Week 5 Heisman Watch


Here is the week 5 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 and Oregon had off this past weekend. Nothing of note happened in the Heisman race during his break, so he remains the front runner heading into the Ducks’ game with California. His production should be out-of-this world by the time Oregon takes on Washington, UCLA and Stanford in the span of four weeks starting in mid-October. If he gets through that stretch with his team unscathed, he will have built up enough of a cushion by then to be able to weather a sub par game, or even a loss, at a later point in the season. He is currently on pace to have a better statistical season than Johnny Manziel did last year.

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

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,848 passing yards, 30 TDs, 1,135 rushing yards, 17 TDs

2. Tajh Boyd, Sr., QB, Clemson

Boyd had a solid game against NC State but he needs to start picking up his production pace a bit so he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. He’s got three games to get things going before taking on what should be a top 10 Florida State team in mid-October. Given the normal standards of Chad Morris’s offense, I have no doubt that Boyd’s numbers should improve significantly in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the longer Clemson remains undefeated, the better Boyd’s chances are of winning.

Last Game: 24/37, 244 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints, 13 carries, 38 yards, 0 TDs in a 26-14 win over North Carolina State

Season Stats: 56/90, 683 yards, 62.2%, 6 TDs, 0 Ints, 147.97 rating, 32 carries, 90 yards, 2.81 ypc, 3 TDs

Next Opponent: Wake Forest

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 2,951 passing yards, 26 TDs, 390 rushing yards, 13 TDs

3. AJ McCarron, Sr., QB, Alabama

McCarron had a solid game against Colorado State, though there are still issues with the Alabama offense as a whole. His completion percentage is starting to rebound from a slow start, but he needs more touchdown passes. The next five opponents should afford him the opportunity to improve his numbers and then he gets a mega-matchup with LSU to make his case. He remains the backup option if more exciting guys like Mariota and Boyd mess up.

Last Game: 20/26, 258 yards, 1 TD, 1 Ints in a 31-6 win over Colorado State

Season Stats: 50/78, 702 yards, 64.1%, 6 TDs, 2 Ints, 159.95 rating

Next Game: Mississippi

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,042 passing yards, 26 TDs, 9 Ints

4. Teddy Bridgewater, Jr., QB, Louisville

Bridgewater got back on track on Saturday, throwing four touchdowns in a shellacking of FIU. He’s now on pace to have 42 touchdown passes and just three interceptions by the time the Heisman vote is due. Those are obviously fantastic numbers, but I don’t believe they would be good enough to win the Heisman with his schedule. I still say he needs around 50 total touchdowns to win, which would require that he average 4.5 TDs per game the rest of the way, although a 47-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio would no doubt be attractive, too.

Last Game: 17/22, 212 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints in a 72-0 win over FIU

Season Stats: 79/110, 1,214 yards, 71.8%, 14 TDs, 1 Ints, 204.70 rating, 12 rushes, 36 yards, 0 TDs

Next Opponent: at Temple

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,636 passing yards, 42 touchdowns, 3 interceptions

5. Todd Gurley, So., RB, Georgia

Naturally, Gurley had his worst game of the season against North Texas, which makes his candidacy a bit more vulnerable heading into the LSU game. He’ll have to come up big against the Tigers if he wants to remain the No. 1 running back candidate in this race. With his teammate, Aaron Murray, starting to play at a high level, it could soon be clear where the focus of the Bulldog offense lies. Gurley needs to be seen as the engine that powers Georgia if he wants to win the Heisman. So it’s up to him to show that this Saturday.

Last Game: 21 carries, 91 yards, 1 TD, 2 receptions for 20 yards in a 45-21 win over North Texas

Season Stats: 63 carries, 377 yards, 5.98 ypc, 4 TDs, 4 rec, 29 yds, 1 TD

Next Game: LSU

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 1,638 rushing yards, 17 TDs

6. Aaron Murray, Sr., QB, Georgia

Murray is getting hot and looks to be on his way to a spectacular season. He’s rebounded nicely from the Bulldogs’ opening loss to Clemson and UGA still has a legit shot at getting to the BCS title game if it wins out. This Saturday’s game against LSU could be the last known obstacle in the way of that, since the Bulldogs are likely to be favored over every team on its remaining schedule. If Murray plays well and leads Georgia to victory over the Tigers, then he’ll significantly improve his chances of winning the Heisman.

Last Game: 22/30, 408 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Ints

Season Stats: 59/82, 1,040 yards, 72.0%, 7 TDs, 2 Ints, 201.78 rating, 2 rush TDs

Next Game: LSU

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 4,498 passing yards, 30 TDs, 9 Ints

7. Brett Hundley, So., QB, UCLA

Hundley was a little sloppy against New Mexico State, throwing two interceptions, but they had no bearing in a blowout. He needs to help UCLA avoid disappointment in its next two games, as both Utah and Cal could give the Bruins trouble, and then the ultimate test of his candidacy will come with back-to-back road games with Stanford and Oregon.

