Who’s on pace compared to recent Heisman winners?

While getting off to a hot start isn’t necessarily required to win the Heisman, it’s been the rule of late.

Here’s a look at the last six Heisman-winning quarterbacks, with their total offense and touchdowns after their first four games:

Jameis Winston — 1,159 yards, 14 TDs

Johnny Manziel — 1,460 yards, 16 TDs

Robert Griffin III — 1,481 yards, 19 TDs

Cam Newton — 1,168 yards, 14 TDs

Sam Bradford — 1,266 yards, 17 TDs

Tim Tebow — 1,454 yards, 17 TDs

It looks like producing at least 1,150 yards of total offense and 14 combined touchdowns by game four is a fairly good indication of who’s going to challenge for the Heisman…at least in the current college football climate.

Here are the quarterbacks who have hit those numbers so far in 2014:

Connor Halladay, WSU — 1,845 yards, 16 TDs

Marcus Mariota, Oregon — 1,349 yards, 16 TDs

Shane Carden, ECU — 1,488 yards, 14 TDs

Dak Prescott, Mississippi State — 1,342 yards, 14 TDs

Rakeem Cato, Marshall — 1,338 yards, 14 TDs

Obviously, things look pretty good for Mariota, especially considering he’s already gone up against one elite defense. Prescott is also promising, while Carden and Cato could stir up some long shot trophy talk if they continue this pace.

A few more quarterbacks are on the bubble, statistically, and could move into this group soon, including Kenny Hill, Maty Mauk, Dylan Thompson, Jacoby Brissett, Anu Solomon, Brandon Doughty, Everett Golson and Gunner Kiel (who has 730 yards and 10 TDs in just 2 games).

Let’s keep in mind, though, that statistics aren’t everything when it comes to winning the Heisman. We’re unlikely to see Halladay get a single vote, even if he ends up leading the nation in total offense. That’s because voters take other things into account, such as team success, tradition, impact of system, quality of competition and career resume.

We’ll check in again on these numbers when we hit game six.

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The HP Heisman Watch, Week 4

Ameer-Abdullah-Nebraska-2014

Here is the week 4 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

Mariota’s production continues to soar after a 329-yard, 5-touchdown performance in Oregon’s 38-31 win over Washington State. He now leads the nation in passing efficiency and is on pace to put up 52 total touchdowns by the time the Heisman vote is due. Oregon has this weekend off, but Mariota has taken command of this race. If he maintains his current statistical pace and the Ducks don’t suffer any major letdowns, he might run away with the trophy.

Season Stats: 71 of 96, 1,135 yards, 74.0%, 13 TDs, 0 INTs, 217.9 rating, 33 carries, 214 yards, 3 TDs

Season Pace: 3,689 passing yards, 42 TDs, 696 rushing yards, 10 TDs.

2. Todd Gurley, JR, RB, Georgia

Gurley wasn’t called upon to do much in Georgia’s 66-0 win over Troy. The junior had 73 yards on six carries before giving way to freshman Sony Michel. He remains on pace for a Heisman-worthy campaign, but the Bulldogs probably need to win the SEC East for him to really have a shot.

Season Stats: 41 carries, 402 yards, 9.8 YPC, 4 TDs, 5 receptions, -1 yards, 100 yard kickoff return for a TD.

Season Pace: 1,608 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns.

3. Everett Golson, SO, QB, Notre Dame

Golson remains an intriguing prospect in this race due to the Notre Dame schedule. If he leads the Irish to wins over Stanford and Florida State in the next few weeks, he could conceivably jump to the top of this list. Even if Notre Dame wins just one of the games — and Golson plays well in both of them — he should emerge as a serious candidate. On the other hand, if the Irish lose both and Golson’s production collapses, he’ll most likely fall out of contention.

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.

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

Hill’s production one-third of the way into the season is sterling. However, the schedule is about to get pretty tough, as October games with Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama loom. Can Hill emerge from this gauntlet unscathed? If he does, he’ll probably be on his way to New York. If not, he might have to wait until next year.

