2016 CollegeFootballNews.com Midseason Top CFN Players, Coaches, Rankings, Games, Surprise & Disappointments
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2016 CFN Midseason Roundup & Analysis
CFN Midseason Top 10 Players
Who have been the best players of the start of the season? Who have been the best and the brightest so far? These aren’t the most talented players of the top NFL prospects, and the Heisman race is a different thing – Deshaun and J.T. will be there in the end – but these ten have been the best college football players at the 2016 college football midseason.
1. QB Lamar Jackson, Soph. Louisville
Second in the nation in total offense, Jackson has thrown been the dynamic star for the nation’s most fun offense.
2. LB/S/KR Jabrill Peppers, Jr. Michigan
The best all-around player in college football, he’s been nasty as a linebacker and great at coming through with something electric every time he touches the ball.
3. QB Jake Browning, Soph. Washington
The nation’s leader in passer rating, Browning has hit 72% of his passes for 1,418 yards and 23 touchdowns with just two picks leading UW to a perfect start.
4. QB Trevor Knight, Sr. Texas A&M
What more do you want out of a quarterback over a half a season? Big runs? Clutch play? Overtime wins? A 6-0 start? Knight has been the steady star the talented team needed.
5. QB Greg Ward, Sr. Houston
Yeah, the Cougars lost to Navy, but Ward dominated Oklahoma and has done everything else right hitting 69% of his passes for 1,684 yards and 11 scores to go along with six rushing scores.
6. RB Donnel Pumphrey, Sr. San Diego State
The nation’s leading rusher, he’s on pace to finish his career among the college football running back gods. In five games he’s gained 891 yards with nine scores.
7. DE Ejuan Price, Sr. Pitt
The nation’s leader in sacks and tackles for loss is the absolute real deal for a defense that needs the production. Hardly a fluke, he’s spread out the 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss throughout the season.
8. DE DeMarcus Walker, Sr. Florida State
Whether it was the 4.5-sack performance against Ole Miss, or the blocked extra point to save the Miami game, the FSU playmaking defensive end has all but won two games for the Noles.
9. QB Zach Terrell, Sr. Western Michigan
The Broncos have been even better than expected with a 6-0 start and two wins over Big Ten teams. All he’s done is hit 71% of his passes with 15 touchdowns, three rushing scores, and no picks ranking third in the nation in passing efficiency.
10. S Nate Holley, Sr. Kent State
MAC schMAC – the guy showed up against Alabama, too. The best open-field tackler in college football, he’s leading the nation with 86 stops with double-digit tackles in every game and 17 in two of them – he’s done this throughout his career. On solo stops alone he’d be 19th in the nation in tackles.
CFN Midseason Coach Rankings
1. Nick Saban, Alabama
NBA types call it the Pat Riley/Phil Jackson effect. Sometimes the best coach doesn’t get the credit he deserves because of the talent around him. With all the pressure in the world on his shoulders, the machine just rolls on.
2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Yeah, like Saban, the guy has more talent and more resources to work with than anyone, but no other Power 5 program lost the starting talent the Buckeyes did – and they’re even better. Again, never blow off just how high the standards really are at a place like this.
3. Chris Petersen, Washington
It’s as if people are shocked that the guy who won at a historic level at Boise State can actually coach a little bit. He’s turned Washington into a College Football Playoff-level killer on both sides of the ball.
4. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan
WMU wasn’t just the worst program in the country in 2013, it was the worst program in the country by far. Now it might just be one Boise State loss away from getting into a New Year’s Six bowl. This team is air-tight, loaded with real talent, and good enough to go 13-0.
5. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
The dude’s team is cashing the check his actions and mouth spent the last year writing.
6. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
The Badgers have no running game, no wide receivers, and a freshman now at quarterback, and yet it beat LSU, destroyed Michigan State and hung with Michigan State.
7. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Bobby Petrino has put together a brilliant first half of the season for Louisville. Swinney’s team beat Petrino’s team, and is unbeaten with all the expectations heaped on its shoulders.
8. Neal Brown, Troy
This program was AWFUL when Brown took over. It’s one loss? To Clemson in a dogfight of a close battle. For the first time in forever, Troy has a real defense.
9. Todd Graham, Arizona State
The Sun Devils had to replace just about everyone to start the season, and it lost its starting QB against UCLA, but Graham’s team is deep in the hunt for the Pac-12 title.
10. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
He was laughed at when he suggested his Buffs could win the Pac-12 championship. They’re not going to, but he’s made the once-great program great again.
CFN Midseason Five Best Games
1. Clemson 42, Louisville 36, Oct. 1
2. Wyoming 40, Northern Illinois, 2OT, Sept. 1
3. Alabama 48, Ole Miss 43, Sept. 17
4. Texas 50, Notre Dame 47, 2OT, Sept. 4
5. Texas A&M 45, Tennessee 38, 2OT, Oct. 8
CFN Midseason Best Surprise
Texas A&M is 6-0
Remember when Texas A&M vs. UCLA was a toss-up? Beating Auburn on the road is more impressive now, getting past Arkansas by 21 points was impressive, and killing the Tennessee zombie was amazing. At the very least, the Aggies are terrific in a year when the SEC is having a very, very hard time being the SEC.
2. Army starting out 3-2
3. Wake Forest is 5-1
4. Virginia Tech got really good, really fast under Justin Fuente
5. BYU is still alive at 3-3 with its killer schedule
CFN Midseason Biggest Disappointment
Michigan State vs. Notre Dame
As it turned out, they both stink.
It was a thrilling 36-28 win by the Spartans to send the Fighting Irish to a cataclysmic 1-2 start, but that was just the beginning. Losing to Duke took things to a whole other level, and now, at 2-4, Notre Dame probably isn’t even going bowling.
Meanwhile, Michigan State got ripped up by Wisconsin at home, lost to Indiana, and got run over by BYU. The offense bad, the defense lousy, and for a team that was supposed to challenge for the Big Ten title, it’s not even close.
3. LSU losing to Wisconsin and Auburn
4. The Mountain West, other than Boise State
5. Northern Illinois and Bowling Green
CFN Midseason – We Were Right About …
Boise State and Louisville
It was the big offseason call – Boise State was going to go 13-0 and make the College Football Playoff, and Louisville was going to shock the world and win the ACC. Neither one will happen, but it’s still possible. Both teams have played past expectations.
2. Stanford isn’t close to being the Pac-12’s best team
3. Penn State is better than just okay
4. Auburn is better than just okay
5. Houston isn’t going to the College Football Playoff
CFN Midseason – We Were Wrong About …
LSU and Florida State would roll thanks to all their talent.
These two still have as much NFL-ready talent than just about anyone. Of course LSU was going to get past its quarterback issue. There was no way FSU was going to struggle as long as it got decent quarterback play. Who knew the Tiger O would go into the tank and the Seminole D would get roasted like it has been?