#16 TCU at #6 Oklahoma State
We have a top 25 matchup of Big 12 opponents. Mason Rudolph has looked impressive thus far this season, already going over 1,100 passing yards. This will be the fist major test for both teams, as neither has played a ranked opponent this year. Whoever wins this game looks to be on track for a big time showdown with Oklahoma as these teams face the Sooners in consecutive weeks in November (Bedlam is November 4th in Stillwater, TCU plays the Sooners in Norman on November 11th).
#3 Clemson at #14 Louisville
This was a huge matchup last year, pitting Deshaun Watson against Lamar Jackson, both with serious Heisman aspirations. It was a top-5 matchup (Louisville was #3 and Clemson was #5) of undefeated teams with ACC and CFB Playoff implications. Clemson went on to win the game, the ACC and the National Championship. Many big names from last year’s game have moved on, but Lamar Jackson is back and looking avenge last year’s loss. If he can put up numbers close to what he did against North Carolina, it should definitely be an exciting game to watch.
#5 Oklahoma at #2 Ohio State
A top 5 matchup featuring two teams with good shots at making the College Football Playoff (or perhaps a preview of the National Championship, according to Baker Mayfield.) This is a rematch of last year’s early-season meeting in which Barrett and Ohio State dominates Oklahoma in Norman 45-24.
Both teams quarterbacks have led their respective teams to the CFP before (Barrett twice). Mayfield is coming off an impressive performance to start the season (earning the top spot in this year’s initial Heisman HYPE Ranking) while JT Barrett and Ohio State had a tougher time dealing with Indiana in their season opener than most expected they would. This game will be a major asset to the winning team’s resume and a good performance out of Barrett or Mayfield would provide an early boost in their Heisman stock.
#1 Alabama vs #3 Florida State
What a way to kick off the first full weekend of the college football season. Alabama, led by Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarborough look to begin another National Championship campaign against Deondre Francois and the Seminoles. All three of those players were on the Heisman HYPE watch list last year. Hurts was my way-too-early, fully subjective pick to win the Heisman this year. It should be a very exciting contest.
Clemson vs Virginia Tech
In an unusual set of circumstances, several of the top Heisman contenders will not be playing on Conference Championship weekend (Lamar Jackson, JT Barrett, Jabril Peppers, among others). Deshaun Watson, who finished third in last year’s Heisman voting, is still in the Heisman discussion despite being overshadowed in his own conference for much of the season by Lamar Jackson. A big game for Watson and the Tigers against Virginia Tech could wrap up the ACC, lock in Clemson’s spot in the College Football Playoff and earn/solidify Watson a trip to New York for the Heisman ceremony.
Michigan vs Ohio State
This one is a no-brainer. A classic rivalry that never disappoints. It features JT Barrett and Jabril Peppers, two players both receiving major Heisman consideration. This game has major implications for the Big Ten as well as the College Football Playoff. A win for Michigan puts them in the Big Ten Championship game and gives them a very good chance of making the College Football Playoff. A win for Ohio State would put Penn State in the Big Ten Championship game ahead of both Michigan and Ohio State and create a very uncertain situation viz-a-viz the College Football Playoff for both Michigan and Ohio State.
Louisville vs Houston
Earlier in the season, this looked like it could be a match up of undefeated teams with a trip to the College Football Playoff on the line. Houston has since dropped two games and fallen out of contention, while Louisville has recovered from their loss to Clemson and has a good chance at making the playoff. Lamar Jackson continues to lead the Heisman race, while Greg Ward has faded from the Heisman discussion. Nonetheless, this should be an entertaining game and fans no doubt are looking forward to see what Lamar Jackson will do this week.
Wake Forest vs Louisville
Lamar Jackson has been the man at the top of most Heisman polls all year. After another impressive showing against Boston College last week with 7 total TDs, Jackson’s stats continue to grow more astonishing. At 6-3, Wake Forest is no pushover and with Louisville currently outside of the ACC Championship game, the remaining weeks are that much more significant for Jackson to cement his Heisman.
Nebraska at Ohio State
Both teams have one loss with aspirations of making the Big Ten Championship and ultimately the College Football Playoff; a loss for either team could very well end dreams of both. JT Barrett and Tommy Armstrong are both in the Heisman discussion. A good game for Barrett and the Buckeyes will keep the stakes high for their showdown against currently undefeated Michigan. A win for Armstrong and the Huskers would keep their hopes alive of making the playoff.
Clemson at Florida State
After beating Louisville in a close game on October 1st, Clemson put itself in the driver’s seat of the ACC Atlantic division. Deshaun Watson is back near the top of most Heisman rankings. Despite an embarrassing loss to Louisville earlier this year and a last-second loss to North Carolina, Florida State remains a legitimate threat at home to beat Clemson. A win for the Tigers would essentially punch their ticket to the ACC Championship game and give them a very good chance of making the College Football Playoff for the second straight year. A big win would help Watson keep the pressure on Lamar Jackson in the Heisman race as well.