to overcome the bias towards offensive players.

Heisman Make or Break Game:

Sept 27: South Carolina at Georgia

Clowney has a steep enough hill to climb by becoming the first ever purely defensive Heisman winner. If he stumbles out of the gate early against the No. 5 team in the country, that hill might just become impossible.

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Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Position: Quarterback

2012 Statistics: 3706 passing yards, 1410 rushing yards,  47 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 155.5 QBR

Manziel may have had some off-season issues but don’t doubt that the guy will be able to play come September. Manziel led the Aggies to an 11-2 record and became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman trophy. Manziel has the Aggies carrying a No. 7 preseason ranking and in talks of a national title. So long as Manziel can avoid “Manziel disease” (a reference by other players such as Florida State QB Jameis Winston to the off-the-field issues) he could retain his Heisman belt.  So long as Manziel can avoid taking pictures with money, getting drunk the night before he has to do something and getting filmed signing autographs while talking about cash, he should be fine.

Heisman Make or Break Game:

Johnny Manziel at the bar

Manziel’s biggest opponent this year is going to be himself and his off-the-field issues. If Manziel can keep his name in the headlines for his football performance rather than his off-field antics, he’ll have a chance at back-to-back Heismans.

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Braxton Miller, Ohio State

Position: Quarterback

2012 Statistics: 2039 passing yards, 1271 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 140.5 QBR

In case you didn’t notice because of their bowl ban, the Buckeyes went undefeated last season. That record has given them the No. 2 preseason ranking. Miller may not have the greatest arm but he thrived under Urban Meyer’s system. If Meyer has shown us anything, it’s that he can make a Heisman Trophy winner out of a quarterback who can’t even throw. Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow still can’t throw but was one of the most dominant college football players of this generation. He may have turned Patriots preseason camp into a game of Survivor with everyone wondering when Bill Belichick will vote him off the island, but the guy could play college ball. If Meyer can have Miller lead Ohio State to back-to-back undefeated seasons, he’ll be a marquee name come Heisman time.

Heisman Make or Break Game:

November 30: Ohio State at Michigan

If Ohio State rolls into Michigan undefeated with Miller at the helm, this game will be enormous for his Heisman considerations. If Miller has a huge performance in prime-time, against a ranked Michigan team, in one of the most difficult places to play in college football, and with national championship implications, you can put his name on the Heisman.

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A.J. McCarron, Alabama

Position: Quarterback

2012 Statistics: 2933 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 175.3 QBR

McCarron officially lives every man’s dream.  He has a smoking hot girlfriend, two national championship rings and is quarterback for the No. 1 team. People may say Alabama’s running game and defense wins its championships, but McCarron has played well during his time at Alabama. If you look at the 30 touchdowns to 3 interceptions you cannot ignore his skill and success within the system he plays. If McCarron keeps the Tide rolling and gets his third national championship, no one will say that he isn’t integral to that team.

Heisman Make or Break Game:

September 14: Alabama at Texas A&M

Last year, Manziel made his Heisman highlight when he single-handedly manhandled Alabama in its own house.  McCarron will need to establish himself early and return the favor to Manziel as the Crimson Tide head to A&M. If McCarron outguns Manziel, not only do the Tide knock off the No. 7 team in the nation, but McCarron knocks Johnny Football down in the Heisman standings early.

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Marqise Lee, University of Southern California

Position: Wide Receiver

2012 Statistics: 118 receptions, 1721 receiving yards, 856 kickoff return yards, 14 receiving touchdowns, 1 kickoff return touchdown

If one positive thing can be taken out of USC’s season last year, it’s the play of Lee. Lee emerged as one of the most dangerous players in all of college football, snagging the Biletnikoff Award as college’s best receiver. Lee has more potential to score than Ryan Gosling in a sorority house. Lee’s only disadvantage though is that he can’t get snapped the ball, and USC plans to play two quarterbacks in its opener against Hawaii. Lee can make a strong argument for being the best player in ALL of college football, and if he doesn’t win the award, it may be more the fault of his QB than his own.

Heisman Make or Break Game

November 16: USC vs. Stanford

USC gets to play Stanford in the Coliseum during mid-November. Stanford enters the season as the No. 4 team with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. If Lee is high in the Heisman polls and can dominate against a stout Stanford defense, the voters will have to pay attention to the wide out. Stanford coach David Shaw will have his defense keyed on Lee as Shaw has referred to Lee as the best receiver he’s seen since scouting Randy Moss. The Trojans will get him the ball, it will be up to Lee to perform.

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Other Contenders: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Tahj Boyd (Clemson), Aaron Murray (Georgia)

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The Sound Off by Long Island Sound

The Cover 4 presents you The Sound Off by Long Island Sound…

Let us know what you think!

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Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

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Long Island Sound
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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August 15, 2013

The Cover 4 presents you The Sound Off by Long Island Sound…

Let us know what you think!

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