Marcus Mariota is again on top, throwing 5 TDs against California. #2 Dak Prescott's team is still undefeated so he remains #2. Jameis Winston isn't a great threat to win this year but Florida State is undefeated, too, and while there are many Heisman candidates this year, few have pushed to the top.
That's three quarterbacks, and there are more in the running that have jumped into the fray, then faltered. Quarterbacks have won the award the last four years, 7 of the last 8 years, and 12 of the last 14. But right behind the trio of quarterbacks are three running backs jockeying for position. Each has drawbacks; will any of them be able to do more than make it New York, or be runner-up this year?
Week 9: Running backs ready for a big move?
- Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon (7-1) beat California 59-41
- Dak Prescott, QB Miss. State (7-0) beat Kentucky 45-31
- Jameis Winston, QB FSU (7-0) idle this week
- [up 2] Ameer Abdullah, RB Nebraska (7-1) beat Rutgers 42-24
- [up 1]Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin (5-2) beat Maryland 527
- [dn 2] Todd Gurley, RB Georgia (6-1) idle this week
- Amari Cooper, WR Alabama (7-1) beat Tennessee 34-20
- Bryce Petty, QB Baylor (6-1) idle this week
- [new] Trevone Boykin, QB TCU (6-1) beat Texas Tech 82-27
- [dn 1] Kevin White, WR West Virginia (6-2) beat Oklahoma State 34-10
- [dn 1] Kenny Hill, QB Texas A&M (5-3) idle this week
The first question is, who is the top running back among the Heisman candidates? It was Todd Gurley before his suspension...and after missing two games the NCAA says he's got to miss two more. That will destroy his candidacy unquestionably, but Georgia is appealing the ruling.
That leaves Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, whose team has two losses, and Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska, who has two sub-100 yard games. But Abdullah also has four 200+ yard games, including 225 against Rutgers, a game in which he had 341 all-purpose yards. It's his versatility that moves him ahead of Gordon, who had 122 yards and 3 TDs in the Badgers' more impressive blowout win.
What about a wide receiver winning the Heisman? That hasn't happened since 1991. But if Amari Cooper keeps having games like he did against Tennessee—9 catches, 224 yards, 2 TDs—he'll at the very least show up in New York. A week ago Kevin White of West Virginia was riding a string of 100+ yard games that made him look like the possible leader at receiver, but last weekend's 27 yards causes him to lose some momentum and fall to #10.
More quarterbacks: While #8 Bryce Petty was idle, Trevone Boykin of rival TCU was exploding for seven touchdowns in an 82-27 rout of Texas Tech. That will get you noticed—as long as your team is good. Connor Halliday of Washington State has thrown for 6 TDs twice this year but he's not in the running since his team is 2-6. Boykin's 21:3 ratio puts him on the map, though, at #9.
Dropping another spot to #11 is yesteryear's Heisman darling Kenny Hill of Texas A&M. A few weeks ago we were celebrating his "Kenny Trill" nickname; right now he's in danger of losing his starting job. How quickly they fall.