Heisman candidate rankings heading into the postseason

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As of Dec. 3, the college football regular season is officially finished, which means teams will now get the chance to compete for conference championships and bowl games. With the college football playoff quickly approaching, the Heisman watch is rapidly changing due to upsets and poor individual performances. With only a few games left to solidify their positions in the trophy race, these are the athletes I believe have the best chance to take home the Heisman award. 

 

 

1. Joe Burrow – LSU

 

Joe Burrow recently showed once again that this is his Heisman race to lose. In a rout of Ole Miss on Nov. 16, Burrow tossed a career-high 489 yards and five touchdowns, beating the Rebels, 58-37. Burrow currently leads the NCAA in pass completion percentage, while also holding the second place spot in passing touchdowns and passing yards. LSU currently sits atop the Associated Press Top 25 poll with an undefeated record, thanks to Burrow’s leadership. The Tigers have beaten three Top 25 teams so far by an average of seven points, including a then-third-ranked University of Alabama team that flaunted the number-one defense in the country. If Burrow and the Tigers can pick up a win over the fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game on Dec. 7, it will be hard for the Heisman committee not to give Burrow the Heisman. 

 

 

2. Jalen Hurts – Oklahoma

 

 

The senior transfer has been playing with a chip on his shoulder ever since losing his starting job to then-freshman Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama during halftime of the 2018 national championship game. So far in 2019, Hurts has led the Sooners to a 11-1 record, with their lone loss at Kansas State, despite three rushing touchdowns from Hurts in that contest. Hurts has had the best season of his career, with high numbers in passing yards, rushing and passing touchdowns, and passer rating, all at an absurdly efficient rate. Hurts solidified his position in the Heisman race with a comeback win against the Baylor Bears on Nov. 16, in which Oklahoma was down 28-3 midway through the second quarter. Hurts and the Sooners will take on eighth-ranked Baylor on Dec. 7 for the Big 12 championship. 

 

 

3. Justin Fields – Ohio State

 

 

The former top-ranked dual quarterback of his class, the sophomore transfer from Georgia has been putting up video game-like numbers all year. Only one of two teams with unbeaten records left in the AP Top 25 rankings, the Buckeyes have scored less than 40 points in only three of their 11 games. Fields would have a higher ranking on this list, however, the Buckeyes have immense amounts of talent at every other position (including defensive player of the year candidate Chris Young). Ohio State has the number one defense in the country in every single category, meaning Fields is not the sole reason Ohio State has had so much success. With a completely lopsided 56-27 victory over the 17th-ranked University of Michigan last weekend, the Buckeyes now look to their Big Ten championship matchup against the 10th-ranked Badgers of Wisconsin, whom they’ve already beaten earlier in the year. If Fields can put up another stellar performance, don’t be surprised if he jumps to number two in the Heisman race. 

 

4. Chuba Hubbard – Oklahoma State

 

The NCAA’s current leader in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and all-purpose yards, Chuba Hubbard has shown his talent this year. With 104 rushing yards in a loss to the University of Oklahoma, Hubbard passed Terry Miller to move into second place all-time on the single-season rushing leader board at Oklahoma State, sitting only behind one of the greatest football players of all time, Barry Sanders. With Alabama quarterback Tagovailoa out for the season with a hip injury, the race for third and fourth place in the Heisman voting has been split wide open, which could be very helpful for Hubbard. As one of the best running back prospects in a few years, according to ESPN, it will be interesting to see if Oklahoma State will qualify for a postseason bowl game or not, which could help Hubbard bolster his Heisman resume. 

 

 

5. Chase Young – Ohio State

 

 

It’s truly a shame that we’ll never know how close Ohio State defensive end Chase Young could’ve gotten to the NCAA single-season sack record, thanks to a two-game suspension that kept him out of games against Rutgers and Maryland. One of the best defensive linemen this decade, Young is a force of nature, leading the NCAA in almost every single defensive category. In his first game back, against Penn State, Young broke Ohio State’s single-season sack record, which was previously held by Vernon Gholston in 2007. Young currently sits at 16.5 total sacks, which means he will need three-and-a-half sacks in his final regular season game to tie the NCAA record. Don’t be surprised if Young is the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, even in a draft class loaded with defensive talent. Although unlikely, as the award committee favors quarterbacks heavily, Young could be a serious candidate for the Heisman if he plays well in the upcoming postseason games (the Big Ten championship versus Wisconsin and then possible playoff games. The Heisman is announced after the playoff is finished), which would make him only the second defensive player to ever win the Heisman (Charles Woodson won as a defensive back for Michigan in 1997).

 

Honorable mentions: J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State), Anthony Gordon (Washington State), Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)