Picking this week’s games

So, I got lazy and decided to take last week’s games off. After all, I’d gone 10-10 against the spread in the first two weeks. And while that’s not bad in some places, it’s definitely not up to par in my book. No matter, I’m back at it again this week. Here are the my top 10 plays for this week. Picks in bold. Lines courtesy of Docsports.

Missouri – 14 vs. Indiana

Washington -35 vs. Georgia State

Texas A&M -35 at SMU

Clemson +14.5 at Florida State

Mississippi State +10 at LSU

California +8 at Arizona

Washington State +24 at Oregon

Wyoming -4 vs. Florida Atlantic

Duke -17 vs. Tulane

Maryland +1.5 at Syracuse


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The CFB Experience – Upset Alert Saturday?

Kent Brown and HeismanPundit Jr. are joined by HeismanPundit to break down all of the top games this weekend. A couple of the guys predict a few Top 10 teams to lose outright this week. Find out who should be on upset alert as we preview week 4 of the season.

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Winston suspended

jameis winston

Defending Heisman winner Jameis Winston was suspended for the first half of Florida State’s upcoming game against Clemson after the Seminoles quarterback allegedly shouted an obscenity into a microphone on campus.

You can pretty much wave bye-bye to Winston’s Heisman hopes at this point.

Winning that second Heisman was always going to be an uphill battle. We didn’t even have Winston on our preseason list due to Heismandment No. 9, which states there will never be another two-time winner.

But this latest incident could be the last straw for many Heisman voters.

Last year, voters gave him the benefit of the doubt after a late-breaking rape accusation ended with the Florida attorney general’s decision not to charge him with a crime. He went on to win the Heisman in comfortable fashion. Since then, however, he’s had a hard time keeping his nose clean. Voters are likely to be less forgiving this time around.

It’s really hard to win the Heisman once. It’s next-to-impossible to win it again, especially when people think you are a knucklehead.

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Marcus Mariota remains atop HeismanPundit Straw Poll


Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota continued to hold a comfortable lead in HeismanPundit.com’s latest Heisman Straw Poll released on Tuesday (Sept. 16).

Mariota captured six out of 10 possible first-place votes from the panel of Heisman voters to remain atop the survey for the second week in a row (and the third time in four weeks). He appeared on all 10 ballots and totaled 23 points to finish ahead of Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who placed second with 16 points and three first place votes.

Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill picked up the other first-place vote to finish third with 10 points.

Jameis Winston of Florida State (7 points), Amari Cooper of Alabama (3 points) and Taysom Hill of BYU (1 point) rounded out the rest of the poll.

Now in its ninth season, HeismanPundit.com’s Heisman Straw Poll is the college football world’s most trusted gauge of Heisman voter sentiment. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country during the past seven seasons, with the final 2012 poll correctly picking the top five finishers and the final 2011 poll picking the top seven. This year’s poll is made up of 10 anonymous Heisman voters from across the country. Each week during the season they will pick three players. Tabulations for the preseason poll are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

Each week’s poll is released on Tuesdays throughout the season at HeismanPundit.com. .

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll, 9/16/2014

Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon — 23 (6)

2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia — 16 (3)

3. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M — 10 (1)

4. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State — 7

5. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama— 3

6. Taysom Hill, QB, BYU  — 1

Number of ballots

Mariota — 10

Gurley — 8

Kenny Hill  — 5

Winston — 4

Cooper — 2

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Who are the Heisman dark horses?

james conner

With the third week of the 2014 season now in the books, the Heisman race is starting to take shape.

However, we’ve seen some late-breaking runs at the Heisman in recent years, which means there could be some candidacies out there that are still in the percolating stage.

Here are a four to keep an eye on:

James Conner, So., RB, Pittsburgh — Conner’s 544 rushing yards are the most in the opening three games of a season in Pitt history. The prior mark was held by Tony Dorsett, who had 487 yards in the first three games of his 1973 freshman season. Is the 6-2, 250-pound Conner the next great Pitt tailback? If he’s still churning out yardage at or near his current clip (181 yards per game) by mid-season, the answer to that question will be ‘yes’.

D.J. Foster, Jr., RB, Arizona State – Foster has 510 yards and five rushing touchdowns in the first three games and he’s averaging a whopping 9.4 yards per carry. He also has 11 catches for 139 yards and a score. Big games against UCLA, USC and Stanford in consecutive weeks could put him on the Heisman map.

Gunner Kiel, So., QB, Cincinnati – You can’t get much better than Kiel’s debut against Toledo. The Notre Dame transfer threw for 418 yards and six touchdowns (with no interceptions) and opened with a passer rating of 215.97. Kiel is a big-time talent who has the potential to put together a monster season for the Bearcats.

Dak Prescott, Jr., QB, Mississippi State – Recent years have shown us that to compete for the Heisman as a quarterback, you pretty much have to put up over 4,000 yards of offense and at least 40 combined touchdowns. After three games, Prescott is on pace for 3,876 and 44 scores, so he’s in that wheelhouse.  It helps, too, that the Bulldogs might have their best team in quite a while.

Are there any redshirt freshmen on the horizon with a chance to emerge the same way Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston did in recent years?  Doesn’t look like it at this point.

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The HP Heisman Watch, Week 3


Here is the week 3 edition of the 2014 HP 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, JR, QB, Oregon

It was another highly-productive day for Mariota as he threw for 221 yards and rushed for 71 with four total touchdowns against Wyoming (he played a little over one half of the game). He continues to be the clear front runner in this race and it looks like he may not face a true challenge to this status until early November.

