Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield must be feeling a bit of déjà vu as he returns as a finalist once again for the Heisman Trophy, the most coveted trophy for individual play in college football.
Saturday night at the New York Athletic Club the winner of the prestigious award will be announced. Mayfield is the overwhelming favorite to win the 83rd edition of this award.
Earlier this week, the three finalists for the Heisman were announced. Along with Mayfield, the other two finalists are Louisville Cardinals quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, and Stanford Cardinal running back Bryce Love.
If you are a sports bettor and like underdogs, the bet to take is Jackson or Love. Mayfield is the -15000 favorite to win the Heisman, while Jackson is a distant second at +4000 and Love a distant third at +5000.
Mayfield and Jackson have returned as finalist for the second consecutive year and Jackson is attempting to be the second player to win two Heisman Trophies. The only player to win the Heisman on two occasions was former star running back with the Ohio State Buckeyes Archie Griffin.
However, Mayfield hopes a third time is the charm. In 2015, Mayfield finished fourth in the Heisman balloting but did not attend the final as on the top three are invited. Last season Mayfield finished third in the final balloting behind winner Jackson and second place finisher Deshaun Watson of Clemson.
Mayfield is only the seventh player in Heisman Trophy voting history to finish in the top five three times. If Mayfield wins he will be the sixth Oklahoma Sooners player to win the coveted award and the third quarterback for the Sooners to win the award since 2003.
Baker Mayfield by the Numbers
Mayfield has played stellar all season and has been the most efficient quarterback in college football. The Sooners signal caller has 4,340 yards passing, 41 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He completed an impressive 71% of his passes for the second consecutive season. It does not end there. Mayfield’s Quarterback Rating is an astronomical 203.8 and is the best QBR in college football history.
Add to that, the fact he can run the ball if he wants or has to, finishing the season with 301 yards on the ground and five touchdowns rushing, and you quickly can see how dangerous of a quarterback Mayfield has become for Oklahoma.
Is Jackson Being Punished Because Louisville is Mediocre?
If you look at just statistics, Louisville’s Jackson has numbers that are arguably as good as a season ago when he won the award. Last season he threw for 3,543 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while this season he has thrown for 3,489 yards, 25 touchdowns and five interceptions.
On the ground last season, Jackson accumulated 1,571 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns. In 2017, Jackson has 1,443 yards on the ground and 17 touchdowns.
Some feel that Jackson is getting the short end of the stick because Louisville is 8-4 this season and dropped out of the spotlight midway through the season leaving Jackson to go unnoticed amongst the many Heisman Trophy voters.
Jackson could still come through and win his second Heisman but the odds are stacked against him. He still has one year left to play and if he opts to stay and not jump to the NFL he will have another opportunity to lift the Heisman in 2018.
Injuries Hurt Love’s Chances to Win the Heisman
Bryce Love worked his way into the Heisman Trophy conversation after rushing for nearly 2,000 yards this season. He finished just short at 1,973 yards but was as consistent and explosive as any running back in college football this season.
Love ended the season with a lofty 8.3 yards per carry average and scored 17 touchdowns on the ground. His numbers would have been even loftier if he had not been nagged by injuries down the home stretch of the season. His injuries sidelined him for a full game and he was taken out of another during the second half.
However, he amazed fans with a 301-yard rushing effort in September against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
In all likelihood Love’s effort will come up short on Saturday night when the Heisman is awarded, but one thing is for certain, the Stanford running back was without a doubt college football’s best rusher in 2017.
As the Saturday night awards show approaches. Mayfield’s odds of winning the 83rd edition of the Heisman Trophy are growing and if Jackson or Love were to win, most would call the voting rigged, but don’t expect that. Expect the Sooners signal caller to be hoisting the Heisman in front of photographers as the clear cut victor.