Welcome to week six of our Heisman Power Rankings – each week, we use our thorough, data-driven algorithm to predict the eventual winner of this year’s Heisman trophy. A number of players still have a realistic shot at taking home the trophy this season, but this weekend, one amazing freshman stood out from the pack...
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
7. Heisman moment (a Yes/No answer for each candidate)
1. Jameis Winston, Florida State QB
Last week: 3
Last game: 23/32 for 393 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 8 carries for 25 yards and 1 TD in a 63-0 win over #25 Maryland
Season stats: 17 TDs, 2 INTs, 1441 passing yards; 2 rushing TDs, 135 rushing yards
Team ranking in AP poll: 6
Name recognition: B
Five touchdowns and 393 passing yards in a 63-0 blowout of a ranked team. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a statement game. Florida State's fantastic freshman Jameis Winston was quietly excellent through the first few weeks of the season, but after this Saturday, the secret's out.
Winston's numbers through five games this season are virtually identical to Johnny Manziel's over the same stretch last year, and we all remember how that turned out - could a freshman phenom take home the Heisman for the second straight year?
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB
Last week: 1
Last game: 23/30 for 261 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 9 carries for 59 yards in a 45-33 win over Arkansas
Season stats: 14 TDs, 4 INTs, 1489 passing yards; 3 rushing TDs, 314 rushing yards
Team ranking in AP poll: 9
Name recognition: A+
This wasn't a great week for Johnny Football to have his bye - pretty much everyone on his tail had a monster game. Manziel has done enough through his first five games to stay in second place, but unless he starts posting massive numbers week after week like he did last year, he could slip even further.
Manziel still has the best name recognition of any Heisman candidate, but his signature game so far came in a loss to Alabama, which certainly isn't ideal. This Saturday's game against Ole Miss is going to be huge for both Manziel and A&M - if he falls short and A&M loses, the ceiling on how far both can go this season falls sharply.
3. Tajh Boyd, Clemson QB
Last week: 2
Last game: 20/27 for 455 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 8 carries for -5 yards in a 49-14 win over Syracuse
Season stats: 14 TDs, 2 INTs, 1449 passing yards; 4 rushing TDs, 154 rushing yards
Team ranking in AP poll: 3
Name recognition: B
Last week's highest climber isn't down a spot through any fault of his own - it isn't Boyd's fault that Jameis Winston did everything he did, only with no interceptions and a rushing touchdown against a ranked team. Boyd did almost enough against Syracuse to vault himself over Manziel into the second spot, but those two interceptions hurt his resume.
At this stage of the season, it's already obvious that Boyd is a legitimate Heisman contender - Clemson's win over Georgia in their season opener still carries a lot of weight with fans and voters alike. Boyd's next game against a ranked opponent will be his showdown against Jameis Winston and Florida state on October 19th, and that's going to be can't-miss TV.
4. Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB
Last week: 4
Last game: 16/27 for 355 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 7 carries for 43 yards and 2 TDs in a 57-16 win over Colorado
Season stats: 14 TDs, 0 INTs, 1440 passing yards; 7 rushing TDs, 338 rushing yards
Team ranking in AP poll: 2
Name recognition: B
Another day, another 40-point blowout win for Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks. The Pac-12 is proving to be no match for Oregon's absurdly talented offense, and Mariota has stood out despite the talented weapons that surround him. Accounting for seven touchdowns against Colorado, Mariota had what was probably his best game of the year, but it speaks volumes about the strength of this year's Heisman pool that it wasn't enough to help him move up in the race.
Up next? #16 Washington comes to town in Oregon's first real test of the year. If Mariota has another huge game and the Ducks roll over UW, Mariota's won't be just another QB picking on bad teams - he'll be a Heisman front-runner.
5. AJ McCarron, Alabama QB
Last week: N/R
Last game: 15/16 for 166 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs in a 45-3 win over Georgia State
Season stats: 10 TDs, 3 INTs, 1048 passing yards
Team ranking in AP poll: 1
Name recognition: A
There are a few QBs with better stats than McCarron on paper, but McCarron has a major advantage over the rest of the field. AJ is the best-known player on the best team in the country, and as long as he keeps playing well, he'll be in the Heisman hunt. McCarron only played the first half against Georgia State, but that's all Alabama needed - he was nearly flawless in that half, with only one incompletion out of 16 attempts. He also outdueled Johnny Football in Alabama's win over A&M earlier this year, which is definitely the most impressive "Heisman moment" any of our candidates has on their resume so far.
Between Kenny Bell, Kenyan Drake and Amari Cooper, McCarron's receiving corps is the most loaded in the nation. If they can keep connecting and Alabama keeps winning, McCarron will stay in contention for the Heisman trophy.
On the Verge:
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville QB
#8 Louisville's incredibly weak schedule continues to hurt Bridgewater's chances at the Heisman. Putting up big numbers against Temple and FIU isn't going to help him gain any ground, and unless Bridgewater can put up 4 TDs and 400 yards a week for the rest of the season, he won't be able to overtake the rest of the field.
Bryce Petty, Baylor QB
In their four games so far this season, Baylor's offense has made Oregon's look like something you'd see in the 1960's Big 10. Their lowest-scoring performance was a 69-3 win over Wofford, and Petty's absurd efficiency is a big reason why. We won't know if Petty is for real until a three-game stretch in November that sees Baylor take on three ranked foes three weeks in a row - Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will be much harder to break down than Wofford and Buffalo.
Zach Mettenberger, LSU QB
With 15 TDs, 1738 passing yards and just 2 interceptions so far, Mettenberger has led the #10 LSU Tigers to a 5-1 record. If Mettenberger can lead LSU through their punishing SEC schedule intact, he'll be a bona fide Heisman contender once the dust settles.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed