Last week, there were two frontrunners, and, now, we are down to one. Baker Mayfield has emerged as the top contender, but a trio of QBs that weren’t getting much love to start the season still have plenty of time to gain ground. Mason Rudolph and Nick Fitzgerald will both have a real opportunity to close the gap this week.
Others considered: QB Jalen Hurts (Alabama), QB Luke Falk (Washington State), RB J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State), QB Trace McSorley (Penn State), QB J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), RB Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin), RB Ty Isaac (Michigan), QB Josh Jackson (Virginia Tech), RB Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), RB Josh Adams (Notre Dame).
10. QB Josh Rosen [Last Week: #7] (UCLA)—Losing to Memphis really hurts his resume, but Rosen’s massive numbers keep the Bruin in the discussion.
9. QB Lamar Jackson [Last Week: #1] (Louisville)—Don’t count out Lamar Jackson. He’ll continue to be college football’s most dynamic athlete, but his team’s schedule won’t help him. A win against Clemson could’ve made him hard to catch, but he’s got a really tough climb now without much opportunity to showcase.
8. QB Sam Darnold [Last Week #4] (USC)—Through three games, Darnold threw six interceptions and competed in two contests much closer than they should have been. Still, he plays for USC, leads an undefeated and contending team, and can really sling it. That keeps him in the conversation.
7. RB Royce Freeman [Last Week: #8] (Oregon)—The third leading rusher in the country, Freeman plays as the driving force behind the resurgent Ducks.
6. RB Saquon Barkley [Last Week: #6] (Penn State)—The star tailback did his work through the air this week, amassing 142 receiving yards on just four receptions in a blowout win. In the nation’s toughest conference, he has plenty of room to rise.
5. QB Jake Browning [Last Week: #5] (Washington)—He isn’t lighting scoreboards on fire, but he is a highly efficient quarterback who has his team playing good football. That will at least keep him on the perimeter of the top contenders.
4. QB Mason Rudolph [Last Week: NR] (Oklahoma State)—Rudolph probably should have been on this list before now, but his monster game against Pitt has him firmly in the mix.
3. QB Nick Fitzgerald [Last Week NR] (Mississippi State)— After a huge win for his program, Fitzgerald makes a big jump onto this list. A rough outing against Georgia could bump him back down.
2. QB Kelly Bryant [Last Week #3] (Clemson)—After another big win, Bryant jumps to #2. The junior’s candidacy is really taking off, but he has just had his two most high-profile games on the schedule.
1. QB Baker Mayfield [Last Week #2] (Oklahoma)— Mayfield has been insanely close to flawless, and he becomes the first man not named Lamar Jackson to hold this spot in almost a year. He is the clear frontrunner right now.