Posted November 25, 2013

Heisman Watch Week 13: Candidates dropping everywhere leaves race wide open

Heisman, Heisman Trophy, Heisman Watch, Jameis Winston, Johnny Football, Johnny Manziel
LSU bottled up Johnny Manziel and likely ended his hopes of a Heisman repeat Saturday.

LSU bottled up Johnny Manziel on Saturday and likely ended his hopes of a Heisman repeat. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Is anyone up for a little Heisman Trophy reset?

A wild Week 13 caused a major shift in a suddenly wide-open Heisman race. For the second season in a row, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel stumbled against LSU’s defense as the Aggies suffered their third loss of the year. Baylor’s Bryce Petty couldn’t find the end zone until the fourth quarter as his Bears were routed by Oklahoma State. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota threw his first two picks of the year and the Ducks managed only 16 points in a loss to unranked Arizona.

Any other year, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would have the Heisman locked up after that shakeup. Winston tossed four touchdowns as unbeaten Florida State set a program scoring record in its 80-14 rout over lowly Idaho.

But the ongoing sexual assault investigation into Winston leaves his Heisman chances — and much, much more — in flux. Florida prosecutors haven’t decided whether to charge Winston, but if felony charges are brought against the quarterback, he wouldn’t be allowed to play until the situation is resolved, per Florida State policy.

In that scenario, Winston would have much more than his Heisman hopes to worry about; his college football career could be in jeopardy. Even if the state somehow doesn’t reach a decision on Winston before Heisman votes are due, some might still hesitate to include the quarterback on their ballots. But without any charges brought against Winston in the thick of a very hush-hush investigation, the Seminoles’ star remains atop this voter’s Heisman Watch. Winston’s hold on that spot, however, remains very fluid.

Heisman Watch Week 13

1. Jameis Winston
2. AJ McCarron
3. Andre Williams
4. Bryce Petty
5. Johnny Manziel

Player of the Week

Andre Williams, Boston College RB
Week 13 stats: 32 rushes for 263 yards and two touchdowns

Quarterbacks have stiff-armed much of the Heisman competition this year. But Boston College running back Andre Williams is making a convincing case for some late-season consideration.

Williams rushed 32 times for 263 yards and two scores in the Eagles’ win over Maryland, the tailback’s fifth game of the year with at least 200 yards on the ground. His 32-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter helped set up a game-winning 52-yard field goal by Nate Freese.

Those numbers aren’t unusual for Williams this season. Last week he set the program’s single-game record with 339 yards against NC State, and he reeled off 295 yards against New Mexico State the previous week. Williams leads the country with 2,072 yards on the year — 462 yards more than the nation’s No. 2 running back, Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews – and is just the 16th player in FBS history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

He has some pretty good company in that 2K club. Only six players have ever rushed for more yards through 11 games, a list that includes names like Barry Sanders (2,628), LaDainian Tomlinson (2,158) and Ricky Williams (2,124). Of the college football’s 10 most productive rushing performances this season, Williams lays claim to four of them.

Critics will point to Boston College’s four losses as an anchor on Williams’ Heisman credentials, but three of those losses came to USC, Florida State and Clemson, who boast a combined 30-4 record. Next weekend’s regular-season finale against Syracuse is one final chance for Williams to spoil the quarterback-heavy Heisman race. If he keeps up his current pace (299 yards per game through his last three games), he could turn the heads of a few voters at the 11th hour.

Stock rising

Jordan Lynch
We’ve seen this movie before, but we could be in for a repeat performance. Jordan Lynch and NIU are knocking on the door of a BCS berth after moving to No. 14 in the current BCS rankings. It’s a similar scenario to last season when the Huskies busted the BCS and reached the Orange Bowl. Both seasons have another thing in common: Jordan Lynch. The quarterback ran for three touchdowns and completed 77 percent of his throws in a win over Toledo last Wednesday. Lynch is responsible for 3,852 total yards and 38 touchdowns this year as NIU remains unbeaten and on the cusp of a BCS bid.

MANDEL: Bowl Projections: Get ready for a lot of postseason MACtion

Derek Carr
Fresno State’s prolific quarterback remains largely unknown in the minds of many college football fans. That will happen when the biggest win on your resume is an overtime victory over Rutgers. But the Bulldogs remain in the hunt for a BCS at-large bid thanks to Carr’s arm, and he put up the best outing of his season on Saturday. Carr threw for 527 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns on 27-of-37 passing as Fresno State smothered New Mexico. A Mountain West title and a BCS berth — made more difficult by Northern Illinois leapfrogging Fresno State in the BCS rankings — could lift Carr into the Heisman conversation.

Still on the outskirts of the race, Derek Carr tossed a school-record seven touchdowns to help build his buzz.

