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Three-Point Stance: Playoff picks, Heisman odds, 2018 contributors National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with his playoff predictions and pick to win it all, his own Heisman odds and a few 2018 prospects who could impact their programs of choice this year.

THE FARRELL 50: Nos. 41-45 | 46-50


J.T. Barrett
J.T. Barrett (AP Images)

Okay, it’s time. Last year I picked Clemson to win the national title and, despite some shaky moments during the season, the Tigers won it all. My choice this year? Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have lost some talent in first-rounders Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Gareon Conley as well as other key contributors. But this is an Ohio State program that endured similar losses last offseason and Urban Meyer was able to lead his 2016 squad to the College Football Playoff.

The Buckeyes return a ton of experience at key positions and have the roster talent to run through the toughest division in college football. They have an elite, experienced dual-threat quarterback in J.T. Barrett, a very solid offensive line and a reliable running back in Mike Weber. There are questions regarding the receivers, but with co-offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day, the offense will be uptempo, the ball will be spread around and the defenses will be kept off balance.

Defensively, Ohio State has the deepest defensive line in college football, a talented Jerome Baker to take over for Raekwon McMillan and one of the best defensive back coaches in the country in Kerry Coombs who will bring along some impressive young talent.

I have more reservations about this prediction than I did about Clemson last year for many reasons. Ohio State is playing in a tougher division and conference, Barrett’s downfield passing accuracy is a real issue that needs to be fixed and the overall roster talent is below that of Clemson. That being said, the Buckeyes can beat Penn State, should handle a Michigan team that has to replace a million starters and handle whatever team comes out of the Big Ten West.

Then it’s off to the playoffs where the Buckeyes should be better than these other playoff picks…

Alabama – With Jalen Hurts back and such a talented overall roster, many will be picking the Crimson Tide to win it all. I understand that reasoning, but Alabama is much thinner on defense than last year and any injuries could hurt badly. Teams will figure out Hurts after a full season of film. Even an early season loss to the ‘Noles could be overcome.

Florida State – A rematch with Alabama, perhaps? The ‘Noles have an amazing defense, some talented playmakers on offense and a quarterback I like a lot in Deondre Francois. But can they improve along the offensive line enough to keep Francois upright and will they have some receivers step in and make an impact? Replacing Dalvin Cook could be too much to ask. Even if they lose to Alabama in the opener, they can run the table the rest of the way.

Oklahoma State – Not Oklahoma? Not USC or Washington out of the Pac-12? Nope. The Big 12 isn’t deep or strong this year and Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill and James Washington bring some of the best offensive balance in the country. The defense loses some talent for sure, but in the Big 12 it’s about outscoring everyone else. If the Pokes can get past a tough stretch of Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma in late October and early November, an undefeated or one-loss season is possible. And a one-loss Big 12 team could be in the playoff despite the weakness of the conference.


Mason Rudolph
Mason Rudolph (AP Images)

Everyone loves betting odds, right? You can go to numerous betting services and check out their odds to win the Heisman Trophy for this upcoming season. I decided to put out some odds of my own… for entertainment purposes only, of course.

QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State – 5/1 – People may think I’m nuts but my logic is sound. Barrett quarterbacks the team I think will win the national title and won’t have a ton of Heisman competition on his own team. If he can improve on his touchdown and interception numbers from a year ago, his stats and the team’s wins will get him there. Can he throw for 3,000 yards and 30 scores and rush for 1,000 more and 15 more touchdowns? If he can, I think he wins it. Those aren’t Lamar Jackson numbers but they aren’t far off.

QB Sam Darnold, USC – 6/1 – I mentioned that Darnold could, and the key word is could, take a step back this season, but even if that happens he will be in contention. USC falls short of the College Football Playoff but will still win 10 games with Darnold putting up big numbers. USC quarterbacks always get a longer look.

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma – 8/1 – I don’t have Oklahoma making the playoff and Rudolph could put up better numbers in the Big 12, but Mayfield will get a ton of attention because of his last couple of seasons and the high profile nature of his program.

QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State – 8/1 – This is much higher than any odds that I’ve seen but stand back and watch the numbers roll up for him. If he takes his team to the playoff, he could end up in New York.

RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State – 10/1 – The best running back and perhaps player in the country this low? There are two reasons. First, it’s hard for running backs to win the Heisman over quarterbacks, especially with so many elite signal callers in college football this year. Secondly, teammate Trace McSorley could take some votes away if he has a big season.

QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville – 12/1 – Jackson struggled down the stretch last year, but the reigning Heisman winner has to be high on this list. I just don’t think he has the same magical season and Louisville will have too many losses.

QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama – 14/1 – Alabama should be back in the playoff and Hurts should be the quarterback from start to finish so of course he’s going to be up here. The problem? Teammate Bo Scarbrough. If he stays healthy, Scarbrough could cut into Hurts' votes.

QB Deondre Francois, Florida State – 14/1 – Florida State should have a great season and Francois should get much of the attention, but can he put up the numbers to push through? If Dalvin Cook got overlooked for a New York invite the last couple of years, what chance does Francois have?

RB Derrius Guice, LSU – 20/1 – He’d have to approach 2,000 rushing yards to be considered and have a big game against Alabama, something Leonard Fournette couldn’t do, but he has the talent. But I don’t think LSU will be successful enough for him to make a real push.


Xavier Thomas
Xavier Thomas (Nick Lucero/

The updated Rivals100 for 2018 is out and the beginning of college football season is just days away, which got me thinking: Are there any committed 2018 prospects that could make some sort of impact if they were on campus right now? I have a few candidates.

DE Xavier Thomas, Clemson – Clemson’s defensive end depth isn’t great and Thomas is physically impressive enough to potentially crack the two-deep. He’s that powerful already at this stage.

OT Cade Mays, Tennessee – I think Mays is more of a guard long term but he’s so big and physically developed that he could crack the two-deep at either tackle or guard for a Tennessee team that is young on the interior line.

WR Devonta Jason, Kansas – There isn’t a lack of talent at wide receiver for the Jayhawks but they aren’t that big overall. Jason might not have the speed for college right now, but he has the hands and size.

S Jaiden Woodbey, Ohio State – There are seniors at safety stepping up but there is also room for young players to push for time in the two-deep. Woodbey could keep pace with them based on his size and athletic ability. I’m not saying he’d win out, but he could compete.

WR Justin Shorter, Penn State – The wide receiver position is the easiest to pick up and make an impact at in college football. Shorter has the talent to give guys like Juwan Johnson, Irvin Charles and possibly Saeed Blacknall a good push as a big backup.