HeismanWatch.com’s Week 6 Rankings
1) Saquon Barkley
The leader heading into the midway point of the season, the Heisman is Barkley’s to lose. However, he may lose the lead sooner than later. The next three opponents pose a great threat to Barkley and #3 Penn State’s impressive start.
- 10/21 vs #17 Michigan: The Wolverines ranked 6th in FBS in defending the run at 87 rushing YPG. They rank 5th in YPC at allowing only 2.62 and the two rushing TD’s allowed is T-2nd in the country Michigan. That’s great but Barkley gets the ball in other areas like say kick returning. Fun fact: Michigan is 5th in FBS in allowing the fewest kick return yards on average, 15.2. How ’bout Barkley as a receiver, he’s one of the best in the country catching the ball out of the backfield? This time, a neat fact: Michigan is 2nd in FBS allowing only 126 passing YPG.
- 10/28 @ #9 Ohio State: The Buckeyes allowed only 50 yards on 42 attempts against Maryland last week. The Buckeyes are only allowing 2.94 YPC and if we remove the Army game from the schedule, a team that will run the ball regardless of score (Army lost 38-7 by the way), OSU is only allowing 92.8 rushing YPG. Against Power-5 schools only, the Buckeyes are allowing 72 YPG on 1.96 YPC. In other words, the Buckeyes shut down the run. They also rank 17th in pass defense too. “Pretty, pretty, pretty good.” -Larry David
- 11/4 @ #21 Michigan State: Thought OSU was impressive against P-5 schools, the Spartans are better. MSU is allowing only 60.5 YPG on 1.89 YPC. For the season so far, they are ranked 12th in the country at 97.2 YPG. The Spartans are also 13th in pass defense so Barkley has to deal with that too.
Having Barkley shutdown in all facets of the game has not been seen in any of Penn State’s postgame box score all season. If he can make it through murderers’ row, the three games to end the season are against three teams towards the bottom half of the B1G Conference’s defensive rankings, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Maryland. Best of luck to the Heisman frontrunner…for today.
2) Baker Mayfield
Mayfield has been on the good side of the biggest win of the season, a road win @ #2 Ohio State the 2nd week of the season. Mayfield has also been on the bad side of the biggest upset in college football, a home loss to unranked Iowa State last Saturday. However, Mayfield was flawless in both games. He’s been flawless all season in fact.
- 214.06 QB Rating, 1st in FBS
- 327 Passing YPG, 9th in FBS
- 15 TD’s, T-8th in FBS
- 0 INT’s, obviously 1st in FBS
- 74.6%, 1st in FBS
- 12.2 YDS/A, 1st in FBS
Mayfield likely can’t afford another loss this season. There are a number of quarterbacks who’ve had a terrific season statistically so far and more that may finish stronger than they started. The difference will be if other quarterbacks have an unblemished win/loss record. This weekend in the Red River Shootout against Texas, Mayfield will have another fantastic opportunity to get on the good side of a big win and re-instill his claim as a Heisman favorite.
3) Bryce Love
Statistically, Love is having one of the best rushing seasons in history. At this rate, 206.7 rushing YPG, Love is on pace for 4th all-time in single season rushing passing Marcus Allen and Derrick Henry, former Heisman winners. Love’s 10.5 YPC is 3.5 more yards per carry more than the next closest running back with a minimum of 100 carries. Simply put: Love’s been unstoppable so far.
Saturday will be Love’s toughest challenge yet. Oregon has the 2nd best rush defense in the conference and 10th in FBS at 93.7 YPG on only 2.73 YPC (6th in FBS). If Oregon’s rush defense matches their season average, Love will be ineffective entirely. Unlike Barkley, Love is very one dimensional. Love has only 19 yards receiving total in 6 games and doesn’t return kicks. An unproductive game rushing will drop his numbers significantly and allow others to gain ground if not pass Love entirely because a lot of good Heisman-like players have better win/loss records than 4-2.
4) Luke Falk
With 2k yards passing, Falk ranks in the top-3 in almost every important passing statistic:
- 2,000 yards, 3rd in FBS
- 71.8% completion, T-3rd in FBS
- 188 completions, 1st in FBS
- 19 TD’s, 1st in FBS
Just keep winning. The formula for Falk is simple. Win games and stay Heisman relevant. I hate to use the term “system quarterback” because although almost every quarterback puts up great stats under Mike Leach, (over a 16 year career with Texas Tech and now Washington State, Mike Leach’s teams’ are averaging 390.3 passing YPG), Falk is doing it ever so efficiently while knocking off national-championship-contending teams (USC) and Heisman candidate quarterbacks (Darnold). Sort of like when Mike Leach’s TTU knocked off #1 Texas in 2008 and their Heisman runner-up QB Colt McCoy, led by Red Raiders QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree. Harrell finished 4th in the Heisman that year. Seems fitting we have Falk here at #4 as well. Crabtree finished #5 in Heisman voting for those at home wondering.
5) Rashaad Penny
Penny for your thoughts: The SDSU RB is the best running back outside of the P-5 and he’s leading his Aztecs team to an undefeated season. The senior RB is 2nd in FBS in yards behind Love, 993 rushing yards. Penny is 3rd in rushing YPG with 165.5.
Although Penny has been picking up yardage in chunks, 6.94 YPC, he may be worthless this Saturday as the Aztecs take on the conference’s best run defense in Boise State. The Broncos are only giving up 105.8 YPG on the ground, that is 5th among non-P-5 teams in the FBS.
The Aztecs will be favorites in every game the rest of the season so long as Penny stays healthy. If he’s able to continue this success, along with his team, I’d expect Penny to at the least receive an invite to NYC. That would be the first for a non-P-5 player to attend the ceremony since Jordan Lynch of North Illinois in 2013.
Kelly Bryant / Jalen Hurts
The three years prior to Lamar Jackson winning the Heisman in 2016, the Heisman was awarded to the best player on a national championship caliber team at the time of the ceremony. Before that we had Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III win without a shot at a national title. But prior to them, 7/8 Heisman winners were on similar championship caliber teams. It would be hard to imagine that the two clear best teams in college football won’t have a representative at the ceremony in NYC. They aren’t worthy of it now, but as other teams begin to come down to reality with a loss here or there, either or both of these two guys will likely surge up the Heisman rankings.
At this point, Rudolph has more yards and more TD’s than Baker Mayfield. On 11/4, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State host the Sooners of Oklahoma in what will likely be for the BIG-12 Championship and a great opportunity for either Heisman candidate to separate themselves from the other. Outside of that game, Rudolph should put up a gazillion yards against opposing pass defenses in that conference.