Season Stats: 50 of 71, 806 yards, 70.4%, 8 TDs, 0 INTs, 202.9 rating, 20 carries, 156 yards, 3 TDs

Season Pace: 3,497 passing yards, 35 TDs, 676 rushing yards, 13 TDs.

2. Todd Gurley, JR, RB, Georgia

The beauty of playing running back is that if your team loses, you don’t get as much blame as the quarterback. Gurley certainly did as much as he could do in Georgia’s 38-35 loss to South Carolina, carrying the ball 20 times for 131 yards and one touchdown. He’ll remain a strong contender for the Heisman as long as he continues to churn out this kind of production. But to actually win, he’s going to need a magical game or two against some ranked opponents down the road.

Season Stats: 35 carries, 329 yards, 9.4 YPC, 4 TDs, 5 receptions, -1 yards, 100 yard kickoff return for a TD.

Season Pace: 1,974 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns.

3. Nick Marshall, SR, QB, Auburn

Marshall’s team had off this past weekend, but he’ll have a shot at making a splash in front of a national TV audience when the Tigers take on Kansas State on Thursday night. This is an important game for Marshall’s Heisman hopes as he needs a big outing to get back on a strong statistical pace.

Season Stats: 15 of 25, 151 yards, 56%, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 119.9 rating, 19 carries, 122 yards, 2 TDs.

4. Everett Golson, SO, QB, Notre Dame

Golson continues to play at a high level as Notre Dame moved to 3-0 after beating Purdue, 30-14. He threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns and added 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He’s off to a great start, but circle October 4 (Stanford) and October 18 (Florida State) on the calendar. Those dates will be Golson’s Heisman proving ground.

Season Stats: 62 of 92, 780 yards, 64.6%, 7 TDs, 0 INTs, 156.8 rating, 83 rush yards, 4 TDs.

Season Pace: 3,120 passing yards, 28 TDs, 332 rushing yards, 16 TDs.

5. Trevor Knight, SO, QB, Oklahoma

Knight threw for 308 yards and a touchdown and also added a rushing touchdown in the Sooners’ 34-10 victory over Tennessee. The next four games against West Virginia, TCU, Texas and Kansas State should tell us if he’s going to have the combination of production and team success needed to validate this ranking.

Season Stats: 60 of 101, 860 yards, 59.4%, 4 TDs, 2 INT, 140.0 rating, 14 carries, 69 yards, 2 TD.

Season Pace: 3,444 passing yards, 16 TDs, 276 rushing yards, 8 TDs.

6. Kenny Hill, SO, QB, Texas A&M

Hill threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns in A&M’s 38-10 victory over Rice. It’s pretty clear at this point that Hill is on his way to a very productive season in Kevin Sumlin’s system. The only question is how he and his team will perform against the likes of Auburn, Alabama and LSU in the second half of the season.

Season Stats: 81 of 117, 1,094 yards, 69.2%, 11 TDs, 0 INTs, 178.8 rating, 49 rush yards.

Season Pace: 4,368 passing yards, 44 TD passes, 196 rushing yards.

7. Bryce Petty, SR, QB, Baylor

Petty did exactly what he needed to do to stay in the Heisman race, throwing for 416 yards and four touchdowns in Baylor’s 63-21 win over Buffalo on Friday. If he can build on this game and go on a tear against the next five opponents, it will set the stage for a huge Heisman death match with Trevor Knight and Oklahoma.

Season Stats: 36 of 57, 577 yards, 63.2%, 6 TDs, 0 INTs, 182.9 rating, 4 carries, 32 yards, 1 TD.

Season Pace: 3,179 passing yards, 33 TDs, 176 rushing yards, 6 TDs.

8. Taysom Hill, JR, QB, BYU

The Mormon Manziel continues to impress in the air and on the ground. He threw for 200 yards, rushed for 160 and had two total touchdowns in BYU’s 33-25 win over Houston. His accuracy has really improved this year. It looks like the Cougars have a good shot at going undefeated, which means if Hill’s production continues at this pace, he stands a good shot at getting to New York.

Season Stats: 67 of 98, 689 yards, 68.4%, 4 TDs, 3 INT, 134.8 rating, 62 carries, 356 rush yards, 6 TDs.

Season Pace: 2,760 passing yards, 16 TDs, 1,428 rushing yards, 24 TDs.

9. Ameer Abdullah, SR, RB, Nebraska

Abdullah rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in Nebraska’s 55-10 thrashing of Fresno State. There just aren’t that many marquee opponents on the Cornhusker schedule, so Abdullah is going to have to make the most of every opportunity. Some voters might perk up a bit if he has big games against Miami and Michigan State in the next few weeks.

Season Stats: 57 carries, 396 yards, 6.95 YPC, 3 TDs, 4 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.

Season Pace: 1,584 yards, 12 TDs, 16 catches, 420 yards, 4 TDs.

10. Melvin Gordon, JR, RB, Wisconsin

Gordon and Wisconsin had off last week and will now face a very soft stretch in the schedule. At this point, Gordon needs to churn out yards and touchdowns like there’s no tomorrow to steal some of the spotlight away from Todd Gurley.

Season Stats: 33 carries, 178 yards, 5.4 YPC, 1 TD, 4 receptions, 22 yards, 1 TD.

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The College Football Experience Podcast: Episode 7.

Kent Brown & HeismanPundit Jr. wrap up week two’s biggest games & look ahead to week three’s top matchups.

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