Ranking college football MVPs

Which of these guys means most to their team and its place in the standings? Getty Images

When we first put together these rankings during the 2012 season, our aim was to identify the most valuable players in college football, differentiating it from the Heisman race a bit by not putting a huge emphasis on statistics and instead focusing on the importance of each player to his team's success -- thereby making it more likely that defensive players would be part of the discussion.

Our approach is the same this year, but after five weeks our list is loaded with quarterbacks.

That's just because of the way the season has gone so far, with offense dominating over defense and some of the best defensive teams lacking a true impact defender in the mold of how Jadeveon Clowney and Manti Te'o were last season. Florida DT Dominique Easley likely would have warranted inclusion on this list, but he was lost for the year with a knee injury last week.

We'll revisit this list later in the season, so there is plenty of time for some defensive players to emerge, but through five weeks, here is our ranking of the 10 most valuable players in college football.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon Ducks

He didn't have the best numbers in the Ducks' rain-soaked win over Cal on Saturday, which could hurt his standing in the Heisman race a bit, but given the throwing conditions, I'll give him a pass for that game. His stats are still very impressive, including a line of nine passing touchdowns (plus five rushing touchdowns) to zero interceptions. And if you watched the game, you know the Ducks shut it down offensively in the second half.