The center of the college football universe has centered around the state of Mississippi this year, and Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott is the king of that universe.
He's led to Bulldogs from obscurity to being the No. 1 team in the country, beating LSU (in Death Valley), Texas A&M, and Auburn in three straight weeks. Prescott is the engine that drives Mississippi State's powerful rushing attack, and he's greatly improved as a passer - which has created all sorts of headaches for opposing defenses.
With Todd Gurley's suspension, Prescott seized the opportunity to take over the Heisman race. Who are his biggest contenders?
Previously Ranked: 6
Last Week: 403 passing yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs in 35-20 loss to Ole Miss
Up Next: Sat. at Alabama
Season Stats: 2,511 passing yards, 23 TDs, 7 INTs
Hill has fallen a long way from his 'Kenny Trill' mantra, but he's not totally out of the Heisman race just yet. The Aggies have lost two straight games to both Mississippi schools, but Hill has continued to put up really good numbers. A win against Alabama this weekend would save his Heisman hopes, but that seems unlikely at this point.
Previously Ranked: 10
Last Week: Bye
Up Next: Sat. at Northwestern
Season Stats: 878 rushing yards, 10 TDs, 6.4 YPC – 130 receiving yards, 2 TDs
Abdullah and the Huskers had a week off after a disappointing performance against Michigan State, but his Heisman hopes are still alive due to his impressive stats. However, unless something drastic happens, Wisconsin's Gordon will be the running back competing for the Heisman due to outstanding numbers, not Abdullah. He still needs a huge performance against a good team to really get back into this thing.
Previously Ranked: NR
Last Week: 175 rushing yards, 4 TDs in 3828 win over Illinois
Up Next: Bye
Season Stats: 1,046 rushing yards, 13 TDs, 7.9 YPC
The chances of Gordon winning the Heisman are slim due to the fact that Wisconsin is not very good, though he is putting up incredible numbers. Gordon's on pace to rush for over 2,000 yards and 26 touchdowns, and if he follows through on those projections, it'll be hard to keep him out of New York.
Previously Ranked: 7
Last Week: 178 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs - 50 rushing yards, 2 TDs in 35-20 win at Texas A&M
Up Next: Sat. vs Tennessee
Season Stats: 1,700 passing yards, 15 TDs, 6 INTs
Bo Wallace is in this race because of the success the Rebels have had this season, of which he's played a key part. Ole Miss has relied on their dominant defense to beat teams so far this season, with timely play from Wallace. Once they get a lead, head coach Hugh Freeze plays very conservatively on offense, which limits Wallace's impact.
Previously Ranked: 4
Last Week: 2 rec, 22 yards in 14-13 win at Arkansas
Up Next: Sat. vs. Texas A&M
Season Stats: 53 receptions, 768 yards, 5 TDs
The Razorbacks loaded up their coverage to stop Cooper in hopes it would cripple Alabama's passing attack, which it did. Even though it was his worst game of the season by far, it showed how much he's carried the Tide's offense to this point. That being said, he needs to get back to playing like Amari Cooper next week for him to have any chance at winning the Heisman.
Previously Ranked: 8
Last Week: 510 passing yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs in 61-58 win over TCU
Up Next: Sat. at West Virginia
Season Stats: 1,534 passing yards, 15 TDs, 3 INT – 99 rushing yards, 3 TDs
Petty catapulted himself into serious Heisman contention last weekend in leading a giant Baylor comeback against TCU with a monster performance. The game was his first chance to show his skills on a national stage, and everyone was reminded of just how good Petty is. He has another opportunity for notoriety if he can have a big game against West Virginia in Morgantown.
Previously Ranked: 5
Last Week: 300 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT - 71 rushing yards in 50-43 win over North Carolina
Up Next: Sat. at Florida State
Season Stats: 1,683 passing yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs – 209 rushing yards, 4 TDs
Golson continues to rise in the Heisman race as Notre Dame keeps winning. He needs to have better control of the ball (three turnovers last weekend) to really compete with the guys at the top of this list, but Golson has a chance to have his shining moment this weekend against Florida State. If he can lead the Irish to a win in Tallahassee, Golson will join Prescott as the two favorites in this race.
Previously Ranked: 1
Last Week: Suspended vs. Missouri
Up Next: Sat. at Arkansas
Season Stats: 773 rushing yards, 8 TDs, 8.8 YPC
Gurley was the uncontested leader atop the Heisman charts last week, but an indefinite suspension for receiving money for autographs has put a halt to his season. However, there are reports that Gurley will be back on the field for this weekend's game against Arkansas. If that holds true, Gurley still has enough time to make up for lost ground in the race. Were he to miss one or more games, his chances become obsolete.
Previously Ranked: 3
Last Week: 210 passing yards, 2 TDs, O INTs - 75 rushing yards, 2 TDs in 42-30 win at UCLA
Up Next: Sat. vs. Washington
Season Stats: 1,621 passing yards, 17 TDs, O INTs – 280 rushing yards, 5 TDs
Mariota had his best game of the season when his team needed it the most, and it got him back in the Heisman race. The Ducks absolutely dismantled UCLA, and Mariota was the reason why, gashing the Bruin defense through the air and on the ground. He's one of only two full-time starters who have yet to throw an interception this season, and his elite combination of production and efficiency make him one of the best players in the country.
Previously Ranked: 2
Last Week: 246 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs – 121 rushing yards, 2 TDs in 48-31 win over Texas A&M
Up Next: Bye
Season Stats: 1,478 passing yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs – 576 rushing yards, 8 TDs
Prescott has been the best player on the best team in the country, so it's only natural that he takes over the top spot on our list. He's the best dual-threat quarterback in the country right now, and he's dominated every game Mississippi State has played in this year.
Who’s your pick to win the Heisman? Is your dark horse missing from the list? Tweet your responses to @brauf33 and leave a response in the comments!
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