As we fight through the post-Halloween candy hangover, plenty of treats still await us as we head into college football’s sweetest month, November.
Rivalry games, CFP-jockeying, battles for conference title games and, of course, the intensified race for the Heisman Trophy.
The college football world pundit class is certainly looking at the race through (pumpkin) orange-colored glasses as Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker is garnering the lion share of attention heading into the weekend.
He got 36 of 37 first-place votes in The Athletic’s latest straw poll and received nine first-place votes among ESPN’s 11 in its own poll. In the Yahoo! Sports poll, Hooker got 20 of 25 first-place votes.
Hooker is, who directs the nation’s leading offense, led now No. 2 Tennessee to a 44-6 win over Kentucky last week, throwing for 245 yards and three TDs. Next up is another huge game for the Volunteers (following their recent Alabama win), a date with No. 1 Georgia.
Former Vol QB and 1997 Heisman runner-up Peyton Manning is clearly impressed, joking he was going to dress up as Hooker for Halloween.
No. 2 in all of these Heisman polls is Ohio State QB and 2021 Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud, who picked up whatever leftover first-place votes were available.
The Buckeye QB, who orchestrated a fourth-quarter rally for a big win at Penn State last week, co-leads the nation in TD passes and holds the edge on Hooker in national QBR, the duo 1-2 nationally. Stroud, unlike Hooker, does not have a marquee match-up this week, facing 1-7 Northwestern.
The defending Heisman winner Bryce Young of Alabama is third in the ESPN poll following a bye. Young will be in the spotlight as well this weekend, leading the Crimson Tide into No. 10 LSU.
Michigan RB Blake Corum is No. 3 in The Athletic poll and is coming off a 177-yard, one-TD effort as the Wolverines remained among the nation’s unbeaten. He is second in the nation with 14 rushing TDs and sixth in rushing yards per game (134.8). Saturday Tradition makes the case for giving Corum more Heisman consideration.
USC QB Caleb Williams continues to put up big numbers for the one-loss Trojans. He is third nationally in TD passes (24) against just one interception. Trojan Wire breaks down his chances, and others, here. Heisman winner Robert Griffin III called his play brilliant.
Griffin also highlighted UNC freshman QB Drake Maye after he moved the Tar Heels to 7-1 last week. He is tied with Stroud in TD passes (29) and third in yards per game.
TCU QB Max Duggan continues to earn Heisman love and has the Horned Frogs 8-0 and ranked No. 7. He is fourth in The Athletic poll.
Illinois RB Chase Brown was seventh in The Athletic poll. The Illini runner leads the nation in total rushing yards with 1,208.
Oregon QB Bo Nix is sneaking on some Heisman watch lists. The transfer from Auburn’s 72.3 completion percentage is fifth nationally and he has the Ducks 7-1. Fellow Pac-12 QB, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, has UCLA 7-1 as well.