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1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Last Week: 277 passing yards & 2 touchdowns in win vs. Syracuse
Outlook: In one of the season’s most efficient performances, Winston completed his first 11 passes en route to leading Florida State over Syracuse. He finished the day completing 19-of-21 passes. Despite the performance, Winston’s Heisman standing is in serious jeopardy. Earlier this week, TMZ reported that the state attorney’s office in Florida is investigating Winston in connection with an alleged sexual assault. This is obviously a serious situation. As of this article, the facts are still unfolding, so I’m going to refrain from presuming anything until more facts are available.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Last Week: Idle
Outlook: The Aggies have back-to-back road games against top 25 opponents to close out their regular-season. The first is against LSU and the other is against Missouri. Like most of Texas A&M games, both will probably involve a ton of scoring. This gives Manziel the opportunity to pad his stats. In addition, winning back-to-back road games against ranked SEC teams is not an easy feat to achieve. The make or break stretch of Manziel’s Heisman candidacy is about to begin.
3. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Last Week: 335 passing yards & 5 touchdowns (2 rushing) in win vs. Texas Tech
Outlook: Early in the first quarter, it looked as if Baylor was in for an upset. However, Petty steadied the ship and the Bears rebounded with little trouble. This marks the first time in school history in which Baylor started the season 9-0. Next week, they’ll face their toughest opponent of the year when they play Oklahoma State. It’s possible (if not likely) this game decides who goes to the Fiesta Bowl.
4. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Last Week: 288 passing yards & 3 touchdowns in win vs. Utah
Outlook: After a woeful showing against Stanford, Mariota bounced back with a strong performance against Utah. More important, USC’s victory over Stanford opened the door for Oregon to reach the Pac-12 championship. If the Ducks capitalize, then Mariota will have an extra game to make his case for the Heisman. He’s still a long-shot candidate, but last week, he didn’t have much of a path. Now he has one, albeit it’s a very small one.
5. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Last Week: 187 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, & 2 interceptions in win at Mississippi State
Outlook: This week is a good example as to why McCarron shouldn’t win the Heisman. He played poorly. He threw two interceptions for the first time this season and Alabama scored a season-low 20 points. They still won, though. Compare that to Manziel, who needs to put up 300-400 yards each week to give his team an opportunity to win. It’s not even close. Simply put, Manziel’s more valuable to Texas A&M than McCarron is to Alabama. One team wins or loses based on how the quarterback plays ala Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. The other is simply another piece to the puzzle ala Alex Smith in Kansas City. If McCarron’s not the best player in his own conference, then he doesn’t deserve to win the Heisman.
On the Bubble
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Melvin Gordon III, RB, Wisconsin
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State