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Jameis Winston remains atop Heisman watch list

Tony Avelar / Associated Press
David Carr helped light up the scoreboard on Friday, but his team ultimately was upset by San Jose State.

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.

HEISMAN WATCH 2013:
Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8
Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1

Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is the clear-cut Heisman leader, but his status as a suspect in a sexual-assault case from December 2012 could keep him from winning the award -- and could keep FSU from winning the national title.

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Prosecutors in Tallahassee, Fla., haven't set a timetable on when they expect to make a decision on charges in the case. Florida State meets Duke in the ACC championship game this Saturday, but will Winston be available? FSU is on track for an appearance in the BCS championship game. FSU can win the ACC title without Winston, but the Seminoles can't win the national title without him.

The NCAA single-season passing record by a freshman is 3,740 yards set by UCLA's Brett Hundley last season, and Winston has 3,490 with two games left. In addition, Winston has 35 touchdown passes, meaning he is one TD pass away from tying the NCAA freshman single-season record set by Sam Bradford at Oklahoma in 2007.

Here are this week's top 10 contenders, from 10th to first, as this Heisman voter sees them:

10. Brett Hundley, UCLA

2013 stats: 237.1 passing yards per game, 22 TDs, 9 interceptions, 67.8 completion percentage, 48.9 rushing yards per game, 9 TDs.
Saturday's stats: 18 of 27 for 203 yards, 0 TDs, 0 interceptions, 80 rushing yards, 2 TDs in win over USC.
The skinny: Hundley has struggled at times this season, but it's hard to find a better dual-threat quarterback when he is at his best. Saturday was his sixth game this season with at least 60 rushing yards, and it also was the eighth time he completed at least two-thirds of his passes in a game this season. Saturday's outing also was the first in which he did not throw a touchdown pass. If he returns to school, he will go into next season as a top-five Heisman contender.

Nov 30, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker (7) and running back Ka'Deem Carey (25) look on during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the 87th annual Territorial Cup at Sun Devil Stadium. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)
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Alternate college football uniforms

Check out special college football uniforms worn during the 2013 season.

9. TB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

2013 stats: 156.0 rushing yards per game, 17 TDs, 26 receptions, 1 TD.
Saturday's stats: 32 rushes, 157 yards, 1 TD in loss to Arizona State.
The skinny: Carey, a junior, led the nation in rushing last season and is second this season. He has rushed for at least 119 yards in each of his 11 games, and Saturday's performance was his fifth 150-yard outing of the season. Carey also can handle a heavy workload: He has had at least 25 carries in eight games this season.

8. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

2013 stats: 311.0 passing yards per game, 33 TDs, 13 interceptions, 69.1 completion percentage, 57.2 rushing yards per game, 8 TDs.
Saturday's stats: 24 of 35 for 195 yards, 1 TD, 0 interceptions, 21 rushing yards in loss to Missouri.
The skinny: Manziel, a third-year sophomore, basically saw his Heisman hopes end last week in a loss to LSU. Can he still get to New York as a finalist? Saturday's game was the second time this season he threw for fewer than 200 yards; the first was in the opener, when he was suspended for a half, then benched in the second half by his coach after he gestured to an opponent. Manziel is tied for sixth nationally in touchdown passes and is third nationally in total offense (368.2 yards per game).

7. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

2013 stats: 284.3 passing yards per game, 30 TDs, 4 interceptions, 63.1 completion percentage, 48.5 rushing yards per game, 9 TDs.
Friday's stats: 17 of 34 for 285 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 53 rushing yards in win over Oregon State.
The skinny: Mariota, a third-year sophomore, has thrown at least one TD pass in all 24 games of his career. He led Oregon on a game-winning, last-minute drive to beat archrival Oregon State on Friday. But he completed 50 percent or less of his passes for the third time this season, and also threw two picks for the second game in a row.

Southern California cheerleaders perform during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State in Los Angeles, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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College football cheerleaders

Take a look at the cheerleaders of college football in action during the 2013 season.

6. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor

2013 stats: 323.4 passing yards per game, 28 TDs, 2 interception, 62.4 completion percentage, 11 rushing TDs.
Saturday's stats: 19 of 38 for 206 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception, 1 rushing TD in win over TCU.
The skinny: Petty, a junior, has nine 300-yard games and five games with at least three TD passes this season. But there's no question that as the schedule has toughened in the second half of the season, he has struggled some. He hasn’t completed more than 58 percent of his passes in any of the past four games, and Saturday's outing vs. TCU was his second in that stretch where he completed just half his attempts. Still, he has excellent stats (look at that TD-to-interception ratio) and he quarterbacks a team that should win 11 games. Petty is one of nine quarterbacks nationally averaging 300 passing yards per game, but he has by far the fewest attempts (by 72) and the fewest completions (by 71) among those nine.

