Heisman Hopefuls

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

We’re 10 weeks through the college football season so let’s check in on the Heisman Trophy Race. This weekend will be make or break for three of the top five candidates with some huge match-ups starting with Baylor-OU on Thursday.

Here’s a quick look of 6-10, followed by breakdowns of the top five Heisman contenders.

  • 10. Jordan Lynch, QB Northern Illinois, Sr.
  • 9. Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin, So.
  • 8. Teddy Bridgewater, QB Louisville, Jr.
  • 7. Tajh Boyd, Clemson QB, Sr.
  • 6. Derek Carr, Fresno State QB, Sr.

5. A.J. McCarron, Alabama QB, Sr.

AP Photo/Dave Martin

Stats: 1862 yards, completion percentage 69.4%, 16 touchdown passes, three interceptions.

Why: As I said before the season, McCarron’s Heisman candidacy is based more on a lifetime-achievement award status than what he’s done this season. The No. 1 Crimson Tide are barreling towards a third-straight national title this season at 8-0. In Alabama’s biggest game of the year, McCarron was everything Nick Saban needed him to be. The Mobile, Ala. native completed 20 of 29 pass attempts for 334 yards and four touchdowns.

Alabama hasn’t needed him to throw the ball this much year (what else is new?), but he’ll get his chance this weekend to prove once again that he belongs in the conversation with a primetime clash against No. 13 LSU. If McCarron keeps Alabama on track, and continues to not turn the ball over, then he will be sitting pretty to be a Heisman finalist.

4. Bryce Petty, Baylor QB, Jr.

Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Stats: 2,453 yards passing, completion percentage 69.3%, 18 touchdown passes, one interception and six rushing touchdowns.

Why: What Baylor is doing on offense this season is incredible. The Bears lead the country in scoring offense with an average of 63.9 points per game. Petty leads the country in passer efficiency rating with 219.0 (next closest is Jameis Winston at 201.1). The Texan is averaging 360.9 yards of total offense per game (good for fifth best in the nation).

The reason that Petty isn’t higher on the list, and 7-0 Baylor is just No. 6 in the BCS, is that the Bears have had a light schedule to this point in the year. The next three weeks will prove how legit Petty and Baylor really are. First up is No. 10 Oklahoma on Thursday night, followed by No. 25 Texas Tech and No. 14 Oklahoma State. Petty may also be penalized by voters who think that running back Lache Seastrunk (869 yards rushing, 9.1 avg. and 12 total TDs) is the most impressive Bear.

3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB, RS So.

Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports

Stats: 2,867 yards passing, completion percentage 72.5%, 26 touchdown passes, eight interceptions, 564 yards rushing and eight touchdowns

Why: Last year’s Heisman trophy winner has had a pretty incredible follow-up season in College Station. Texas A&M is averaging 49 points per game, he’s completing an absurd 72.5% of his passes and ranks third in the country with a passer efficiency rating of 185.0. Manziel ranks third in the country in total offense per game, with an average of 381.2 yards per game.

He was incredible in a loss to No. 1 Alabama, throwing for 464 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, as well as rushing for 98 yards in the seven-point loss. The only thing that will keep Johnny Football from winning a second-straight Heisman is the Aggies defense. TAMU can’t stop anyone on the defensive side of the ball and it’s led to a 7-2 record with LSU and Missouri still left to play.

2. Jameis Winston, Florida State QB, RS Fr.

AP Photo/Phil Sears

Stats: 2,502 yards passing, completion percentage 70.3%, 24 touchdown passes, six interceptions, 153 yards rushing and three touchdowns

Why: There isn’t a bigger story in college football this season than Famous Jameis. The redshirt freshman has demolished expectations and hype placed on him before he even took a single snap. he’s completing 70.3 percent of his passes and ranks second in the country in passing efficiency with a rating of 201.1. The goofy, 6-foot-4, 228-pound signal caller isn’t a huge rushing threat but he has proven difficult to bring down. Multiple times this seasons he’s escaped from all-but certain sacks only to find a receiver down field for a big score.

Against then-No.3-Clemson, Winston went on the road and completed 22 of 34 pass attempts for 444 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while also scoring a rushing TD. Just how good has he been? Last week when he completed 21 of 29 pass attempts for 325 yards, a TD and two interceptions against Miami it was considered and off-game for the freshman. Winston will put up video game numbers the next three weeks for undefeated FSU.

1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB, RS So.

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Stats: 2,281 yards passing, Completion Percentage 64%, 20 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions, 551 yards rushing and nine TDs

Why: The Ducks quarterback has been incredibly effective this season. He ranks fifth in the country in passing efficiency with a rating of 178.5. Zero is the biggest number for Mariota at this point in the year. Oregon is 8-0 on the year and currently sits at No. 3 in the BCS, while the Hawaii native has thrown NO interceptions in 225 pass attempts this season.

He hasn’t been bad on the ground either, averaging 9.1 yards per carry. A big performance on Thursday against No. 5 Stanford on the road could all but wrap up the award for the Mariota.

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2 thoughts on “Heisman Hopefuls

  1. While i would probably agree, both Winston and Manziel run a riskier offense. Both throw it downfield far more, which creates more opportunities for mistakes

    • No doubt, I don’t think either are punished for the interceptions they’ve thrown. But I don’t care if all 225 passes have been bubble screens, to not have one picked off, not one bounce out of a receiver’s hands to a defender’s, that’s pretty impressive.

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