Edson: U-M and Its Heisman Hopeful Are On A Roll

Forget the final score.

Focus on what is happening on both sides of the football for the University of Michigan: Jabrill Peppers.

Peppers was a standout on defense and offense Saturday during undefeated Michigan’s 78-0 win over a totally outmanned Rutgers team.

Not since the days of Heisman Trophy winner and future NFL Hall of Famer Charles Woodson have the Wolverines seen such a dynamic two-way player.

Luckily, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is wise enough to know what he has and is using Peppers perfectly on both sides of the ball.

The temptation, of course, with a player of this skill set is to over use him.  That’s not happening.

To be sure, there are social media haters out there just waiting to pounce on Harbaugh if Peppers gets injured. That’s just life in the spotlight in 2016.

Peppers has thrust himself into the Heisman conversation along with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Will the best player win? Not always. Just look back to last year. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey was the best player in the nation but because not enough Heisman voters saw him play enough, the award went to Alabama running back Derrick Henry. Such are the advantages of playing on a national stage week after week.

But getting back to Peppers and his teammates, the bigger issue is this: How good are these Wolverines?

In my mind, they are a top four team right now. In fact, the top four college football teams are cut and dry: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Michigan. End of discussion.

There are teams just outside that bubble looking in.

To be sure, the season is just starting to heat up. Mid-October is always the date where the contenders and the pretenders start to separate themselves.

SECOND BEST? Right now, the second best college football team in the state is Western Michigan. The Broncos are deservedly a Top 25 team in the Associated Press poll and continue to run over teams. They have beaten both Big Ten teams they played this season and are running roughshod over the Mid-American Conference. At some point this season, Michigan State will start winning again. But with the Spartans mired in a three-game losing streak, Western takes over as the second best team in the state.

LIONS SLAY EAGLES: Yes, the Detroit Lions beat the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, 24-23. Thanks to two clutch plays by defensive back Darius Slay, including the interception that sealed the victory, the Lions are now 2-3. But don’t be fooled. This is what the Lions do to us fans every season. They give us hope. Then they turn around break out hearts. It will happen again, you can count on it. So we savor these little wins. But we know better. We know what’s ahead.