Back by popular demand, it’s week 2 of #QBRank! Each week I’ll be taking stock of the best quarterback performances of the season, and ranking them 1-5 just like I do with teams in the JP Top 25. Every game is another line on each QB’s resume, so this ranking is a snapshot of their cumulative performances so far this season.
If you’d like to weigh in, cast your vote quickly right here:
Here’s how we look after two weeks:
- Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
An ill-advised (in my opinion) postgame celebration overshadowed the best performance of Mayfield’s illustrious career. On the road in prime time against Ohio State, Mayfield lit up the Buckeyes for 386 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on the way to a 31-16 win. His swagger is starting to drift into Manziel Territory. With all due respect to Lamar Jackson, it feels like Mayfield’s star will shine the brightest over the sport this season.
- Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Jackson hasn’t gone anywhere, either. Through two games, Jackson’s averaging 505 yards of total offense, with eight total touchdowns and zero interceptions. I said before the season that Jackson had a GREAT chance to win another Heisman, because he came into this season somehow underrated. He’s already reminded us why he took over college football as a sophomore in 2016, and with a win over Clemson this weekend, Jackson would be the overwhelming favorite to repeat as the Heisman winner.
- Josh Rosen, UCLA
On Tuesday’s podcast with Yogi Roth, we marveled at Rosen’s ability to make the most difficult plays look effortless. He’s by far the smoothest passer in the country, with a throwing motion that looks like it was programmed by robots. He’s third in the country right now with 410 passing yards per game, and his nine touchdown passes leads the FBS. The Bruins have a tricky road game this weekend at noon against Memphis, before traveling to Stanford next Saturday. This is an important two-week stretch that could make or break UCLA’s season, as well as Rosen’s Heisman hopes.
- Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Rudolph is part of the best QB-WR duo in the country, partnering up with James Washington for 243 yards and three touchdowns already. Washington averages 30.4 yards per reception! Rudolph has been flawless through two starts against Tulsa and South Alabama. It’s going to take similar numbers (319 yards per game, 6-0 TD-INT ratio) as the Cowboys hit the meat of their schedule, starting this week at Pittsburgh.
- Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech
Jackson barely clings on to a top five spot this week thanks pretty much entirely to his game against West Virginia in Week 1. He beat the Mountaineers with his arm and his feet. Last week against Delaware, Jackson was just okay, throwing for 222 yards with two touchdowns and zero picks. Those numbers could have been even better if it weren’t for a few poorly timed drops. Jackson has been extremely impressive early this season. This might be the last week we find him on this list this season, but I’d expect him to be a mainstay by the end of his career in Blacksburg.
Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Patterson is tied with Rosen for the national lead in touchdown passes with nine. It’s hard to give him too much love for beating South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin, but when you throw for nearly 500 yards in both games, you have my attention. It’s a shame Ole Miss’ season is already a waste (postseason bowl ban), because Patterson had the chance to be the next Johnny Manziel. The Rebels have Cal this weekend before reality really hits against Alabama on Sept. 30th.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
So much for all that Heisman hype, huh? Stidham was sacked 11 times against Clemson, and Auburn failed to reach the end zone in a 14-6 loss that was even uglier than the score, if that’s possible. There were some questions around the program about Stidham’s uneven performance in the season opener against Georgia Southern, and Clemson completely exposed him in Death Valley, holding him to 79 yards passing on just 13 completions. Stidham’s ability as a runner was supposed to add the missing dimension to Gus Malzhan’s offense, but he finished with -42 yards on 18 carries (including the 11 sacks). As Malzahn starts to face more pressure for his job, it’s time to wonder if we gave him too much credit for winning a national title with Cam Newton, and reaching another one after two of the most miraculous wins in college football history in 2013.