It’s still Baker Mayfield’s Heisman to lose as he’s being chased by a quartet of good running backs. Mayfield found a different way to create some fireworks against Kansas. It certainly won’t help his cause, but short of him fizzling against WVU or in the Big 12 title game, he’s going to cruise to NYC to scoop up the stiff-arm statue.
1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB: This weekend, the biggest headlines the Sooners star made were for the wrong reasons after he made an obscene gesture. Mayfield apologized for it after OU hammered Kansas.
I suspect a few Heisman voters may take him off their ballot for an unsportsmanlike act. It obviously wasn’t Mayfield’s finest moment but the fact remains that he is the most outstanding player in the country. No one plays with more emotion and sometimes that has gotten the best of him. Mayfield has shown remorse when he’s crossed the line and embarrassed his program before. All of that said, without him, Oklahoma might be a five-loss team. His play-making skills are that good. His 34–5 TD–INT ratio is sterling, as is his play in the clutch as he’s put this program on his back and carried them to the Big 12 title game.
2. Bryce Love, Stanford, RB: My No. 2 to No. 5 is very tight. Love was fantastic last week on a gimpy ankle against the top-ranked Washington D. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark against arch-rival Cal, going for 101. He’s now rushed for 1723 yards in 10 games this season.
3. Saquon Barkley, Penn State, RB: In what was likely his last game at Beaver Stadium, Barkley had a good bounce-back from a lackluster past month. He rushed for 158 yards and three TDs on 17 carries and added 66 more yards on six carries. The nation’s most complete back has put together a terrific season for one of the most entertaining offenses in the country.
4. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin, RB: The Badgers faced a really good defense against Michigan and the freshman still rumbled for 132 yards on almost seven yards a carry. It’s his eighth 100-yard rushing game of the season. He actually has a shot of leap-frogging Barkley and Love IF he can have a big game against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
5. Kerryon Johnson, Auburn, RB: A four-win ULM team isn’t going to boost a résumé too much at this point, but Johnson’s 137 rushing yards is solid and he has the most opportunity to close the distance on Mayfield with the upcoming Iron Bowl and a possible second game against Georgia. Last week his 167 yards on the ground and 66 receiving yards against UGA gave his Heisman hopes a serious jolt.