Here are the games that should affect the Heisman race the most this weekend…
No. 12 Florida at Miami – Duke Johnson leads the nation in rushing after one week. If he has a huge game against the Gators and leads the Canes to a win while staying at or near the top of the rushing chart after week two, then he’ll officially become a bonafide Heisman candidate.
South Carolina State at No. 4 Clemson – The outcome of this game is not in doubt, but it’s the first game that Boyd will play as a prime Heisman contender, so I’m curious to see if he can build on what he did last week against Georgia. This game gives him an opportunity to pad his numbers a bit, so we’ll see how much he takes advantage of that.
No. 2 Oregon at Virginia – A rare appearance in the Eastern time zone gives Marcus Mariota a chance to impress Heisman voters in the Mid-Atlantic and surrounding regions. Come Heisman voting time, a lot of voters in the area might think back to this game for reference, so he needs to play well and lead his team to a comfortable win.
No. 8 Louisville vs. Eastern Kentucky – As with the Clemson-South Carolina State game, this outcome isn’t in doubt, but it gives Teddy Bridgewater a chance to improve the pace of his production. If he’s going to win the Heisman, he needs crazy numbers, so he needs to pile up a bunch of touchdowns in what should be limited playing time.
San Diego State at No. 3 Ohio State – This should be a good tune up for Braxton Miller before Ohio State heads to the Bay Area to take on Cal next week. He needs to be dynamic running and passing against the Aztecs to get on pace for the kind of numbers he needs to win the Heisman.
Buffalo at No. 23 Baylor – Can either Bryce Petty or Lache Seastrunk emerge as a Heisman candidate? There’s a chance this game will clue us in on which one of the two is more likely to be that guy.
Sam Houston State at No. 7 Texas A&M – This is the first full game of the year for Johnny Manziel. Ironically, he may not play much more than he did last week, given the opponent, which should further hurt his numbers and handicap his chances to win another Heisman.
No. 15 Texas at BYU – David Ash had a big game last week against New Mexico State, but Provo and a tough Cougar defense will be a good proving ground for the Longhorns quarterback. If he has another game like he did last week, then he might start getting some Heisman buzz.
San Jose State at No. 5 Stanford – Stanford finally debuts and we’ll get a chance to see just how much Kevin Hogan has improved over last season. We’ll also get a look at David Fales, who could emerge as a dark horse candidate by leading the Spartans to the upset.
Heisman Game of the Week
No. 6 South Carolina at No. 11 Georgia – Three potential Heisman candidates will duke it out in this one: South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney and Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley. This is a make-or-break game for Murray’s Heisman hopes and ,you could say the same for Clowney, too. Both need to step up big-time to show they are still worthy of serious consideration. The wild card is Gurley, who could come out of this game as the top running back candidate in the race. Whatever the case, we’ll be able to whittle down our list of candidates a bit after this one.