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Big 12 Heisman Watch After Week 6

Iowa State didn’t just disrupt the Big 12’s playoff hopes, the conference’s Heisman favorites have also taken a step back.

Getty Images - Mike Stobe

Week six in the Big 12 had it all. Upsets. Down-to-the-wire games. Blowouts. It was just fantastic.

In the biggest surprise since Wendy’s cancelled their spicy chicken nuggets, the Iowa State Cyclones defeated the Oklahoma Sooners…in Norman…with a walk-on starting…woah. The Longhorns won in an overtime thriller at DKR against the Purple Wizard’s Wildcats. TCU pulled out a clutch win against the feisty Mountaineers and Texas Tech sent the Jayhawks back to first grade after a demolishing victory in Lawrence.

The overall look of the conference is looking fantastic with so many teams looking like contenders. Unfortunately, this may be bad for a player to get a true shot at the Heisman in the Big 12. The same two players are on the Bovada odds, but many players have to be on other people’s radar.

QB Baker Mayfield [Oklahoma] +325

This loss didn’t just hurt Oklahoma’s chances of getting in the CFB Playoff, but also his chances at getting the Heisman. Mayfield’s performance was not up to par with his previous games so far this season. Don’t get me wrong, Baker Mayfield was not the reason for the Sooners loss to the Cyclones. (cough…cough…defense…cough….cough…Mike Stoops) It’s pretty chilly in here I think this cold front is getting to me. Anyways, Baker still threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 57 yards and another score.

The loss itself creates problems for Mayfield’s Heisman chances, but you would be wrong to count him out for this Heisman race. Lamar Jackson won the award last year on a four-loss Louisville team. Sequon Barkley is still the clear favorite, but Penn State’s next three games could spice up this Heisman race. Penn State’s next three opponents are Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State, all of which are contenders for the Big 10. If Oklahoma can stay hungry and not drop any more games they should win, Mayfield will have a great chance at winning the trophy.

Oklahoma looks to redeem themselves against rival Texas in the Red River Shootout in week seven.

QB Mason Rudolph [Oklahoma State] +800

Mason Rudolph moved back a space to number four on the Bovada odds during the Cowboys’ bye week. Stanford running back Bryce Love has been making some real noise in the past couple weeks. Rudolph should be able to put his name back in people’s minds when Oklahoma State hosts winless Baylor fresh off the bye week.

Honorable Mentions

WR James Washington [Oklahoma State]

Washington was another victim of the bye week in week six. His performances in the first five weeks should put him in more spotlight than what he’s in. As I’ve said before, if a player on Oklahoma State wins the Heisman, Mason Rudolph will be that person. It just feels wrong to not put a receiver with this much talent and with this good of stats on the Heisman Watch. A new receiver has emerged on the LGG’s Heisman Watch as of this week though.

QB Will Grier, RB Justin Crawford, WR David Sills V [West Virginia]

West Virginia has three guys that has been extremely impressive for the Mountaineers so far this season. WVU has found a lot of success on offense and have really only struggled on the defensive end in their two losses. Grier, Crawford and Sills V have escalated the Mountaineers to a new level of offensive firepower.

Grier has been great all season and he continued that against TCU’s hard nose defense. He threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday. A thing that Grier needs to think about in next week’s game against Texas Tech is turnovers. Grier has had an interception in 4/5 games this season so far. Texas Tech is 4th in FBS in turnovers per game with 2.8. The Red Raider defense could prove to be a challenge for Grier and cause him some grief if he isn’t careful.

Justin Crawford outlasted Darius Anderson on the Heisman Watch after his strong performance against the Horned Frogs. Crawford didn’t score, but busted out 111 yards on 19 carries. The Texas Tech defense has caused turnovers this season, 14 in fact, and 7 of those have been off fumbles. Crawford has not been known to fumble the ball often, but he should be mindful going into this one. This is no regular Texas Tech defense.

David Sills V is a brand new edition to the Heisman Watch. It seems like every single week a new face is put in the spotlight for the Big 12, which is fantastic for the conference itself. Sills V has been a monster all season. Minus the one game against Delaware State, Sills V has not had less that seven catches, 94 yards and two touchdowns in a game this season. Those numbers are insane. He is the unspoken number one target on the Mountaineers receiving core. Against TCU he had seven receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Sills V was able to get around TCU’s secondary and use his speed to distance himself on his two scores. The one thing that is weak on the Red Raider defense is the defensive backs. They have struggled on big plays and allowed third and long opportunities to be converted pretty regularly this season. Just ask James Washington and Marcell Ateman. Sills V has a good chance of having a great game against Tech at home.

QB Nic Shimonek [Texas Tech]

Nic Shimonek really picked it up last week. His previous games have shown a lot of potential for the senior quarterback, but he’s been streaky this season. The real star of Texas Tech’s offense on Saturday against Kansas was the run game. Desmond Nisby’s four touchdowns took a lot away from Shimonek’s solid performance through the air. Shimonek through for 233 yards and two touchdowns on 19/24 completions. His two touchdowns were right-on-the-money bombs to his receivers. Shimonek deserves to remain on this list purely for the fact that the Red Raiders are 4-1, a record not a lot of people predicted at this point in the season. His leadership has provided Texas Tech with a new identity and the Red Raiders are no longer a team to look past.

Next week may not be a huge day for Shimonek as West Virginia’s run defense has really been an issue this year. Back in week four, the Mountaineers allowed Kansas running back, Khalil Herbert to rush for 291 yards and two touchdowns. That is an issue.

QB Kenny Hill [TCU]

Kenny Hill was the star of the show against a good West Virginia team in week six. His stats were all over the place as Hill did a little bit of everything against the Mountaineers. He threw for 188 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 28 yards and a score. OH and he also caught a pass from WR Kavontae Turpin for a 48 yard score on a beautifully designed trick play from Gary Patterson. Streaky Kenny Hill has started to turn into consistent Kenny Hill in 2017 after three straight solid performances against SMU, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Also TCU is the only undefeated team in the conference left. That is always a huge plus when considering the Heisman winner.

Next week, TCU takes on a struggling Kansas State team to start the season. The Wildcats should go into this game hungry as the week six loss to Texas probably put the Wildcats in a PO’d mood. Hill has to prove himself yet again in Manhattan.

LB/QB Joel Lanning [Iowa State]

This pick is more of a people’s choice player. I don’t believe Iowa State has any real chance at a Heisman winner this year, but Joel Lanning has been the most interesting player by far in the Big 12. A quarterback turned linebacker? That is an extreme rarity in the sport of football past the high school level. What is even wilder is how good he has been at the position this year. He has been far and above the Cyclones’ best defensive player and it only got weirder when Jacob Park did not join the team on their trip to Norman.

Iowa State was suddenly having to start a walk-on quarterback, who did extremely well in the game against the Sooners, and they looked to Lanning to provide some relief for Kyle Kempt throughout the entire game against the Sooners. On offense, he threw three times for 25 yards and rushed nine times for 35 yards. On defense, he had eight total tackles, including a sack, and a fumble recovery in the craziest stat line that college football has seen in a long time.

Next week, the Cyclones take on the Kansas Jayhawks in Ames and who even knows what Lanning is going to do on offense as Jacob Park is out again for the Cyclones. The Cyclones may have enough faith in Kyle Kempt and not give Lanning any offensive touches, or we could actually see a player in 2017 record a throwing/rushing touchdown while recording a sack on defense. The possibilities are endless for Joel Lanning.

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