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1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Last Week: 394 total yards (67 rushing) & 3 touchdowns (1 rushing) in win vs. Washington State
Outlook: You went to bed believing Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would topple Mariota as the No. 1 Heisman candidate. You awoke to find that Mariota threw for another 300-plus yards, didn’t turn the ball over, and Oregon dropped 62 points on Washington State. Business as usual on the west coast. Business is about to pickup, however, with Oregon playing UCLA and Stanford in the next two weeks.
2. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Last Week: 444 passing yards, 4 touchdowns (1 rushing), & 1 interception in win at No. 3 Clemson
Outlook: Not many people saw the 51-14 drubbing Florida State gave Clemson coming. Winston’s performance was a statement heard loud and clear. The freshman redshirt quarterback handled the road environment like a seasoned pro in leading the Seminoles to arguably the most impressive win of the year from any team. This victory puts FSU in the national title conversation and it legitimizes Winston as a Heisman contender.
3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Last Week: 502 total yards (48 rushing), 5 touchdowns (1 rushing), & 1 interception in loss vs. No. 24 Auburn
Outlook: It was another week and another masterful performance from Manziel. However, his late-game heroics fell short as Auburn defenders sacked him with seconds remaining. Nevertheless, Manziel has yet to play a bad game in 2013. In fact, Manziel may have been at this best in losses to Alabama and Auburn. He has 1,064 total yards (146 rushing), 10 touchdowns (1 rushing), and four interceptions in those games.
4. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Last Week: 341 passing yards & 2 touchdowns in loss at Central Florida
Outlook: Already a long-shot candidate, Bridgewater’s down to playing for an invite to the Heisman ceremony after Central Florida‘s defeat of Louisville. The loss marks the first of the year for the Cardinals, but given their soft schedule, they would’ve needed to run the table to give Bridgewater even a shot at winning the Heisman.
5. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Last Week: 343 passing yards & 2 touchdowns in win vs. Iowa State
Outlook: The biggest benefactor from Saturday upsets, Petty is on pace to throw for 4,046 yards in just 12 games. That’s an average of about 337 passing yards per game. In other words, he has the production to make a legit Heisman run. His schedule’s been lacking, however. Like Louisville, Baylor has not played a ranked opponent this year, which is why he falls in the same category as Bridgewater. That could change two weeks from Thursday, though, when the Bears host Oklahoma in a game that’ll probably decide the Big 12.
6. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Last Week: 156 passing yards, 1 touchdown, & 2 interceptions in loss vs. No. 5 Florida State
Outlook: Turnovers were too heavy a burden for Clemson to overcome on Saturday night. With all eyes on Memorial Stadium, Clemson gave one of the biggest choke jobs in recent memory. Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner forced two first-quarter fumbles, allowing the Seminoles to jump out to a 17-0 lead. It was over from there. As is Clemson’s national title dreams. As is Boyd’s Heisman aspirations.
7. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Last Week: 112 rushing yards & 2 touchdowns in win vs. Iowa State
Outlook: The biggest obstacle standing in Seastrunk’s way might be Petty. It’s unlikely two players from one team will receive an invite to New York, especially in a crowded field, so Seastrunk will have to prove he’s more valuable to Baylor than Petty is. Right now, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
8. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Last Week: 180 passing yards & 3 touchdowns in win vs. Arkansas
Outlook: With Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray being on losing sides, McCarron is able to re-emerge with some Heisman momentum. Because he’s not asked to put up big numbers, his momentum likely won't last. In addition, his best game was against Texas A&M, which was Alabama’s second game of the year. Heisman voters will have difficulties remembering his 334 yards and four touchdowns, especially since more people were talking about Manziel afterwards. McCarron is vying for an invite and nothing more.
On the Bubble
Melvin Gordon III, RB, Wisconsin
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia