Heisman Watch calls out the weekend’s polarizing performances and how they impact the Heisman Trophy race.
The Heisman race got a lot more interesting this week after Louisville got throttled by Houston, but did anyone leap up and take advantage? The short answer: No.
Heisman Watch Podcast:
Top Heisman-like Performances:
- Dede Westbrook has 11 touchdowns of at least 40 yards this season, the most in a season by any player since 2004. Who knows if OU would’ve lost twice in September if the speedy wideout were healthy in September. But here’s the dilemma; does Westbrook get Heisman consideration before Mayfield? Yes, no, yes, no… split vote.
- Donnel Pumphrey under-preformed in a thrilling game against Wyoming. While the sub-par performance ended any invite San Diego St. possibly had at playing in the New Years Six bowls, it won’t hurt Pumphrey’s chances of receiving an invite to NYC. Why? Pumphrey’s Heisman campaign is more about his body of work. For example, just this game, Pumphrey passes Tony Dorsett for third place on the all-time FBS rushing list.
- Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers are Atlantic Division Champions in the ACC. Yesterday’s win earned a spot in the ACC title game while justifying their top-four spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. Staying relevant and highly visible through the first part of December will likely help Watson secure a healthy amount of votes.
- Alabama cruises past Chattanooga behind 3 TD from Jalen Hurts. While the win itself won’t boost Hurt’s chances of winning the Heisman in the short-term, it never hurts to pad those season stats. For example, Hurts becomes the first Alabama QB to rush for more than 800 yrds in a single-season.
- D’Onta Foreman continues to impress despite playing for a losing team. The workhorse big back ran for a school-record 51 times for 250 yards, but did fumble twice in the overtime loss at Kansas. He’s now gone over 100 yards 12 consecutive times, breaking Earl Campbell’s UT record.
- The Heisman front-runner, Lamar Jackson, had his worst game of the season on Thursday: 20/43, 211 yrds, 25 carries, 33 yrds, 1 TD, and one fumble lost. To be fair to Louisville, losing to Houston was not an epic upset for the ages. Louisville had been squeaking by virtually all November. The timing of this game couldn’t have been worse. That was essentially the last opportunity for Jackson to perform in a meaningful game before 2016 Heisman Trophy votes are submitted [in critical mass]. Jackson’s sheer popularity will ultimately prove to win the day. Go compare “Lamar Jackson” to any other Heisman candidate on Google Trends. It’s not even close. Without a clear cut second place candidate, no one stands to be the direct beneficiary for any up-for-grab votes. The concentration of votes, after Lamar Jackson, will be dispersed rather dramatically.
- Jake Browning overcame a sluggish start to throw for 338 yrds against Arizona State. The Huskies can now prepare for what will likely be the Apple Cup’s most meaningful game in history. (It’s clear without dilution, according to Google Trends, the loss to USC severally damaged Browning’s Heisman hype.)
- Excitement continues to surrounds Jarbill Peppers. And why shouldn’t it? His team is relevant, he’s uniquely versatile, and performs. Or does he? Jarbill Peppers’ stats from the last 5 weeks: 3 Rec yrds, 65 Rush yrds, 1 Sack, 24 Tackles, 5 TFL, 56 Punt Ret yrds.
- JT Barrett graded out with a 55.9 passing grade against Michigan State. In other words, Barrett really struggled with ball placement. While he wasn’t graceful through the air, he was able to make some big-time plays and more importantly, was able to preserve the much anticipated match-up against the Wolverines.