2016 Heisman Trophy Power Rankings: Week 8

The first eight weeks of the college football season are complete and the contenders and pretenders are starting to emerge for the Heisman Trophy race. We've narrowed the list down to the Top 10 candidates, although the crop gets thin outside the top four (or even top two). 

Much can, and will, change during the next few weeks. But for now, this is really Lamar Jackson, then Deshaun Watson and then everyone else.

With that in mind, here are our Week 8 Heisman Trophy Top Ten Power Rankings: 

10. QB Skyler Howard, West Virginia Mountaineers

Don't look know, but West Virginia is undefeated and ranked No. 10 in the country - and Howard's production is a big reason why. He has 1,821 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and five picks in six games, while adding 200 yards and three more touchdowns on the ground. He's a big dark horse at this point, but if WVU keeps winning, his name will be mentioned. Look, it's a thin crop this year for the Heisman and somebody had to take this spot, and yes, we know Howard doesn't have the resume most Heisman threats do. 

9. RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State Seminoles

Cook won't win the Heisman, but in a not-so-clear race outside the Top 4 or so, he deserves a mention. He's ninth in the NCAA in rushing with 900 yards (and was third before his bye). He's posted seven TDs, plus one in the passing game. He's already set a career mark with 356 receiving yards. If FSU upsets Clemson, perhaps Cook can get an invite to New York. 

8. RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State Aztecs

Since we're still doing Top 10, we need bodies. Pumphrey's chances suffered a major blow when San Diego State lost earlier this year, but he still might be the best player you've never heard of. On 191 carries, he's racked up 1,246 rushing yards and 13 TDs. He's the nation's leading rusher and although he probably won't win, he does deserve at least some kind of praise. 

7. Seth Russell, Baylor Bears

Baylor dropped out of the national eye because of the sexual assault scandal, but they are still undefeated and now in the top 10. Sure, they haven't really played anyone, but Russell has still been impressive this year, completing 57.1 percent of his passes for 1,470 yards, 16 TDs and four INTs. He's also added 302 yards and five scores on the ground. If Baylor can actually push for a CFP spot, Russell has a shot. 

6. QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State Buckeyes

Barrett's Heisman case was on full display against Wisconsin, but came crashing down against Penn State. That loss wasn't really his fault (special teams and blocking get the blame first), but it does put a major dent in his Heisman hopes. However, Barrett isn't totally out yet. He's still very much behind the leader, but can still make the College Football Playoff and maybe snag the Heisman. His overall numbers aren't overly impressive (1,452 pass yards, 17 TDs, four INTs along with 460 yards and six more scores on the ground), but I'm saying there's a chance. 

5. ATH Jabrill Peppers, Michigan Wolverines

Peppers is one of the best athletes in college football. He's listed as a linebacker, but can play defensive back, return specialist and even offensive playmaker. He was impressive against Rutgers, posting two rushing touchdowns while playing Wildcat QB and had a great punt return called back. He was great against Colorado, recording 9 tackles, a sack, 3 tackles for loss, a punt return TD and 204 all-purpose yards. Jim Harbaugh has said Peppers should win the Heisman and while I love Peppers, it's tough to see him actually winning. An invite to New York is a more reasonable expectation. 

4. QB Jake Browning, Washington Huskies

The Huskies keep winning, and although the win over Stanford doesn't look as great, the Huskies are among the CFP favorites. Just a true sophomore, Browning is a talented QB. He's completing an impressive 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,709 yards, 26 TDs and two INTs. He's also managed to add four rushing TDs. If Washington keeps winning, Browning should continue to rise. The future is bright in Washington and Browning is a major reason for that. There's some East Coast bias working against Browning, but he's a heck of a player. 

3. QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama Crimson Tide

As we saw last year with Derrick Henry, the best player on the best team can end up with the Heisman. Perhaps a version of that will be true for Jalen Hurts. And for a true freshman, Hurts has looked great. He's completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 1,549 yards, 11 touchdowns and five picks. However, what really sets him apart is his running ability, where he has 521 yards and nine touchdowns. If Alabama keeps winning, Hurts will get a good chunk of the credit and maybe a few Heisman votes. That's just how the voters work.  

2. QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson Tigers

Watson came into the year as one of the Heisman favorites, but hasn't look as great as he did last year. While he did make a big statement against Louisville, his (and Clemson's) performance against NC State last Saturday left much to be desired. Still, he's the only preseason favorite still in the race, his team is undefeated and firmly in the College Football Playoff picture, and he has good numbers - 1,950 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions while adding 279 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Watson has done enough to be one of the favorites, but we're still waiting for him to really separate himself.

1. QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals

Jackson is still putting up video game numbers and Clemson's defense only sort of limited him. With 2,161 passing yards, 908 rushing yards and 34 total TDs, Jackson is by no means done because of his loss. September and October Heisman favorites don't always hang around until December, and Jackson could slide as the season goes on if Louisville drops another game, but he's still the favorite. He's already set the Louisville single-season TD record. 

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Related Topics: 2016 College Football, Lamar Jackson, Seth Russell, Heisman Race, Jabrill Peppers, Deshaun Watson, Skyler Howard, Donnel Pumphrey, Jalen Hurts, Dalvin Cook, J.T. Barrett, Heisman Trophy, Heisman Power Rankings, Jake Browning, 2016 Heisman Trophy