Here is the week 9 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. I’m certain at this point that the Heisman winner will come from this group. 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 kept rolling against Washington State, piling up 394 total yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of play. He remains the front runner in this race and has a chance to pull away from the field with big games against UCLA and Stanford in the next few weeks. He had his first turnover of the season against the Cougars, but his overall touchdown-to-turnover ratio is still an astounding 29 to 1 (he has yet to throw an interception). He’s on pace to have 52 total touchdowns and over 4,700 yards of total offense by the time the Heisman vote is due, which would be one of the great seasons in college football history. As long as Oregon keeps winning and he keeps performing at this level, he’ll remain the strong favorite in this race.
Last Game: 23/32, 327 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 8 carries, 67 yards, 1 TD in a 62-38 win over Washington State
Season Stats: 123/197, 2,051 yards, 62.4%, 19 TDs, 0 Ints, 181.72 rating, 49 carries, 493 yards, 10.0 ypc, 9 TDs
Next Opponent: No. 12 UCLA
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 3,809 passing yards, 35 TDs, 910 rushing yards, 17 TDs
2. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Winston’s eye-popping numbers look even more impressive after passing for 444 yards and three touchdowns in FSU’s 51-14 thrashing of No.3 Clemson. He now has a chance to become the second-straight redshirt freshman to win the Heisman. Indeed, the only thing keeping him from leading this race right now is the fact that he is a first-year player who is still making himself known to the broader college football world. If the Seminoles make it through the season unscathed, he’ll benefit greatly from the ‘return to glory’ meme that will no doubt dominate the discussion. FSU is a traditional Heisman power that has gone through hard times during the last decade so Winston will get a lot of credit for bringing the Seminoles back. At this stage of the race, he looks like a lock to go to New York as a finalist. If Mariota has a major slip up and he finishes strong, he’ll likely become FSU’s third Heisman winner and first since Chris Weinke in 2000.
Last Game: 22/34, 444 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Ints, 1 rushing TD, in a 51-14 win over No. 3 Clemson
Season Stats: 112/157, 1,885 yards, 71.3%, 20 TDs, 3 Ints, 210.41 rating, 43 carries, 137 yards, 3 TDs
Next Game: North Carolina State
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 4,082 passing yards, 43 TDs, 6 Ints, 299 rush yards, 6 TDs
3. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Petty had another amazingly efficient outing as Baylor destroyed Iowa State, 71-7. The Bears have now scored 70 or more points four times this season and stand at No. 6 in the AP poll, their highest ranking since 1980. Petty is arguably having an even better season than Robert Griffin III had when he won the Heisman two years ago. If he can lead Baylor past Oklahoma, he’ll start to get some serious Heisman buzz of his own. Voters are waiting to see what kind of player he is against quality competition and Baylor’s November schedule gives him the opportunity to prove himself.
Last Game: 23/31, 343 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints, 1 rushing TD in a 71-7 win over Iowa State
Season Stats: 103/145, 2,023 yards, 70.8%, 15 TDs, 1 Ints, 221.83 rating, 24 carries, 51 yards, 5 TDs
Next Game: at Kansas
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 4,046 passing yards, 30 TDs, 2 INTs, 102 rush yards, 10 TDs
4. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
McCarron had another efficient game this past Saturday, throwing three touchdown passes in a blowout of Arkansas. He remains the ‘break glass in case of emergency’ candidate, meaning he’s the reliable option for voters if the other candidates in the race all mess up. With games against LSU, a resurgent Auburn, plus the SEC title game still on the schedule, the potential is there for him to make a late run at the trophy despite having modest production.
Last Game: 15/21, 180 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints in a 52-0 win over Arkansas
Season Stats: 126/182, 1,587 yards, 69.2%, 14 TDs, 3 Ints, 164.56 rating
Next Game: Tennessee
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 2,951 passing yards, 26 TDs, 6 Ints
5. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
Mannion had another huge game over the weekend, throwing for 481 yards and four touchdowns against California. He remains on pace to have over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdown passes by the time the Heisman vote is due. Now comes the real test as the Beavers face the most difficult part of their schedule, starting with Stanford on Saturday. Mannion has a chance of getting to New York if he maintains his production at its current level while leading the Beavers to an upset win or two.
Last Game: 35/45, 481 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints in a 49-17 win over California
Season Stats: 229/334, 2,992 yards, 68.6%, 29 TDs, 3 Ints, 170.66 rating
Next Game: Stanford
Projected stats by time of Heisman vote: 5,124 passing yards, 50 TDs, 6 Ints