As the semester begins to sing it’s swan song, so too does the college football season. College basketball regular season play is beginning to heat up at the same time as the Heisman race. The names that appear in this article could very well find themselves in New York City on December 9.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield has found himself amongst the favorites for this coveted award all season. Now, he appears to be the clear front-runner in the race. This past weekend, Mayfield and the Sooners dismantled the TCU defense to the tune of a staggering 533 total yards of offense. Mayfield accounted for 383 (333 passing, 50 rushing) yards himself, to compliment 3 passing touchdowns. He has dominated defenses all season, passing for 3,559 yards and 31 touchdowns, in addition to gaining 231 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Popular sports betting website Bovada displays Mayfield’s Heisman odds at a whopping -2000 (as of November 13, 2017), solidifying confidence that he is the favorite.
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Bryce Love appears to finally be healthy again, and showcased just how dominate he can be at full strength. Love overwhelmed the Washington defense for 166 yards and 3 touchdowns. For the first time since October 14, Love amassed 100 rushing yards (bye week and ankle injury to blame), yet his yearly total stands at 1,622 yards. In his nine games played this season, he has posted 100 yards or more on the ground in eight of those games. He has also scored a touchdown in all nine games. Stanford currently sits in first place in the Pac-12 North division, setting up a possible rematch with Pac-12 South champion USC. Clearly, the Stanford offense flows through him, and until that changes, it is almost a lock that we will see Bryce Love in New York come December. On top of it all, he currently holds a slim lead on Rashaad Penny for most rushing yards this season.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Just as the one-year wonder suspicions began to mount, Lamar Jackson reemerged in the Heisman conversation. After torching the Virginia defense for 342 (195 passing, 147 rushing) total yards, Jackson has become the first player in FBS history to record multiple 3,000 passing yard and 1,000 rushing yard seasons. This week, Jackson has a chance to add to his already historic numbers facing a sub-par Syracuse defense. As Bill Connelly of SB Nation argued this week, Jackson may actually be putting together a better season than last year when he captured the Heisman. The junior quarterback is currently on track to surpass his passing yard total from last season. Jackson is a welcome sight back into the Heisman conversation.
Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona
While his passing numbers will not impress anyone, Khalil Tate has (sort of) quietly been producing in the ground game this season. After his latest contest against Oregon State in which he posted 207 rushing yards, Tate has now gained more than 100 yards on the ground in six straight games. He has now rushed for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns, while adding 998 yards and 8 touchdowns through the air. While not as voluminous as Jackson’s numbers, Tate’s time as a starter has been limited so far. The sophomore quarterback was not a full-time starter until Arizona’s fifth game of the season.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Jonathan Taylor has been a mainstay in and around the Heisman rankings for most of the season, but has yet to put up the kind of numbers to vault himself into consideration for the top spot. Regardless, the freshman has enjoyed a successful campaign, keying the Wisconsin offense to an undefeated record. Facing a stout Iowa defense, Taylor rushed for 157 yards, even though he did not reach the endzone. All together, he has accounted for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Taylor will need two exceptional games to earn himself an invitation to New York, but keep an eye on him for future Heisman considerations.
Outside looking in: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State, Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State