Derek Carr’s Heisman hopes live after he tossed a school-record seven scores. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Stock falling

Johnny Manziel
Manziel had a solid shot at becoming the country’s second two-time Heisman winner with a big outing against LSU. But Tigers defensive coordinator John Chavis has become Manziel’s kryptonite during his time in College Station. Manziel completed only 16 of his 41 pass attempts while LSU pressured him in the pocket with two sacks. He also tossed two interceptions. “We got punched in the mouth and it wasn’t fun,” Manziel told reporters after the game. Manziel will still garner some Heisman voters, but playing his worst game of the year this late in the season won’t help his chances.

Bryce Petty
Petty had accounted for 10 total touchdowns in his last two games prior to Saturday’s meeting with Oklahoma State. He was also the nation’s leader in passing efficiency. But neither of those notions stopped the Cowboys’ defense from keeping Petty in check. The quarterback’s final stat line was not unimpressive – he passed for 359 yards and two touchdowns – but both of those scores came in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach. Petty also completed only 28 of his 48 pass attempts. As a result, he now ranks second in the nation in passing efficiency, just behind Heisman Watch leader Jameis Winston.

MANDEL: Oklahoma State deals Baylor painful dose of BCS reality

Marcus Mariota
Oregon’s quarterback still had plenty of time to work his way back into the Heisman picture after his poor performance against Stanford on Nov. 7. But a 26-point loss to an unranked Arizona team wasn’t the way to do it. Mariota threw his first two interceptions of the year against the Wildcats, the first on Oregon’s first play from scrimmage. Mariota and the Ducks offense couldn’t take advantage of outgaining Arizona 506-482 in total yards. The sophomore’s run at New York is all but over.

Heisman chatter

Tweets of the week
Andre Williams, the offensive workhorse:

LSU has Johnny Manziel’s number:

Just how good is AJ McCarron?

Video of the week
Andre Williams highlights set to Super Mario music? Yes, please.

MANDEL: College Football Overtime: Eventful Week 13 highlights flaws of BCS era; more Overtime

40 comments
BoBo99
BoBo99

Jordan Lynch also does not have a bunch of All-Americans protecting and blocking for him.  He is leading the competition in almost all categories, plus in character, and especially in balanced attack.  If the BCS/sports writers/coaches are going to arbitrarily penalize teams like NIU for lower strength of schedule or being from a non-major conference, then at least give the credit for performing so well without the protections provided to guys like McCarron -- hell I could win the Heisman with the Bama line, receivers, backs, etc., and I am an old man.  I also am supporting Jordan even though I hate NIU for winning over my school the past few years, but he deserves the award.  And to all the sports pundits saying NIU in the Orange Bowl last year, was a mistake, keep in mind the score was 17-10 through the 3rd quarter, against a team, that this year, would have won the national championship, had it not been for the FSU QB arrest for the rape - yes rape - of a woman.  That FSU QB would also of course get the Heisman for being surrounded by All-Americans of major talent.  But that's not going to happen unless FSU and the state of Florida think rape is OK if a National Championship is on the line - but, then again, it is Florida, where anything and everything goes unchecked, unregulated and unprosecuted.

MickFly
MickFly

i understand the Heisman race and i think it's always a great reward to the top college player...unfortunately the NFL is a little tougher than playing NIU or Fresno State schedule. One can never tell if a Heisman winner will fare well..(Tim Couch?  hope Manziel does good but about the same size) ...i look forward to watching McCarron and Kadeem Carey from AZ...he's a beast

RTR
RTR

If...If.....AJ McCarron wins out and wins the SEC then its a lock.

Consistent, Efficient, and a WINNER for 3 years running.  What else do you want?

nmaguire
nmaguire

The Heisman is a joke - why are the only candidates from teams in the top 10.  That's crazy - should go to the best player in the land no matter what the team's record.  Andre Williams and Shilique Calhoun from MSU are the best candidates. You gotta love Winston's accuracy but he has only played one tough game (Clemson). Petty, Mariota and Manziel all have folded under the slightest pressure and are simply massively hyped - where will they be on draft day???  

No one watches the Heisman show.  The Heisman committee needs to redo their criteria and focus on the best player in the land and the press should back-off any rankings until week 5 at least.

DocZom
DocZom

Miller missed three games, so he does not have the total stats.  Yet he is clearly the best player on the field whenever he plays.  How can he not win?

