Week three of the 2017 college football season was quite a dud. Unfortunately, the most intriguing game of the weekend slate quickly became a blowout (ouch, Louisville). The most exciting game of the weekend? That belonged to USC and Texas, who faced off in a matchup that wasn’t supposed to be close. Between some more Sam Darnold struggles (we’ll get to him later), and a Longhorn defense that was flying around, the Trojans season was nearly derailed. Darnold and his squad survived, but did it come at the expense of his Heisman ranking? Let’s get into it.
5. Sam Darnold, QB, USC-
Week 3: 28/49 (57.1%), 397 YD’s, 3 TD’s, 2 INT’s
Season: 72/108 (66.7%), 1002 YD’s, 8 Total TD’s, 6 INT’s
My level of concern when it comes to Sam Darnold has risen for a third straight week. USC’s golden boy once again had to fight through a lackluster performance to help his Trojans squeak past Texas. It’s now been not one, not two, but three straight games with a pair of interceptions for Darnold. We know how poised he is and how calm he remains with the game on the line, and that’s a major plus without a doubt. But if he can’t start putting solid four quarter performances together, he’ll be making his way out of my top five.
4. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA-
Week 3: 34/56 (60.7%), 463 YD’s, 5 Total TD’s, 2 INT’s
Season: 91/140 (65.0%), 1283 YD’s, 14 Total TD’s, 2 INT’s,
If you’re a Pac-12 fan, you knew this was coming. Unfortunately for Josh Rosen, he plays for UCLA, which just isn’t a very good team. In an incredible offensive duel, the Bruins couldn’t fend off Memphis this past Saturday. For Rosen, the stats look gorgeous. But the copious amounts of yardage and TD’s won’t mean much if the Bruins don’t at least contend for the conference crown. That doesn’t look likely to happen in 2017. Rosen will instead focus on making his case for the NFL’s top 2018 draft pick.
3. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State-
Week 3: 23/32 (71.9%), 497 YD’s, 5 TD’s, 1 INT
Season: 68/94 (72.3%), 1135 YD’s, 13 Total TD’s, 1 INT
Every week, I get more and more excited for what’s going down on November 4th. In a game that’ll likely decide the regular season Big-12 champ, Oklahoma State will lace ’em up against in-state rival Oklahoma. For the Cowboys, they just might have the best offense in the country, and Mason Rudolph is the key ingredient. The ridiculous numbers that he put up against Pittsburgh on Saturday were essentially in one half. Add in the fact that NFL scouts have called Rudolph not much of an NFL prospect, and this 6’5″ gunslinger may have the motivation he needs to capture the trophy.
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State-
Week 3: 10 ATT’s, 47 YD’s, 4 REC’s, 142 YD’s, TD
Season: 38 ATT’s, 307 YD’s (8.1), 11 REC’s, 241 YD’s, 5 Total TD’s
Saquon Barkley got just enough usage against measly Georgia State to hold down the second spot in my rankings this week. He didn’t do much with his 10 carries, but exploded in the passing game, posting a season-high 142 receiving yards. It’s games like these that speak to the absurd versatility that Barkley brings to the table. NFL scouts are undoubtedly salivating over his 21.9 yards per catch so far in 2017. I can’t wait to see how James Franklin utilizes Barkley as Penn State heads into Big Ten play…
1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma-
Week 3: 17/27 (63.0%), 331 YD’s, 4 TD’s, 0 INT’s
Season: 63/82 (76.8%), 1046 YD’s, 10 TD’s, 0 INT’s
What’s not to love when it comes to Baker Mayfield? He and his Sooners were able to avoid any kind of letdown against Tulane, coming off of their statement victory over Ohio State last week. My favorite Mayfield stat in the early season has to be his zero interceptions. Of the four incredibly talented QB’s on this list, Mayfield is the only one that’s yet to complete a pass to the opposing defense. Few bring the passion and energy that Baker Mayfield brings to the game of football. The Sooners are in a solid spot in the polls amongst the elite college football teams, and Mayfield is firmly at the top of my Heisman rankings.
Photo Credit: CBS Sports