Here is the week 4 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
Mariota had a career passing day against Tennessee in a little over two-and-a-half quarters. He’s now on pace to have 4,900 yards of total offense and 47 total touchdowns by the time the Heisman vote is due, which puts him right in the wheelhouse of what voters have been looking for of late. His candidacy is helped further by the emergence of Washington as a ranked team. If Mariota guides Oregon through the gauntlet of UW, UCLA and Stanford during the four-week stretch from mid-October to early November, he’ll have three wins over ranked teams to burnish his resume and he could conceivably coast to the Heisman from that point. Working in his favor so far are two good performances in wins over BCS-conference opponents and Oregon’s status as the main challenger to Alabama for the national title.
Last Game: 23/33, 456 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints, 6 carries, 27 yards, 1 TD in a 59-14 win over Tennessee
Season Stats: 49/82, 889 yards, 59.8%, 7 TDs, 0 Ints, 178.99 rating, 15 carries, 262 yards, 17.5 ypc, 4 TDs
Next Opponent: California
2. Tajh Boyd, Sr., QB, Clemson
Boyd had off this past week, but Clemson plays against NC State this Thursday night, which means he’ll have a prime-time slot to showcase his talents to Heisman voters. A big game against the Wolfpack would bolster his national profile and get him back on a good statistical pace. Whatever the case, it’ll help if he goes on a tear in the weeks leading up to Clemson’s mid-October showdown with FSU.
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
3. AJ McCarron, Sr., QB, Alabama
McCarron showed he could go toe-to-toe with Johnny Manziel, throwing for a career-high 334 yards and four touchdowns in a thrilling victory over the Aggies. I think a lot of people came away impressed with how McCarron looked in this game and he has most likely shed the ‘game manager’ label that has saddled him for most of his career. At the very least, voters know he is capable of putting up big numbers when he needs to. This performance puts him back into contention and if he can close out strong, then he’ll make it to New York.
Last Game: 20/29, 334 yards, 4 TD, 0 Ints in 49-42 win over No. 6 Texas A&M
Season Stats: 30/52, 444 yards, 57.7%, 5 TDs, 1 Ints, 157.29 rating
Next Game: Colorado State
4. Teddy Bridgewater, Jr., QB, Louisville
Bridgewater had an average game (for him) against Kentucky, throwing for 250 yards and one touchdown in a rather lackluster Louisville performance. Since we are used to seeing prolific production out of him, it was a bit of a letdown. It certainly did not help his Heisman chances as he needs to have a ridiculous statistical season in order to have a chance to win. Luckily, he’s got a very easy schedule ahead and he should get back on track.
Last Game: 16/28, 250 yards, 1 TDs, 0 Ints in a 27-14 win over Kentucky
Season Stats: 62/88, 1,002 yards, 70.5%, 10 TDs, 1 Ints, 201.33 rating, 9 rushes, 35 yards, 0 TDs
Next Opponent: Florida International
5. Todd Gurley, So., RB, Georgia
Gurley had off last week and will play North Texas Saturday before taking on LSU in what should be a pivotal moment in his Heisman campaign. He’s already the top running back candidate for the Heisman, but a huge performance against the Tigers would conceivably vault him into serious contention.
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 had off last week and he’ll have a tune up against North Texas before taking on LSU. As with Gurley, the game against the Tigers will help determine the arc of his candidacy going forward. If he leads UGA to another big win while getting good production out of his arm, he’ll be back in the upper echelon of Heisman contenders.
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. Brett Hundley, So., QB, UCLA
Hundley showed a lot of poise in leading UCLA back from a 21-3 deficit against Nebraska. Once he got rolling the UCLA offense was unstoppable and he uncorked some great throws as the Bruins scored 38 unanswered points to win 41-21 in Lincoln. This game established Hundley as the prime challenger to Mariota on the West Coast. UCLA should be 5-0 when it travels to Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks. Those games will make or break his campaign.
Last Game: 16/24, 294 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Ints, 19 carries, 61 yards, 0 TDs in 41-21 win at Nebraska
Season Stats: 38/57, 568 yards, 66.7%, 5 TDs, 1 Ints, 175.82 rating, 26 carries, 124 yards, 4.8 ypc, 2 TDs
Next Game: New Mexico State
8. Bryce Petty, Jr., QB, Baylor
Baylor was off last week but Petty gets a chance to resume his torrid pace against Louisiana-Monroe. With Texas looking down and Oklahoma still working out quarterback issues, Baylor seems to be a logical contender for the Big 12 title. The Bears should be 7-0 when it takes on ranked teams Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in consecutive weeks. If Petty leads Baylor through that gauntlet unscathed, he’ll emerge as a prime Heisman contender.
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
9. Kevin Hogan, So., QB, Stanford
Hogan was typically efficient against Army, throwing for 188 yards and three scores on 18 attempts. It looks like Stanford has been mostly vanilla on offense in the early going as it prepares for its Pac-12 schedule. Hogan will get his first true test this week as Stanford hosts a dangerous Arizona State team. A big game against the Sun Devils should push him up this list.
Last Game: 11/18, 188 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Ints, 4 carries, 15 yds, in 34-20 win over Army
Season Stats: 28/45, 395 yards, 5 TDs, 1 Ints, 168.19 rating, 7 carries, 32 yds, 4.6 ypc
Next Opponent: at Army
Others to watch: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon; Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor; Jameis Winston, QB, FSU; Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State