With just under a month to go in the regular season, there isn't much separating the top three Heisman contenders. Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota are all having fantastic seasons, but at the end of the day, only one can take home the trophy. We think Mariota is the only one in control of his own destiny, and this Thursday's game against Stanford could be the key to his success.
In our weekly Heisman Power Rankings, we take several factors into account:
1. Recent game performance
2. Season performance to date
3. Team ranking in Top 25 polls
4. Name recognition
5. Position played: QBs will be given additional weight given their recent domination of the Heisman award
6. Performance in big games - does each candidate have a "Heisman moment" on their resume?
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB
Last Week: 2
Last Game: 21/28, 230 passing yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs plus 7 carries for 18 yards in a 42-14 win over UCLA
Season Stats: 20 passing TDs, 0 INTs, 2281 passing yards, 64.0 completion percentage, 56 carries for 511 yards and 9 TDs
Team BCS Ranking: 3
Team AP Poll Ranking: 2
Name Recognition: B+
Heisman Moment? Not yet
Mariota had the week off, but his unbelievable consistency bumps him back up to the #1 spot after a week where Jameis Winston threw multiple interceptions for the first time all year (Mariota is yet to throw an interception this season). Mariota's only "bad" game of the year came in a 55-16 win over California, and he still ended the game with three touchdowns. While he doesn't have a defining Heisman moment just yet, this Thursday's matchup against #6 Stanford is a perfect opportunity. Considering Mariota's excellent stats and error-free resume, if he has a dominant showing and the Ducks beat Stanford, it'll be nearly impossible for anyone else to catch up.
2. Jameis Winston, Florida State QB
Last Week: 1
Last Game: 21/29 , 325 passing yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs, 6 carries for 27 yards in a 41-14 win over Miami
Season Stats: 24 passing TDs, 6 INTs, 2502 passing yards, 70.3 completion percentage, 50 carries for 153 yards and 3 TDs
Team BCS Ranking: 2
Team AP Poll Ranking: 3
Name Recognition: A-
Heisman Moment? Yes - outgunning Tajh Boyd in FSU's 51-14 win over Clemson
Winston's Seminoles crushed the Hurricanes on Saturday, but the game was more an illustration of the talent Winston has around him than a showcase of his own skills. Winston personally accounted for just one of Florida State's five touchdowns - the first time this year he hasn't been responsible for at least two. It was still an excellent game for the freshman sensation, but the two interceptions weren't ideal, and he'll have to do more to keep up with Marcus Mariota's weekly fireworks show.
3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB
Last Week: 3
Last Game: 16/24, 273 passing yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs, 7 carries for 67 yards and 2 TDs in a 57-7 win over UTEP
Season Stats: 26 passing TDs, 8 INTs, 2867 passing yards, 72.5 completion percentage, 96 carries for 564 yards and 8 TDs
Team BCS Ranking: 15
Team AP Poll Ranking: 11
Name Recognition: A+
Heisman Moment? Not quite - Manziel played almost well enough to beat Alabama and Auburn, but ended up falling just short.
Manziel might have had his best game of the season on Saturday against UTEP - he accounted for six touchdowns and no turnovers for the second time in his college career. He's gaining some ground on Mariota and Winston, but to catch up he'll need to bring the heat against A&M's last two opponents of the season - #13 LSU and #8 Mizzou. Both games are on the road, and both are absolutely crucial to Manziel's Heisman candidacy and A&M's BCS aspirations.
4. Bryce Petty, Baylor QB
Last Week: 4
Last Game: 20/32, 430 passing yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs, 4 carries for 22 yards and a touchdown in a 59-14 win over Kansas
Season Stats: 18 passing TDs, 1 INT, 2453 passing yards, 69.3 completion percentage, 28 carries for 73 yards and 6 TDs
Team BCS Ranking: 6
Team AP Poll Ranking: 5
Name Recognition: C
Heisman Moment? Not yet
Petty also had the weekend off, but Baylor takes on #10 Oklahoma this Thursday in their biggest game of the year so far (and it isn't even close). As good as Petty and the Bears have looked so far this season, they're the only team in the AP Poll's top 15 who hasn't played a ranked opponent yet, and they still have a lot to prove. Their back-loaded schedule (at least three top-25 teams in their last five games) gives them (and Petty) the chance to prove their credentials, but there's still a lot of work left to do.
5. AJ McCarron, Alabama QB
Last Week: N/A
Last Game: 19/27, 275 passing yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs in a 45-10 win over Tennessee
Season Stats: 16 passing TDs, 3 INTs, 1862 passing yards, 69.4 completion percentage
Team BCS Ranking: 1
Team AP Poll Ranking: 1
Name Recognition: A
Heisman Moment? Yes, outgunning Johnny Manziel in Alabama's 49-42 win over Texas A&M
McCarron might not have the stats that some of his competitors have, and there's no debating that he's had help from Alabama's obscenely talented playmakers. McCarron has two big advantages over his competition, though: his stellar performance against Manziel's Aggies back on September 14, and one of the most successful legacies in college football history. If Alabama wins out and makes it to another national championship game, McCarron's resume (at least two SEC championships, three national championship games, at least two national championships, Katherine Webb, etc.) is more impressive than any other candidate's in recent memory. He's a long shot, but don't rule him out.
On the verge:
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin RB
Tajh Boyd, Clemson QB
Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona RBBack to the NCAA Newsfeed