The Seminoles quarterback had the marquee performance of Week 8.
Each week of the college football season, Athlon Sports will poll some of the nation's best college football people from every region of the country. Each voter offers up a top five and each first-place vote is worth five points. A second-place vote is worth four points, so on and so forth. With 13 voters, a perfect ballot — i.e., 13 first-place votes — would give a player 65 total points.
There are two names now standing above the rest in the race for college football's most prestigious award. Oregon's Marcus Mariota was brilliant in yet another win but Florida State's Jameis Winston made a Heisman statement in Death Valley by single-handedly crushing No. 3 Clemson. With contenders dropping like flies all over the nation, it may be a two-horse race to the finish.
Post-Week 8 Voting Results:
|2.||(4)||Jameis Winston||QB||Florida St||49||1||10||1||-||1|
|3.||(2)||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M||37||-||2||9||-||1|
|5.||(5)||Sean Mannion||QB||Oregon St||14||-||-||-||6||2|
|7t.||(ur)||Brandin Cooks||WR||Oregon St||2||-||-||-||1||-|
|7t.||(ur)||Jordan Lynch||QB||N. Illinois||2||-||-||-||-||2|
Winston’s Statement. The basic belief is that every Heisman winner needs a Heisman moment to win the award. Well, redshirt freshman Jameis Winston had his on Saturday night against Clemson. He threw for 444 yards and scored five total touchdowns on the road against the No. 3 team in the nation. He has vaulted himself to No. 2 in the balloting and has created a two-horse race for the stiff-armed trophy. He got his first first-place vote and 10 second-place votes to separate himself from the rest of the field as the top challenger to Marcus Mariota.
Beavers and Ducks. Billy Bob Thornton would be proud, because this state is producing at elite levels. Marcus Mariota is still the frontrunner to win the award after eight weeks of action. He was magical again, scoring three more touchdowns, throwing for 327 yards and rushing for 67 on the ground. But there are other guys playing excellent football in the state of Oregon. Oregon State’s quarterback Sean Mannion is leading the nation in passing (427.4 ypg) and passing touchdowns (29) while wide receiver Brandin Cooks is leading the nation in receptions (76), yards (1,176) and touchdowns (12). And both are on this week’s Heisman ballot. The Beavers, who have won six straight, get to host No. 6 Stanford this weekend, while Oregon gets No. 12 UCLA at home.
Baylor Buzz. Another big Heisman winner this weekend was Baylor’s quarterback Bryce Petty. He led his offense to 700 yards of offense and 70 points for the fourth time this season in the 71-7 crushing win over Iowa State. Petty is leading the nation in passing efficiency at 221.83, which would obliterate the NCAA single-season record, and has the Bears perfect and No. 8 in the BCS.
Boring 'ol Bama. AJ McCarron has been on the Athlon Heisman ballot every single weekend but never seems to get much attention. He is 32-2 as a starter and completed 15-of-21 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns in yet another blowout SEC win this weekend. He’s the eighth-rated passer in the nation and don’t be surprised if McCarron makes it to New York based on consistency and win-loss record. As contenders fall by the wayside each week, McCarron keeps on plugging away.
Dropped Out. Aaron Murray lost his third game and didn’t get a vote this week. Tajh Boyd played one of the worst games of his career and has plummeted completely out of the voting after being in the top three for most of the year. The same could be said about Zach Mettenberger, Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley and Johnny Manziel, who all lost critical games in Week 8. Only Manziel lost and still got votes this week.
What to Watch. Oregon State hosts No. 6 Stanford this weekend and it should give the best QB-WR duo in the nation (Mannion to Cooks) a chance to showcase themselves. The Ducks get No. 12 UCLA at home in a potential Pac-12 championship preview. Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel and Jordan Lynch get easy home games while Bryce Petty travels to lowly Kansas.
The Voting Panel:
|Tom Dienhart||Big Ten Network||BigTenNetwork.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Bryan Fischer||Pac-12 Network||Pac-12.com||Marcus Mariota|
|David Fox||Athlon Sports||AthlonSports.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Braden Gall||Athlon Sports||AthlonSports.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Steven Godfrey||SB Nation||SBNation.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Chris Huston||Heisman Pundit||HeismanPundit.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Steven Lassan||Athlon Sports||AthlonSports.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Chris Level||Red Raider Sports||RedRaiderSports.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Mitch Light||Athlon Sports||AthlonSports.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Billy Liucci||TexAgs||TexAgs.com||Jameis Winston|
|Dan Rubenstein||SB Nation/Solid Verbal||SolidVerbal.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Josh Ward||Mr. SEC/WNML||MrSEC.com||Marcus Mariota|
|Jim Young||ACC Sports Journal||ACCSports.com||Marcus Mariota|