Last Game: 23/35, 280 yards, 3 TDs, 2 Ints, 6 carries, 33 yards, 0 TDs in a 59-13 win over New Mexico State

Season Stats: 61/92, 848 yards, 66.3%, 8 TDs, 3 Ints, 165.90 rating, 32 carries, 157 yards, 4.9 ypc, 2 TDs

Next Game: at Utah

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,666 passing yards, 35 TDs, 680 rushing yards, 9 TDs

8. Bryce Petty, Jr., QB, Baylor

Petty continued his torrid pace against Louisiana-Monroe, showing once again why he’s perhaps the best deep-ball thrower in the country. The Baylor offense is producing at an absurd level and Petty makes it look incredibly easy. The big question will be how much he can keep it going once the schedule toughens up. If Petty’s numbers continue to amaze even against the likes of Oklahoma, I think he’ll make it to NYC.

Last Game: 18/27, 351 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints, 5 carries, 26 yards, 1 TD in a 70-7 win over Louisiana-Monroe

Season Stats: 50/67, 1,001 yards, 74.6%, 8 TDs, 0 Ints, 239.53 rating, 10 carries, 37 yards, 2 TDs

Next Game: West Virginia

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 4,008 passing yards, 32 TDs

9. Melvin Gordon, So., RB, Wisconsin

Gordon makes his first appearance on this list by virtue of his production, which could be something special by season’s end. As I explained here, Gordon is averaging 12 yards per carry in his first four games and nearly 11 yards per carry for his entire career at Wisconsin. The wildcard here is Wisconsin itself. Can the Badgers win at least one of their next two games (vs. Ohio State and Northwestern)? If Wisky does so and goes 10-2 while Gordon gets to 2,000 yards in spectacular fashion, he could win.

Last Game: 16 carries, 147 yards, 3 TDs, in a 41-10 win over Purdue.

Season Stats: 53 carries, 624 yards, 7 TDs, 11.77 ypc.

Next Opponent: at Ohio State

Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 1,872 yards, 21 touchdowns

Others to watch: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon; Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor; Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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12 Responses to Week 5 Heisman Watch

  1. TxAg September 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    “He is currently on pace to have a better statistical season than Johnny Manziel did last year.”

    For the record, Johnny Manziel is on pace to have a better statistical season than Johnny Manziel did last year, too. Plus he leads in a very important category; the straw poll. Yet this is apparently not enough for him to crack the top 10.

    • Heismanpundit September 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Manziel is currently on pace for 4,449 yards of total offense and 45 touchdowns by the time the Heisman vote is due. Last year, he had 4,600 yards of total offense and 43 touchdowns at Heisman time. So he’s on about the same pace.

      The Straw Poll is a snapshot of the race right now, not a prediction of how it will turn out.

      • MikeViel September 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

        The fact that he leads in the straw poll means that he has a chance. It’s not as impossible as you think it is. It’s beyond ludicrous that he’s not in your top 10.

  2. Brad September 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Is there a particular reason why HP leaves the #1 player in college football off of their list? He is picked by most media outlets to win the Heisman again this year, yet you don’t have him in your top 10? Do you honestly expect people to consider your site credible? And I am not even an Aggie!

    • Heismanpundit September 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      Yes, because I believe there will never be another two-time Heisman winner. It’s one of my 10 Heismandments.

      I have no worry about my site being deemed credible.

  3. Common Sense September 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Yes you also used to believe that a freshman couldn’t win it… Time to listen to your own straw poll :-/

  4. Karl hungus September 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    These guys are all great football players. But the very best football player in the country is Johnny Manziel, plain and simple. Leave him off your list if you want to, but you are kidding yourself if you think any of these guys are as good as he is.

  5. Chris September 24, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Hey, I love that you are sticking to your guns on Johnny. You’re most likely dead wrong for leaving him out of the top 5 knowing barring injury he will almost certainly finish in the top 3 in voting if not repeat. He also disproved the freshmen and the unknown commandments so you know it’s very possible he could break another one. But you won’t give in and that is admirable to a certain extent. I have to ask though, will you vote for him if he is deserving in spite of your commandment at the end of the year with your actual vote?

    • Heismanpundit September 24, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      Sigh. I really wish people would read what I write. Is it too much to ask?

      This list is not my personal preference, nor is it a prediction of how the race is going to finish. It is a list of players who have the best chance of actually winning.

      I am not saying that Johnny Manziel can’t finish 2nd or 3rd because I don’t have him on this list. I’m merely saying that he can’t WIN.

      Yes, I would vote for Manziel if I thought he was deserving, just like I voted for him last year. But this list reflects the way the season is shaping up and how voters behave.

    • Chris September 26, 2013 at 6:10 am #

      Yeah poor wording on my part. Finishing top 3 to me means they have a chance of winning. But I get that you don’t see this race in general terms. Just like last year towards the end you said definitively Te’o has NO CHANCE and still voted him second. So I see where you are coming from.

      But you have to understand where these commenters are coming from without assuming they are clueless and have poor reading comprehension. (Which I’m sure is actually true for some), Manziel has broken your commandments before, so this early in the season it’s not out of the question he repeats; even in the back of your mind, you know that’s true.

      So if Mariotta and Manziel finish with 5000 yards, and 50TDs, Johnny higher passer rating, Marcus higher YPC, no one else in the country close. Who is 1 and who is 2 on your ballot? I’ll understand if that’s confidential information

  6. Karl hungus September 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    I guess that is where we disagree. He can win. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t, but he certainly can.


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