Marcus Mariota held onto the top spot this week with 2 touchdown passes against Washington, even though running back Royce Freeman was the star of the game with 4 touchdowns. Mariota completed 73% of his attempts with no interceptions and now holds a 19:0 ratio with 5 rushing TDs.
#2 Dak Prescott's ratio is just 14:4 but he has 8 rushing TDs and his team is undefeated. Mississippi State was idle last weekend, a deserved break after beating three top ten teams in a row.
Jameis Winston had dropped off almost everyone's list—understandably, for his off-field conduct—but now he's reappearing everywhere after FSU stayed unbeaten thanks to his 2nd-half performance vs. the Irish. Here, he remains #3. Even going 15-for-16 in the final 30 minutes doesn't put him in line to receive a 2nd straight trophy. He needs to keep his team unbeaten to get the reward—a 3rd place finish—that has become standard for a former winner. The actual award is essentially out of reach as long as there is any viable alternative.
Week 8: No change in top three, with running backs lined up behind the QBs
- Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon (6-1) beat Washington 45-20
- Dak Prescott, QB Miss. State (6-0) idle
- Jameis Winston, QB FSU (7-0) beat Notre Dame 31-27
- Todd Gurley, RB Georgia (6-1) did not play vs. Arkansas (45-32 win)
- [up 2] Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin (4-2) idle
- [up 3] Ameer Abdullah, RB Nebraska (6-1) beat Northwestern 38-17
- [up 1] Amari Cooper, WR Alabama (6-1) beat Texas A&M 59-0
- [dn 3] Bryce Petty, QB Baylor (6-1) lost to West Virginia 41-27
- [new] Kevin White, WR West Virginia (5-2) beat Baylor 41-27
- [dn 4] Kenny Hill, QB Texas A&M (5-3) lost to Alabama 59-0
Todd Gurley holds at number 4 after his 2nd straight idle week where Georgia won without him. Even moreso this time his replacement, Nick Chubb, made it look easy rushing for 202 yards. That would have demoted Gurley but those immediately below him faltered badly and missing two games out of 13 isn't a death sentence.
Missing three games probably is, and moving up behind Gurley are his chief rivals at running back: Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, who was idle this week and Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska, who had 4 touchdowns against Northwestern. Next week is important in determining who will take over the mantle as top running back; Gordon faces Maryland and Abdullah faces Rutgers, while Gurley's Georgia takes on Florida. If Gurley plays it will be a big test against a strong rushing defense, but if he doesn't that's another strike against him.
Amari Cooper recovered along with Alabama in the 59-0 romp over Texas A&M with 140 yards and 2 touchdowns; he moves up a spot to #7 but debuting at #9 is his rival for the Biletnikoff Award, Kevin White of West Virginia who has topped 100 yards every game including 132 in the Mountaineers' win over Baylor.
Beaten by White and Cooper's teams last weekend were Bryce Petty—down 3 spots to #8 after a 44% completion day and his team's first loss—and Kenny Hill, whose Aggies lost for the third straight time. Hill fell four spots to #10.