Even though it proved to be a “weeding out weekend” of a few hopefuls this past Saturday, there still doesn’t seem to be a clear cut front-runner as we head towards rivalry weekend. One thing is certain however; quarterback seems to be the position of choice once again this year. Since the year 2000, only one non-QB has claimed the award (2009 RB Mark Ingram of Alabama).
Out of the Running
Johnny Manziel had the first real clunker of his two-year college career as his Aggies fell to LSU 34-10, the largest margin of defeat for the Aggies since their 65-10 loss to Oklahoma in 2009. The Tigers held Johnny Football to just 16 of 41 passing and 221 yards with 1 TD and 2 picks. He was also limited to 54 yards on the ground on 12 carries. I was still leading the “Manziel for Heisman” charge as of last week, but he picked a bad time of year to bring out his worst.
In Tucson, Marcus Mariota managed to complete 27 of 41 passes for 308 yards, but his Oregon Ducks got walloped by the Wildcats 42-16. Mariota also had 2 picks in the game and his bell rung late in the game. Like it or not wins and losses (as well as style points) do play a part in the voters minds.
Bryce Petty completed 28 of 48 for 359 yards and two touchdowns but the annihilation of his Baylor Bears by Oklahoma State on national TV snuffed any chance he might have of being the 2nd Baylor QB in three years to bring home the trophy (see above regarding wins and losses).
Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 14-25 passes for 225 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Seminoles rolled through an overmatched Idaho squad by a 80-14 score. His off-the-field potential legal issues may be the only thing keeping Winston from being a clear-cut front-runner at this time, but if character truly is a voting criterion in the Heisman, that could ultimately be his downfall.
A.J. McCarron did what he does best, run an efficient offense and not make any killer mistakes. The Tide rolled again as he connected on 13 of 16 for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-0 route of Chattanooga. He doesn’t produce glossy numbers, he just wins. Is that enough to convince the voters? We doubt it (especially since the vote takes place before the National Championship game).
Buckeye’s QB Braxton Miller completed 11 of 17 for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also ran for 144 yards and another 2 TDs in a 42-14 win over Indiana. Wins against Michigan this weekend and Michigan State in the Big 10 title game would be vital if he wants to stay in the conversation.
Still in the Running
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd hit on 21 of 28 for 288 yards and five touchdowns in the Tigers 52-6 win against the Citadel on Saturday. On the season he’s completing 67.3% of his passes and has thrown for 29 TDs and only been picked 7 times. If he didn’t have that opening game loss to Georgia (38-35), Clemson would be undefeated and he might be the clear front-runner.
Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater completed 26 of 36 for 220 yards and a TD in the Cardinals win over Memphis. He’s been consistently good as his 71% completion rate and 25-3 TD to interception ratio would show. His only loss was also by the score of 38-35, to the 9-1 Central Florida Knights.
Boston College RB Andre Williams hasn’t received much press outside of Beantown, but he just became only the 16th player to rush for over 2000 yards in a season on Saturday (the first since 2008), as his Eagles nipped Maryland 29-26, mostly due to his 236 yards on the ground and 2 TD’s. The Eagles 7-4 record is a potential stumbling block for him withe the voters.
Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch continues to rewrite the school, conference and FBS record book in helping lead the Huskies to the doorstep of a second consecutive BCS berth, but the lack of quality opponents will probably be too much to overcome for him and fellow undefeated Fresno State QB Derek Carr, who threw for 527 yards and seven more touchdowns Saturday in the Bulldogs’ win against New Mexico.