SteveLatham
SteveLatham

Does everyone think passing yards is the best way to evaluate a QB?  Look at Marino ... Do you think he'd trade 1/3 of his yards for a couple rings?  Jordan Lynch would get 1/2 or less the yards in the PAC12, SEC or Big 10 ... People need to consider more than just stats ... It's ridiculous, really.  It's about clutch stats and helping your team win by not turning it over and coming through in the clutch.  Manziel can't do it, Mariota can't do it ... let's see what happens in the next two weeks.

bubbalooey
bubbalooey

Jameis Winston is the best choice, right after he receives it, deputies arrest his sorry butt for rape..... now that would be cool.

GregSamick
GregSamick

Manziel has thrown 13 INT in 11 games.  How does this make him a Heisman?

Too many turnovers.

Nuke37
Nuke37

The Heisman is a joke!  Who gives a s h i t!

Naper_Design
Naper_Design

And still no one is talking about Connor Shaw?

sporwancher
sporwancher

NIU QB Jordan Lynch vs the "Top 5": 

- Jameis Winston - Lynch has 580 more yards and 4 more TDs, with 2 less INTs. Winston is also dealing with legal issues as pointed out in this article. It is debatable if he should even be eligible for Heisman.

- AJ McCarron - Lynch is responsible for 16 more TDs and 1,460 more yards. Their passing numbers are eerily similar, but Lynch adds so much to the running game (1,434 yards and 17 TDs to be exact).

- Andre Williams - While he is the nation's leading rusher in terms of yards, Lynch has more rushing TDs than Williams. Then you add on his passing numbers and it isn't even comparable.

- Bryce Petty - If he didn't just have his worst game of the season, he should be higher on this list. But still, Lynch has 345 more total yards and 3 more TDs on an undefeated team. Petty does have only 1 INT, but picked the wrong time to get silenced in a huge 32-point loss this weekend.

- Johnny Manziel - Manziel does have some stronger numbers than Lynch. He has 333 more total yards and 1 more TD, but again, he just got dominated in his worst game of the season at the wrong time. Not to mention, he has 13 INTs compared to Lynch's 5.

Lynch should be in this discussion more than "stock rising". His stock rose long ago, and now he's simply topping it off. He isn't just putting up these numbers, he is literally running over defenders to get them. He has lead NIU to some ridiculous records and streaks that lead the nation by a wide margin. In addition, he has no character issues like some of those above him seem to be battling. If he doesn't make it to NY, something is seriously wrong.

Listening
Listening

The Heisman has become a joke.  Give it to the rapist!!!!!

skeetchard
skeetchard

#Andre2000 #Andre44Heisman GO EAGLES!

Ryan19
Ryan19

@RTR Did you not read that part about McCarron being a middle of the road QB in the Big-10?  That alone should put him out of the running.  If he wins the Heisman it will just confirm that the Heisman is completely irrelevant.  Of course, most fans realize that already.  

Terry
Terry

@RTR 

The best player in college football is what I want.

McCarron's not even the best player on his own team, plus the Heisman is not a lifetime achievement award.

Give to the best college player in America.

Ryan19
Ryan19

@nmaguire Funny that you badmouth FSU's schedule and then try to make a case for a guy who has also played a very very soft schedule.  The best team Sparty has played is #25 ND.  And they lost that game.  

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@nmaguire What are you yelling about?   Two of the candidates listed here are not on teams in the top ten.   Andre Williams is mentioned as one of the leading candidates.   Manziel, Petty, and Mariota are listed as having falling Heisman stock.   Seems that if you had read the article you would not have had to freak out.   Oh, and no one watches the Heisman show?  Good one.   Lastly, how are you going to get the press to not write any Heisman articles until week 5?  Lastly, lastly, what is so special about week 5?

Ryan19
Ryan19

@DocZom Not hard to be the best player on the field against Ohio State's competition this year.  Being the best player in the Big 10 doesn't make him the best player in the country.  Just like being the tallest midget doesn't mean you are actually tall.  

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@DocZom For some strange reason, the voters like to see the players on the field, and not just take the word of anonymous guys on the www.

45andhatched
45andhatched

@DocZom Braxton Miller?  Mid major players always have trouble getting a lot of traction.  

Water-Faery
Water-Faery

@bubbalooey Is it a "guy thing" to think that would be cool?!  I personally think that would be sick.  And the poor woman who was raped, if he is arrested, will forever have to see that moment in Heisman history when her rapist was clapped on the back and given a prize.

Listening
Listening

@GregSamick  

Outstanding point.  I have no idea why everyone seems to want him to win.  Without his 5' 6" receivers he is NOTHING!!!!!!!!  Look at the LSU game.  People give him credit for 5 TDs but look the other way in the 3 INTs in the same game (against a cupcake)!!!!!!!!!!!

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Nuke37 Seems like all of the guys who have won actually do care a bit.

