Weekly Heisman Predictor Week 3: Manziel jumps back to top of list in losing effort

Week 3 of our data-driven Heisman predictor, a look at which player is most likely to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy based purely on what we know today. We have built a absurdly thorough data model based on 15 years of Heisman data, which the only 'subjective' data being 2 categories called Name Recognition and Heisman Moment.

Even in a losing effort, Johnny Manziel sky-rocketed to the top of the rankings, showing up #1 on our rankings in 6 of the 7 categories that matter to winning a Heisman.

As part of our weekly series to predict this season’s Heisman winner, we will take into account several different factors:

1. Recent game performance

2. Season performance to date

3. Team ranking in Top 25 polls

4. Name recognition

5. Position played: QB’s 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. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M


Last game stats: 28/39, 464 yards, 5 TD’s, 98 yards rushing in L vs. Alabama

Team ranking in AP Poll: #10

Next game: Saturday vs. Southern Methodist

Name recognition: A+

In the game of the week, Manziel shined in a loss vs. Alabama, seemingly willing his team to not get blown out against the #1 Tide. Without Manziel, Bama likely wins 56-7 on Saturday. Manziel had all the key components of a Heisman campaign on Saturday: A Heisman moment when he made an absurd escape and heave completion, a legendary recent performance, big performance in the biggest game and the best composite season of any candidate to date. As long as Texas A&M remains with one loss, it will be difficult to remove Manziel from this spot.

2. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama


Last game stats: 20/29, 334 yards and 4 TD's in a 49-42 W vs. Texas A&M

Team ranking in AP Poll: #1

Next game: Saturday vs. Colorado State

Name recognition: A

McCarron broke out against A&M and performed well enough to make us forget about his poor opening game vs. Virginia Tech. Being the senior QB of the #1 team in America comes with its positives and negatives: you get a ton of spotlight, but your bad games are magnified bigger than any other players. If McCarron can lead Bama back to the BCS Championship Game for the 3rd straight year, he may be able to take down Manziel.

3. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon


Last game stats: 23/33, 456 and 4 TD's , 1 rushing TD in a 59-14 W vs. Tennessee

Team ranking in AP Poll: #2

Next game: Saturday vs. Cal

Name recognition: C+

Mariota was flawless in 3 quarters against Tennessee Saturday. The Ducks basically did whatever they wanted on offense and Mariota is the conductor of a runaway freight train of offensive success right now. He will struggle to challenge Manziel or McCarron until he has a "Heisman moment" on national TV that the entire country watches. His best chance to take the lead in the Heisman race mayb be against Stanford on Nov 7 on a Thursday night nationally televised game against 2 likely top 5 teams.

4. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville


Last game stats: 16/28, 250 yards and 1 TD in a 27-13 W vs. Kentucky

Team ranking in AP Poll: #7

Next game: Saturday vs. Cal

Name recognition: B

Bridgewater, in our opinion, has very little chance of ever getting higher than #4 on this list. He frankly will not face strong enough competition to impress voters and is not putting up all-time passing stats to overcome the 'competition' stigma.

5. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson


Last game stats: 14/23, 169 yards passing, 0 TD, 1 TD rushing in a 52-13 W vs. South Carolina State on 9/7

Team ranking in AP Poll: #3

Next game: Thursday vs. NC State

Name recognition: B-

Some of the week 1 Boyd hype has fizzled since his team has been out of the spotlight for 2 weeks, facing FCS SC State then being off this past weekend. Boyd has a national TV game on Thursday to re-enter his name towards the top of the list.

Just missed the cut:

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Falling Fast

Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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