Mariota leads Heisman Watch for now but FSU’s Winston quickly catching up

Drew Lieberman

1. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota (So.)

Last Week (W, 62-38 vs. Washington State): 23-for-32, 327 yards, 2 TD (67 rush yards, TD)

Season: 123-for-197 (62.4%), 2,051 yards, 19 TD (493 rush yards, 9 TD)

Despite Winston’s spectacular performance against Clemson, Mariota remains the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Mariota has played flawlessly in guiding the Ducks to a 7-0 start and has them in prime position to win the Pac-12. Oregon hosts UCLA this weekend and travels to Stanford next week, both contests that will be difficult tests for Mariota and the Ducks. For Mariota to remain the Heisman favorite he will need to dominate both of these games, otherwise he will leave the door open for Winston or Petty to claim the top spot.


2. Florida State QB Jameis Winston(Fr.)

Last Week (W, 51-14, at Clemson): 22-for-34, 444 yards, 3 TD, INT (7 rush yards, TD)

Season: 112-for-157 (71.3%),  1,885 yards, 20 TD, 3 INT (137 yards, 3 TD)

The ‘Noles grabbed a tremendous victory at Clemson last weekend in blowout fashion that dropped Tajh Boyd from the Heisman Watch and allowed Winston to gain ground on Mariota.  In his last two contests, Winston has accounted for nine total touchdowns and set new career-highs in passing yards each game with 393 and 444, respectively. Against NC State this weekend, he should be able to continue this trend before a showdown with another Top 10 team in Miami next weekend. If Winston keeps this up, he could surpass Mariota as the Heisman favorite very soon.


3. Baylor QB Bryce Petty (Jr.)

Last Week (W, 71-7 vs. Iowa State): 23-for-31, 343 yards, 2 TD (6 rush yards, TD)

Season: 102-for-144 (70.8%), 2,023 yards, 15 TD, INT (51 rush yards, 5 TD)

Baylor has the top offense in college football thus far, and the play under center has been a big reason why. The Bears are averaging 64.7 points per game and have been so dominant early in most games that Petty hasn’t had a chance to substantially pad his numbers. Baylor is the current Big 12 favorite but their schedule looks significantly harder after facing Kansas this weekend.  If the Bears keep up their explosive offense in the second half of the season, Petty could grab Baylor’s second Heisman in three seasons.


4. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel (So.)

Last Week (L, 45-41, vs.  Auburn): 28-for-38, 454 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT (48 rush yards, TD)

Season: 159-for-217 (73.3%), 2,289 yards, 18 TD, 7 INT (486 rush yards, 6 TD)

Manziel’s inability to win last week’s contest for the Aggies may have been a result of one of his injuries or Auburn finally stepping up on defense. Regardless, Manziel’s sophomore campaign is impressive considering the that SEC defenses had at least nine months to gameplan for him and the constant criticism he received about his offseason activities. While that second loss may cost him a second Heisman, he is undoubtedly the most exciting player to watch in college football.


5. Oregon State QB Sean Mannion (Jr.)

Last Week (W, 49-17, vs. California): 35-for-45, 481 yards, 4 TD

Season: 229-for-334 (68.6%), 2,992 yards, 29 TD, 3 INT

Yes, the Beavers lost to Eastern Washington in Week 1, but Mannion was nearly perfect in that performance. Since then, Oregon State has won six straight and currently Mannion leads the FBS in touchdown passes as well as in passing yards. Oregon State hosts Stanford this weekend and, if they pull the upset, the nation will be buzzing about Mannion. The win would also put them in great position to be 10-1 heading into the Nov. 29 showdown at Oregon that could decide the conference title.