Why Friday’s game at Buffalo is crucial to Bryce Petty’s Heisman chances


On the surface, what could possibly be less consequential than a Friday night game at Buffalo for the Heisman Trophy chances of Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty?

Heisman candidates have talent, a positive public image, name recognition – greetings, people of Salem, Oregon! – an integral role in their team’s success, eye-popping statistics, and perfect attendance. Petty has all of those in spades, except that last one. And it could end up costing him.

It takes extremely good fortune to win a Heisman, including an immunization to injuries. In fact, no Heisman Trophy winner has missed extended time in the recent history of the award. Petty has already missed a game and a half, which counts as extended time in the chase for sport’s most coveted individual award. He left Baylor’s 45-0 win over SMU in the opener at halftime after cracking two transverse processes in his back, and did not play in Saturday’s 70-6 thumping of Northwestern State. (And it doesn’t help Petty’s case for college football’s MVP award when his replacement, sophomore Seth Russell, was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week in his absence after throwing for 438 yards and accounting for six touchdowns.)

With only two quarters of action to his credit, Petty has completed 13-of-23 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns and rushed twice for 21 yards and a touchdown. He does not currently rank in the top 100 nationally in passing yards or total offense. He will make up ground once he returns, of course, but how much? Petty is already more than 700 passing yards behind Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill, nearly 500 yards behind UCLA’s Brett Hundley and Florida State’s Jameis Winston, and more than 400 yards behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

This is where forces well beyond Petty’s control conspire against him. No. 8 Baylor plays a 12-game regular season. Each of the quarterbacks listed above has the potential to play 13. With two games already in the books, Petty at best will play 10 full games and half of another, almost 20 percent less than his competition.

Name recognition plays a role in Heisman voting, and smart voters will remember Petty missed time in September while casting their votes in late November and early December, but Heisman voters are a large electorate. Many voters, sadly, do not pay as close attention to college football as the type of person reading a blog post about a player’s Heisman chances in early September. This is where sheer tonnage of yardage comes into play, and where Petty has already fallen behind.

Let’s say Petty enjoys perfect health over Baylor’s 10 remaining games and duplicates his numbers from last season, where he ranked sixth nationally with 323.1 passing yards per game. That puts him at 3,392 passing yards and somewhere around 27 touchdowns. Assuming Baylor remains a College Football Playoff contender throughout the season, those are good enough numbers to send him to New York and maybe even bring a trophy home with him. But what if he misses Friday’s game at Buffalo? Then, when applying his 2013 numbers forward, Petty projects to throw for 3,069 yards and his candidacy enters the danger zone. Only three quarterbacks in the past 25 years have won the Heisman while throwing for less than 3,000 yards: 2001 winner Eric Crouch, 2006 winner Troy Smith, and 2010 winner Cam Newton. Crouch won his award on the strength of his legs, Smith on the strength of his resume as the quarterback of a college football blue blood that both opened and closed the regular season as No. 1 and beat two No. 2 teams, and Newton did both.

The last four Heisman winners, Newton, Robert Griffin IIIJohnny Manziel, and Winston, averaged 4,313 yards of total offense and accounted for 44.5 touchdowns in their respective runs to immortality. Petty would have to average 413 total yards and 4.25 touchdowns per game assuming he plays Friday – which, thankfully, he should according to John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald – and 459 total yards with 4.7 touchdowns per game if he sits. Last year’s national leader in total offense, Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, averaged 400 yards on the nose. Manziel led the country in 2012 with a 393-yard average. Griffin averaged 384 yards in his Heisman year, and Newton averaged 309. Petty ranked eighth nationally a year ago at a shade over 339 yards of total offense per game.

In that scenario, Petty would have to put up absolutely ridiculous numbers throughout what should be a difficult Big 12 schedule, or Baylor would almost certainly have to go undefeated and secure a Playoff berth for Petty to have a realistic shot at the award. And it might take both.

So, Mr. Petty, just accomplish something never been done before in the history of your university while outpacing the numbers of some of the greatest players in the recent history of college football, and then you can win the Heisman.

Maryland QB Max Bortenschlager hits transfer portal

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Add another Big Ten quarterback to the NCAA transfer portal. Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager has placed his name in the transfer portal, according to a report form 247 Sports.

