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1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Last Week: 159 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, & 1 interception in win at Wake Forest
Outlook: It was far from a strong performance, but Florida State’s 59-3 thumping of Wake Forest won’t factor into the Heisman decision. The win clinched a spot for Florida State in the ACC championship. More important, if Florida State wins out, they’ll play in the national championship, giving Winston every attributed needed to win the Heisman.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Last Week: 493 total yards (47 rushing), 5 touchdowns, & 3 interceptions in win vs. Mississippi State
Outlook: In 2012, Manziel won the Heisman with 3,706 passing yards, 1,410 rushing yards, and 47 total touchdowns. This season, Manziel’s on pace for 3,976 passing yards, 733 rushing yards, and 47 total touchdowns. Those numbers are comparable to last season, but not enough to trump Winston if the Florida State quarterback leads his team to a 13-0 record.
3. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Last Week: 249 total yards & 5 touchdowns (2 rushing) in win vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
Outlook: While he didn’t throw for 300-plus yards for the first time all season, Petty did contribute to all five of Baylor’s touchdowns, as the Bears defeated Oklahoma 41-12. Because of an injury to running back Lache Seastrunk, Petty was able to establish himself as Baylor’s marquee player. This was a statement win for Baylor’s program and it has put them in the national conversation. As a result, Petty’s Heisman candidacy has received a boost.
4. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Last Week: 250 passing yards & 2 touchdowns in loss at No. 5 Stanford
Outlook: In Oregon’s biggest game of the year, Mariota turned in his worst performance, though he did play with a bum knee. Regardless, the fallout from this defeat is significant. Not only is Oregon not in the BCS title picture, but they probably won‘t win the Pac-12 championship. Stanford could be Rose Bowl bound once again because they now own the tiebreaker over Oregon. As they did a year ago, Stanford defeated the Ducks by playing keep away. They ran the ball well, while stopping Oregon’s vaunted running game. Assuming he’s healthy, Mariota can rebound and finish in the top three, but that’s a major disappointment from a player who was perceived as the frontrunner entering November.
5. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Last Week: 179 passing yards & 3 touchdowns in win vs. No. 13 LSU
Outlook: CBS was pushing McCarron’s Heisman candidacy during their telecast on Saturday night. There’s no question that McCarron’s positioning himself for a top five finish. Players above him are beginning to lose, while he continues to win. In fact, his 34-2 record as a starter is his best argument. Alabama is college football’s most-talented program, however. McCarron’s been a starter since 2011 and it’s unlikely he’d support such a record if he played for Baylor, Florida State, Oregon, or Texas A&M over that same span.
On the Bubble
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Melvin Gordon III, RB, Wisconsin
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois