What an absolute crazy weekend we just witnessed in College Football. No.2, No.3 and No.4 in the country all suffered defeats, and because of that the College Football Playoff scenarios are now as clear as mud. No. 2 Clemson lost at home to unranked Pittsburgh, No. 3 Michigan lost on the road to unranked Iowa and No. 4 Washington suffered a home loss to No. 20 USC. Those results opened the door for Ohio State and Louisville to get back into the CFP picture. I could write an entire article regarding the CFP landscape, but this is a Heisman article. Depending what side of the fence you are on, not much has changed in regards to the Heisman Favorite. It is still Lamar Jackson, and barring a major no-show in his last two regular-season games against Houston and Kentucky he will bring home the hardware.
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There are, however, a few new names that we can add to the shortlist, and they are priced at odds that could be enticing for bettors to sprinkle just a small amount on them. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts makes the list after turning in arguably his best performance of this season against Mississippi State. Texas running back D'Onta Foreman has yet to rush for fewer than 100 yards this season and torched Texas Tech just two weeks ago for 341 yards rushing. That's not a typo. And then we have some familiar faces with Jabrill Peppers and Donnel Pumphrey. Despite Michigan's loss, Peppers still contributed in a handful of ways. He had multiple tackles and contributed in the return game on special teams. He is a talent that deserves to be talked about when the "best player" conversation comes up.
I am going to add a new feature to this article and move away from odds and stat recaps. I will provide a "Boom or Bust" rating out of five based on the player's upcoming opponents. This will allow you to better understand if a Heisman candidate will exceed or fall short of expectations.
Thanks to our friends at Bovada for the best lines.
Boom Potential: 3 out of 5.
Lamar Jackson was just 15 minutes away from being held without a passing or rushing touchdown for the first time this season. And then the Louisville offense exploded. They put up 34 fourth-quarter points and turned a 12-10 deficit into a 44-12 win. However, Jackson's line was relatively unimpressive. He finished the game with 145 passing yards and one touchdown. He did contribute 153 yards on the ground. However, his teammate Brandon Radcliff stole the show. Radcliff rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries.
Up next for Jackson is a road date with the Houston Cougars in Texas. Houston is having a "down year" despite being 8-2 and second in the AAC West. The Cougars were supposed to challenge for a playoff spot, but uncharacteristic losses to Navy and SMU have them on the outside looking in. The Cougars' defense will be in tough to contain this Cardinals' offense that has everything to play for. They are currently within the Top 4, and that means a berth in the CFP. Jackson and Co. will be ready and focused on maintaining that spot, and I expect nothing less than a stellar performance.
Jabrill Peppers (+1200)
Boom Potential: 4 out of 5
As I mentioned earlier, Jabrill Peppers was a force on both offense, defense and special teams despite his No.3 Michigan team losing outright to Iowa. Peppers rushed for 11 yards on four carries, added 35 yards in the return game and had five tackles on defense. Those aren't the kind of numbers that win you the Heisman, but he's a superior talent that can't be overlooked.
Peppers and his teammates must rebound immediately if they want to keep their CFP hopes alive. They must win their upcoming game against Indiana in order to set up a dramatic regular-season finale against long-hated rivals Ohio State. I watched the entire Penn State - Indiana game last week, and the way Indiana was manhandled defensively sets up nicely for Peppers to dominate and contribute on both sides of the ball. Despite his odds, I would consider him the least likely of players on this list to overtake Jackson.
Jalen Hurts (+3300) (Must ask your book for this line)
Boom Potential: 2 out of 5
Is it just me, or does Alabama seem literally unbeatable? I really do think they would be laying points against the Cleveland Browns. Week after week, they dominate their opponents and beat them senseless. Jalen Hurts turned in arguably his best performance of the season against Mississippi State. He threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 100 yards and one score. The emergence of this true freshman gives the Crimson Tide another added dimension on offense that teams have to try (but ultimately fail) at stopping.
Next on the schedule for the Crimson Tide is a bye week. Just kidding, they play Chattanooga. I mean no disrespect to any Chattanooga alumni reading this, but this is a joke in terms of scheduling. Sure, Chattanooga is 8-2 and second in the SoCon (whatever that is), but how does the No.1 team in the country get away with scheduling a cupcake game this late in the season. Jalen Hurts might get a half of playing time this week as I expect this game to be out of reach by half time. He's low on the "boom" scale because of that.
D'Onta Foreman (+5000) (Must ask your book for this line)
Boom Potential: 5 out of 5
D'Onta Foreman might be the only reason Charlie Strong still has a job. As I mentioned earlier, Foreman has yet to have less than 100 yards rushing in any game this season and just gashed Texas Tech for 341 yards rushing. It doesn't matter what team you play, or how bad their defense is, a 341- yard rushing day is impressive. He has been the most consistent player this year for an up-and-down Texas squad. If he finishes up the season strong, he could be on his way to New York for the trophy presentation.
Next up for Foreman is a trip to Kansas. As is usual the case, Kansas is the doormat of the Big 12 and has lost nine straight games. They have an absolutely atrocious defense and have allowed fewer than 30 points in only one game this season. This could have the making of a Texas blowout and a very high yardage game for Foreman on the ground. Anything less than 150 yards and two touchdowns would be a disappointment if he plays the whole game.
Donnel Pumphrey (+5000) (Must ask your book for this line)
Boom Potential: 4 out of 5
Donnel Pumphrey is my guy. He has been on this list every week for the last month or so, and with good reason. He continues to put in stellar performance after stellar performance. Last week against Nevada, Pumphrey rushed for 198 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. He was just two yards short of his fifth 200-yard rushing game of the season and has now moved within 347 yards of being the NCAA's all time leading rusher. If I'm the only one in the country giving Pumphrey props for what he's doing then so be it. Someone has to recognize his accomplishments.
Pumphrey will be looking to continue his rushing brilliance this coming Saturday against the Wyoming Cowboys. The Cowboys will be a somewhat formidable opponent for Pumphrey and his Aztec teammates, but the Aztecs will walk away victorious. They are playing some great football and have won six consecutive games. They have a perfect balance between run and pass, and they will have the best player on the field patrolling the backfield. Look for Pumphrey to cut that magic number of 347 in half this week.
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