Lamar Jackson holds the top spot after a loss that showed it’s possible to slow him down only slightly.
The candidacies of Deshaun Watson and JT Barrett both showed a little bit more life to them, with the rest of the field looking well behind the top tier. A lot can change, but it may be tough for anyone to jump in the mix with the leaders.
Others to Watch: QB Mitch Trubinsky (UNC), RB Dalvin Cook (FSU), QB Kenny Hill (TCU), RB Curtis Samuel (Ohio State), RB Mike Weber (Ohio State), QB Brad Kaaya (Miami), RB Leonard Fournette (LSU), QB Tommy Armstrong JR (Nebraska), RB Jeremy McNichols (Boise State).
10. QB Josh Dobbs (Tennessee)—There’s a resurgence happening in Knoxville, and Dobbs is at the heart of it. He has thrown six picks over five games, and that hurts him. However, wins over A&M and Alabama could get him conversation as the top SEC candidate.
9. QB Jalen Hurts (Alabama)—The QB for the Tide has not thrown an interception since game one. I do not think he is a serious contender, but, if the Tide roll and others falter he may find himself in the conversation if it becomes a “best player on the best team” contest.
8. QB Seth Russell (Baylor)—A poor performance by the signal caller and his team still has both surviving in the Heisman and playoff hunt. Russell will need some big numbers to remain a part of the dark horse conversation.
7. QB Trevor Knight (TAMU)—It was not Knight’s best game, but he played a critical role in the win over South Carolina. Upcoming contests against Tennessee and Alabama could vault him up the list a bit.
6. RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)—The Huskies figured out the formula to shut down the elite stat-accumulating machine. Sadly, McCaffrey’s geography, lack of big remaining games, and strength of competition make it unlikely he becomes a real factor in this race.
5. QB Jake Browning (Washington)—There is quite a drop off between #4 and #5, but Browning is in a spot to make a run after his team routed Stanford.
4. QB Greg Ward (Houston)—In most years, Ward’s case would look better, but his spot outside of the Power 5 in a year of elite dual-threat quarterbacks makes him more forgettable.
2b. QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson)—Three interceptions take the luster off an otherwise strong performance by Watson. I think Barrett is in a slightly better position as the alternative to Jackson, but both quarterbacks are in a much better position this week.
2a. QB JT Barrett (Ohio State)—Now the all-time Ohio State leader in passing TDs, Barrett has not put up massive numbers this season, but he will have opportunities to shine.
1. QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville)—Jackson lost the game, but he did not lose his lead in the Heisman race. While this is now a closer contest, the numbers Jackson is putting up will make him tough to beat. His Cardinals still could land a playoff spot, but, if they falter, that could open up an opportunity for Watson or Barrett.