Heisman Watch: Week 12

Story posted November 19, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Jameis Winston, Freshman QB, Florida State

Stock: UP
Week 12 Stats: 19-21, 277 yards, 2 TD
Season Stats: 185-261, 2938 yards, 28 TD, 7 INT

It’s that time of year again. The frontrunner has fallen yet again, and this time, I think it may be for good. It’s not that Marcus Mariota did anything to lose his top spot. It’s simply Winston has outplayed him. It may have been a long time coming, but it’s finally time to give Winston the credit he deserves.

‘Famous Jameis,’ and his Seminole squad absolutely obliterated Syracuse this weekend, 59-3, to improve to 10-0 on the season. They continue to sit only behind Alabama in the BCS standings after the victory.

Winston, once again, was somewhat hindered by the rushing attack of Florida State, who racked up four combined touchdowns on the ground. The defense was stellar as well, allowing just a single Syracuse field goal.

The freshman was still incredible, however. Just two of his passes fell incomplete on the entire day. He finished 19-21, throwing for over 275 yards and adding two touchdowns through the air. It doesn’t matter who you take on in a weekend, if you complete 19 out of 21 pass attempts, it can be said you had yourself a day.

The Seminoles have just two games left in the regular season, as well as the ACC championship game, which will presumably be against Duke.

If the ‘Noles win these three games, it’s almost a given that they will compete for the National Championship. It would also be presumed that Winston would be the clear frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy, becoming the second freshman in a row to take home the hardware. The trophy is his to lose.

Marcus Mariota, Sophomore QB, Oregon

Stock: DOWN
Week 12 Stats: 19-26, 288 yards, 3 TD
Season Stats: 183-285, 2819 yards, 25 TD, 477 rush yards, 9 TD

Mariota was able to get his Ducks back on track this weekend, beating down on the lowly Utah Utes. It was the win that Oregon needed after slipping against Stanford last week. The game wasn’t even as close as the score indicated either.

The Ducks’ quarterback was on a roll Saturday, throwing for nearly 300 passing yards and three touchdowns. It was, however, his second game in a row in which he rushed for negative yards. That simply could be due to the fact that Mariota’s standing strong in the pocket more often.

The sophomore quarterback doesn’t fall on the list because of poor play. He simply fell due to Winston’s electric play. Mariota still has yet to throw an interception on the year. He’s added 34 total touchdowns, to guide the Ducks to their current 9-1 record.

The Ducks have two games left on their schedule, as they’ll take on Arizona and Oregon State to finish out the year. After a Stanford loss this week, the Pac 12 Championship is back in the Ducks’ sights.

If Oregon is able to defeat their final two opponents, and win the Pac 12 Championship, the Rose Bowl will likely be their final destination. A Rose Bowl bid could also put Mariota back on top of the Heisman list. He’s simply at the mercy of Winston at this point.

Second Tier

Johnny Manziel, Sophomore QB, Texas A&M

Week 12 Stats: DNP, bye
Season Stats: 230-315, 3313 yards, 31 TD, 11 INT, 611 rush yards, 8 TD

Johnny Football has been pretty good this year. He simply hasn’t been his electrifying, play-making self that he was last year. He’s thrown for more touchdowns already this year then he did all last year. He’s also thrown more interceptions.

Some would say that this rating is too low, that Manziel has done enough to be sitting at, at worst, the two spot. I cannot justify putting a guy who’s thrown 11 interceptions when the two men ahead of him have combined for seven.

It’s tough to say if Manziel will move up in the ranks with how well Winston and Mariota are playing. If he’s going to, it’s going to have to involve beating LSU and Missouri in the final two weeks of the year.

The Aggies currently sit at 8-2 on the year, but are currently buried behind Alabama and Auburn in the SEC West standings. If both lose one (or both in Alabama’s case) of their final two games, Texas A&M could have an outside shot at getting an at-large bid for a BCS bowl.

Two strong games from the sophomore, especially with who he’s facing, will vault him, once again, into Heisman contention.

Bryce Petty, Junior QB, Baylor

Stock: EVEN
Week 12 Stats: 17-31, 335 yards, 3 TD, 2 rush TD
Season Stats: 152-233, 2992 yards, 24 TD, 1 INT, 10 rush TD

I’m convinced Petty is to Baylor as Cam Newton was to Auburn a few years ago. The junior quarterback has led his Bears team to the first 9-0 start in school history. That, right there, tells you there is something special about this kid.

Petty helped raise the record to 9-0 after an offensive explosion, defeating Texas Tech 63-34. The Bears were down 20-7 at one point as well.

Petty threw for 335 yards, and added five total touchdowns on the day. The running game added three touchdowns of their own, beating down the Red Raiders defense all day.

The junior continues to get Heisman looks because of his team’s record and #3 rank in the nation. People may, however, be overlooking his consistency and ball security. Petty has only thrown one interception all year, and hasn’t thrown one since October 5 against West Virginia. He’s really a leader by example on this explosive Bears team.

Baylor has three games to play, more than most teams, remaining on their schedule. The Bears will face Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas to finish the year. These are three very tough games. They’re also three games that could determine if the Bears will play a meaningless bowl game, or if they’ll make the trek to Glendale, Arizona, to play for the Fiesta Bowl.

Petty will, of course, be the focal point in the final three games of the year. He may start to garner even more votes, possibly even first place votes, if the Bears finish 12-0 and win the Big 12. He could really surprise some people.

Honorable Mention

AJ McCarron, Senior QB, Alabama                                                                                               

Ka’Deem Carey, Junior RB, Arizona                                                                                                    

Derek Carr, Senior QB, Fresno State