Baker Mayfield enters tonight’s Heisman ceremony as a heavy favorite to win the award. Mayfield will be joined in New York City by Stanford running back Bryce Love and last year’s winner, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
According to OddsShark, Vegas has Mayfield in the lead at -15000. Love is next in line at +5000, while Jackson is third with +4000 odds. There are a lot of things working in Mayfield’s favor, including being a quarterback for a team in the College Football Playoff. Quarterbacks have won the award in six of the last seven years. Along with the winning pedigree, Mayfield put up gaudy numbers. Mayfield threw for 4,340 yards, 41 touchdowns and just five interceptions while completing 71 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 310 yards and five touchdowns.
The only blemish on Mayfield’s resume are some antics on and off the field. Some voters consider character when voting for the award, but Mayfield is expected to win comfortably, even if some voters exclude him from consideration. Mayfield and the Sooners went 12-1, winning their last eight games on the way to the Rose Bowl to take on Georgia.
Mayfield’s most impressive outing came at Bedlam where he threw for 598 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions as the Oklahoma offense put up 62 points against Oklahoma State. He can also punish defenses with his legs as his nine rushes for 69 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas State showed. Mayfield has managed to not make many mistakes throwing just five interceptions, going perfect in his last four games.
Both Love and Jackson have had impressive seasons as well. Love had 237 carries for 1,973 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 8.3 yards per carry. Love rushed for over 100 yards in all but one contest. Love rushed for 150 or more yards in his first six games, including 263 yards against UCLA and 301 yards against Arizona State.
Despite being last year’s Heisman winner, Jackson has flown under the radar this season. Jackson threw for 3,489 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 60 percent of his passes. Jackson also rushed for 1,443 yards and 17 touchdowns, better numbers than most running backs. These are very similar numbers to Jackson’s 2016 Heisman campaign where he threw for 3,543 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In 2016, Jackson also rushed for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Jackson rushed for over 100 yards in nine of his 11 games, including back-to-back weeks with 180 yards against Boston College and 178 yards against Florida State. Jackson opened the season against Purdue with 378 passing yards and two touchdowns. He followed it up with 393 yards against North Carolina and three touchdowns. He had 100 plus rushing yards in both games as well.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was the early favorite to win the award, and finished with 1,134 yards and 16 toucdhowns. After a red-hot start, Barkley only managed to rush for more than 100 yards in two of his last eight games.
Both Love and Jackson’s chances are diminished by the fact their teams spent most of the season out of contention for the College Football Playoff. While both players had great seasons, Mayfield is the quarterback on a title-contending team, and put up better numbers than almost any player in the country.
Heavy’s Pick: Baker Mayfield wins the 2017 Heisman Trophy.