Season Stats: 97 of 139, 1,359 yards, 69.8%, 13 TDs, 1 INTs, 181.3 rating, 106 rush yards.

Season Pace: 4,078 passing yards, 39 TD passes, 318 rushing yards.

5. Ameer Abdullah, SR, RB, Nebraska

Heisman voters love 200-yard rushing games and Abdullah had his second of the season by rushing for 229 yards (with two touchdowns) against Miami. Abdullah is now on pace for almost 1,900 yards and could top the magical 2,000-yard mark if the Huskers make their way to the Big Ten title game. A big game against Michigan State on Oct. 4 might vault him over Gurley as the top running back candidate in this race.

Season Stats: 92 carries, 625 yards, 6.79 YPC, 5 TDs, 5 receptions, 108 yards, 2 TD.

Season Pace: 1,875 yards, 15 TDs, 15 catches, 324 yards, 6 TDs.

6. Melvin Gordon, JR, RB, Wisconsin

Gordon got back on track this past weekend with 253 yards and five touchdowns on just 13 carries in Wisconsin’s thrashing of Bowling Green. The junior has the ability to put up yards in bunches and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on a tear in the next few weeks. The 2,000-yard mark is within reach, but it will probably require that the Badgers make the Big Ten title game — which means beating Nebraska and Abdullah in mid-November.

Season Stats: 46 carries, 431 yards, 9.37 YPC, 6 TD, 5 receptions, 27 yards, 1 TD.

Season Pace: 1,760 yards, 18 TDs, 15 catches, 81 yards, 3 TDs.

7. Bryce Petty, SR, QB, Baylor

Petty and Baylor are coming off a bye week and will now jump into Big 12 play. Petty is off to a relatively slow start to the season and he doesn’t appear to be 100 percent healthy, but the potential is there for a rebound. I think he needs to average at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes per game the rest of the way to have a shot, but that should be doable in Art Briles’ offense.

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

Hill passed for 187 yards and rushed for 72, with three total touchdowns, in the Cougars’ win over Virginia this past Saturday. He remains on pace for an excellent season and, if BYU finishes 12-0 with no playoff berth available, some voters might see a Hill trip to New York as a nice consolation prize.

Season Stats: 80 of 121, 876 yards, 66.1%, 6 TDs, 3 INT, 138.3 rating, 79 carries, 428 rush yards, 7 TDs.

Season Pace: 2,628 passing yards, 18 TDs, 1,284 rushing yards, 21 TDs.

9. Dak Prescott, JR, QB, Mississippi State

Prescott might be turning into this year’s dark horse. He’s on pace for a Heisman-worthy campaign after a brilliant performance in MSU’s road win over LSU. He’ll make a huge jump on this list if he can guide the Bulldogs over Texas A&M and Auburn in the coming weeks.

Season Stats: 58 of 96, 964 yards, 60.4%, 11 TDs, 2 INT, 178.4 rating, 62 carries, 378 yards, 3 TD.

Season Pace: 2,892 passing yards, 33 TDs, 1,134 rushing yards, 9 TDs.

10. Nick Marshall, SR, QB, Auburn

Time is running out for Marshall to produce the statistics he needs to compete in this race, but Auburn plays seven ranked opponents the rest of the way…which means he can make up lost ground in a hurry. Nonetheless, he’ll drop out of contention unless he explodes this Saturday against Louisiana Tech.

Season Stats: 31 of 56, 382 yards, 55.4%, 3 TD, 1 INTs, 126.7 rating, 29 carries, 168 yards, 2 TDs.

Season Pace: 1,651 passing yards, 13 TD passes, 728 rushing yards, 9 TDs

If the vote was held today

1. Marcus Mariota*

2. Todd Gurley*

3. Amari Cooper*

4. Kenny Hill*

5. Ameer Abdullah*

6. Dak Prescott

7. Bryce Petty

8. Melvin Gordon

9. James Conner

10. D.J. Foster

* — finalist

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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

mariotaa

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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