1. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
Last week (W, 44-10, vs. Colorado): 24-for-32, 323 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, 73 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
2014: 3,103 passing yards, 32 passing TDs, 2 INTs, 597 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs
Right now, there is no definite leader in the Heisman race, with Mariota and Melvin Gordon battling fiercely for the top spot. But when taking into consideration that Mariota has a greater overall impact than Gordon does and that the junior has his team in a playoff spot while facing tougher opponents, he deserves the edge. Mariota has been the Peyton Manning of college football this year. He’s been almost flawless, putting up some of the best numbers in the country and giving his team a chance to reach the national championship game.
2. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Last week (W, 26-24, vs. Iowa): 31 attempts, 200 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs, 64 receiving yards
2014: 254 rushing attempts, 2,109 rushing yards, 25 rushing TDs, 147 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
Another week, another 200-yard performance by Gordon. With one regular season game left, the junior has already rushed for at least 200 yards five times this fall. He’s the fastest player in FBS history, based on number of carries, to reach 2,000 yards in a season, and last week, it was his touchdown that made the difference in the Badgers’ 2-point win over Iowa. Gordon, in the minds of many, is the Heisman frontrunner based on his spectacular season. But, while he’ll probably finish behind Mariota, this has certainly been one of the best seasons in history for a college running back.
3. TCU QB Trevone Boykin
Last week: BYE
2014: 3,021 passing yards, 24 passing TDs, 5 INTs, 548 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs
TCU wasn’t supposed to win the nine games they have by now, but then again, not many saw Boykin doing what he’s done this season either. It’s been simple for the Dallas native. He has had a sheer will to win, and that’s what has gotten him here. Boykin has meant everything to TCU’s success, and he’s done it while putting up school records, similar to Mariota. So far this season, he’s been the second-best quarterback in the nation.
4. Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott
Last week (W, 51-0, vs. Vanderbilt): 16-for-21, 193 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 30 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
2014: 2,714 passing yards, 23 passing TDs, 10 INTs, 891 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs
Prescott’s Heisman chances took a blow two weeks ago, when he played poorly and his Bulldogs lost to Alabama, but last week against Vanderbilt, the junior was back to his winning ways. He led Mississippi State to its biggest margin of victory in the SEC since 1936 and did so by scoring four total touchdowns. By the time the season ends, Prescott could potentially total more than 3,000 passing and 1,000 rushing yards, making it a certainty that he will be in New York as a Heisman finalist in December.
5. Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Last week (W, 42-27, vs. Indiana): 25-for-35, 302 passing yards, 4 passing TDs, 2 INTs, 78 rushing yards
2014: 2,658 passing yards, 33 passing TDs, 10 INTs, 849 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs
Barrett has slowly inched himself into the Heisman conversation, and now, he’s got a good chance to reach the award ceremony as a finalist. Ohio State is ranked No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings — a feat that would have been highly unlikely had Barrett not carried the offense. He has 3,507 all-purpose yards and 42 total touchdowns, and most notably, he’s done it all as a freshman. At 6 feet 1 inch and 225 pounds, Barrett is not the most physically gifted quarterback, which makes everything he does that much more impressive.