Wesley11
Wesley11

@Nuke37 I tend to agree. It used to be about the best all-around player and the best "ambassador" for the sport. Now it's a glorified stat award and the heck with the rest of it. If you aren't on a Top 5 team, you're out and if you aren't a QB or occasionally a RB then the award's not for you. 

At the end of the day, a lot of hype for yet another QB stat trophy.

Listening
Listening

@Nuke37  

You have that right.  Almost no one watches the show anymore.  Review the TV ratings....

sporwancher
sporwancher

@Naper_Design Well, Lynch alone has 1,486 more total yards and 15 more TDs than Shaw... and Lynch isn't even in the "Top 5"...

DWest245
DWest245

@sporwancher  

On the subject of numbers: How many championship rings do the aforementioned players have. McCarron has won more championships (3: 1 SEC and 2 National championships as the starting quarterback)than he has losses. That is the resume of a winner and a valuable player. Bear Bryant used to say "winning may not be everything, but it sure beats whatever is in second place". AJ McCarron ain't nothing but a winner.

Sure he has a great team behind him, but bottom line, he is the leader of that team. Are any of the Heisman hopefuls better from a statistics standpoint? Of course they are. Manziel is probably the most gifted QB I have ever seen (believe me, at 72 yrs old, i have seen a lot of quarterbacks and running backs and others great player play the game) but individual numbers are not the object of team sports. Championships are and should be the goal of every team .If not, why play the game in the first place?

Do lack of championships diminish the accomplishments of Manziel, Lynch, Winston, Marriota, Boyd, Petty or Williams? Of course not. Their statistics will stand in various record books for quite some time. 

Should the cloud of controversy surrounding Jameis Winston cost him Heisman votes. In a word, yes. A Heisman voter has an obligation to take into consideration actions both on the field and off the field. The Heisman winner is, like it or not, the face of college football. If Jameis Winston is innocent of these charges, (and I sincerely hope he is) then clear your name and spend the next 3 years producing a body of work which will win you the Heisman trophy.

The clear choice for this year based on his complete body of work both on and off the field has to be AJ McCarron.


 

Wesley11
Wesley11

@sporwancher And to think he's done all that without having to play a single ranked team all season! Amazing.

yehonala04
yehonala04

@45andhatched @DocZom The guy who  his own HC said was about to be yanked vs NW is the best player. NW who currently are 4-7 the BEST road win for OSU in 2013.

Wesley11
Wesley11

@Listening

Because Mariotta and Winston are something without their receivers? 

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Wesley11 Seems like years ago, or 2011, Robert Griffin won the award & his team was nowhere near the top 5.

sporwancher
sporwancher

@DWest245 @sporwancher Thanks for a thought-out response. But I disagree for one main reason. The Heisman Trophy award for a given season SHOULD not take previous season into account. It is a yearly award, so previous seasons should be tossed out of considerations. McCarron is an excellent player, and I'm taking nothing away from him. But this season he has not stood out as "that guy". He had a better season last year and he didn't even win it then. 

To clarify my rant up there, I do not think Lynch should WIN the Heisman. Because of the schedule, I fully agree that he should not win the award. I simply don't get why he isn't in the Top 5 when he is outperforming the others ranked above him. And you can't throw the MAC into the discussion again, because it's not like yearly we see a mid-major player outperform everyone. This isn't a "normal thing". Plus, the last few times a MAC player has done that, he has been in the Heisman Top 5. 

But this all comes back to the big issue. Teams like Alabama won't schedule good mid-majors like NIU because of what a loss would do to them. So then, teams like NIU can't play these good teams. Then rankings and awards come out, and they get taken out of consideration because they didn't play the "big boys" that they are not allowed to play. Last year, the knock on NIU by all experts was "they couldn't even beat Iowa!". Well, this year they beat Iowa, detroyed Purdue (I know they suck, but still an AQ team), and then rolled through the rest of the schedule they were given, without a hitch. And still, they get the same disrespect.

It's time some mid majors get the respect and have the ability to play the higher ranked teams. In 2003, NIU beat #15 Maryland and #21 Alabama. They ended the season 10-2 with 1 of their losses to a ranked team, and they didn't even make a bowl game. There is a reason the fans and players get annoyed with all of this.

AllisGrace
AllisGrace

@pandah462 Pandah - I find it a little humorous that you would rebuke Listening's  maturity when your previous posts in another story were about your "flatulence". You remain a clown.

AllisGrace
AllisGrace

@pandah462 Pandah - I'm already in the club, and I'm not being coy at all as I follow your lead and post my references with my profile name. We'll continue to touch base from time to time. Enjoy the day.

pandah462
pandah462

@AllisGrace @pandah462 Allie Grace, just sign up for my fan club.  Don't be coy and drop references to the genius I leave in these here sites.