A convincing win, a blowout of an upset, and strong play down the stretch summed up last Saturday and shook up the Heisman rankings. With only a couple weeks of college football left, here’s who is closing in on college football's premier award.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: Every challenging defense that Mayfield faces, he shreds. When you look back at his entire season, he has consistently beat tough defenses and put him team in a position to win. That being said, his lead in the Heisman race has been expanding since he became the favorite and it looks like it’s his to lose. Last week he carved up TCU, a defense that had been limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 49 percent completion rate. Mayfield completed 67 percent of his passes for 333 yards as the Sooner offense rolled over the Horned Frogs. Get started on your acceptance speech, Baker.
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford: Love decided to play this week on a weak ankle, but he still ran wild through the Washington defense. He finished the game with 166 yards and three touchdowns, once again showing his big play ability. On the season, he’s averaging an incredible 9.0 yards per carry, a slight dip from when he was averaging over 10 yards midseason. Love has shown he’s the best running back, but looking at his resume of this season, is it enough to beat Mayfield?
Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona: Khalil Tate has been the story of the second half of the season, exploding with eye-popping numbers every week. Over the last six games, he’s averaging 200 yards a game with each carry going for at least 11 yards. This is even more impressive: if you take away his sacks, which count against his rushing yards, he would be averaging more than 13 yards per carry. Love has been known to be a player to break off 50-yard runs, but Tate is known for his 70 yard runs. He has five carries of more than 70 yards and no player in FBS has had more than four in a season. Tate’s making his case, and it’s turning into a great one. The question is whether he has enough time remaining to win over the voters.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: Barkley has shown all the necessary skills to make him an all-around great running back, but suddenly the production is not there. In the past three games, Barkley has failed to top 2.5 yards per carry in two. Even last week in an easy matchup against Rutgers he only managed to compile 35 yards on the ground. For Barkley, he might’ve lost his chances at the Heisman with these anemic performances, not to mention Penn State's two losses.
Jonathon Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: Of the top 10 teams in the nation, Wisconsin is one of the three undefeateds. The Badgers are led by freshman running back Jonathon Taylor. Taylor has put together a productive season, with 1,500 yards rushing in his first college season while also leading his team to 10 straight wins in the tough Big Ten conference. Taylor’s best case at the Heisman will be based on his production in the final weeks along with Wisconsin's continued success on the scoreboard. Any dip in either category and he won't stand a chance at making it to the ceremony in New York.