Following months of countdowns, rankings, analysis and just plain jibber-jabber, the nation was finally treated to some real, live college football over the weekend. We as fans were not disappointed.
Many teams across the country rose to the occasion, and programs battled it out for the only number coaches care about: 1-0. That being said, however, several players compiled big-time stat lines worthy of individual celebration.
That is what the Heisman Trophy is here for: To celebrate the accomplishments of one of college football’s greatest players in history. As the 2013 season progresses, we will keep track of the weekly trends we see in individual player performances as well as how a team plays around that one guy.
Without further ado, here are 25 of the top Heisman Trophy contenders (and then some) after a huge weekend of football:
Just Missed The Cut (in no particular order)
James White, RB, Wisconsin Badgers, Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall Thundering Herd; Antonio Andrews, RB, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers; Baker Mayfield, QB, Texas Tech Red Raiders; Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide; Dri Archer, RB/WR/KR, Kent State Golden Flashes, David Fluellen, RB, Toledo Rockets; Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern Wildcats; David Ash, QB, Texas Longhorns; Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State Cowboys; Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland Terrapins; Paul James, RB, Rutgers Scarlet Knights; Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA Bruins; Tommy Rees, QB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish; Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona Wildcats
25. Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern Wildcats (Trending down)
24. Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida Gators (Trending up)
23. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska Cornhuskers
22. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State Bulldogs (Trending up)
21. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois Huskies
20. Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford Cardinal
19. Stephen Morris, QB, Miami Hurricanes
18. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State Seminoles
17. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska Cornhuskers
16. Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan Wolverines (Trending up)
15. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA Bruins
14. Marqise Lee, WR, USC Trojans
13. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia Bulldogs
12. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami Hurricanes (Trending up)
11. De’Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon Ducks
10. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Week 1 stats: 17 rush att., 75 yards, one TD
Why he’ll win it: Yeldon was hardly asked to do a thing against a depleted Virginia Tech team in Week 1. He stepped up in a big way as a freshman whenever called upon last year, and will do the same again in 2013.
Why he won’t: Coach Nick Saban simply boasts too many weapons to give one player too much of the workload.
9. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia Bulldogs (Trending down)
Week 1 stats: 155.63 rating, 69.0 comp. %, 323 pass yards, zero TD, one INT
Why he’ll win it: Still set to break several SEC passing records as a senior this fall, Murray will bounce back from the Week 1 loss to Clemson to carry Georgia to a third-straight SEC East title. With dozens of touchdown passes and the championship, his Heisman hopes will be in great shape.
Why he won’t: Murray does not have a big-game reputation. The loss to Clemson may have already knocked him out in the eyes of some voters who believe the Heisman should go to a player that carries his team to lofty heights – regardless of numbers.
8. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor Bears
Week 1 stats: 11 rush att., 111 yards, two TD
Why he’ll win it: Seastrunk impressed in extremely limited time and should only continue to pile up the yardage.
Why he won’t: His quarterback, Bryce Petty, looked great in his first career start. Coach Art Briles loves airing it out and if he puts more of the load on Petty’s shoulders, Seastrunk may not have the opportunity to tally the stats he needs to score the hardware.
7. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon Ducks
Week 1 stats: 166.45 rating, 57.1 comp. %, 234 pass yards, 113 rush yards, three total TD, zero INT
Why he’ll win it: Despite the change in head coach, the Ducks didn’t miss a single beat in piling up 66 points against Nicholls State. More of the same could translate to an invite to New York City.
Why he won’t: East Coast bias? Oregon offense bias? Voters might be asleep when he’s running all over teams at one in the morning (Eastern). Combine that with the fact that some still see Oregon’s offense as “gimmicky” and he may face an uphill climb to the podium.
6. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Week 1 stats: 89.31 rating, 43.5 comp. %, 110 pass yards, one TD, one INT
Why he’ll win it: We saw vintage McCarron on Saturday against Virginia Tech: Cool, calm, efficient in the pocket and leading the way to yet another big win.
Why he won’t: We saw vintage McCarron on Saturday against Virginia Tech: A game manager that may not be dully credited for all Bama has done under his leadership.
5. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson Tigers (Trending up)
Week 1 stats: 168.6 rating, 60.0 comp. %, 270 pass yards, 42 rush yards, five total TD, zero INT
Why he’ll win it: The man just stole the Week 1 show. Not only did he lead his Tigers to a win over SEC powerhouse Georgia, but he did so in absolutely elite fashion. Continued big play under the bight lights should land him under the bright lights of Broadway.
Why he won’t: It’s great that he beat Georgia, but the schedule the rest of the way might not be respectable enough to garner enough voting support. That, or he manages to lay an egg somewhere down the road (i.e. “pulls a Clemson”).
4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina Gamecocks (Trending down)
Week 1 stats: Three total tackles, three QB hurries, zero sacks
Why he’ll win it: Without a doubt the premiere defensive player in the nation, Clowney will not be kept off the sacks stat line forever.
Why he won’t: Clowney showed us exactly what the problem is for defensive players with regards to winning the Heisman against North Carolina on Thursday. His statistics do not resonate enough with voters. He won’t be able to collect four sacks each game.
3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Week 1 stats: 157.05 rating, 68.2 comp. %, 178 pass yards, 77 rush yards, two TD, one INT
Why he’ll win it: Why not? Miller showed off the improved passing we were all promised, but it was against Buffalo. If he continues to provide the dual-threat superstardom we expect, there’s no reason why Ohio State can’t make a run at the title – and he himself can’t make a run at the Heisman.
Why he won’t: Everyone knows Miller can make it happen with his wheels. If he doesn’t continue to make real improvements in the passing game, another star signal-caller in this loaded group will jump him.
2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville Cardinals (Trending up)
Week 1 stats: 240.43 rating, 82.1 comp. %, 355 pass yards, five TD, one INT
Why he’ll win it: Talk about trending. After leading the Cardinals to an epic Sugar Bowl win over Florida to end the 2012-13 season, Bridgewater shrugged off all the offseason hype and just about put together a perfect football game. More of the same and voters won’t have any other choice.
Why he won’t: More of the same against the laughably easy schedule Louisville has this season and voters still might not give it to him.
1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies
Week 1 stats: 297.45 rating, 75.0 comp. %, 94 pass yards, 19 rush yards, three TD, zero INT
Why he’ll win it: In just 30 minutes of football, Manziel reminded everybody why he was the first-ever freshman to take home the hardware a year ago. He is only going to get more comfortable as the year goes on, and a big win over Alabama in Week 3 certainly won’t hurt.
Why he won’t: In just 30 minutes of football, Manziel gave the nation at least two different trash-talking highlights and got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct once. Like all offseason, poor behavior ruins the goodwill his gameplay elicits from us fans.