You’ll quickly notice that there hasn’t been much change in this list week over week. That said, big time performances are becoming more and more important for the candidates, as one Lamar Jackson continues to run away (literally) with the expected votes.
1. Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville
Lamar Jackson is coming off a 355-yard, three touchdown performance in Louisville’s supreme demolition of N.C. State. This was a typical Lamar Jackson day as he strengthened his Heisman case. He is expected to light up the scoreboard again against the 2-5 Virginia Cavaliers, who give up an average of 456 yards per game. Jackson may well be a complete mismatch for this defense.
Looking forward, Jackson must continue to show up in a big way for the rest of the season. After all, a second loss may eliminate Louisville from the College Football Playoff discussion which could have Heisman implications.
2. Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
Watson is coming off a 378-yard performance in a hard-fought 24-17 win two weeks ago against N.C. State. He faces one of the biggest tests of his season this Saturday as Clemson faces No. 12 Florida State. Expect Deshaun Watson to strengthen his case against a Florida State defense that is not nearly as good as it was last season. The Seminoles are 55th in the FBS in total defense.
Watson’s success will continue as long as he does not commit turnovers. He had a spotty performance earlier in the season, with three interceptions to go with five touchdowns in an instant classic against Louisville. Watson must keep the interceptions down for personal and team success. Count on Deshaun Watson to show up in a big way in primetime Saturday night.
3. Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State
Dalvin Cook got off to a slow start this season as he was held under 100 yards in his first three games. Since then, he has picked up his game and is now 9th in the FBS in rushing. This weekend, he should be able to run free against a Clemson team that has given up over 134 yards on the ground per game.
If he hopes to stay in the Heisman race, Cook must continue to find the end zone and cannot have another game under 100 yards.
4. Mitch Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
The certain Dark Horse in this year’s Heisman race, Mitch Trubisky has an unreal QB Rating of 160.8 through Week 8. The Tar Heels are off this weekend and don’t play again until Nov. 2nd against Georgia Tech. Trubisky should find success against a Yellow Jacket team that is 43rd in the FBS in passing yards allowed.
Trubisky faces a favorable schedule going forward. With the level of competition in his favor, he must maintain his consistency if he hopes to keep up with Jackson and Watson.
5. Brad Kaaya, Quarterback, Miami
In spite of Miami’s 4-3 record, Brad Kaaya is holding his own with a QB rating of 149.5. He has a favorable matchup against the reeling Fighting Irish on Saturday. Notre Dame is 56th in passing yards allowed this season and should give Kaaya the opportunity to really air it out.
With a subpar O-line and supporting cast, the onus is on Kaaya to be on top of his game. He must deliver to remain in the chase for an invite to New York in December.