|Gary Kazanjian / Associated Press|
|Derek Carr has Fresno State chasing a BCS bowl bid, but his odds of winning the Heisman appear long.|
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.
With Marcus Mariota idle and Jameis Winston having what for him was a so-so day, Johnny Manziel moved back into the top spot in this week's Heisman watch.
Manziel is third nationally in total offense and has accounted for 34 touchdowns, five more than Mariota and seven more than Winston. He has played in nine games, one more than Mariota and Winston. His completion percentage is higher than both (it's more than 8 percentage points better than Mariota's), and it's hard to overlook what he did in a 49-42 loss to Alabama (464 passing yards, with five TDs, along with 98 rushing yards) when you consider the Tide has given up in the ensuing six games (26 total points, one TD pass). If A&M were unbeaten, which would require a defense that actually stopped people, Manziel would be the runaway leader in the Heisman race.
Mariota can make a huge statement Thursday night in a nationally televised game against Stanford. Oregon also has games remaining against Arizona and Oregon State. Manziel and A&M have games left against LSU and Missouri, while the best opponent for Winston and Florida State is a .500 Florida team.
Here are this week's top 10 contenders, from 10th to first, as this Heisman voter sees them:
10. TB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
2013 stats: 153.1 rushing yards per game, 10 rushing TDs.
Last week: 32 carries for 152 yards in a 33-28 win over Califonia.
The skinny: Carey, a junior, led the nation in rushing last season and is leading the nation in rushing this season. He rushed for 152 yards in Saturday's win over California, his 11th consecutive 100-yard game dating to last season. He also has proved he can handle a heavy workload: He carried 32 times Saturday, the third time this season he has had at least 30 carries. He has had at least 21 carries in six of the seven games he has played this season.
9. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
2013 stats: 291.1 passing yards per game, 20 TDs, 6 interception, 65.8 completion percentage, 7 rushing TDs.
Last week: 24 for 29 passing for 377 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT in a 59-10 win over Virginia.
The skinny: Boyd, a senior, played less than three quarters in Saturday's rout of Virginia and threw for 377 yards and three TDs and also ran for a score. It was his fifth 300-yard game of the season and also the fifth time he had thrown at least three touchdown passes. He played poorly in Clemson's showdown with Florida State, which ended his Heisman hopes. But his play remains a major reason Clemson is in the top 10 and still in the running for a BCS berth.
8. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
2013 stats: 350.4 passing yards per game, 18 TDs, 1 interception, 69.3 completion percentage.
Last week: Baylor had a bye.
The skinny: Petty, a junior, and the Bears were off Saturday. They have a huge Big 12 showdown Thursday night against visiting Oklahoma. If he is to remain a viable candidate (i.e., a guy who can get invited to New York), he must have a big game against the Sooners on national TV. He has thrown for at least 312 yards in each of the Bears' seven games, though he hasn't exactly been lighting up good defenses. There are 13 quarterbacks averaging 300 passing yards per game, but Petty has the fewest attempts (by 36) and the fewest completions (by 27) among those 13. He averages 13.9 yards per attempt, by far the highest figure in the nation.
7. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
2013 stats: 382.6 passing yards per game, 28 TDs, 4 interceptions, 69.2 completion percentage.
Last week: 39 for 55 passing for 487 yards and 3 TDs in a 41-23 win over Nevada.
The skinny: Carr, a senior, threw for a season-high 487 yards against Nevada on Saturday night; in the process, he became the school's leading career passer, passing Kevin Sweeney in the process. It was the 12th 400-yard game of his career. Carr is second nationally in TD passes and third in attempts per game (52.4). Fresno is unbeaten and in line for a BCS bid, which raises Carr's profile. Still, it would be a miracle if he were to be invited to New York.
6. QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
2013 stats: 207.9 passing yards per game, 19 TDs, 5 interceptions, 63.6 completion percentage, 127.8 rushing yards per game, 12 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD.
Last week: 10 for 13 passing for 160 yards and 1 TD; 17 carries for 119 yards rushing for 4 TDs in a 63-19 win over Massachusetts.
The skinny: Lynch, a senior, has started 23 games in the past two seasons, and in those games NIU is 21-2 overall and 9-0 this season. He ran for four scores and also tossed a TD pass in Saturday's rout of Massachusetts. He is eighth nationally in rushing yards per game. Lynch also has NIU in contention for a second consecutive BCS bid. Lynch and NIU next play Nov. 13 against Ball State in a game that could determine the MAC West title.
5. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington
2013 stats: 145.3 rushing yards per game, 12 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD.
Last week: Washington had a bye.
The skinny: Sankey, a junior, and the Huskies were off Saturday. He is fourth in the nation in rushing TDs and third in rushing attempts (199). Washington has three losses and Sankey isn't going to win the Heisman; he's not even the leading contender in the Pac-12. On the flipside: He's a workhorse who has been extremely productive against a tough schedule. Sankey has a chance for a big game this week against a bad Colorado defense.
4. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
2013 stats: 319.6 passing yards per game, 23 TDs, 2 interception, 73.7 completion percentage.
Last week: Louisville had a bye.
The skinny: Bridgewater and the Cardinals were off Saturday; they play Friday against woeful Connecticut, which has been torched through the air by its past two opponents (Cincinnati and UCF). Bridgewater has six 300-yard games this season and four times has thrown at least three TD passes. He leads the nation in completion percentage among the quarterbacks who qualify. Bridgewater, a junior, might be the most pro-ready quarterback in the nation, but given the weakness of Louisville's schedule he will be lucky if he makes it to New York as a Heisman finalist.
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3. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
2013 stats: 312.8 passing yards per game, 24 TDs, 6 interceptions, 70.3 completion percentage, 3 rushing TDs.
Last week: 21 for 29 passing for 325 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs; 6 carries for 27 yards in a 41-14 win over Miami (Fla.).
The skinny: Winston is bidding to become the second consecutive redshirt freshman to win the Heisman. He had, for him, a somewhat middling game Saturday in a rout of Miami (Fla.). He threw for 324 yards, his fifth 300-yard game of the season, but he had just one TD pass, his lowest total of the season, and threw two interceptions. Still, he is fourth nationally in TD passes, and his yards-per-attempt average (11.9) is second among those who qualify.
2. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
2013 stats: 285.1 passing yards per game, 20 TDs, 0 interceptions, 64.0 completion percentage, 63.9 rushing yards per game, 9 TDs.
Last week: Oregon had a bye.
The skinny: Mariota, a third-year sophomore, and the Ducks were off Saturday. But they play at Stanford on Thursday in one of the season's most anticipated games. Oregon can take a giant step toward nailing down the Pac-12 North title with a win; in addition, Mariota can take a giant step toward winning the Heisman with a big performance. He has thrown at least one TD pass in all 21 games of his career. He hasn't thrown an interception in eight games and is the most important player on what might be the nation's best team.
1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
2013 stats: 318.6 passing yards per game, 26 TDs, 8 interceptions, 72.5 completion percentage, 62.7 rushing yards per game, 8 TDs.
Last week: 16 for 24 passing for 273 yards and 4 TDs; 7 carries for 67 yards and 2 TDs in a 57-7 win over UTEP.
The skinny: Manziel, a third-year sophomore, threw four TD passes and ran for two more scores in Saturday's blowout of UTEP. It was the ninth time in his 22-game college career he has accounted for at least five TDs in a game. It was the fourth time this season and the third game in a row he threw at least four TD passes; it also was the third time this season he ran for two scores. His completion percentage is third nationally among quarterbacks who qualify and he is third in TD passes. Manziel also is third nationally in total offense (381.2 yards per game).
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.