Love, Herbert get their first shot at Heisman votes

The Associated Press

Heisman Trophy winners need Heisman moments and at least a few big-stage games to bolster their resumes on the way to New York.

The early season chatter has mostly been dominated by first-year starting quarterbacks from highly ranked teams: Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.

A couple of Pac-12 stars have a chance to put themselves into the mix on Saturday night when No. 7 Stanford visits No. 20 Oregon. Cardinal running back Bryce Love was last year’s Heisman runner-up behind Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield, but he is off to a slow start. Love was held in check by San Diego State in Stanford’s opener — though all the attention paid to Love allowed the Cardinal’s passing game to flourish. Then Love sat out last week’s tune-up against UC Davis because of an undisclosed injury that doesn’t seem to have been particularly serious.

Love already is way behind the field in the Heisman race, but the speedster can make up ground during a nationally televised night game.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has put up nice numbers in the first three weeks of the season, with 10 touchdown passes, no interceptions and 10.4 yards per attempt. He is not quite at the Tua level, but he’s not that far off.

The problem for Herbert is Oregon’s nonconference schedule might have been the weakest in the country. Texas A&M bailed on a home-and-home with the Ducks a few years backs and left Oregon without a Power Five nonconference opponent. And the way the Pac-12 schedule lays out for the Ducks, this Stanford game could be one of Herbert’s few times in the spotlight. Oregon hosts Pac-12 North rival Washington in three weeks, but the Ducks’ Pac-12 South games are against UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State. Maybe the Sun Devils will be good?

But it starts with Stanford. If Herbert and the Ducks don’t impress, the Heisman talk is moot.

The picks:

Friday

No. 10 Penn State (–28) at Illinois: Nittany Lions are playing their first regular-season Friday game since 1982. This is weird … Penn State, 35-14.

FAU (+13¢) at No. 16 UCF: Lane Train vs. the defending “national champions” … UCF 42-24.

Saturday

No. 22 Texas A&M (+27) at No. 1 Alabama: Nick Saban is 12-0 against former assistant Jimbo Fisher, including 1-0 against Fisher while he was at Florida State … Alabama, 48-17.

No. 2 Georgia (–14¢) at Missouri: Another quarterback with a chance to get some Heisman attention: Mizzou’s Drew Lock … Georgia 48-28, Best Bet.

No. 3 Clemson (–17) at Georgia Tech: Tigers have won five of six in the series, all by at least 14 points … Clemson, 35-16.

Tulane (+35¢) at No. 4 Ohio State: Buckeyes preseason All-America DE Nick Bosa (abdominal strain) is out indefinitely … Ohio State, 56-10.

Army (+31¢) at No. 5 Oklahoma: The storied programs have met three times. Army beat OU in 1946 behind Heisman winners Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, and Oklahoma won in 1959 and ’61 by a combined 14 points. This probably won’t be like that … Oklahoma, 42-21.

Louisiana Tech (+ 20) at No. 6 LSU: Tigers are the only team in the country that has not committed a turnover … LSU 42-17.

No. 7 Stanford (–2) at No. 20 Oregon: For a few seasons, this was THE rivalry in the Pac-12; Cardinal have won the last two by a combined score of 101-34 … Oregon, 31-28.

No. 8 Notre Dame (–7¢) at Wake Forest: ND is one of 17 FBS teams that have thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes and the only one still unbeaten … Wake Forest 28-24, Upset special.

Arkansas (+30) at No. 9 Auburn: Tigers have won four of last five and averaged 47 points in those games … Auburn 47-13.

Arizona State (+17¢) at No. 10 Washington: In one of the strangest results of last season: Sun Devils 13, Huskies 7 … Washington, 28-13.

Kansas State (+16¢) at No. 12 West Virginia: Last four meetings have been split and decided by an average of three points … WVU 35-21.

No. 13 Virginia Tech (–27¢) at Old Dominion: Hokies leave the mountains and visit the other side of the state … Virginia Tech, 45-14.

No. 14 Mississippi State (–10) at Kentucky: Second best team in the SEC West vs. the second best team in the East? Maybe … Mississippi State, 31-20.

Texas Tech (+13) at No. 15 Oklahoma State: Cowboys have won nine straight meetings, averaging 48 points per game … Oklahoma State, 49-31.

No. 17 TCU (–3¢) at Texas: Average score of last four meetings, all won by the Horned Frogs: TCU 38, Texas 8 … TCU 31-28.

No. 18 Wisconsin (–3¢) at Iowa: Badgers’ offensive line vs. Hawkeyes’ defensive line is a delightful Big Ten slugfest … Wisconsin, 23-18.

Nebraska (+18¢) at No. 19 Michigan: Huskers hope to have QB Adrian Martinez (knee) back … Michigan, 28-17.

FIU (+26¢) at No. 21 Miami: First game against the Hurricanes for former Miami coach Butch Davis, now with FIU … Miami, 48-20.

No. 23 Boston College (–6¢) at Purdue: Boilermakers have lost three homes games by a total of eight points and could be due to catch a break … Purdue, 35-31.

No. 24 Michigan State (–5) at Indiana: Hoosiers are 3-0 for the first time since 2015 … Michigan State, 27-20.

TWITTER REQUESTS

Northern Illinois (+10) at Florida State — @StuartROwens: Seminoles desperately need a low-drama victory to calm things down in Tallahassee, Florida … Florida State, 24-7

Florida (–4¢) at Tennessee — @jfried–95: Gators have taken 12 of 13 in a once-great rivalry … Florida, 24-16.

North Carolina State (–5) at Marshall — @kmo11: Both teams had their games last week canceled by Hurricane Florence … North Carolina State, 31-24.

South Carolina (–2¢) at Vanderbilt — @CrustyBeard: Gamecocks have won nine straight, but plenty of competitive games in there … South Carolina, 24-20.

Last week: 16-6 straight; 10-12 against the spread. Season: 49-13 straight; 33-28-1 against the spread. Upset specials: 2-1 (straight up). Best bets: 2-1 (against the spread).

COMMENTS