Welcome to the Heisman of the Week, a totally serious column in which we dissect the performances of literally thousands of college football players to tell you which ones deserve the Heisman Trophy most based on just this one week of competition ... and which players are actually setting themselves up for contention for the thing. (They're not always the same.)
Heisman of the Week: Braxton Miller, Ohio State
We may have the play of the year after just one week. That's how seismic The Braxton Miller Spin Move was.
At least three Vines of the moment two Virginia Tech defenders realized they would be lying to their grandchildren about their football careers are already over a million views, and the game itself was broadcast to millions more. As the only game of the night and the last game of the season's first week, much like Jameis Winston's evisceration of Pittsburgh in 2013, this was the biggest stage anyone could be on so early in the season.
Miller all but moonwalked on it. His 53-yard touchdown run -- punctuated perfectly by the LeBron James stomp celebration -- was a lightning bolt that established him, and not any of the approximately four duovigintillion other terrifyingly athletic Ohio State players, as the most exciting Heisman candidate around. So what if eight touches for 150 yards and two touchdowns is likely to be his best line of the season? You'd have given Odell Beckham Jr. the Heisman for The Odell Beckham Catch, and you know it.
Heisman Hopeful of the Week: Josh Rosen, UCLA
If you want the buy-low candidate who could actually win the Heisman, though, it's UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, who also merits a Winston comparison after his brilliant day against Virginia. The freshman went 28 for 35, threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns, and that was all in his first collegiate game.
While it will be fashionable to compare Rosen's debut to that of Kenny Hill in 2014 or Geno Smith in 2012 if he falters, it's also true that Rosen threw for more yards than Marcus Mariota did in his 2014 debut or Johnny Manziel did in his 2012 opener. He was also just a couple drops from matching the total offense from Winston's debut -- arguably the greatest in college football history -- and Cam Newton's thorough demolition of Arkansas State (186 passing yards, 171 rushing yards, five total touchdowns) in 2010.
No expected Heisman front-runner had a great weekend, after all, with favorite Trevone Boykin struggling to lead TCU past Minnesota, Ezekiel Elliott being overshadowed by multiple teammates despite an 80-yard touchdown run, and J.T. Barrett being relegated to the bench behind Cardale Jones. Those were the only three players at odds lower than +1200 as of Aug. 25, per Bovada, and the quintet at +1200 (Auburn's Jeremy Johnson, Georgia's Nick Chubb, USC's Cody Kessler, Clemson's Deshaun Watson, and LSU's Leonard Fournette) didn't really move the meter, generally having the sort of nice games that do little to change perceptions.
The Heisman Trophy race abhors a vacuum, of course, and so it needs "front-runners" even if only to allow us the privilege of laughing like Nelson Muntz when those players pull up lame. Miller is one, and Rosen -- who has the advantage of playing a position that actually produces Heisman winners -- is another, but I will always lean toward quarterbacks when asked who has a better chance of winning the Heisman. And Miller isn't a quarterback anymore.
Ha-Hasman of the Week: Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech
You know Jeff Driskel's leading the entire dadgum country of the U.S. of America in quarterback rating, right? The same Jeff Driskel who, er, "led" Florida's offense for most of Will Muschamp's tenure in Gainesville, who threw more interceptions than touchdowns in both 2013 and 2014, who was committing a turnover about once every 20 plays over the last two years, who threw three picks (and four touchdowns, to be fair) in his new team's spring game.
That guy is leading the nation in pass efficiency.
Driskel completed 12 of 15 passes for 274 yards and four touchdowns for the Bulldogs against Southern Saturday, connecting on touchdown passes of 57, 55, 27 and 22 yards. His absurd 18.3 yards per attempt (he never topped 11.0 as a starter at Florida) is most of the reason why he's tops in pass efficiency, because the NCAA's passer rating formula uses attempts as the divisor, and thus truly values efficiency above all else.
Driskel's season may, perhaps, get harder. But for a player who bore the brunt of a fan base's ill will toward its slipping position in the college football firmament with remarkable equanimity, a moment in the sun is well-deserved.
He Can't Win The Heisman of the Week: Tiquan Lang, Marshall
Seven players nationally have at least two interceptions. Lang is one of them. Four players nationally recorded more than 15 tackles in Week 1. Lang is one of them. Only one player nationally had two interception returns for touchdowns, though, and that was Tiquan Lang.
Lang covered 85 yards on those two runbacks, too, more yardage than any Marshall receiver gained against Purdue, and just 4 yards shy of leading rusher Devon Johnson's output. The heat death of the universe will occur before a defensive back from Marshall wins the Heisman, sadly, but Lang had about as dominant a performance as a defensive back can have in a football game -- he swung the game with defensive touchdowns. If we see a better single-game performance by a defensive player all year, I will be stunned.