Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writer (@ColemanBahr)
| Top Five Candidates
| 1. Lamar Jackson- Louisville Cardinals (QB)
Lamar Jackson had a worse game against Houston than he did against Wake Forest, which no one saw coming. His passer rating was below 100 for the first time all season, and his quarterback rating was an abysmal 20.4. He completed less than half of his passes and averaged only 1.3 yards per carry, both were season lows. Lamar Jackson is still ahead by a comfortable margin even with the recent slump. There’s no way he can lose this Heisman race as long as he doesn’t lay an egg vs Kentucky this weekend.
| 2. Baker Mayfield- Oklahoma Sooners (QB)
Oklahoma is just on a roll right now, and they look unstoppable. Baker Mayfield only had to throw 15 passes in a 56-28 thrashing of Baylor, and he found the end zone four times. Mayfield now has 39 touchdowns with just 8 interceptions, and he has had a QBR of 88 or higher in seven of his last eight games. Oklahoma has a rather unimpressive resume, but their only losses were against Ohio State and Houston (two wins against top 10 teams), so they certainly make a case for a playoff spot. Their next game isn’t until December 3rd against Oklahoma State, and that one will be fun to watch.
| 3. Deshaun Watson- Clemson Tigers (QB)
Deshaun Watson does just enough to keep me interested, but he doesn’t do enough to overtake the likes of Mayfield or Jackson. He posted another solid line of 202 yards passing and three total touchdowns in a thrashing of Wake Forest last weekend, and I’m expecting much of the same when they take on in-state rival South Carolina on Saturday.
| 4. Jabrill Peppers- Michigan Wolverines (LB)
Jabrill Peppers had another busy day, contributing in all three aspects of the game for the sixth game in a row. His main contribution was on defense, where he picked up two tackles for loss and five total tackles. As a team, Michigan has looked lackadaisical the past two weeks, but they should have no problem getting up for their rivalry this weekend. Michigan needs Peppers more than ever now with QB Wilton Speight dealing with an injury, and I expect Peppers to be very active again this weekend.
| 5. Jake Browning- Washington Huskies (QB)
Washington thrashed Arizona State 44-18, but Jake Browning still looked rattled from the USC game. He threw two interceptions for the second consecutive game, and he now has thrown more picks in his last two games than he did in his previous 10 games, dating back to last season. His 45.2 QBR was also his second lowest of the season, only beating out his performance from the USC game. Browning is in a great bounce-back spot, and should be motivated for this week’s game against Washington State.
| Honorable Mention
| Dede Westbrook- Oklahoma Sooners (WR)
Oklahoma lost a big part of their offense when Sterling Shepard declared for the draft, but Dede Westbrook has filled in his role seamlessly. After a slow start to the season, Westbrook has scored 15 times in the last eight games, while reaching the century mark in all but one game in that stretch. Westbrook and Mayfield have worked off each other to make for one of the nation’s best QB/WR tandems, and no team in the Big 12 has had an answer for them all season. With Browning’s recent struggles, Westbrook could overtake him for the fifth spot when all things are said and done.