The Buzz: The latest Heisman news and views

(Disclaimer — The Heisman Trophy Trust and does not endorse any college football player for the Heisman Memorial Trophy. The information contained here serves as a platform of information for fans and media, and is not intended to contain a definitive and comprehensive list of possible contenders.)

As we approach Thanksgiving week, we are thankful the sport we love has navigated this most challenging of seasons and has provided some truly inspirational play. The list of Heisman-worthy performances continues to grow and Week 12 was no exception.

Remember, the voting deadline this year is Dec. 21, finalists will be announced Dec. 24 and the winner will be announced Jan. 5. Click here for full details.

After a week off, Alabama returned to action with a decisive win over Kentucky and its trio of candidates in QB Mac Jones, RB Najee Harris and WR DeVonta Smith all put up big performances. Smith hauled in nine catches for 144 yards and two TDs (he now has 65 receptions for 903 yards and 10 scores this year) while Harris rushed for 83 yards on just 13 carries with two scores.

Jones completed 16-of-24 passes for 230 yards and two scores. On the season, his 77% completion percentage to go with 2,426 yards passing and 18-3 TD to interception ratio has built a face base.

Said ESPN’s Paul Finebaum: “The Mac Jones run has been beyond comprehension. I don’t know when in Alabama history we’ve seen anything quite like this. Just imagine if he continues this streak and somehow explodes in the championship game.”

That said, Finebaum lists Florida’s Kyle Trask and Ohio State’s Justin Fields ahead of Jones in his current Top 3 Heisman rankings.

Trask helped the Gators shrug off a slow start to dismantle Vanderbilt, 38-17, throwing for 383 yards and three TDs on 26-of-35 passing. He now totals 31 TDs, the most ever in SEC history through seven games (passing a certain Heisman winner from 2019).

Trask now tops The Athletic’s straw poll with Jones second and Justin Fields third. Fields looked mortal Saturday, throwing for 300 yards, two scores and three interceptions, but good enough to hold off a hard-charging Indiana team.

By the way, it came in a losing effort, but Hoosier QB Michael Penix Jr. didn’t harm his resume with 491 yards passing on 27-of-51 passing and five TDs. A certain NBA star has taken notice.

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne had to sit for the third week in a row because the Tigers’ game against Florida State was postponed due to Covid protocols. Other contenders off this week included Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond, UNC QB Sam Howell and Miami QB D’Eriq King (games postponed due to Covid protocols) as well as Notre Dame QB Ian Book, who had a bye.

BYU QB Zach Wilson returned to action after a BYE and the Cougars ran off an overmatched North Alabama team. Playing only the first half, Wilson still threw for four TDs (including this dime) and 212 yards. He’s fifth in The Athletic poll, ahead of Lawrence.

Also listed ahead of Lawrence in the poll is Iowa State running back Breece Hall, who ran for 135 yards and two TDs (mostly in the first half – also see this) on just 15 carries in a blowout win over Kansas State. Hall’s QB, Brock Purdy, had himself a game, completing 80% of his passes (16-of-20) for 236 yards and three TDs.

Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder and the Bearcats remain unbeaten after Ridder led them to a 36-33 comeback win over Central Florida. He threw for 338 yards and two TDs and ran for two more.

Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall also led a comeback to keep the Chanticleers unbeaten at 8-0 with a win over Appalachian St. He threw for 200 yards and two TDs and added 69 rushing yards and another score and boasts this nugget.

The Pac-12 is only three games into its season with a pair of 3-0 teams in Oregon and USC. First-year Duck QB Tyler Shough has thrown for 873 yards and eight TDs at a 66.3% clip while Trojan sophomore Kedon Slovis has passed for 970 yards and five TDs, connecting on over 70% of his attempts.