Heisman Finalists 2017: Predictions for Candidates' Order of Finish in the Race

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2017

Heisman Trophy finalists, from left, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Stanford running back Bryce Love and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield pose with the award during a media event, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The least suspenseful announcement of the college football season should come on Saturday night, as Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to win the Heisman Trophy

The senior has separated himself from other contenders for the prestigious award all season and has done nothing on the field to lose the title over the last month.

Plenty of star players like Saquon Barkley, J.T. Barrett and Khalil Tate tried to keep pace for stretches of the regular season, but at the end, it was Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and Bryce Love who were invited to the ceremony in New York. 

How many votes Jackson and Love get will be interesting, but one thing is for sure, and that's that they'll finish behind Mayfield. 

         

Projected Order of Finish

1. Baker Mayfield

The nation's second-leading passer with 4,340 yards will finally end the wait and be called up to the stage to join the Heisman fraternity on Saturday night. 

Mayfield secured his Heisman victory in the Big 12 Championship, as he tore apart TCU for 243 passing yards and 65 more on the ground. 

Against ranked opposition in the regular season, Mayfield completed 69.4 percent of his passes, threw for 15 touchdowns and was only intercepted twice.

John Amis/Associated Press

The Oklahoma signal caller also threw for 1,018 yards and completed 72.3 percent of his throws in games in which the margin of victory was fewer than seven points.

Winning the Heisman on Saturday night would cap off an incredible week for Mayfield, who has already won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award.

          

2. Lamar Jackson 

You could make the argument that if Louisville had a better run of results throughout the season, Jackson would push Mayfield for the Heisman.

The winner of the 2016 award only got better in his junior season, but he's expected to finish behind Mayfield by a significant margin.

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 25:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the game at Commonwealth Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Over the past two seasons, Jackson has thrown for 7,032 yards and run for 3,014 more. Regardless of where he finishes on Saturday night, Jackson has to be recognized for how consistent he's been at the most important position on the field. 

What likely cost Jackson a second consecutive Heisman in addition to the play of Mayfield was a rough stretch experienced by Louisville in October, in which it dropped three of four games to NC State, Boston College and Wake Forest.

        

3. Bryce Love 

Bryce Love earned the respect of everyone for playing through an ankle injury all the way through the Pac-12 Championship, where he struggled to get on and off the field at points. 

The Stanford running back not only put up consistent numbers, he also busted a big run in almost every game he participated in. 

The only contest in which Love didn't break a rush of 50 yards or more was the November 25 win over Notre Dame, in which his longest run was a meager 31 yards. 

Fourteen of Love's 17 touchdowns came during Pac-12 play for the Cardinal, who will take on TCU in the Alamo Bowl on December 28.

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Bryce Love #20 of the Stanford Cardinal scores on a 9-yard touchdown run against the USC Trojans during the Pac-12 Football Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on December 1, 2017 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thea
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The North Carolina native was also efficient on first down, as 1,181 of his 1,973 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns came during the opening play on a new set of downs. 

It's a toss-up between Love and Jackson for who finishes second, but we're giving Jackson the slight edge based off his pedigree and the numbers he's put up as a dual threat quarterback. 

       

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

All statistics obtained from ESPN.com

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