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Row12.com - A Community of Sports Writers and Fans!                                               ***Attention Writers***
Heisman Watch: An Improbable Race
By Matt Horkman

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Last Week: 327 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, & 1 interception in win at Florida

Outlook: The deadline for Heisman voters to cast their ballot is December 9. As of this posting, a decision regarding Winston’s legal status remains up in the air. You’re innocent until proven guilty in this country. However, the Heisman doesn’t fall under any legal precedent. Unless a decision comes down before December 9, voters are simply going to have to make a judgment call. 

Stock: Steady

2. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Last Week: 360 total yards (39 passing) & 4 touchdowns (1 passing) in win vs. Western Michigan

Outlook: This year’s late-season surge comes from Lynch. The NIU signal caller has always lurked in the Heisman race. In fact, he appeared on my preseason top 10, but a weak schedule and a strong group of candidates put him in the backseat. There’s been a calming period, though, as several quarterbacks turned in underwhelming performances. Somebody needed to benefit from this development and Lynch is that somebody. He’s coming off an amazing performance against Western Michigan, where he rushed for 321 yards. He’s now No. 3 in rushing among all players. Northern Illinois is also one more win away from securing a bid to their second consecutive BCS bowl game.

Stock: Up

3. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Last Week: 206 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, & 1 interception in win at TCU

Outlook: Petty hasn’t played a bad game all year, yet his Heisman buzz took a major slide following a loss to Oklahoma State. In terms of the media’s speculation, his fall was more significant than any other signal caller’s was. A victory over Texas in the season finale, however, and Petty’s on the verge of doing something even Robert Griffin III never accomplished at Baylor. And that’s lead the Bears to a BCS bowl game. Losses from Clemson, Fresno State, and Wisconsin have opened the door for Baylor to play in a BCS bowl game. Under those circumstances, Petty deserves to be on any Heisman ballot.

Stock: Up

4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Last Week: 216 total yards (21 rushing) & 1 touchdown in loss at No. 5 Missouri

Outlook: Sometimes it’s when you lose and not if you lose. Manziel’s big moment came in September. It was a 562-yard day against then No. 1 Alabama. Texas A&M came up short, but everybody left the field talking about Manziel. If that performance came in November instead of September, then Manziel probably wins the Heisman.

Stock: Down

5. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Last Week: 277 passing yards & 3 touchdowns in loss at No. 4 Auburn

Outlook: Thanks to Cade Foster‘s three missed field goals, McCarron will not win the Heisman. The Alabama quarterback played the exact game he needed in order to win the Heisman. Even a doubter like me, who does not believe he should win the Heisman, was impressed. His 99-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper early in the fourth quarter is a highlight that could’ve rivaled Desmond Howard’s punt return against Ohio State in 1991. Instead of a McCarron Heisman surge, though, we got the most incredible finish in college football since California beat Stanford in 1982. There was no band on the field for Chris Davis’ touchdown return off an attempted field goal, but make no mistake about it, that play altered the course of college football’s history. It also ended McCarron’s Heisman candidacy.

Stock: Down

6. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Last Week: 286 total yards (153 rushing), 5 touchdowns (3 rushing), & 1 interception in win at MichiganBraxton Miller

Outlook: No team benefited from Saturday’s outcomes more than Ohio State did. The Buckeyes are now one win away from playing in the BCS championship game and Miller’s back in the Heisman race, albeit he remains a long shot. First, he’ll need an impressive performance against Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. Michigan State’s defense has an outstanding reputation, so a strong showing would elevate him. In addition, he’d need losses from Northern Illinois and possibly Baylor. Finally, he’d need enough voters to vote his way because of Winston’s off-field situation. It’s an improbable scenario, but this year’s college football season has been full of improbabilities.

Stock: Up

On the Bubble
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College

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