Welcome to this week's Heisman Predictor. Each week, we use our thorough, data-driven algorithm to predict the eventual winner of this year's Heisman trophy.
As part of our weekly series to predict this season’s Heisman winner, we'll 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: 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, Texas A&M QB
Last game: 14/24 for 244 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 102 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs in a 42-14 win over SMU
Team ranking in AP Poll: 10
Next game: Saturday @ Arkansas
Name recognition: A+
Manziel didn't put on the best passing performance of his career last Saturday (far from it) but the Mustangs were unable to stop him on the ground as he rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Manziel holds on to the #1 spot thanks to his virtuoso performance against Alabama two weekends ago, but that won't keep his seat safe much longer. Johnny Football will need to return to stellar passing form in order to fend off the competition - this year's Heisman field is absolutely loaded.
2. AJ McCarron, Alabama QB
Last week: 20/26 for 258 yards, 1 TD & 1 INT in a 31-6 win over Colorado State
Team ranking in AP Poll: 1
Next game: Saturday vs #21 Ole Miss
Name recognition: A
McCarron stays in second despite a lukewarm showing by virtue of being the best-known player on the #1 team in the country. None of the other major contenders did quite enough to unseat McCarron - Marcus Mariota might have if Oregon didn't have a bye week, and Teddy Bridgewater's Louisville team may as well have had the weekend off when you consider how terribly Florida International played. If McCarron continues to force passes like the one that got picked off on Saturday, he'll slide out of this list faster than you can say ROLL TIDE.
3. Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB
Last game: 23/33 for 456 yards and 4 TD’s; 27 rushing yards, 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 had the week off after Oregon's dominant win over Tennessee, and stays put for now thanks to his monster game against the Vols. We'll find out for sure if Mariota is a legitimate Heisman candidate during a brutal 4-week stretch in October-early November where Oregon visits Washington and Stanford, with home games against Washington State and UCLA sandwiched in between.
4. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville QB
Last game: 17/22 for 212 yards and 4 TDs in a 72-0 win over Florida International
Team ranking in AP Poll: 7
Next game: Saturday October 5 @ Temple
Name recognition: B+
The Bridgewater hype train keeps rolling, and throwing 4 touchdowns in a 72-0 beatdown certainly can't hurt his chances. Yes, it was Florida International, but if Bridgewater puts up monster numbers week after week and Louisville keeps winning big, he'll stay a top contender. Still, it's hard to move Bridgewater ahead of a contender from one of the major conferences - there hasn't been a Heisman winner from outside the major conferences (SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12) since Ty Detmer (of BYU) won in 1990. Louisville's schedule doesn't get harder, either - none of their remaining opponents are ranked.
5. Tajh Boyd, Clemson QB
Last week: 24/37 for 244 yards and 3 TDs in a 26-14 win over North Carolina State
Team ranking in AP Poll: 3
Next game: Saturday vs Wake Forest
Name recognition: B
Clemson did just enough to beat NC State on Saturday, but even without adding an impressive blowout win to his resume, Boyd did enough to stay in our Top 5. The Clemson QB was poised in the pocket, and even though his accuracy wasn't always on point, he made plays when it mattered and the Tigers are still undefeated. Boyd's name recognition is growing thanks to the increased attention being given to Clemson, and those factors keep Boyd among the serious Heisman contenders - for now.