With six weeks in the books, here’s what our Heisman Trophy list looks like:
5) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: 159 of 245 (64.9 completion percentage), 2,135 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs
We continue to keep Rosen on this list (when many don’t) mainly as a reminder that a truly great quarterback shouldn’t be punished if the team around him hasn’t been all that good. And that’s definitely the case at UCLA where Rosen has been brilliant even as the Bruins defense struggles. Keep in mind that even after a bye this week, he still leads college football with 2,135 yards passing. His 17 passing touchdowns are second in the nation.
Rosen and UCLA return to the field next Saturday, when they face a suddenly surging Arizona team in Tucson.
4) Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: 100 of 134 (74.6 percent), 1,635 yards, 15 TDs, 0 INTs
Yes, I’m fully aware that Oklahoma lost on Saturday — just don’t blame Mayfield, who threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions. While the defense has crumbled in Norman, the fifth-year senior has remained downright incredible, with a 75 percent completion percentage and 15-0 touchdown to interception ratio.
Mayfield will have the chance to impress pollsters next Saturday, when he and Oklahoma face rival Texas.
3) Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State: 993 yards (6.9 yards per carry), 9 TDs; 16 catches, 127 yards, two TDs
It speaks to how good the top of this list is when a running back on pace for nearly 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns is only third on our Heisman ballot halfway through the season. Penny had another brilliant performance Saturday night when he rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns against UNLV.
Penny will probably face the toughest remaining test next week when the Aztecs host Boise State. But if San Diego State can survive and Penny can play well, there’s good reason to think that he’ll earn a trip to New York by the end of the season.
2) Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: 649 yards rushing (6.4 yards per carry), 6 TDs; 29 catches, 395 yards, two TDs; one passing touchdown
Barkley has been so good that a day where he rushes for 75 yards in a Big Ten road game is considered a “disappointment.” We kept in him the No. 2 slot despite his somewhat quiet showing Saturday. Remember, this is a season-long award, and only one guy (at least in my mind) has been better from start to finish in 2017.
Barkley – and Penn State – now head into their bye week before a two-week stretch that will define their season. Following the week off they face Michigan and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks. Yikes.
1) Bryce Love, RB, Stanford: 1,240 yards rushing (10.5 yards per carry), 9 TDs
Love continued his tear through opposing defenses on Saturday, rushing for 152 yards and a touchdown in Stanford’s victory over Utah. What was even more impressive was that Love’s individual rushing total was nearly twice as much as Utah had allowed on average (87 yards per game) entering the evening.
So yeah, Love is good, and there’s no reason to think he’s slowing. He has opened the season with six consecutive games with at least 150 yards rushing. We’ll see if the junior can continue to pile up those numbers next week against Oregon, which is No. 2 in the Pac-12 in rushing defense.