"Chaos," Petyr Baelish famously said in his typically measured, hushed tones "isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder."
It's one that Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield has climbed to pass Penn State's Saquon Barkley and Stanford's Bryce Love to take the top spot in this Heisman Trophy race.
But given what has unfolded over these past two weeks, the bigger point of debate isn't whether the Sooners quarterback is in the lead. It's whether he -- or anyone for that matter -- can hold on?
That's because the ladder that has more than a few rungs remaining. Mayfield and the No. 5 Sooners face No. 6 TCU this Saturday and they could meet again in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The Horned Frogs, boasting the conference's best defense (284.1 yards per game) haven't allowed a touchdowns in 13 of the last 16 quarters. Then, there's the matter of Oklahoma's own defense. Ranked 87th overall (413.1 ypg), it has given up 262.8 a game through the air (110th), and while Mayfield and Co. are racking up 45 points per game, will that defense ultimately cost Oklahoma a shot at the College Football Playoff, and by association, Mayfield in this Heisman race?
That's where more chaos comes in, and with more legitimate contenders among the other playoff hopefuls -- No. 1 Georgia's Nick Chubb, No. 2 Alabama's Jalen Hurts and No. 3 Notre Dame's Josh Adams -- voters have options beyond Mayfield if the Sooners suffer another setback.
The playoff era has yet to give us any true dissension in a Heisman race, with Oregon's Marcus Mariota (2014), Alabama's Derrick Henry ('15) and Louisville's Lamar Jackson ('16) appearing on no fewer than 86 percent of the ballots in their winning seasons.
Mayfield is in position to continue in a season when he's first in FBS in passing efficiency (201.6) second in passing yards per game (358.4) and tied for second in points responsible for (200).
The Heisman may well be his, don't believe for a second that this picture has already become clear. At least not yet, because chaos is still lurking, a ladder for someone else to potentially use to climb ahead of Mayfield.
Before we dive into the players who will rise and fall in the race this week, here's a real-time look at the Forecaster's virtual ballot.
Coach Brian Kelly says he expects Adams to play a week after he was limited to one quarter against Wake Forest. That's because Kelly notes Adams did not go through the concussion protocol, despite conflicting reports.
That's huge, because if Adams is healthy and a full-go against No. 7 Miami, he could be in prime position to take advantage of the upheaval in Week 10 and mount a serious challenge to Mayfield.
The Hurricanes' rush defense is ranked 67th in FBS, allowing 170 yards per game. But anyone who saw their 28-10 dismantling of Virginia Tech saw a defense that, for the first time in weeks, seemed up for a challenge.
Miami held the Hokies to 102 yards and a season-best 2.37 yards per carry. Adams, meanwhile, is averaging 8.7 per tote and only one player in the nation has more TDs of 60 or more yards this season than Adams' seven.
The Fighting Irish haven't had an offensive player in the top 10 in 11 years, but Adams is almost a shoo-in to change that -- and should the Irish reach the CFP, he may challenge Brady Quinn's third-place in 2006 for the program's best finish post-Tim Brown's 1987 win.
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ON THE RISE: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB
Much like his team's place in the CFP pecking order (eighth, despite being 9-0), Taylor is sitting there with an impressive resume that includes 1,368 yards and 12 touchdowns and he's in line to become the first Badgers freshman since Ron Dayne to run for more than 1,600 yards on the season.
Taylor can build on those numbers this week against Iowa, which is coming off a dominant win over then-No. 6 Ohio State, but has allowed no fewer than 142 yards the last four weeks, and gave up 295 vs. Penn State.
Of course, none of it will probably get him serious love in this race until after the Big Ten Championship Game, when the Badgers will face their first ranked opponent of the year. The fact is he's not likely to challenge Adrian Peterson and Herschel Walker's second places for the best finish by a true freshman, but he is well on his way to besting another legend Marshall Faulk, who was ninth as a true freshman in 1991.
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ON THE RISE: Bryce Love, Stanford RB
Love was held to a season-low 69 yards against Washington State, which came a week after he didn't play at all and he lost the national rushing lead to San Diego State's Rashaad Penny with two weeks of setbacks.
Like Adams, Love did see his odds increase over the next month with Barkley being held in check by Michigan State, and the Cardinal have the kind of schedule that, should he take advantage, make a serious case for him to finish in the top three.
This week, Stanford faces No. 9 Washington -- sixth in the nation in rush defense at 91.1 per game -- then end the regular season vs. Notre Dame. But the question is whether Love will be at full strength to open that key stretch?
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FALL GUYS: Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB
He got a mulligan after the Nittany Lions' loss to Ohio State, especially since he still reached the end zone twice, including on that opening kickoff. But to follow that up with 68 yards (36 of which came on one carry) on the ground and see his 15-game TD streak snapped against Michigan State?
Barkley has ceded the lead in what looked like a race that was his to lose and considering the Nittany Lions are officially out of the CFP conversation, he's going to have to be spectacular down the stretch to challenge Larry Johnson in 2005 for the best finish for Penn State in 23 years.
With a schedule that includes Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland, all of which are 4-5, he isn't going to get much help.
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FALL GUYS: J.T. Barrett, Ohio State RB
The erratic Buckeye forced his way back into the race -- leading some to wonder if he'd somehow taken over the lead -- in knocking off Penn State, and a week later, Iowa knocked Barrett back out of it.
It seems unlikely now that the fifth-year senior will even get a trip to New York as a finalist after his four-interception day (three more picks, by the way, than he had thrown all season) paved the way for Ohio State to tumble out of the CFP hunt.
Of note, Barrett has thrown at least two interceptions five times, which included three Buckeyes losses. Before Week 10, the last time he did it was in the 31-0 loss to Clemson in last season's playoff semifinal.
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FALL GUYS: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State QB
As projected last week, Rudolph did take a back seat to Mayfield in the Bedlam Game. But the Cowboys QB was still spectacular in his own right with 448 yards on 28 of 54 passing with five touchdowns to two interceptions.
He may be in for another big day this weekend against No. 21 Iowa State, given that the Cyclones already yielded 316 yards through the air to West Virginia's Will Grier and another 323 vs. Mayfield and the Sooners.
But with the loss to Oklahoma, the now 15th-ranked Cowboys all but fell out of contention for the Big 12 title game, along with the CFP. That's going to cost Rudolph any further push in this race, especially with a more logical contender in his own state.