The vote is in. Deloitte has heard from the constituency -- all one of us -- as we hit the season's midpoint and the Halfway Heisman is readied to be handed out. There's no pomp, and the circumstances are entirely fictional, but the decision has been made and the trophy goes to ...
Penn State's Saquon Barkley.
To be fair, he's coming off a less-than-spectacular game against Northwestern in which he was held to 75 yards rushing and 84 yards in total (or 127 below his season average) and 53 of his yardage came on one play. But Barkley is leading all Power 5 players with 217 yards per game, stands as the only player with a touchdown rushing, receiving, passing and on special teams and has helped put the Nittany Lions in position to make the College Football Playoff.
In 2017, that's Heisman.
He's also on pace for 2,821 all-purpose yards should Penn State reach the Big Ten Championship Game. That would be more yardage than any of the last five trophy-winning running backs had with postseason games added, and would put him just 69 yards behind Reggie Bush's 2,890 in winning the 2005 vote.
But before we go and reserve a spot in Penn State's Lasch Building to display Barkley's award, there's the little matter of the troubles with many of the recent Halfway Heisman winners.
Granted, Louisville's Lamar Jackson took the midseason nod all the way to the real trophy a year ago, but since 2010, just one other recipient of the halfway honors also won (Robert Griffin III in 2011) as Denard Robinson (2010), Geno Smith ('12), Marcus Mariota ('13), Dak Prescott ('14) and Leonard Fournette ('15) all fell short.
Plus, the trail to New York is about to heat up for the Nittany Lions with No.17 Michigan, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 21 Michigan State coming in a three-week span beginning Oct. 21.
So, Baker Mayfield, Bryce Love and the field, hope most certainly floats.
Before we dive into the players who are primed to rise and fall in the race this week, here's a real-time look at the Forecaster's ballot and, yes, the top spot won't come as any surprise.
1. Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State 2. Bryce Love, RB Stanford 3. Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
Kamil KrzaczynskiKamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Spor
ON THE RISE: Kenny Hill, QB TCU
He jumped onto the Heisman radar in 2014 when he hit 12 different receivers in throwing for 511 yards against South Carolina and fueled a 5-0 start back when he was at Texas A&M. Three years and a transfer later, Hill is on the verge of moving from the fringe to the middle of the conversation as the Horned Frogs stay in the College Football Playoff mix.
The numbers aren't spectacular -- there are 49 QBs who are throwing for more yards per game than Hill's 230.6 -- but he scored three different ways in TCU's win over No. 23 West Virginia with a passing, rushing and receiving TD.
That's been done 28 times since 2000 by Power 5 players, but Hill is the first to do it for a major program since Christian McCaffrey and Kevin Hogan both did it for Stanford in 2015.
Once again, Hill may not be in this thing for the long run, but he's got our attention with some big opportunities still on the schedule with No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 24 Texas Tech still to go.
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ON THE RISE: Luke Falk, QB Washington State
The fifth-year senior is now tied with Jason Gesser as the winningest QB in Cougars history with 24 victories and is likely to seize that title all for his own this week as Washington State heads to Cal to face FBS' 108th-ranked pass defense.
The standard has already been set against the Bears. USC's Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards, two TDs and an interception against them on Sept. 23 and they yielded 215 and two scores to Washington's Jake Browning, and with Falk averaging 333.3 per game, it seems a bet he eclipses those numbers.
Scott OlmosScott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
ON THE RISE: Nick Chubb, RB Georgia
His place among the SEC's storied running back is secure. Chubb is just the eighth player in conference history to go over 4,000 yards rushing and with 4,042, is 261 away from Heisman winner Bo Jackson for fourth.
He's got some serious work to do to catch arguably the greatest runner in college history in former Bulldog Herschel Walker, who is at 5,259 yards. But the schedule sets up well for Chubb to make a push as he'll face Missouri (98th vs. the rush), Florida (71st) and South Carolina (57th) in the next three weeks.
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FALL GUYS: Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
Heading into last weekend, Mayfield seemed like the most logical player to sit second in the Halfway Heisman ballot. He threw for 306 yards and two TDs and ran for another 57 yards and a score ... but the Sooners suffered a loss at the hands of the Cyclone that put a damper on Mayfield and Co.'s CFP dreams and he was burned twice more by Iowa State.
First, came the "Who's yo' daddy?" taunts from the Cyclones after Mayfield was caught in pregame the week before taunting Baylor and then Iowa State's Evrett Edwards planted a flag at midfield, a la what the Oklahoma QB did after knocking off Ohio State back in September.
There's plenty of time for Mayfield to rebound, beginning this Saturday against an improved Texas team, but last weekend dealt blows to the resume and the ego.
Mark D. SmithMark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
FALL GUYS: Sam Darnold, QB USC
Darnold has now thrown as many interceptions -- nine -- as he did last year in 366 attempts over 13 games, and this week he faces a Utah defense that is tied for sixth in FBS with nine picks.
No disrespect to the folks in the desert, who typically have a firm grip on the race, but that Darnold has better odds than the likes of Browning and Alabama's Jalen Hurts (both at +4000 to Darnold's +2500) seems odd given the way he's seemingly slid down the list of would-be contenders.
Kelvin KuoKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
FALL GUYS: Rashaad Penny, RB San Diego State
The numbers are real and they're spectacular with Penny leading the nation with 220.8 all-purpose yards per game (a little over two more than Barkley and 11 more than Love), and he was very strong against Love and Stanford, racking up 175 on the ground to the Cardinal's 184. But he won't get much help going forward with a Mountain West schedule that doesn't include anyone with less than two losses already.
This weekend could also add a wrinkle to his trying to become the first non-Power 5 player to earn an invite to New York since Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch in 2013. The Aztecs face Boise State, which is 18th against the rush (105.8 ypg) and hasn't allowed a single runner more than 93 yards on the year.