5. TB Andre Williams, Boston College

2013 stats: 175.2 rushing yards per game, 17 rushing TDs.
Saturday's stats: 9 carries, 29 yards, 1 TD in loss to Syracuse.
The skinny: Williams, a senior, is the nation's leading rusher, and is the first 2,000-yard rusher in the FBS ranks since UConn's Donald Brown in 2008. He is just the 15th back to reach the 2,000-yard plateau in NCAA history. But his Heisman hopes ended Saturday when he was hurt early in the second half of a loss to Syracuse. He has had five 200-yard games and nine 100-yard performances this season, including 149 against Florida State. As for handling a heavy workload, Williams has had at least 23 carries in 10 of BC's 12 games, and six times he has had at least 30 carries; he leads the nation with 329 carries.

4. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington

2013 stats: 147.9 rushing yards per game, 18 rushing TDs, 25 receptions, 1 receiving TD.
Saturday's stats: 34 carries, 200 yards, 1 touchdown in win over Washington State.
The skinny: Sankey, a junior, has three 200-yard and nine 100-yard games this season, and he has scored at least one rushing TD in each of the Huskies' 12 contests. He is third in the nation in rushing, tied for fourth in rushing TDs and third in rushing attempts (306). Sankey also is a workhorse who has been extremely productive against a tough schedule (four opponents are in the current top 25). So why doesn't he get more national acclaim?

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3. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

2013 stats: 405.6 passing yards per game, 45 TDs, 5 interceptions, 70.3 completion percentage, 2 rushing TDs.
Friday's stats: 38 of 50 for 519 yards, 6 TDs, 1 interception, 32 rushing yards in loss to San Jose State.
The skinny: Carr, a senior, leads the nation in passing yards per game and TD passes. He is tied for 12th in NCAA single-season history in TD passes, and he has two games left; only four quarterbacks (Colt Brennan, David Klingler, B.J. Symons and Sam Bradford) have thrown 50 in a season. It's doubtful he can reach Brennan's 58, but Klingler is second with 54 and Symons third with 52. Only 10 quarterbacks ever have averaged 400 passing yards per game in a season; his current average would be sixth-most all time. Friday's game was his second 500-yard outing of the season and the third of his career; this fall, he has had seven 400-yard games, nine 300-yard games, four games with at least five TD passes and eight games with at least four TD passes.

Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin tries but cannot hang on to a pass in front of Florida defenders William Few (48) and Cody Riggs (31) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. Florida State defeated Florida 37-7.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
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Best of Week 14

Check out the top images from the 14th weekend of college football play.

2. QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

2013 stats: 204.8 passing yards per game, 22 TDs, 5 interceptions, 64.4 completion percentage, 146.3 rushing yards per game, 20 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD.
Wednesday's stats: 5 of 17 for 39 yards, 1 TDs, 0 interceptions, 27 carries, 321 yards, 3 TDs in win over Western Michigan.
The skinny: Lynch, a senior, has started 26 games in the past two seasons, and NIU is 24-2 overall and 12-0 this season. He set a FBS single-game rushing record for quarterbacks in the win over Western Michigan, breaking a record he set earlier this season. Lynch is fourth nationally in total offense per game (351.0 yards per game) and fourth nationally in rushing. His performance against Western Michigan was his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 rushing yards, and he has seven of those on the season. He has rushed for 17 TDs in the past seven games. Lynch set a single-season FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,815 last season; he is at 1,755 this season and has two games remaining. He has a shot at becoming just the 16th player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. If NIU beats Bowling Green in the MAC championship game this Friday, the Huskies will qualify for their second consecutive BCS appearance.

1. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State

2013 stats: 290.8 passing yards per game, 35 TDs, 8 interceptions, 68.8 completion percentage, 3 rushing TDs.
Saturday's stats: 19 of 31 for 327 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception in win over Florida.
The skinny: Winston is bidding to become the second consecutive redshirt freshman to win the Heisman. Saturday's outing was his seventh with at least three TD passes and his 11th with at least two scoring tosses. Winston has six 300-yard games this season. He has set a FSU single-season record for TD passes and is third nationally in that category. His yards-per-attempt average (11.0) is second among those who qualify.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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