What an interesting first week of Big 12 football.
Surprisingly, the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders were the only teams in Texas to pull out wins, both in convincing fashion. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State showed dominance, lead by fantastic performances from their starting quarterbacks. Iowa State claimed a new all-time receiving leader and a revenge win over Northern Iowa. Kansas won…? Texas and West Virginia lost to other Power 5 teams and Baylor lost to a not-so-formidable opponent.
Week 1 definitely had its highs and lows for the Big 12, but the race for Heisman has brought two quarterbacks to the top of the Bovada odds.
QB Baker Mayfield [Oklahoma] +700
Mayfield was impressive, to say the least, against UTEP on Saturday. He managed to throw for 329 yards and three touchdowns, while going 19/20 with a QBR of 97.9 before, head coach, Lincoln Riley pulled him for backup QB Kyler Murray.
We knew this game wasn’t going to boost Mayfield up the ladder no matter how well he did, but maybe it should have. The only two players that are above Mayfield in the Bovada odds are reigning Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson of Louisville and USC quarterback, Sam Darnold.
Jackson had a terrific game against Big 10 opponent, Purdue. The problem was that Louisville only managed to beat them by a touchdown. The Cardinals are going to have to put up a much better team fight against the rest of their schedule or Jackson won’t have any chance to repeat.
Darnold had a sloppy performance against G5 opponent Western Michigan. He threw no touchdowns and two picks in an unconvincing win. Mayfield should have no problem moving up, should Darnold continue his recent play and Jackson’s teammates continue to struggle.
Mayfield and the Sooners will be tested big time in next week’s game against Ohio State.
QB Mason Rudolph [Oklahoma State] +900
Rudolph had a phenomenal performance against in-state rival, Tulsa. He threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns, while going 20-24. Rudolph also ran in for another touchdown. The Rudolph-Washington connection was on point on Thursday. James Washington will be a huge plus for Rudolph’s Heisman chances down the road.
Rudolph is tied for 5th on the list behind the three quarterbacks listed above and Josh Rosen (UCLA). Sequon Barkley (Penn State) and Jalen Hurts (Alabama) are tied with the same odds. Should Oklahoma State keep rolling offensively, Rudolph will make his way up the list.
Rudolph should continue his dominance next week against South Alabama.
WR James Washington [Oklahoma State]
Washington was the most impressive Big 12 receiver of the weekend, totaling 145 yards and two touchdown grabs from 70 & 40 yards.
Behind the arm of Mason Rudolph, Washington is surely going to have more games like he did on Saturday against Tulsa. His explosiveness and athleticism will lead him into Heisman talks in the later weeks.
Next week, Washington and Rudolph take on South Alabama.
QB Will Grier [West Virginia]
After a slow start to Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech, Grier was solid in his first outing as a Mountaineer. He threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 52 more yards against an imposing Hokie defense. The loss does hurt his Heisman hopes, but similar play and a few wins in future weeks will bring his odds right back to the top of college football.
Grier and West Virginia play East Carolina next week, a game in which he can showcase his talent.
QB Nic Shimonek [Texas Tech]
Shimonek was quite the enforcer in the Red Raider’s 56-10 slaughter of Eastern Washington, though he was not the story of the game. The real story was Tech’s powerful defense in that game, but back to Shimonek. He threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 26-30 passes for an 87% completion rate. Shimonek and the entire Red Raider offense were slow to start, but were back to their offense dominance as the game rolled on. Texas Tech and Shimonek could surprise some people this season.
Texas Tech has a bye in week 2 and will have plenty of time to prepare for Arizona State in week 3.
QB Kenny Hill [TCU]
Poor Jackson State… The entire Horned Frogs team absolutely dismantled the Tigers on Saturday in their 63-0 route. Hill was quite impressive against the inferior opponent, as he threw for 208 yards and four touchdowns.
Hill made a few mistakes during this game and actually threw an interception. He can’t make those kinds of mistakes against future opponents.
Next week, Hill and the newly ranked Horned Frogs take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in their first real test of the 2017 season.
WR Allen Lazard [Iowa State]
Despite not catching a touchdown on Saturday, Lazard managed to rack up 108 receiving yards in the Cyclone’s convincing win over Northern Iowa. Oh, and he also became Iowa State’s all-time leader in receptions. If he already wasn’t considered a Cyclone legend, he will be now. Lazard has already established himself as a great receiver, he just needs his team to get the job done from here on out.
Iowa State takes on rival Iowa in the annual Cy-Hawk game on Saturday
QB Jesse Ertz [Kansas State]
A new edition to the Heisman Watch is redshirt senior quarterback Jesse Ertz. Kansas State ran the table against Central Arkansas with a 55-19 win over the Bears in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Ertz was dominant, as he threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns in the Wildcat win. Ertz could be trying to make a late push for Heisman with his play. We’ll keep an eye out for him as the Wildcats plays more daunting opponents throughout the season.
Ertz should have another good game against Conference USA’s Charlotte 49ers in week 2.
That just about wraps up the Heisman Watch after the first week of college football. There is a great possibility for a Big 12 player to win the Heisman award this year, we’ll just have to see how the rest of the season pans out.