After the clusterf**k that was the College Football Playoff Committee's inaugural season—where two deserving teams were going to be left out no matter what choice was made—the Heisman is in for an easy year and no controversy. Only one winner is selected and there is now a clear #1.
Last week it was a 2-man race with three strong candidates piled behind, but one by one the also-rans got separated from the headliner, and Marcus Mariota is the only reasonable choice.
Mariota added 5 touchdowns to his already crazy total, passing for 2 and rushing for 3 more. That makes his TD:int ratio 38:2, with another 14 TDs on the ground. Oregon is 12-1, ranked #2, and just avenged their only loss of the season. Case closed.
Melvin Gordon didn't have a good game against Ohio State and his team had a worse day. He finished with 76 yards on 26 carries, but that doesn't diminish his accomplishments this season. He ran for 2,336 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2014 with 3 more receiving TDs. He set the NCAA record for single-game yardage with 408, only to see it topped the next week; still, coming against Nebraska it was probably the best individual performance of the year.
Amari Cooper had a much better game in Alabama's rout of Missouri, catching 12 passes for 83 yards. He had 115 catches for 1,656 yards and 14 TDs this year and is our pick for the #3 spot, the last spot on the ballot that receives points.
We move Trevone Boykin up to #4 on the list, signifying that we hope he gets an invite to New York for the ceremony (invites are determined by votes, and normally 3-5 are invited). Boykin might have trouble getting votes with such a strong top three—and another solid candidate behind him that will get a lot of sympathy votes—but he deserves recognition for his season: 30 TDs vs. 7 interceptions, 642 yards rushing and 8 more TDs. It's not quite Marcus Mariota but it's impressive, and he even caught a touchdown pass vs. Iowa State.
- Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon
- Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin
- Amari Cooper, WR Alabama
- [up 1] Trevone Boykin, QB TCU
- JT Barrett, QB Ohio State
- Bryce Petty, QB Baylor
- Dak Prescott, QB Miss. State
- Jameis Winston, QB FSU
- Ameer Abdullah, RB Nebraska
- Kevin White, WR West Virginia
- Todd Gurley, RB Georgia
- Everett Golson, QB Notre Dame
- Kenny Hill, QB Texas A&M
So why Boykin instead of Ohio State's JT Barrett? Because while Barrett's numbers were also great (34 TDs, 10 int, 938 rushing yards, 11 TDs) it became very clear that he's replaceable. Whether the Buckeyes have Braxton Miller, Kenny Guiton, JT Barrett, or Cardale Jones, they're going to be a great team. The Buckeyes played easily their best offensive game against Wisconsin without Barrett, so while we sympathize with his late-season injury, the 59-0 rout revealed how little they really need him.
The same can be said to some extent about Bryce Petty. When he was out early in the season, Seth Russell was just as effective. Against Texas Tech, Russell wasn't nearly as good. Petty played well against Kansas State but his numbers are down a lot from last year, especially his yardage, from 4,200 (post-bowl) to 3,305. He didn't match last year's 32:3 ratio either, though 26:6 isn't bad.
The rest of the field dropped out some time over the last several weeks and only one of them played a game Saturday. Jameis Winston had another good comeback win against Georgia Tech, but his 24:17 ratio is not Heisman-esque in this era. He is 26-0 as a starter, however, and it will be interesting to see where he finishes in the voting.