The final week of the 2013 college football regular season is here (with the exception of the annual Army-Navy game next Saturday), and it appears that the race for the Heisman Trophy may be Jameis Winston’s to lose.
Here is how the National Football Post stacks up its Heisman Watch heading into the final action before ballots are due.
US PRESSWIREJameis Winston has played with poise and conviction throughout his first season as the starting QB in Tallahassee.
Florida State QB Jameis Winston: With the announcement that the redshirt freshman will not be charged with sexual assault, it appears that the Seminole is the frontrunner for the individual hardware. The quarterback led FSU to its first undefeated regular season since 1999, and he completed his regular season by shaking off a first-drive interception to toss three touchdowns to Kelvin Benjamin and record 327 yards through the air in a win over in-state rival Florida. Winston has played with poise and conviction throughout his first season as the starter, and he has been particularly effective on third down all year. Even if some voters invoke the “integrity” clause on Famous Jameis, it appears that the hardware could go to a redshirt freshman for the second year in a row if he finishes with a strong game against Duke in the ACC title game on Saturday.
2013: 218 of 317 passing for 3,490 yards, 35 TDs and 8 INTs; 67 rushes for 134 yards and 3 TDs
Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch: The dual-threat signal-caller became the fifth quarterback in FBS history with 20 rushing touchdowns and 20 passing touchdowns in the same season. Three of the players to do so went on to win the Heisman Trophy: Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel. NIU will play Bowling Green in the MAC title game on Friday, and a win could send the Huskies to a BCS game for a second straight season. And another strong game from Lynch against a good Bowling Green defense could possibly vault him past Winston.
2013: 212 of 329 passing for 2,457 yards, 22 TDs and 5 INTs; 248 rushes for 1,755 yards and 20 TDs
Fresno State QB Derek Carr: The future NFL signal-caller led the Bulldogs to an MWC division title by passing for a nation-leading 4,462 yards and 45 touchdowns against just five interceptions. But because of Fresno State’s porous defense, the team was knocked out of BCS consideration last week in a loss to San Jose State, a game in which Carr threw for 519 yards and six touchdowns. He is running behind Lynch now, and it may be tough for two non-BCS conference players to end up in New York.
2013: 388 of 552 passing for 4,462 yards, 45 TDs and 5 INTs
Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey: The running back, who ranks second in the nation in carries and fourth in rushing yards and touchdowns, has gained at least 100 yards on the ground in every game this season. Two times he has gone over the 200-yard mark, and he paced the Wildcats’ upset win over Oregon with 206 yards and four touchdowns. He is probably the best-positioned non-QB to get an invite to New York.
2013: 322 rushes for 1,716 yards and 17 TDs
Boston College RB Andre Williams: The Eagles have been revived under first-year head coach Steve Addazio, and perhaps there’s no bigger reason than the play of Williams. The senior suffered a terrible break, however, last week against Syracuse when he was injured in the third quarter. His Heisman candidacy was continuing to get legitimized before the injury occurred, so he lost a lot of that steam. He finished with just nine carries for 29 yards, although one of the runs was a 26-yard touchdown scamper.
2013: 329 rushes for 2,102 yards and 17 TDs
Others to watch
Alabama QB AJ McCarron
Baylor QB Bryce Petty
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.