Mike Huguenin has spent more than 29 years in sports journalism, many of them closely associated with college football. As a longtime Heisman Trophy voter and one who will cast his ballot again at the end of this season, Huguenin takes a weekly look at the Heisman race.
Quarterbacks Tajh Boyd of Clemson, Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State put up huge numbers this past weekend to help themselves in their quests for the Heisman Trophy.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr did the same, but unfortunately for Carr, torching Idaho's secondary doesn't resonate all that much.
That's the same problem that faces Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who put up nice numbers against a bad Temple squad. Bridgewater has a national platform on Thursday night when the Cardinals' game against Rutgers will be televised on ESPN. A big game on national TV can only help Bridgewater's campaign.
The same goes for Mariota and Washington tailback Bishop Sankey, whose teams meet in Seattle on Saturday. It will be Oregon's first legit opponent of the season, and it'll be the second big game in a row for the Huskies, who fell by three at Stanford Saturday night. Unlike Bridgewater, though, those two won't be on ESPN; instead, Oregon-Washington will be on FOX Sports 1.
Here are this week's top 10 contenders, from 10th to first, as this Heisman voter sees them:
10. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
2013 stats: 372.8 passing yards per game, 19 TDs, 4 interceptions, 70.7 completion percentage.
Last week: 37-for-48 passing for 419 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 1 rush for 4 yards in a 61-14 win over Idaho.
The skinny: Carr had his second five-TD performance of the season as the Bulldogs crushed woeful Idaho, but carving up an overmatched secondary really isn't that impressive. That's the type of performance Carr must have to even stay in the Heisman conversation. Still, he is the best player on a team that could finish unbeaten, which should garner him attention.
9. QB Brett Hundley, UCLA
2013 stats: 264.8 passing yards per game, 9 TDs, 4 interceptions, 65.5 completion percentage, 60.5 rushing yards per game, 3 TDs.
Last week: 17-for-27 passing for 211 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 20 carries for 85 yards rushing and 1 TD in a 34-27 win over Utah.
The skinny: Despite an interception that almost cost UCLA a victory, Hundley showed off his dual-threat ability by rushing for 85 yards and a score as the Bruins downed the Utes on Thursday. He should be able to put up big passing numbers against Cal's sieve-like secondary this week.
8. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington
2013 stats: 146.4 rushing yards per game, 7 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD.
Last week: 27 carries for 125 yards and 2 TDs rushing; 5 receptions for 21 yards in a 31-28 loss to Stanford.
The skinny: Sankey ran for 125 yards and two scores against Stanford's rugged defense in a narrow loss. It was the ninth time in Washington's past 11 games he had at least 25 carries, and he was the first back to crack the 100-yard barrier against Stanford this season. Sankey will have a chance for another impressive performance this week when Washington hosts Oregon.
7. RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
2013 stats: 147.3 rushing yards per game, 8 rushing TDs.
Last week: 15 carries for 172 yards and 2 TDs rushing in a 73-42 win over West Virginia.
The skinny: Seastrunk has gained 589 yards on just 53 carries, an average of 11.1 yards per carry. He rushed for a season-high 172 yards on 15 carries in a demolition of West Virginia. As productive as he has been, it is going to be hard for him to gain much traction in the Heisman race until he performs against a "good" defense.
Jameis Winston through the yearsCheck out Florida State's new quarterback, "Famous" Jameis Winston, as he emerges as one of college football's new stars.
6. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
2013 stats: 288.2 passing yards per game, 17 TDs, 2 interceptions, 73.2 completion percentage, 2 rushing TDs.
Last week: 23-for-32 passing for 393 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs; 7 carries for 24 yards in a 63-0 win over Maryland.
The skinny: "Famous" Jameis turned a battle of unbeaten ACC teams into a Saturday afternoon in the park in FSU's demolition of Maryland. At one point, Winston guided the Seminoles to touchdowns on eight consecutive possessions. He showed off both his escapability and arm strength throughout. FSU is off this week, then plays at Clemson in a huge ACC showdown on Oct. 19. If Winston can outduel Clemson senior QB Tajh Boyd, the redshirt freshman will move even higher on Heisman watch lists.
5. QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
2013 stats: 306.8 passing yards per game, 14 TDs, 3 interceptions, 64.9 completion percentage, 3 rushing TDs.
Last week: 19-for-35 passing for 196 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 3 carries for 53 yards in a 34-31 overtime win over Tennessee.
The skinny: Murray overcame a rash of injuries to a lot of key offensive teammates to guide the Bulldogs on a game-tying drive in the final two minutes, with the touchdown coming on a pass with five seconds left. Murray is now the SEC's career leader in passing yards, with 11,625. Because of the injuries, Murray now will have a lot more on his shoulders as Georgia pushes for an SEC East title.
4. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
2013 stats: 271.6 passing yards per game, 14 TDs, 0 interceptions, 56.7 completion percentage, 67.6 rushing yards per game, 7 TDs.
Last week: 16-for-27 passing for 355 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs; 7 carries for 43 yards and 2 TDs in a 57-16 win over Colorado.
The skinny: For the second week in a row, Mariota played less than three quarters as Oregon hammered Colorado. He still accounted for seven touchowns. He has thrown at least one TD pass in all 18 games of his career, and has thrown and run for a score in seven consecutive games. Mariota's first test of the season comes this week at Washington, whose defense limited Stanford on Saturday to 279 total yards.
3. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
2013 stats: 312.4 passing yards per game, 16 TDs, 1 interception, 71.7 completion percentage.
Last week: 25-for-35 passing for 348 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; 3 carries for 2 yards in 30-7 win over Temple.
The skinny: Bridgewater and the Cardinals cruised past a horrendous Temple team this past weekend. As talented as Bridgewater is, the Cardinals have yet to play a legitimate team. Big numbers are expected each week from Bridgewater. The problems: When he produces those big numbers, it elicits a yawn and a shrug of the shoulders. He will be on national TV on Thursday night against Rutgers, whose secondary has been torched by Fresno State and SMU.
2. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
2013 stats: 289.8 passing yards per game, 14 TDs, 2 interceptions, 66.0 completion percentage, 4 rushing TDs.
Last week: 20-for-27 passing for 455 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs; 8 carries for minus-5 yards rushing in a 49-14 win over Syracuse.
The skinny: Boyd was on fire against Clemson, throwing for a career high in yards and tying a career high with the five TD passes in a rout of Syracuse. He should have a lot of success against Boston College this week; then comes one of the two games that ultimately should determine his Heisman fate -- a visit from Florida State on Oct. 19. The other key game is the regular-season finale against South Carolina, which has shut down Boyd and Clemson in each of the past two seasons.
1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
2013 stats: 297.8 passing yards per game, 14 TDs, 4 interceptions, 71.4 completion percentage, 62.8 rushing yards per game, 3 TDs.
Last week: Texas A&M had a bye.
The skinny: Manziel and A&M play at Ole Miss on Saturday. The Rebels' pass defense has been solid, but they haven't played a quarterback like Manziel. One issue for Manziel: A&M doesn't play another marquee foe until it meets LSU on Nov. 23. He needs to put up big numbers each week against the likes of Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Auburn and UTEP.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.