Week One of college football is officially in the books, so naturally the Heisman and NFL Draft talk is starting. The season will be highlighted by a few specific players who begin their quest to be the best player in the NCAA and the next-best professional athlete. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney are the two biggest names outside of returning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and both players could be headed in opposite directions this year.
Clowney and Bridgewater are the likely favorites to snatch the Heisman trophy out of Manziel's hands. Sure there are players like USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. If all goes according to plan, both players will be in New York for both the trophy presentation and the NFL Draft. After Week One, Bridgewater started his campaign off well, while Clowney's took a hit.
Bridgewater led Louisville to a solid win over Ohio. Before he even recorded an incompletion, he had already thrown for two touchdown passes. He proceeded to scorch and overpower the small Ohio squad for the remainder of the game. By the end of the game, the quarterback went 23-for-29 for 355 yards and five touchdowns. He was also pulled at the end of the third quarter. Not a bad day of work.
Bridgewater is set up for success. Louisville's schedule is tailor-made for the quarterback to excel. He has a strong offensive line that is offering up great protection around him, allowing Bridgewater to have plenty of time to throw. There is no reason to think that the young quarterback's quest to be the No. 1 overall draft pick will take a hit at all this season.
Clowney on the other hand underwhelmed in South Carolina's Thursday night win against North Carolina. On one of the hottest nights in the state, the big defensive end remained very quiet, putting up just three tackles. There were no earth-shaking hits on running back or driving quarterbacks into the ground moments.
Numerous times throughout the game Clowney looked exhausted, like he was not properly conditioned yet for the year. Both Clowney and head coach Steve Spurrier laughed off any idea that the defensive end was sliding.
It is only Week One of the season, so everything can change. In 2012, no one had Manziel pegged as a Heisman winner and look what happened. Bridgewater could drop. Clowney could rise. An unknown player could emerge. Let the debates begin.