The real votes are due Monday.
But in this week’s Franchise Heisman Watch, the votes already have been tabulated.
For the fifth week in a row, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is the unanimous leader for the 2017 Heisman Trophy.
After leading the Sooners to a 41-17 victory over TCU in the Big 12 Championship game and helping OU earn the No. 2 spot in the College Football Playoff, Mayfield is a virtual lock to be announced as the 83rd Heisman winner on Saturday night (7 p.m. on ESPN) at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.
Official Heisman votes are due Monday at 4 p.m., and the Heisman finalists — those who will travel to New York for this year’s ceremony — will be announced during ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” broadcast at 5 p.m.
Mayfield also received 11 of 12 first-place votes in last week’s ESPN Heisman Watch.
There are 929 official Heisman voters, which include 870 media members in six different regions in 49 states (Alaska has no vote), New York City and Washington, D.C., plus 58 living former Heisman winners and one aggregate fan vote.
There is only minor suspense now.
- Will Mayfield break Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith’s all-time record for highest vote percentage (91.6, set in 2006)?
- How many finalists will the Heisman Trophy Trust invite to Time Square (the minimum is three, but that depends on where the biggest break in the voting falls; could be three players or as many as six).
- And who finishes as this year’s runner-up?
The Franchise has seven official Heisman voters on air, including three full-time hosts: Dylan Buckingham, Lauren Rew and John Hoover. Since mid-October, Franchise hosts and producers have submitted unofficial ballots, and Mayfield has received every first-place vote each of the last five weeks. Including all 13 this week.
Mayfield is on pace to shatter his own record for NCAA passer efficiency rating (currently at 203.8). But he’s much more than just efficient. He has accounted for 278 total points (passing and rushing touchdowns), which leads the nation. He also sits atop college football with a .710 completion percentage, 11.76 yards per attempt and 16.56 yards per completion, and ranks second in the nation in touchdown passes (41) and fourth in total offense per game (357.7).
This week, Stanford running back received all but one second-place vote from Franchise voters to finish a strong second. Love ranks second nationally with 164.4 rushing yards per game is third in the country with 8.32 yards per carry. Love has rushed for 1,973 yards and 17 touchdowns, and has rushed for more than 100 yards 11 times (he missed one game due to a sprained ankle and was limited to 69 yards the following week).
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman winner, is third among Franchise voters this week. Jackson, who has 1,443 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing to go with 3,489 yards and 25 touchdowns passing, leads the nation in total offense (by 30 yards per game) and ranks fifth with 254 total points responsible for.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant and San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny also received votes in the final Franchise Heisman Watch.
The Franchise Heisman Watch
- QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma … 36 (13)
- RB Bryce Love, Stanford … 25
- QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville … 5
- RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin … 4
- RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State … 3
- QB Kelly Bryant, Clemson … 1
- RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State … 1