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Sports staff talks college football

The college football season has started, and it is time for week three. Heisman candidates have already seen their chances increase or decrease, playoff contenders have received losses and big games are on the way.

            The Daily Helmsman sports writers, Abigail Warren, Jeremiah Graham and Caleb Hilliard and sports editor Jon Bell, will answer six questions about the landscape of college football.

1. Do you see Memphis winning the American Athletic Conference?

Jon: I think that they have the offensive ability to win the conference, but that defense has too many questions. They lost some key pieces from last season and a few more week one.

Abigail: Possibly, they have a solid offense. Memphis has a lot of returning talent on offense, but the defense is a concern.

Jeremiah: That defense looks awful but yeah. I think the defense, especially the secondary, will start to gel better towards the end of the year.

Caleb: I do. I believe that they have the best quarterback in the conference, and that will translate to a lot wins.

2. What does Memphis have to do to beat UCLA this weekend?

Jon: Pray that Josh Rosen has an off day. Memphis gave up a lot of yardage to ULM’s quarterback in a hurricane, so Rosen has a chance to put up huge numbers.

Abigail: They have to step up their defense. And Riley Ferguson has to play better than he did against Louisiana-Monroe.

Jeremiah: Playing defense would help.Memphis will have to outscore them and force a few turnovers. The line will have to put pressure on Rosen.

Caleb: They have to limit big plays and stop the screens that UCLA runs. Memphis has to be able keep Rosen from completing bombs downfield and force third and longs.

3. Which two teams do you think have the best chance of making it to the four-team playoff. 

Jon: Definitely Bama. But after that I’d go with Oklahoma because they have already won the toughest game on their schedule. I like Penn State, but they still have Michigan and Ohio State on the schedule.

Abigail: USC and Alabama. USC has a favorable schedule, and Alabama is Alabama.

Jeremiah: I was big on Ohio State early in the year but I forgot that J.T. Barrett can’t throw the ball past the line of scrimmage. I’ll go Bama and Oklahoma because Baker Mayfield is on of my top Heisman contenders.

Caleb: Oklahoma and Alabama. Oklahoma because they have the best quarterback in the nation, and Alabama’s defense seems like it has gotten even better this season. 

4. Who is your (way too early) pick to win the Heisman?

Jon: I thinkBaker Mayfield will win it if his team makes the playoffs. He will get a lot of credit for playing big in big games like Ohio State. Lamar Jackson is great, but I doubt he can get Louisville close to the playoffs.

Abigail: Lamar Jackson. He is already showing improvements from last season.

Jeremiah: Lamar Jackson because he is much better of a drop back passer than last year. He is also one of the most dangerous runners in the open field.

Caleb: Probably Baker Mayfield. I watched Lamar Jackson and didn’t see him complete long passes. Everything was within 10 yards. So I think Baker Mayfield is the early favorite.

5. Which team has impressed you the most so far?

Jon: Michigan for sure. I thought their defense was going to down this year after losing a lot of NFL talent. But they are dominating so far and the offense looks solid too.

Abigail: Georgia because they lost their star quarterback and Jake Fromm has stepped in as a freshman and done well.

Jeremiah: Oklahoma because Ohio State was my pick to win the National Championship, and they came out and destroyed Ohio State. Especially in that second half when they controlled the line of scrimmage.

Caleb: If Georgia had Jacob Eason, I wouldn’t be surprised by them. But with his injury and Jake Fromm’s win against Notre Dame’s solid defense, I’m impressed.

6. Is there a non power five school that can crack the top 15?

Jon: I doubt any team will, but South Florida has the best chance because of their easy schedule. They are already in the top 25, and have a quarterback that can carry a team offensively.

Abigail: If there is a team that has a chance, it’s USF. And I really can’t see them doing it.

Jeremiah: No, I don’t see any of those teams coming close to the top 15. The talent gap is too big for the schools in the non power five to get there. 

Caleb: I think San Diego State can. They finished in the top 25 last season and have already gotten some votes in the AP poll this year.

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