College football is a wonderful game – my favorite, in fact. The matchups across the board this past weekend were undeniably delicious, and the performances didn’t disappoint. Stanford taking down USC hurt Kessler in my Heisman rankings, just like Alabama losing to Ole Miss hurt Derrick Henry. Neither player had a bad game. Early on in the season, everything is predicated on having an unblemished record.
As you’ll notice, this last weekend provided a big shakeup in my standings. And without further ado, I give you my Week 3 Heisman rankings:
1. RB LEONARD FOURNETTE (LSU)
Have yourself a game, Mr. Fournette! The sophomore obliterated the Auburn defense last weekend en route to 228 yards and three touchdowns. His scoring runs of 40, 29, and 1 yard were impressive.
The storyline before the game was Auburn players talking about how easy it would be to stop this guy. I wonder if they’ll be thinking the same thing when they look over the game film.
Not only did the performance vault Fournette to the top of the Heisman rankings, but it also qualifies LSU as a legitimate national title contender.
After facing two top 25 teams in the first two weeks, LSU will get a rest. The next five opponents should allow Fournette to pad his stats while he gets ready for the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M.
I don’t expect the 6-foot-1, 230-pound running back to fall out of the rankings anytime soon.
2. RB NICK CHUBB (GEORGIA)
My original Heisman favorite falls to No. 2 this week, and it’s not his fault at all. The sophomore RB put up solid numbers, like I expected against South Carolina. Unfortunately for him, his 159 yards and two touchdowns were overlooked due to the performance from Fournette. However, Chubb and the Bulldogs looked impressive as a whole last week.
I could very easily see them making it to the SEC Championship Game. Though Chubb and Fournette both play in the SEC, the only way the two Heisman frontrunners could meet is in the SEC Championship Game at the end of the regular season. That would be something – two Heisman contenders facing off in a title match.
Chubb has no reason to worry just yet, as there’s still plenty of season left and he will have opportunities to take center stage.
If he can turn in an impressive showing against Alabama on Oct. 3, and come away with the win, Chubb could very well be back on top of the Heisman rankings.
3. QB TREVONE BOYKIN (TCU)
TCU may have had an unexpected close call with SMU over the weekend, but the Horned Frogs came away victorious and Boykin had a mammoth game. He accumulated over 500 yards of total offense and scored six touchdowns, causing him to move up from No. 5 to No. 3.
Boykin also moves up in my list because Alabama running back Derrick Henry and USC quarterback Cody Kessler (both previously in my Heisman shortlist) each suffered big upsets over the weekend. Ole Miss derailed Alabama and the unranked Stanford Cardinal stunned USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
With the TCU defense depleted and teams with offensive firepower like Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor coming up on the schedule, we may see some colossal numbers from Boykin.
There’s no doubt in my mind that if the Horned Frogs are able to go undefeated and make the College Football Playoff, Boykin will win the Heisman Trophy. The problem for Boykin is that I don’t see that happening, but only time will tell.
4. QB BAKER MAYFIELD (OU)
Mayfield is one of three newcomers to this week’s list. After watching the OU-Tennessee game in week two, I didn’t think much of Mayfield, but that all changed last weekend.
Originally a transfer from Texas Tech, Mayfield now boasts a school record. Mayfield notched 572 yards of total offense and six touchdowns last weekend against Tulsa.
I am honestly shocked to be placing Mayfield in my rankings over running back Samaje Perine, Mayfield’s teammate. I was certain that if any OU player would be in the Heisman race, it’d be Perine, but college football produces the unexpected.
With this being Mayfield’s first season under center for the Sooners, I assumed we would see a heavy dose of running. This would surely give Perine great numbers and keep Mayfield out of tough situations, but that has not been the case. The season is young, but all signs point towards more opportunities for Mayfield to shine.
However, college football and Heisman rankings are a “what have you done for me lately” situation. And lately, the Texas Tech transfer has been on fire. We’ll see if he can keep that up in the Sooners next game versus West Virginia.
5. QB CHAD KELLY (Ole Miss)
My fifth spot was a tough decision this week. I wasn’t sure if I should keep Ezekiel Elliott or Derrick Henry in the top five. But after much deliberation, I decided to award Kelly with the No. 5 slot. 17 other teams were unable to derail Alabama at home before Kelly did last Saturday night.
The fact that Kelly was able to throw for 341 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against Alabama in its own stadium is remarkable. The Buffalo native has a stellar quarterback rating and has undoubtedly put up big numbers so far. At the moment, Ole Miss appears to be the favorite to win the SEC West, which would almost certainly send Kelly to the top of the Heisman standings.
The Rebels will face some easier competition before home games against Texas A&M and LSU. Kelly is in a similar situation as TCU’s Trevone Boykin. If Kelly can navigate his way through the SEC West and remain unscathed… he will have a good shot at the Heisman Trophy, and the national title, for that matter.