Here is the week 3 edition of the 2013 Heismanpundit Heisman Watch. After taking into account the games played so far, these are the players who have the best chance of actually winning the Heisman. This is not a prediction of the final order of the race, nor is it an endorsement of who would or should win if the vote were held today. It’s a long view of the race that takes into account schedule and statistical trends.
1. Marcus Mariota, So., QB, Oregon
It didn’t take long for Mariota to strike against Virginia, as he ripped off a 71-yard touchdown run on Oregon’s fifth play. So far this season he’s averaging a remarkable 26.1 yards per carry. It looks like he’s on his way to a special season (statistically speaking) and when you combine that possibility with Oregon’s status as the No. 2 team in the land, it makes Mariota the player with the best chance of winning the Heisman at this point.
Last Game: 14/28, 199 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 4 carries, 122 yards, 1 TD in a 59-10 win at Virginia
Season Stats: 26/49, 433 yards, 53.1%, 3 TDs, 0 Ints, 147.49 rating, 9 carries, 235 yards, 26.1 ypc, 3 TDs
Next Opponent: Tennessee
2. Braxton Miller, Jr., QB, Ohio State
Miller was hurt on the first series against San Diego State and did not return to play in the game, though school trainers said he was available if needed. It’s very difficult to win the Heisman while missing what amounts to a full game. In modern times, only Charles White and Charlie Ward have been able to pull it off (maybe being named ‘Charles’ helps). However, if Miller comes back this week and has a big game against Cal, he should be right back on track. If he doesn’t play against Cal or he is limited, his Heisman hopes will be kaput.
Last Game: 2/2, 30 yds, 0 TDs, 0 Ints, 1 carry, 5 rush yds, 0 TDs before getting hurt in 42-7 win over SDSU
Season Stats: 17/24, 208 yds, 70.8%, 2 TDs, 1 Ints, 162.80 rating, 18 carries, 82 rush yds, 4.56 ypc, 0 TDs
Next Opponent: at California
3. Tajh Boyd, Sr., QB, Clemson
Boyd really missed an opportunity to pad his numbers against an overmatched opponent this past weekend. To win the Heisman, he needs to have a fantastic season and this game did not help in that regard. He’ll just have to make up for it with a big game this week against NC State.
Last Game: 14/23, 169 yards, 0 TDs, 0 Ints, 6 carries, 10 yards, 1 TDs in a 52-13 win over South Carolina State
Season Stats: 32/53, 439 yards, 60.4%, 3 TDs, 0 Ints, 148.64 rating, 19 carries, 52 yards, 2.74 ypc, 3 TDs
Next Opponent: at North Carolina State
4. Teddy Bridgewater, Jr., QB, Louisville
Bridgewater continued his hot start to the season and he now leads the nation with nine touchdown passes. He’s doing what he has to do to keep his production up to Heisman snuff, but his level of competition is a major liability to his candidacy.
Last Game: 23/32, 397 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints in a 44-7 win over Eastern Kentucky
Season Stats: 46/60, 752 yards, 76.7%, 9 TDs, 1 Ints, 228.12 rating
Next Opponent: at Kentucky
5. Todd Gurley, So., RB, Georgia
Gurley had another strong game, this time against a tough South Carolina defense. He’s definitely established himself as the top running back candidate in the race. If he can have another huge outing against LSU in a few weeks, he’ll make another move up this list.
Last Game: 30 carries, 132 yards, 1 TD, 1 reception for 8 yards, 1 TD, in a 41-30 win over No. 6 South Carolina
Season Stats: 42 carries, 286 yards, 6.81 ypc, 3 TDs, 2 rec, 9 yds, 1 TD
Next Game: North Texas
6. Aaron Murray, Sr., QB, Georgia
Murray played great in leading the Bulldogs to a win over South Carolina and, in the process, he salvaged his Heisman hopes. The schedule sets up nicely the rest of the way, though he’ll have to play well against LSU and in a potential SEC title game showdown to have a real chance to get to New York.
Last Game: 17/23, 309 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints
Season Stats: 37/52, 632 yards, 71.2%, 4 TDs, 1 Ints, 194.77 rating, 1 rush TD
Next Game: North Texas
7. Kevin Hogan, So., QB, Stanford
Hogan had a solid game in Stanford’s opening win over San Jose State. As long as he keeps the Cardinal undefeated and puts up efficient numbers along the way, he’ll be in position to make a late move in the race with some big games against Oregon and Notre Dame.
Last Game: 17/27, 207 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 3 carries, 17 yds, in 34-13 win over San Jose State
Season Stats: 17/27, 207 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 151.80 rating, 3 carries, 17 yds, 5.67 ypc
Next Opponent: at Army
8. AJ McCarron, Sr., QB, Alabama
McCarron had an awful game against Virginia Tech, but that will be forgiven if he plays lights-out in leading the Tide to a win over Texas A&M this Saturday. It’s a chance for McCarron to outshine the defending Heisman winner in a head-to-head matchup. However, if he doesn’t play well against the Aggies, kiss his Heisman hopes goodbye.
Last Game: 10/22, 110 yards, 1 TD, 1 Ints in 35-10 win over Virginia Tech
Season Stats: 10/22, 110 yards, 43.5%, 1 TD, 1 Ints, 89.31 rating
Next Game: at Texas A&M
9. Brett Hundley, So., QB, UCLA
Hundley and the Bruins travel to Nebraska for a high-profile non-conference tilt. It’s a chance for him to show his mental toughness in a hostile environment, which is something Heisman voters look for. If he has another great game and the Bruins beat the Huskers, then he’ll emerge as the main West Coast challenger to Mariota.
Last Game: 22/33, 274 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 7 carries, 63 yards, 2 TDs in 58-20 win over Nevada
Season Stats: 22/33, 274 yards, 66.7%, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 156.42 rating, 7 carries, 63 yards, 9.0 ypc, 2 TDs
Next Game: At Nebraska
10. Bryce Petty, Jr., QB, Baylor
Petty’s numbers have been downright gaudy so far this season and he leads the nation with a ridiculous 16.3 yards per attempts. It looks like Baylor has a decent chance to be 7-0 when it hosts Oklahoma in early November. If Petty’s production is still humming at that point and he validates it with a big game in a win over the Sooners, he’ll jump squarely into the Heisman conversation (not unlike his predecessor, RG3).
Last Game: 13/16, 338 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 2 carries, 8 yards, 1 TD in 70-13 win over Buffalo
Season Stats: 32/40, 650 yards, 80%, 4 TDs, 0 Ints, 249.50 rating, 5 carries, 11 yards, 1 TD
Next Game: Louisiana-Monroe
Others to watch: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor; De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon; Jameis Winston, QB, FSU; Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan