The Schmidt List: Lincoln Riley’s coming out party, College Football Playoff, Heisman rankings

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 09: Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach Lincoln Riley reacting to a play during the fourth quarter of the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Oklahoma Sooners on September 9, 2017 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Oklahoma Sooners won 31-16. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 09: Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach Lincoln Riley reacting to a play during the fourth quarter of the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Oklahoma Sooners on September 9, 2017 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Oklahoma Sooners won 31-16. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Lincoln Riley has arrived, 2017 really is the Year of the Quarterback and major playoff implications already in Week 2 of the college football season.

Lincoln Riley outcoached Urban Meyer as the Oklahoma Sooners beat the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes 31-16 in Columbus on Saturday night. Four days after turning 34, the youngest head coach in the FBS unleashed his Heisman hopeful quarterback Baker Mayfield, who turned in a gutsy performance after limping off the field on a few occasions.

Mayfield led the Sooners to four touchdown drives in the second half to turn a 10-3 deficit into a 31-13 lead that effectively put the game away. Mayfield finished with 386 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-35 passing. It’s even more impressive when you consider he did much of this with his top target, Mark Andrews who left after two catches for 21 yards with an injury.

But we already knew Mayfield, who has finished in the top five in Heisman voting the last two years, was a star. Now his new head coach may be the next star in the coaching ranks.

In only his second game as the head coach and with his predecessor and mentor, Bob Stoops, watching from his suite above the field, Riley outsmarted arguably the second greatest coach in the game today. Meyer and his three championship rings were no match for the 34-year-old Riley who is living up to Stoops’ old “big game” moniker. He’s certainly got a big fan in Stoops.

Kirby Smart gets the biggest win of his career

Georgia went on the road to Notre Dame with a true freshman quarterback in Jake Fromm making his first start and left with a 20-19 win. The win over the No. 24 Fighting Irish could propel Kirby Smart’s team into SEC play.

In his second season since replacing Mark Richt at Georgia, Smart picked up the biggest win of his career thanks to a ferocious defense led by Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy. After Georgia took the lead on a 30-yard field goal with 3:39 remaining, Bellamy sacked Brandon Wimbush who fumbled and Carter hopped on the ball to secure the win. The win is a big statement for Smart and Georgia who are the clear front-runners in the SEC East.

Saquon Barkley is the best running back since…?

Saquon Barkley is firmly entrenched in the Heisman conversation and could be a top-five pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Not only is he a filthy runner but he’s dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield. Penn State has the best offense in the Big Ten and I’m already looking forward to seeing them against Michigan and Ohio State in the last two weeks in October.

Barkley is on his way toward joining recent superstar backs, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon in the conversation for the best back in the decade. He’s well on his way toward making history each time he has his hands on the ball.

Don’t doubt Sam Darnold ever again

The hype train was in full effect for Sam Darnold after engineering a Rose Bowl comeback and leading USC to nine straight wins to end the season as a redshirt freshman. He was being touted as the projected top pick in the NFL Draft, the preseason Heisman favorite and a program-changer who could lead the Trojans to their first national championship since guys named Pete, Matt and Reggie were on campus.

After a narrow win over Western Michigan that saw Darnold throw a pair of interceptions and zero touchdowns, the critics were out wondering if he was a victim of the hype. Shame on you for even considering that.

Every quarterback, including last year’s Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson, had less-than-stellar box score production. It’s just football. Sure enough, Darnold looked like everything that was projected on him against Stanford.

Darnold finished 21-of-26 for 316 yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions in the 42-24 win. He has a potential All-American receiver, Deontay Burnett, who had two more touchdowns and a team-high nine catches for 121 yards.

Lamar Jackson is still the best player in college football

We are fortunate to be able to watch Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold but as great as they are, Lamar Jackson is still the best player in college football. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is unstoppable and is off to the same scorching start that ignited his Heisman campaign last year as a sophomore. Jackson accounted for 525 yards (393 through the air, 132 rushing) and six touchdowns in Louisville’s 47-35 win over North Carolina.

Jackson is must-see TV because you never know when he’s going to unleash a pass like this.

Or when he’ll have a run like that makes you think he’s a bigger and faster version of Vince Young with the ability to make people miss in the open field like Michael Vick.

While Rosen, Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen are widely considered the three best pro prospects entering the season, don’t overlook Jackson who has improved his ball placement and accuracy as a junior. For the second year in a row, he’s eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau in the first two games, joining Patrick Mahomes as the only players since 2000 to do that.

