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1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Last Week: 380 total yards (69 rushing) & 4 touchdowns (1 rushing) in win vs. Wake Forest
Outlook: After a lackluster performance against South Carolina State, Boyd’s bounced back in his last two games, accounting for 662 total yards (107 rushing), seven touchdowns (one rushing), and no turnovers. Clemson’s schedule features four conference games in October, highlighted by an October 19 showdown with Florida State.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Last Week: 320 total yards (59 rushing) & 2 touchdowns in win at Arkansas
Outlook: Potentially, this was the first of two consecutive road wins that could put Manziel back in the top spot. His production is currently off the charts with 1,803 total yards and 17 total scores. Texas A&M is also averaging a ridiculous 49.2 points per game. Unfortunately, their defense is allowing 30.8 points per game, making the margin of error for Manziel small. If he were to struggle, Texas A&M loses. It’s as simple as that.
3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Last Week: Idle
Outlook: October marks an important month for Louisville. In an eight-day span, they’ll host Rutgers and Central Florida, who are two of the toughest teams on their schedule. In the month of September, Bridgewater threw for 1,214 yards and 14 touchdowns, while completing 71.8 percent of his passes. The Cardinals are also undefeated.
4. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Last Week: 298 passing yards, 5 touchdowns (1 rushing), & 1 interception in win vs. No. 6 LSU
Outlook: An ankle injury to running back Todd Gurley, plus, a poor defensive effort, placed Saturday’s game on Murray’s shoulders. He responded with perhaps his finest collegiate performance, leading Georgia to a 44-41 victory in an instant classic. With 4:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, Murray orchestrated a 75-yard drive in six plays. He connected on a 25-yard game-winning touchdowns pass to wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley with 1:47 remaining. Heisman voters cannot ignore this kind of performance (and win), if Murray‘s a finalist.
5. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Last Week: 147 total yards (33 rushing) & 3 touchdowns in win vs. California
Outlook: Despite the lofty statistics, Oregon needs to start playing quality teams before Mariota is a threat to unseat Manziel. Bridgewater -- who’s beginning to lose his buzz because of Louisville’s weak schedule -- is held to that standard. Unlike Bridgewater, however, Oregon does have several quality opponents in front of them. In two weeks, they play at No. 15 Washington, who has a week off to prepare for the showdown. Games against UCLA, Stanford, and Oregon State also offer Mariota opportunities to enhance his Heisman credentials.
6. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Last Week: 180 passing yards & 1 touchdown in win vs. No. 21 Ole Miss
Outlook: Alabama gave arguably it’s most impressive performance of the season against Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide overwhelmed the Rebels, holding them to 205 total yards. McCarron put forth an efficient effort completing 25 of his first 28 passes in a game that was more about Alabama re-establishing their defensive dominance over the SEC than it was about McCarron’s Heisman prospects.
7. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Last Week: Idle
Outlook: Seastrunk’s major red flag is that Baylor’s played just three games. The Bears have had two off weeks in the last four, making them difficult to judge. Still, with Oklahoma State falling to West Virginia, they’re potentially the biggest threat to Oklahoma in the Big 12. The two teams collide on a Thursday night in early November.
8. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Last Week: 372 passing yards & 3 touchdowns in loss at No. 9 Georgia
Outlook: A losing effort doesn’t takeaway the gutsy performance Mettenberger gave Saturday afternoon. LSU’s passing game looked unstoppable with wide receiver Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham on the receiving end of several clutch throws. The only mistake Mettenberger made was giving the ball back to Murray with just over four minutes remaining. This performance was confirmation that his early start (1,398 passing yards and 13 touchdowns) is legitimate.
On the Bubble
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State