Complete Week One Player Rankings & Projections l More Sit & Starts
The wait is finally over. Football is here. Take a moment and breathe it in. While you were breathing in the fresh scent of brats on a grill and six-packs being opened, your opponent just got the Week 1 jump on you. Have no fear though as we look to unveil some season opening gems.
What good can come from having a guy on your roster for just a week? You need only look to Oregon’s first game of last season. While LaMichael James served a suspension, backup Kenjon Barner went loco on the Lobos. Barner put up 147 yards and four touchdowns which made a lot of guys look like geniuses for snagging him early.
Let’s take a look at some players who could start your season off on the right foot:
Start Em! Running Backs
BCS-Only (all one-week wonders)
Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State vs. Youngstown State
Last season Bell was splitting carries with Edwin Baker for the first five games of the season and then dropped off as Baker soared. Now entering his sophomore season, the bruiser is fully healthy and ready to start off hot against the Penguins. While Baker will still be the bell cow, Bell is a nice filler and should be good for at least one touchdown.
Andre Williams, Boston College vs. Northwestern
With Montel Harris likely sidelined against the Wildcats, look for the Eagles to ride Williams. This will not be the first time he has been thrust into the spotlight as he carried the ball a staggering 42 times against Syracuse last year. The Wildcats are not nearly as hard-nosed as their head coach, and Williams could declaw them early.
Zach Brown, Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo
Ray Graham will be the star of the show but don't sleep on Brown. He is a much bigger back than Graham but also possesses a nice second gear. He could wind up being a touchdown vulture by the end of the year, but against the Bulls, he is a nice start.
Jesse Callier, Washington vs. Eastern Washington
The guys with the red field will not go quietly against the Huskies and with Chris Polk uncertain for the opener, start Callier for a nice one-week boost.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Hall, Ohio State vs. Akron, Ronnie Wingo, Arkansas vs. Missouri State, Onterio McCalebb, Auburn vs. Utah State, LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State vs. Memphis
Adonis Thomas, Toledo vs. New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a darn good team and could keep this game very interesting, which means the Rockets will need to lean on Thomas early and often. Look for the outstanding rusher to see plenty of carries while also snaring a few passes as well.
Ed Wesley, TCU vs. Baylor
The Horned Frogs are breaking in a new quarterback and what better way to help him along then allowing him to hand off to a 1,000-yard back against a defense that surrendered 170 yards per game last year.
Joseph Banyard, UTEP vs. Stony Brook
This year the Miner offense will not look like what we have been so accustomed to seeing under Mike Price and Trevor Vittatoe, but Banyard is still a gem. Like TCU, expect UTEP to lean heavily on Banyard (a former TCU running back) as they iron out the wrinkles against Stony Brook.
Sit Em! Running Backs
All Missouri Running Backs against Miami (OH)
The Tigers are fielding the most athletic quarterback they have had since Brad Smith and are facing off against a stingy Redhawks 'D'. Add to the fact that Mizzou has little separation between Henry Josey, Kendial Lawrence, and De'Vion Moore and this is one backfield to avoid.
Isaiah Crowell, Georgia vs. Boise State
Crowell will be a star soon but it will not come against a Boise State defense that is notoriously hungry and only allowed opponents 2.93 yards per rush last season.
LaMichael James, Oregon vs. LSU
You may think I am crazy and LMJ could make me look certifiably insane, but I just don't see him getting much running room in the season opener against an angry LSU defense. LSU has the fastest defense that the Ducks will see all year and you better believe they will be keying on the Heisman trophy runner up.
J.J. Di Luigi, BYU vs. Ole Miss
The Rebels of Oxford are out to prove that last season's defensive debacle was a fluke and therefore, Di Luigi will find few seams against the Ole Miss front four. Di Luigi is dangerous as a receiver and will certainly get some yards, that way but it is best to sit him as he will also lose some snaps to Josh Quezada and Bryan Kariya.
Jared Hassin, Army vs. Northern Illinois
I really think Hassin could go for 1,000 yards again this year but the Huskies have a better defense than anyone has noticed and will shut down the Black Knights' dive back. The Huskies fielded a top 25 rushing defense last year and can run up the score in a hurry, forcing the Knights to take to the air.
Zach Line, SMU vs. Texas A&M
Surprisingly, Line was the conference's leading rusher last year but his yards came in chunks and against some pliable defenses. Against the Aggies, Line will do more pass blocking than rushing.