If he wants to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winner, a win next week against Clemson and 400 total yards and three or four touchdowns will be a great start. Can you just imagine how much fun it would be to play with him in NCAA Football? His freakish combination of running and passing ability is unrivaled.

College Football Playoff if it started today

If the committee met on Monday morning to determine who will be the top four teams in the College Football Playoff, here is what I think they should vote.

  1. Alabama – Jalen Hurts is just getting started. The defense will be elite despite personnel losses. Rest of SEC West is not as great as it once was so the Tide will roll. And Nick Saban is still the coach.
  2. Clemson – Tigers have the best defensive line in the country. Kelly Bryant more than fine at quarterback and Deon Cain is a future NFL receiver he has at his disposal.
  3. Oklahoma – Baker Mayfield is playing out of his mind and Lincoln Riley does not look overmatched as the youngest coach in the FBS.
  4. USC – Sam Darnold is a superstar and running back Ronald Jones II and receiver Deontay Burnett aren’t too far off, but the defense was the difference in the win vs. Stanford. It was good enough to compete for a national title.

First 2 Out: Penn State, Oklahoma State

Heisman Rankings

  1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
  2. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
  3. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
  4. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
  5. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Best Story of the Week: Oregon’s uniforms designed by childhood cancer survivors

Oregon is known for their colorful uniforms and the seemingly infinite combinations they have. They have a new favorite set the Ducks unveiled in their Week 2 win against Nebraska. With the help of Nike, three childhood cancer survivors, Sophia, Ethan and Joe helped design every aspect of the team’s uniforms from the helmet to the jersey to the pants to the cleats. The proceeds going to the sale of the merchandise that went on sale will go to benefit the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland where the three were treated.

This comes on the heels of a new tradition by Iowa fans to wave at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital that started last week. The more college football can give back to kids, the better and I wish I could write about stories like this every week. Please keep it up.


Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin turned in one of the best catches you’ll see all year. In the second quarter vs. Notre Dame, he hauled in a five-yard touchdown from Jake Fromm where he did his best Odell Beckham Jr. impersonation.

I’ve watched football for as long as I could remember but I’ve never seen a 3rd and 93 before. I saw that in the Mississippi State game against Louisiana Tech and I’m still not convinced I really saw that madness. Go to a football game and a soccer match breaks out, who knew?!

I had no idea Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights made it back to college football. Clear eyes, full hearts. Can’t lose.

What I’m watching this week

I’m going to unwind and recover from watching 15 hours of college football on Sunday by doing the same for the NFL on Sunday and Monday night. If you have DirecTV, you’ll have a free preview of Sunday NFL Ticket so be sure to take advantage of that so you can watch every game. I just hope the Bears don’t embarrass themselves too much against the Atlanta Falcons. I’m hoping a Super Bowl hangover will be in effect and the Bears can steal a game behind Jordan Howard and a great defensive effort, led by Leonard Floyd.

Last week I wrote I was going to finish Narcos season 3 and I did. There were some highs and some lows this season. There was a massive void without Pablo Escobar being on the show and I don’t think the show will ever be as good as the first two seasons. I’m curious to see how the fourth season will play out as it is the last season the show has currently been extended for, so there’s the chance it could be the final season. I wouldn’t think that’s such a bad idea. I give the season a C+ overall.

The big release on Netflix this weekend was BoJack Horseman season 4. The animated series featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins and a slew of A-list guest appearances is one of the best Netflix Originals. The dark comedy is one of the saddest and yet funniest shows on TV. If there was a chart that had all of the emotions that humans are capable of experiencing, a 25-minute episode is fully capable of crossing off at least 75 percent of those emotions. It’s 12 episodes and easy to binge-watch. I highly recommend you give the show a shot if you haven’t seen it yet.

Next: NFL Draft Big Board

I’ll also be excited to see Rick and Morty back on Sunday night after a one-week hiatus for Labor Day and the season premiere of South Park on Wednesday on Comedy Central. I guess I’m really in the mood for animated adult comedies this week. Maybe it’ll be a good time to fire up some classic episodes of The Simpsons too.

— The Schmidt List returns next Sunday morning to relive all the madness that took place during Week 3 of the college football season, what you need to be watching on TV and Netflix and what else is going on in the world of sports, entertainment and life in general.