It is absolutely mind blowing to me that Sam Darnold is still a popular pick for the Heisman according to Vegas. Darnold has been a popular pick since to win the 2017 Heisman Trophy ever since December, 2016. It made a ton of sense all offseason -nine straight wins (hottest team in football to finish the season last year), plays on a traditional powerhouse with Heisman history, and plays football with what looks like an unshakable, don’t-care attitude.
That carelessness has led to eight INT’s (tied for 2nd most in FBS) through five games and his most recent turnover, cost USC a chance at a tie or win against Washington State. The Heisman is an award given to the most outstanding player in college football for that year and that year only. So far, 14 QB’s have more passing yards, 36 QB’s complete passes at a higher percentage, 21 QB’s have more touchdowns, and 55 QB’s have a better rating than Darnold. The Trojans are not even leading the PAC-12 South Division. I personally haven’t had Darnold in the ‘HeismanWatch.com’s’ Top-5 since before the season even started, yet Vegas still thinks he is worthy of betting on. I just don’t get it.
Moving on to the rankings, we have to give a whole lotta love to the RB out of Stanford. If the team standings were flip-flopped, Stanford’s Bryce Love would be the Heisman favorite over Saquon Barkley. Before I give away too much, I present you with the:
HeismanWatch.com’s Week 5 Rankings
1) Saquon Barkley
Let’s kick off the discussion….
Not Barkley’s best running game, credit to Indiana for at least slowing that part of his game down, 20 carries for 56 yards. Barkley was once again effective in the receiving game catching four passes for 51 yards. That 98-yard kickoff only cements to argument that Barkley is the best all-around running back in college football. He’s averaging 243.6 all-purpose yards per game, 1st in FBS. And oh-by-way, Barkley can play quarterback now too.
2) Baker Mayfield
Oklahoma was off last week, so that’s no reason to move someone on a list. Mayfield’s per game averages are still off the charts: 332 passing yards per game, 3.25 TD’s per game, no INT’s, 13.2 Yards/ATT, and he’s completing 75.2% of his passes. Mayfield himself has to take a step back because nobody in the country is going to leap-frog that productivity combined with efficiency.
3) Bryce Love
At the rate he’s going, Stanford’s Bryce Love is on pace to end the regular season with 2,604 rushing yards. Barry Sanders holds the all-time single season rushing record with 2,628. So it’s safe to say that through five games, Love is having one helluva season. Love is averaging 11.1 yards per carry and has eight scores to complement all those yards. Stanford is not currently ranked in the top-25, however Stanford’s only two losses have come against (currently ranked) #14 USC and #19 San Diego State. A Pac-12 Championship is still not out of the question so if Love continues his success and Stanford can pull off a few upsets, (@ #20 Utah, Oregon, @ #11 WSU, #6 Washington, and #21 Notre Dame remain on the schedule), Love could finally become Stanford’s first Heisman winner after so many runner-ups (Toby Gearhart -2009, Andrew Luck -2010, Christian McCaffrey -2015).
4) Lamar Jackson
Just another day at the office for Jackson as Louisville crushes outmatched Murray St. 55-10. Jackson, who didn’t finish the 2nd half with the game out of reach, threw for 249 yards and three scores, ran for 100 yards on just seven carries and another score. For the year, Jackson is 2nd in the FBS in total offense per game (414.6 YPG) and 18 total TD’s. This year’s version of Lamar Jackson has taken a step back statistically, however his step back is still two steps ahead of almost everybody else.
5) Luke Falk
If Baker Mayfield is the most efficient quarterback in college football, Luke Falk is right behind. Falk is completing 74.5% of his passes, averaging 343 passing YPG, and has 16 TD’s to just two INT’s. Oh by the way, he just beat USC and completely outplayed Heisman “favorite” Sam Darnold. Don’t look now but the Cougars are 5-0 and in great position to win the Pac-12. Falk has always put up sensational numbers at the quarterback position, but who hasn’t under Mike Leach? This time around he’s winning football games to back up his play and Luke Falk is officially on the HeismanWatch list.
HeismanWatch.com’s Honorable Mentions
The only player with more total TD’s than Lamar Jackson is Oklahoma State’s QB Mason Rudolph (21 total TD’s). Rudolph is 3rd in the FBS in passing YPG (381.8), 2nd in YDS/ATT (11.0), 2nd in passing TD’s (16), and his Cowboys are still positioned to win the BIG-12 Conference. That last part is the most important for Rudolph and his Heisman chances. Being a QB in the BIG-12, passing stats flow like tap water, but winning the conference is the only thing that can separate Rudolph from the likes of Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson.
Are the U back? Currently 3-0 and ranked #13 in the country with a big matchup @ FSU this weekend, the ‘Canes owe a lot of credit to their star RB Mark Walton. Through only three games, two postponements, Walton is averaging 134 rushing YPG. He has only reached the endzone three times, but Miami has only played those three games. If the U are back, which we’ll know better on Saturday, then Walton is worthy of a look in Heisman discussion.