Many college football teams have reached the halfway point of their seasons (and many more will this week). While that’s a little sad, it also means we are one step closer to figuring out the playoff and Heisman pictures.
Speaking of the Heisman, we gave you our updated top five after last week, which you can read here. Here are the teams those favorites will face on Saturday:
5) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: 159 of 245 (64.9% completion), 2,135 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs
While many other Heisman polls have removed Rosen from the top five, we continue to harp on the fact that he still leads college football in passing yards and is No. 2 in passing touchdowns. When you consider how bad UCLA’s defense is, a fair argument could be made that Rosen should be higher on this list. If the Heisman is about determining college football’s “most valuable” player, I have to ask: Who has more value than Rosen? There aren’t many, if any, players in the sport.
That value will be on full display when the Bruins travel to Tucson Saturday off a bye. Arizona is a quietly improving team that is playing much better defense this year (they are allowing just 26 points per game, after giving up 38 last season). UCLA can win this game, but the Bruins will need another big-time performance from Rosen.
4) Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: 100 of 134 (74.6 percent), 1,635 yards, 15 TDs, 0 INTs
Speaking of value, Mayfield’s value becomes more and more apparent every week. As the Oklahoma defense continues to flounder around him (allowing an average of 36 points in two Big 12 games), Mayfield has been phenomenal, completing an absurd 74 percent of his passes with an even more absurd 15-0 TD-INT ratio. It’s fair to wonder what the Sooners would look like right now if they had an average quarterback (let alone a “bad” one) instead of Mayfield. It wouldn’t be pretty.
Mayfield will have to be at his best again when Oklahoma returns to the field on Saturday. The Sooners play a rapidly improving Texas team which is now 2-0 in Big 12 play.
3) Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State: 993 yards (6.9 yards per carry), 9 TDs; 16 catches, 127 yards, two TDs
Penny is college football’s man of mystery, the guy who puts up monster stats under the cloak of darkness, since most of his games kick off when most of America is either 1) asleep or 2) too intoxicated to appreciate how good he is. His 993 rushing yards are second nationally only to Bryce Love.
So yeah, this guy is good and I’ll tell you this: If there is ever a weekend to clear out time to watch Penny, it’s this Saturday. The Aztecs host Boise State in what will likely be the biggest game left on their regular season schedule. San Diego State won’t kick off until 10:30 Eastern on Saturday night, but believe us, he’ll be worth the wait to watch.
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
By now you know just how good Barkley has been, so there’s no need to overly hype him here. To put it as succinctly as we can, Barkley is a complete back who not only is a physical runner, but also returns kicks, catches balls out of the backfield, and blocks as well. He even threw a touchdown pass a few weeks ago.
Sadly for college football fans, we’ll have to wait another week to see more “Saquon magic” since Barkley and Penn State are off this weekend. The Nittany Lions’ next two games will define their season; they face Michigan and Ohio State back-to-back off the bye.
1) Bryce Love, RB, Stanford: 1,240 yards rushing (10.5 yards per carry), 9 TDs
I’d say “Love’s numbers look like they’re out of a video game at this point,” but even EA Sports couldn’t come up with a back as dominant as Love has been this year. While it’s unlikely, if Love can somehow continue with this pace, he would put up one of the single greatest rushing seasons in college football history! Hello!
So will Love be able to keep up with that pace? It won’t be easy, starting Saturday with a matchup against Oregon, which owns the Pac-12’s second-best rushing defense.