With three weeks of the college football season in the books, it’s now time to update our Heisman list.
Remember, this list is solely based on what a player has done so far, and how we would vote players if the season ended today. This ranking has nothing to do with preseason hype or what the Vegas odds may say.
Therefore, names like Sam Darnold or Lamar Jackson aren’t on this list because they struggled on Saturday. Here’s who you will see:
5) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: 91 of 140 (65 percent completion), 13 TDs, 2 INT, 1,283 yards passing
Yes, I’m fully aware that UCLA lost on Saturday, and that Rosen threw a pick that sealed Memphis’ shocking 48-45 victory — but it’s still hard to “blame” Rosen for the defeat. If anything, the Bruins were only in the game because of Rosen, who tossed for another 463 yards and four touchdowns in the loss.
Ultimately, Rosen still leads all of college football in yards passing (an incredible number considering he doesn’t play in a “system” like Texas Tech or Washington State). If Saturday was an “off day” for Rosen, just about anyone in college football would love to have one like that. The question now — with the way UCLA’s defense played — is: Will Rosen have to put up stats like that all season long just to keep the Bruins in games, let alone win them? And is that really sustainable for 13 weeks?
4) Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State: 43 of 70 (61.4 percent completion), 7 passing TDs, 1 INT; 240 yards rushing, 5 rushing touchdowns
I’ll be honest: It’s been a long time since I’ve been as genuinely shocked by a college football result as I was by Mississippi State’s 37-7 victory over LSU, a win that was spearheaded by another brilliant performance by Fitzgerald. The junior did what he does, tossing for 180 yards and two touchdowns, with 88 yards rushing and two more scores.
As it turns out, Fitzgerald was a Heisman dark horse in the preseason for a reason. Now we’ll see if he can keep it up. The Bulldogs have a tough test next Saturday when they travel to Athens to face Georgia.
3) Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: 38 carries, 307 yards rushing, 3 rushing TDs; 11 receptions, 241 yards, 2 receiving TDs
Barkley showed again on Saturday why he’s the most complete back in college football, not only rushing for 47 yards, but also finishing with 142 receiving yards and a score against Georgia State.
Barkley just keeps up putting up stats and we’ll see if that continues next week, when the Nittany Lions open Big Ten play at Iowa.
2) Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: 68 of 94 (72.3 percent completion), 11 TDs, 1 INT, 1,135 yards passing
As good as Rudolph was through the early part of the season, he was great Saturday, tossing for 497 yards and five touchdowns to emphatically put himself in the Heisman mix.
It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys (who are currently third in total offense) can keep things rolling next Saturday, when they open Big 12 play against TCU.
1) Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: 63 of 82 (76.8 percent completion), 10 TDs, 0 INT, 1,076 yards passing
Could both quarterbacks from Oklahoma make their way to New York? It seems likely after Mayfield had a “quiet” 331-yard, four-touchdown performance Saturday against Tulane. Like Rosen and Rudolph, Mayfield is in the top 10 nationally in both passing yards and touchdown throws, while also ranking fifth in the country in completion rate at a near 77-percent clip.
It won’t be easy for Mayfield to keep up those numbers, but for now he’s the Heisman favorite — and frankly, it might not even be close.
- Clemson and Bryant don’t horse around with Louisville
- Shades of Troy Aikman for Josh Rosen in Memphis loss