Bortenschlanger will be a graduate transfer, which means he will be eligible to play for any FBS team this fall. For Bortenschlager, a chance to play quarterback one final year could be at play. The graduating senior previously started for Maryland at quarterback in 2017 but was moved to special teams in 2018. Last season saw injuries interfere with Bortenschlager’s ability to get on the field.

Maryland’s quarterback situation should look similar to how it looked last season. Josh Jackson was named the starter after transferring from Virginia Tech. Jackson passed for 1,274 yards and 12 touchdowns with six interceptions in 10 games. Tyrell Pigrome contributed as well with 719 passing yards and three touchdowns and 153 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Jackson and Piugrome each have one year of eligibility remaining.

After being medically cleared, Alabama’s Nigel Knott enters transfer portal

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Alabama defensive back Nigel Knott will finish his college football career with a new school. Knott, who was medically disqualified for the 2019 season, announced on his Twitter account on Monday he will enter the transfer portal and look to play his final year of eligibility somewhere else.

“I am blessed to have played football for the University of Alabama,” Knott said on his Twitter account on Monday morning. “I have decided to enter the transfer portal.”

Knott confirmed in a follow-up tweet that he is still enrolled at Alabama and on scholarship. The plan appears to be to obtain his degree from Alabama this spring and move on as a graduate transfer. Doing so would make Knott eligible to play for any other FBS program in the fall.

Knott was medically disqualified to play for Alabama in the 2019 season, but he has since been cleared to play. Knott rejoiced at the news on Dec. 30, 2019.

Notre Dame and Cal to play for first time since 1967

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Notre Dame and Cal have agreed to a future game to be played in South Bend, Indiana. Cal announced their future road trip on Monday. Notre Dame will host Cal on Sept. 17, 2022.

“We are looking forward to visiting Notre Dame, and I know that many of our fans will, too,” Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said in a released statement. “Notre Dame Stadium is an iconic venue, and this game provides another opportunity for our alumni to support their Bears on the road. We saw a great turnout for our game at Ole Miss this past season and again at the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara. I expect we’ll have another large contingent follow us to Notre Dame for this exciting contest.”

This is a one-game agreement rather than a home-and-home arrangement, but it was one Cal was more than happy to make. For Cal, the Golden Bears get a chance to play an opponent other Pac-12 schools have regularly played. Notre Dame plays annual games against Stanford and USC. It is also a good non-conference matchup against a program weighed as a power conference opponent. Although Pac-12 schools are not required to play another FBS opponent in non-conference play (ACC, Big Ten, and SEC scheduling policies ask members to schedule at least one non-conference game each year against another power conference opponent), the addition of the Fighting Irish is a clear upgrade on the schedule for Cal.

Cal will also play a road game at North Texas in 2022. Cal will host UC Davis and UNLV in non-conference matchups as well. Cal’s game with Notre Dame will sit in the middle of two upcoming home-and-home series with TCU (2020-2021) and Auburn (2023-2024).

Notre Dame still has two vacancies in the 2022 schedule as it currently stands. The Irish will also host Ohio State, Marshall, Stanford, Clemson, and Boston College in 2022. Notre Dame has road games scheduled against Navy, USC, North Carolina and Syracuse in 2022.

Notre Dame and Cal have played just five previous times. The most recent meeting in the series was played in 1967. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 4-0.

Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey enters transfer portal, per report

Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey has entered the transfer portal.
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Indiana starting quarterback Peyton Ramsey has entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to a report on Monday afternoon.

As reported by 247 Sports, Ramsey has entered the transfer portal, which means he will begin evaluating his transfer options for the upcoming season. Ramsey will be a graduate transfer. As a graduate transfer, Ramsey will be eligible to play for any other FBS program this fall.

Ramsey may always pull his name form the transfer portal if he decides to stay at Indiana. While that move is not unprecedented in the era of the transfer portal, the situation appears likely to see Ramsey moving on.

Ramsey passed for 2,454 yards and 13 touchdowns with five interceptions last season in 11 games. Ramsey also rushed for 252 yards and seven touchdowns in one of the most successful seasons in Indiana’s history since 1993.

With Ramsey likely to be moving out of Bloomington, Indiana’s offense will now be placed in the hands of Michael Penix Jr. Penix played in seven games for the Hoosiers in 2019. He completed 68.8 percent of his pass attempts for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions. He also rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 22 rushing attempts. Penix played in just three games in 2018 to preserve a redshirt season. He has three remaining years of eligibility for Indiana.