This year's Heisman Trophy campaign might have begun in Columbus.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield emerged as the early Heisman favorite on Sept. 9, when he completed 27 of 35 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Sooners to a 31-16 victory over the Buckeyes in the second week of the regular season.
Mayfield has remained at the forefront of the Heisman conversation ever since, and was named Monday as one of three finalists for this year's award, along with Stanford running back Bryce Love and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Heisman Trophy will be awarded on Saturday night in New York.
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett briefly earned a spot among the Heisman frontrunners after the Buckeyes' Oct. 28 win over Penn State, when he completed 33 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns, ran for another 95 yards and led the Buckeyes to a 39-38 comeback victory in one of the finest performances of his career. Barrett's Heisman candidacy never recovered, however, after he threw four interceptions in the Buckeyes' 55-24 loss to Iowa one week later.
Two running backs who faced the Buckeyes, Penn State's Saquon Barkley and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, were also considered candidates to win this year's award, but did not earn enough of this year's votes to be named finalists, in part because of their struggles running the ball in losses to Ohio State:
This year's first-team All-Big Ten running backs against Ohio State's defense:— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 3, 2017
Saquon Barkley - 21 carries, 44 yards
Jonathan Taylor - 15 carries, 41 yards
Ohio State has not had a Heisman finalist since 2006, when Troy Smith won the award.