Here is the week 7 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 put up a combined seven touchdowns in less than three full quarters of play as Oregon scored over 50 points for the fifth-straight time (only the second time this has happened in college football history). The ‘preseason’ portion of Mariota’s season now draws to a close with him on a pace to have one of the best seasons in college football history. He is on pace for 54 combined touchdowns by the time the Heisman vote is due, which is ahead of what Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel produced in their trophy-winning years. The portion of the season where he can all-but clinch the Heisman by proving his worth against quality foes now begins, with games versus ranked teams Washington, UCLA and Stanford in the next four weeks.
Last Game: 16/27, 355 yards, 5 TDs, 0 Ints, 7 carries, 43 yards, 2 TDs in a 57-16 win over Colorado
Season Stats: 76/134, 1,358 yards, 56.7%, 14 TDs, 0 Ints, 176.33 rating, 28 carries, 338 yards, 12 ypc, 7 TDs
Next Opponent: at Washington
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,536 passing yards, 36 TDs, 884 rushing yards, 18 TDs
2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Boyd is starting to go on a tear. He had five touchdown passes and a career-high 455 passing yards in Clemson’s win over Syracuse this past Saturday. Over the last two games, he has 766 yards and nine total touchdowns. He’s currently on pace for 46 total touchdowns, which would be right in the wheelhouse of what recent Heisman winners produced. The matchup two weeks from now with Florida State will be the real key to his Heisman hopes, though. If he leads the Tigers to a win over the Seminoles, it makes it quite possible that Clemson goes undefeated which, in turn, will make Boyd a very attractive candidate to Heisman voters.
Last Game: 20/27, 455 yards, 5 TDs, 2 Ints, 8 carries, -5 yards, 0 TDs in a 49-14 win over Syracuse
Season Stats: 93/141, 1,449 yards, 66%, 14 TDs, 2 Ints, 182.22 rating, 57 carries, 154 yards, 2.7 ypc, 4 TDs
Next Opponent: Boston College
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,770 passing yards, 36 TDs, 5 INTs, 403 rushing yards, 10 TDs
3. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Murray is demonstrating a remarkable resiliency in the face of adversity. His teammates around him are dropping like flies — including UGA’s top two running backs and two of its top three receivers — yet he is still willing his team to victories. Not known for being a runner, he even ripped off a key 57-yard run in the Bulldogs’ dramatic 34-31 win over the Volunteers this past Saturday. If he can guide UGA without a loss the rest of the way, it will come with a very high degree of difficulty and no doubt illustrate his importance to his team. Oh, he also became the SEC’s all-time leading passer against Tennessee. So long as he is the glue holding Georgia together, he’ll be within striking distance of capturing the trophy.
Last Game: 19/35, 196 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints, 3 carries, 53 yards, in a 34-31 win over Tennessee
Season Stats: 98/151, 1,534 yards, 64.9%, 14 TDs, 3 Ints, 176.87 rating, 3 rush TDs
Next Game: Missouri
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,978 passing yards, 36 TDs, 8 Ints, 8 rush TDs
4. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Baylor is quickly becoming one of the stories of this college football season thanks to an offense that has a chance to wind up as the best of all time. Petty is the driver of this machine and his numbers are almost as absurd as his team’s. The narrative surrounding this offense, plus the possibility that Baylor is shaping up to be a serious contender for its first-ever Big 12 title, increases his chances of seriously challenging for the Heisman. The prime difference between what he is doing and what Robert Griffin III did early on when he won the Heisman is that Petty isn’t getting as many chances to produce given the lopsided margins in which his team is involved. That will likely change soon, as Baylor’s schedule gets progressively more difficult, starting with Kansas State this week. Petty hasn’t faced any adversity yet, but he will. How he handles himself when it arises will give us more clues as to his Heisman worthiness.
Last Game: 17/25, 347 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Ints, 4 carries, 23 yards, 1 TD in a 73-42 win over West Virginia
Season Stats: 67/92, 1,348 yards, 72.8%, 10 TDs, 1 Ints, 229.61 rating, 14 carries, 60 yards, 3 TDs
Next Game: at Kansas State
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 4,044 passing yards, 30 TDs, 3 INTs, 180 rush yards, 9 TDs
5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Bridgewater dropped a spot this week because, while he had a very nice game against Temple, he’s not going to win the Heisman by having a bunch of very nice games. Given the paucity of quality opponents on his schedule, he needs to start having amazing games. Right now he is on pace to pretty much do what he did last year, but that’s not going to be enough to get to New York.
Last Game: 25/35, 348 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints in a 30-7 win over Temple
Season Stats: 104/145, 1,562 yards, 71.7%, 16 TDs, 1 Ints, 197.23 rating, 15 rushes, 38 yards, 0 TDs
Next Opponent: Rutgers
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,744 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, 3 interceptions
6. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Hundley was solid in a hard-fought win at Utah on a Thursday night. His 36-yard fourth-quarter touchdown scamper provided his team with the winning margin. He’s maintaining enough quality production to put himself in position to upend the Heisman race in a few weeks by playing well in back-to-back games against Stanford and Oregon. Those two games will ultimately determine his Heisman fate.
Last Game: 17/27, 211 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int, 20 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD in a 34-27 win over Utah
Season Stats: 78/119, 1,059 yards, 65.5%, 9 TDs, 4 Ints, 158.54 rating, 52 carries, 242 yards, 4.7 ypc, 3 TDs
Next Game: California
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,445 passing yards, 29 TDs, 13, INTs, 793 rushing yards, 10 TDs
7. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
McCarron rebounded with a nice statistical game against Georgia State, but he’ll need to go on a tear the rest of the way to make a run at the trophy. The schedule is favorable enough for him to do that before taking on LSU in a true test of his candidacy. If he leads his team past the Tigers, that’ll set up a potential mega-matchup with Georgia in the SEC title game. Anything could happen at that point.
Last Game: 15/16, 166 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints in a 45-3 win over Georgia State
Season Stats: 90/126, 1,048 yards, 71.4%, 10 TDs, 3 Ints, 162.72 rating
Next Game: at Kentucky
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 2,730 passing yards, 26 TDs, 7 Ints
On the cusp: Lache Seastrunk, Baylor; Zach Mettenberger, LSU; Jameis Winston, FSU