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Can Baker Mayfield Win The Heisman?

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield took the nation by storm this summer with his dance moves but the past couple of weeks he's created a buzz with his performance on the field. ESPN had him as the second leader in Heisman voting last week and fourth this week, with one more game to go  for him before the voting deadline. If he can surge into the top spot before the voting deadline, he'll have to have a huge game over Oklahoma State on the road. A win in that game would not only make Oklahoma the conference champion, but it could potentially move the Sooners into the playoff picture.

Baker Mayfield is expected to play this Saturday after getting a concussion on a targeting penalty in the first half against TCU. He didn't play in the second half after throwing two touchdowns in the first half. Oklahoma was up 23-7 in the first half when he went out, and ended up scoring just seven points in the second half without him. That game probably hurt Mayfield's Heisman chances because he only played half the game, but it definitely shows his worth to the Sooners offense.

The junior has 33 touchdowns on the year to just five interceptions and has six rushing touchdowns. Those are great numbers, but let's look at it compared to the past four Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks and what they did through 12 games :

Player Team Year PTD INT RTD
Baker Mayfield OU 2015 33 5 6
Marcus Mariota Oregon 2014 36 2 11
Jameis Winston FSU 2013 35 8 3
Johnny Manziel TAMU 2012 24 8 19
Robert Griffin III Baylor 2011 36 6 9


Keep in mind that Baker Mayfield's stats are through 11 games, so there's time for him to throw five more touchdowns (also time for him to throw give more interceptions) all depending on what he does in Bedlam. I'm assuming it will be a high scoring game, so lets assume he throws three touchdowns, rushes for one, and throws an interception and Oklahoma wins the game by seven. Mayfield would then have very similar numbers to RG3 in his Heisman winning year, but Mayfield's team would have the better record.

Mayfield's numbers likely won't be stacked up against other quarterbacks though, it will be compared against this years elite running backs. Derrick Henry from Alabama is the frontrunner, with Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, and Christian McCraffrey not far behind. Clemson's Deshaun Watson is the only other quarterback with a real shot to win it. He's thrown 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and has led Clemson to an 11-0 record.

Right now it's Derrick Henry's Heisman to lose, but if McCraffey lights up Notre Dame next week or Cook leads Florida State in a victory over Florida then it will be a very close race. If other players can help knock out Henry as the frontrunner, then Mayfield will have a better chance if the running backs don't have much separation.

Mayfield should get a good amount of first place votes because of the tendency for this award to be a quarterback award. He's number one in the country in QB rating and seventh in passing percentage. He's also first in yards per attempt and second among P5 quarterbacks in passing touchdowns. It's not hard to see why Mayfield is now in the national spotlight. Oklahoma certainly believes he deserves it, evident by their #Baker4Heisman campaign that kicked off with this awesome video :

Sadly, Derrick Henry is still leading ESPN's Heisman expert poll and it's going to be a reach for anyone to knock him off that top spot. If Baker can pull of another high level performance game, he should be all but guaranteed to be invited to the Heisman ceremony on December, 12th. But if Henry continues to run through defenses in his last two games then it will be hard for Mayfield to come away with more than just an invite. Then again, ask any Sooner fan and they'll tell you they're more impressed with national championships than they are Heisman Trophy's. I can tell you Baker would agree on that, even though I'm sure he's aiming for both.