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  • Baker Mayfield's no-doubt Heisman case is complete after a big performance to lift Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship.
By Bruce Feldman
December 03, 2017

The Heisman race has become a rout. Baker Mayfield ran away from the field, piloting the most explosive offense in college football. The senior from Texas has had a few stumbles off the field but he’s been nearly flawless on it, helping ease Lincoln Riley’s transition after Bob Stoops retirement.

1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB: He had little trouble in the rematch with TCU and was named the game’s most outstanding player after tying a Big 12 Championship Game record with four TD passes, finishing 15 for 23 for 243 yards and no interceptions. Mayfield also ran for 65 more yards. The former walk-on is going to cruise to the Heisman. After Saturday’s game, Mayfield slid past FBS record-holder Sam Bradford, at least temporarily, in career pass efficiency rating.

2. Bryce Love, Stanford, RB: Despite being hobbled Love still eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in a close loss to USC Friday night in the Pac-12 title game. In 12 games (he missed Stanford’s Oregon State game) Love almost made it to 2,000 yards rushing, going for 1,973. He's fallen from the 10-yard plus per carry average but 8.32 is more than respectable.

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3. Rashaad Penny, San Diego State, RB-KR: I gotta have a guy at No. 3. Both Penny and Jackson rounded out my top five last week, if I had to give the edge, I’m going with Penny, who won both the Mountain West’s Offensive Player of the Year award and the MWC Special Teams Player of the Year honors. The nation’s rushing leader, Penny has 2,027 yards in 12 games. He’s averaging 225 all-purpose yards a game, more than 40 yards per game better than anyone else in FBS.

4. Lamar Jackson, Louisville, QB: His stats are spectacular. He’s accounted for 42 total TDs against just six INTs. If he’d been a little better against their toughest opponents, he’d probably giving Mayfield a bigger run.

5. Saquon Barkley, Penn State, RB: The best all-around running back in college football blocks, catches and runs. He was brilliant in the first half of the season. His work as a ball-carrier tailed off some later in the season. He had over 1,700 yards from scrimmage, and averaged 180 all-purpose yards per game, trailing only Penny.

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