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Heisman Watch: And the winner is…
By Matt Horkman

Jameis Winston

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Season Stats: 4,013 total yards (193 rushing), 42 total touchdowns (4 rushing), & 10 interceptions

Prediction: After authorities decided not to charge Winston for sexual assault, the Florida State quarterback is guaranteed to walkout of New York with the Heisman trophy. He’ll be the second freshman in history to win the award. Winston directed one of the most outstanding offenses in recent memory. The Seminoles lowest scoring output of the season was 37 against Florida. They finished the year averaging a resounding 53 points per game. The highlight of Winston’s season came on October 19, when he led Florida State to a 51-14 road victory over a Clemson team that’ll play Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. On that night, Winston completed 22-of-34 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns. He also elevated his Heisman candidacy.

2. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Season Stats: 4,036 total yards (192 rushing), 41 total touchdowns (11 rushing), & 2 interceptions

Prediction: It’s disappointing that Petty did not receive an invite to New York for Saturday’s Heisman trophy ceremony. He led Baylor to their first ever Big 12 championship and their first ever BCS Bowl appearance. He commanded college football’s No. 1 offense in both total yards (7,494) and points per game (53.3). Additionally, his production practically mirrors Winston’s and he threw fewer interceptions than Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron did. Petty will not win the Heisman, but he should finish no less than No. 3 in this race. If I had a ballot, he’d be a very solid No. 2.

3. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Season Stats: 1,621 rushing yards & 22 touchdowns

Prediction: Since November, Mason’s rushed for 868 yards and 13 touchdowns. Against the SEC’s two best run defenses (Alabama and Missouri), he ran for 468 yards and five touchdowns. His 304 yards against Missouri was an SEC championship record. Because of his late-season surge, Mason played his way onto most ballots.

4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Season Stats: 4,418 total yards (686 rushing), 41 touchdowns (8 rushing), & 13 interceptions

Prediction: The most exciting college football player in the country, Manziel will not join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman trophy winner. He had an excellent opportunity to make this race interesting with strong performances against LSU and Missouri, but hand and shoulder injuries were too problematic to overcome. Timing is everything and Manziel's timing was off this season. Last year, he benefited from leading Texas A&M to a November upset of Alabama. This year, his major performance came in September, when he totaled 562 yards against the Crimson Tide. Manziel would’ve generated more support had that performance happened in November.

5. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Season Stats: 4,866 passing yards, 48 touchdowns, & 7 interceptions

Prediction: Like Petty, Carr also didn’t receive an invite to New York for the Heisman trophy presentation. The Fresno State quarterback would’ve been a worthy invitee, though, as he threw for 400-plus yards in eight of his 12 games this season. Carr may get the last laugh, however. With good size, arm strength, accuracy, and an unbelievable release, the Fresno State quarterback has his sights set on the NFL.

6. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Season Stats: 4,557 total yards (1,881 rushing), 45 touchdowns (22 rushing), & 7 interceptions

Prediction: The antithesis of a late-season surge is a late-season collapse. That’s what happened to Lynch in the MAC championship game. He turned the ball over twice and his team lost 47-27, eliminating themselves from BCS Bowl contention. Still, Lynch deserves his invite to New York. Northern Illinois finished No. 2 in offense with 6,962 total yards. Lynch accounted for about 65 percent of those yards himself. That’s about two-thirds of an offense depending on one player. Now that’s value.

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