Pat yourselves on the back, everyone. We have officially made it to the one-quarter mark of the college football regular season.
For these first three weeks, the Heisman-hopefuls have stayed roughly the same from the start of the season with a few shuffles here and there.
This week, a couple hopefuls and their teams lost their first game of the season. One to a top-3 team and another to an unranked opponent.
Lets’s take a look at how these losses may have impacted their chance for a trip to New York:
1 – Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB
Mayfield finally unseats Jackson for the top spot on this list after another clean performance this week against Tulane. He took a step back in accuracy (completed 63% of his passes versus 80% last week) but still managed to throw for 331 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. Oklahoma has a date with a winless Baylor squad next week which means Mayfield may be in for another big day.
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) September 17, 2017
2 – Lamar Jackson, Louisville, QB This week, Jackson finally got his first real taste of competition of the season against the #3 ranked Clemson Tigers. In a matchup of two high-octane offenses, the Tigers’ defense was the unsung hero as they corralled Jackson as best they could. Jackson completed just 50% of his passes for “only” 317 yards and three touchdowns with a single interception. He also added 64 rushing yards on 17 carries. I get that his loss was to one of the best team’s in the country but, like Mayfield, this was Jackson’s chance to make a statement and plant his own flag for the Cardinals. Without a signature win for Jackson, Mayfield will hold the #1 spot going forward. Look for Jackson to rebound with an insane stat-line against Kent State next week.
Mason Rudolph, my darkhorse Heisman pick, threw for 423 & 5 TDs IN THE 1ST HALF at Pitt. Wonder if Gundy will let him go for 1,000 and 10? — Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 16, 2017
3 – Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, QB
If Rudolph can keep up performances like this, the Battle of Bedlam could be played twice (regular season and Big XII title game) and possibly be the deciding factor in who wins the Heisman trophy this year.
Rudolph was once again electric through the air against the Pitt Panthers. While only completing 23 of his 42 passes, he landed just a hair short of 500 yards passing with 497 to go along with five touchdowns and one interception. The cowboys had FOUR receivers reach the 100 yard receiving mark in this game which is just unheard of. But the question is, are the receivers making Rudolph look like a stud or is Rudolph a product of the talent around him? Time will tell.
4 – Josh Rosen, UCLA, QB
Another week and another shootout for Josh Rosen and the Bruins. This time, however, Rosen could not will his team to a victory. In a back-and-forth offensive volley between two talented quarterbacks, the Bruins fell short to the Memphis Tigers 48-45, even with 463 yards and 4 touchdowns from their quarterback. Rosen also threw two costly interceptions which, more than likely, led to the Bruins’ demise.
When it comes to Rosen, his numbers are consistently gaudy and will always draw the viewers eye but more well-watched fans will tell you he usually puts himself in negative situations in which he must throw himself out of. Once Rosen starts putting up big numbers while leading the game, then he will start receiving more consideration among these Heisman hopefuls.
5 – Saquon Barkley, Penn State, RB
In an absolute blowout win for the Nittany Lions, it is odd to see Barkley with a final rushing line of 10 for 47 yards and zero touchdowns. Luckily, he was able to balance out his performance after leading his team in receiving with 142 yards and a touchdown on 4 catches. His biggest play coming on an 85-yard strike from quarterback Trace McSorley. Barkley also added a nice kick return of 37 yards.
I was a big fan of Barkley’s heading into the season and really wanted him to be one of the great running backs to steal a Heisman trophy away from one of the big-time quarterbacks. After two straight weeks of being held under 100 yards rushing, I’d like to see him get back on track when he faces the Iowa Hawkeyes during primetime on Saturday night.
When is it socially acceptable to start the Jonathan Taylor heisman campaign? Asking for 500,000 friends.
— Barstool Wisco (@BarstoolBadgers) September 16, 2017
My Sleeper Pick: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin, RB
I don’t know where Wisconsin keeps finding these running backs but they have definitely found their next star. At 5’11” and 214 pounds, Taylor carries some size yet can turn on the jets at the drop of a dime. Through the first three games of the season, he has racked up over 438 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. There’s no doubt he is playing a big part in why the Badgers find themselves with a 3-0 start in 2017. I expect Taylor to continue his dominance in Big Ten play and maybe even give Saquon Barkley some doubt about who the top back in the conference is.