football Edit

Three-Point Stance: Rivalry games, non-QB MVPs, Florida

Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here to talk about the lack of great rivalry games this season, a look at the non-QB MVP for every ACC team and the Florida Gators Mount Rushmore since 1980.


FACT OR FICTION: CJ Stroud will toss 40 TD passes in 2021

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

RIVALS TRANSFER TRACKER: Stories/coverage | Message board

RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info/coverage on 2021 camp series



Michigan vs. Ohio State
Michigan vs. Ohio State (Getty Images)

Ah rivalry games. We love them so much. In fact, ESPN essentially built a whole week around it near the end of the season. But will there be any good ones this season? It doesn't look like it.

This year we get to see Nebraska and Oklahoma again but one of college football's best rivalries of yesteryear won't really be much fun. The Sooners will likely be favored by four touchdowns.

What about the Iron Bowl with Alabama-Auburn? Or Michigan-Ohio State and Florida State-Miami? Nope. The Crimson Tide will roll, the Buckeyes will crush the Wolverines and the Seminoles aren't very good and the Hurricanes aren't elite.

USC-UCLA? Oklahoma-Texas? Nah. They could be good games but the Longhorns and Bruins might be very mediocre.

So where does that leave us? Probably Georgia-Florida, which should decide the SEC East, and USC-Notre Dame in late October, which could eliminate one from any playoff hope. But after that? The best rivalry games feature some great matchups we don’t usually pay attention to: Iowa-Iowa State, North Carolina-NC State and, if we stretch what we view a rivalry, LSU-Texas A&M.

We need a resurgence from Michigan, Texas, Auburn, Florida State and others to make things better in college football overall. Thank goodness we kick off with Georgia and Clemson. Maybe we make that a yearly rivalry?



Zay Flowers
Zay Flowers (Getty Images)

Let’s keep rolling through the Power Five conferences as I look at the non-QB MVPs and take a look at the ACC (with Notre Dame thrown in).

Boston College: WR Zay Flowers - One of the best kept secrets in the entire country at the wide receiver position, Flowers will be Phil Jurkovec's top target in an offense that has potential to put up some big points. A first-team All-ACC selection from last season, he was 18th in the country in receiving yards, and he could finish this season in the top 10 when all is said and done.

Clemson: DT Bryan Bresee - Bresee was fantastic as a true freshman last season, and returns as one of the top interior linemen not only in the conference, but in the entire country. Coming in, everyone already knew about his pure strength, but Bresee showed that he can use his hands well and get after the passer too.

Duke: RB Mateo Durant - There's not a lot of bright spots on this year's Blue Devil squad, but Durant should have an opportunity to shine as the main bell cow in this offense. Duke is breaking in a new quarterback, so having Durant to not only hand the ball off to, but also check down to in the passing game will be key.

Florida State: DE Jermaine Johnson - The Georgia transfer comes in with high expectations as an edge rusher, as the 'Noles are in desperate need of a spark on defense. Florida State ranked 105th in the nation last year in both scoring defense and yards per play allowed, and are hoping that Johnson and the other transfers they added in the portal are able to kick start the unit.

Georgia Tech: RB Jahmyr Gibbs - One of the most well-rounded backs in the country, Gibbs was one of two players in the Power Five to get a PFF grade of better than 85 as both a rusher and a receiver. Even though fellow running back Jordan Mason will also get a lot of touches, Gibbs is definitely RB1 for the Yellow Jackets.

Louisville: TE Marshon Ford - Ford is going to be the top target for Malik Cunningham, who is desperately in need of a bounceback season. He's a matchup nightmare who has shown that he can line up both inline, in the slot, or out wide.

Miami: WR Charleston Rambo - Rambo comes over from Oklahoma and will immediately be a big-play threat for the Hurricanes and quarterback D'Eriq King. His versatility of being able to play outside or in the slot is key for an offense that will need a kick start in year three of the Manny Diaz era.

NC State: RB Zonovan Knight - Out of all the non-quarterbacks in the ACC, he's got the best chance of being the league's MVP, as he's essential to the Wolfpack's offense. One of the top players in the country at breaking tackles, Knight runs behind a strong offensive line and will get a ton of touches.

North Carolina: RB Ty Chandler - The Tennessee transfer has big shoes to fill, as he steps in for not one, but two of the top backs in the country last year in Javonte Williams and Michael Carter. He'll get plenty of opportunities to not only run the ball, but catch it out of the backfield as well in the Tar Heels' wide open offense. Expect very big numbers for Chandler.

Pitt: DT Calijah Kancey - The anchor of an outstanding defensive line, Kancey is the next great defensive tackle to come out of Pitt. He's the definition of a disruptor as he gets into the backfield with ease, despite being consistently double teamed.

Syracuse: WR Taj Harris - The Orange have had some decent offenses over the years during Dino Babers' tenure, and Harris stands out as the only really proven playmaker entering this season. No matter who is playing quarterback for Syracuse, he'll be the top target, and should be able to put together a very good statistical season.

Virginia: LB Noah Taylor - Taylor is the top edge rusher for the Cavaliers, but he's also shown that he can excel in coverage as well. He has the potential to put up double-digit sacks and big TFL numbers for a Virginia team that will need to improve on the defensive side of the ball.

Virginia Tech: CB Jermaine Waller - After missing much of last season due to injury, Waller returns with very high expectations. He should be matching up against most teams top WR, and he pairs with Dorian Strong to make a strong corner combo for the Hokies.

Wake Forest: WR Jaquarii Roberson - Outside of Justyn Ross, Roberson is the top WR in the ACC, and is a threat to take it to the house on every play. With Kenneth Walker III off to Michigan State, Roberson will become even more of the focal point of the offense.

Notre Dame: RB Kyren Williams - With a new quarterback and a talented but new offensive line, Williams will be the key to the offense and help keep the defense off the field so he has to have another big season.



Danny Wuerffel
Danny Wuerffel (Getty Images)

I continue to march on through the Mount Rushmore since 1980 series with the SEC and the Florida Gators are up.

QB Tim Tebow — Tebow is one of the greatest players in college football history. After being a contributor to a national title in his freshman year while backing up Chris Leak, Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore and led the Gators to another national title as a junior. A three-time All-American, Tebow finished his career with school records in total yards and total touchdowns.

QB Danny Wuerffel — In his final two seasons in Gainesville Wuerffel threw for nearly 6,900 yards and 74 touchdowns, leading the nation in touchdown passes in both 1995 and 1996, earning All-American honors and being named the SEC's MVP in both seasons. Wuerffel led the Gators to their first national championship in the 1996 season where he also won the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and, obviously, the Heisman Trophy.

RB Emmitt Smith — Before becoming the NFL's all-time leading rusher, Smith was a three-time first-team All-SEC running back at UF. The SEC's MVP and a unanimous All-American as a junior, he led the conference in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage in both 1987 and 1989, and his 36 career rushing touchdowns are still second to Tebow in school history despite only playing effectively two and a half seasons.

WR Percy Harvin — One of the most devastating offensive weapons in the history of college football, stats don't do Harvin justice for just how electric he was on the field. He combined for 3,781 yards and 32 TD's between rushing and receiving, averaging 9.5 yards per carry and 14.5 yards per reception for his career, in addition to being a lights-out returner as well for the Gators. During their national title run in 2008, Harvin was the No. 1 option on offense, and was a threat to take it to the house every time he touched the ball.