1 – LSU QB Jayden Daniels (vs. Florida)
Stats: 17/26 – 372 yards – 3 touchdowns | 12 carries – 234 yards – 2 touchdowns
Arguably the best player in college football this season, Daniels is now a 3-time Five Stars recipient in what has been an electrifying senior season. On Saturday night in Baton Rouge, he put up a legendary performance where he totaled more than 600 yards of offense in the Tigers 52-35 defeat of the Florida Gators.
You won’t find too many sane college football fans arguing against him winning the Heisman, especially when we’ve seen players like Robert Griffin III and Lamar Jackson win the award with similar team record issues. How much the voters will factor that in is to be determined, but his performance hasn’t been the reason for any of those three losses. He’ll have two more opportunities to pad his resume when the Tigers host Georgia State this upcoming Saturday before hosting Texas A&M to close out the regular season.
2 – Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel (vs. West Virginia)
Stats: 23/36 – 423 yards – 5 touchdowns | 11 carries – 50 yards – 3 touchdowns
Gabriel and the Oklahoma Sooners had a fantastic bounce back performance Saturday night in a 59-20 route of the Mountaineers. Gabriel accounted for 8 touchdowns, a school record, and nearly 500 yards of offense and found receiver Drake Stoops 10 times for 164 yards and 3 of those touchdowns. It’s Gabriels second appearance on the Five Stars this season, and is on pace to eclipse almost all of his career highs in his senior season.
While the Sooners playoff hopes are dashed they are still in contention for the Big 12 championship and potential premier bowl game. They’ll round out the season by traveling to Provo next Saturday against BYU and hosting TCU the week after.
3 – Alabama QB Jalen Milroe (vs. Kentucky)
Stats: 15/22 – 234 yards – 3 touchdowns – 1 interception | 8 carries – 36 yards – 3 touchdowns
Welcome to the two-timers club, Mr. Milroe! After his first appearance on the Five Stars list last weekend, Milroe came back and had another stellar outing in a 49-21 win over the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday. He didn’t post any crazy yardage numbers, but he didn’t have to because he was super efficient by posting 6 touchdowns, joining Tua Tagovailoa and Bryce Young as the only quarterbacks in Alabama history to account for 6 or more scores in a game.
Milroes ascendence and the modifications from offensive coordinator Tommy Rees have made the Tide offense an overwhelming machine late in the season, and back to looking like the typical Saban death machine. This win locked them into a matchup with Georgia in the SEC Championship, which will carry plenty of weight in the Playoff race. Before that, though, they’ll close the season with UT-Chattanooga and a road trip to Auburn for the Iron Bowl.
4 – Oregon QB Bo Nix (vs. USC)
Stats: 23/31 – 412 yards – 4 touchdowns | 1 carry – 5 yards
This is the year. Bo Nix has improved so much under this new offense. He’s focused. He’s having fun. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the Heisman.
Could the prophecy finally be foretold?
On Saturday night, Nix continued his stellar season with a big passing performance against an albeit poor USC defense in the Ducks 36-27 victory. He threw touchdown passes of 77 and 84 yards on his first two passing attempts of the game and it set the tone for the offense the rest of the way as the Ducks offense was able to grind away on the ground and keep the Trojans behind. Nix now enters Week 12 as the betting favorite to win the Heisman.
Nix and the Ducks still have plenty of work to do, though, as they travel to Arizona State this upcoming weekend to face former offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham before hosting in-state rival and top 15 opponent Oregon State in the Civil War to close the season. Wins in both with will lock them into a rematch with the Washington Huskies where they’ll attempt to avenge their one loss.
5 – Missouri RB Cody Schrader (vs. #13 Tennessee)
Stats: 35 carries – 205 yards – 1 touchdown | 5 receptions – 116 yards
If you haven’t been paying attention to Missouri this season, they’ve been one of the more thrilling offenses in the sport featuring plenty of talented skill position players. Schrader has been a golden find for Eli Drinkwitz and company, and after recording over 100 yards just twice in the first five games, the senior running back has put up 100 or more in four of his last five and doing so against three top 25 opponents (including Georgia last week).
The St. Louis native has added an extra dimension for Missouri and taken some pressure off quarterback Brady Cook (who’s also been stellar), and the Vols defense simply never had an answer as the Tigers just pounded the rock all day long in the 36-7 victory. Missouri finishes off the season by hosting Florida next weekend before traveling to Arkansas the week after, both very winnable games and the possibility that Missouri finishes the regular season inside the Top 10 is very real.
I’ll also take the time to apologize to Missouri football, they are the team I was far and away most wrong about in my conference preview.