And then there were two…. At least for now there are two. There could be more in, you know, say…a few days. They are fickle things, these Heisman Trophy odds. Nonetheless, Marcus Mariota and Melvin Gordon have separated
themselves from the pack and have turned the Heisman into a two-horse race heading down the stretch. But J.T. Barrett, Trevone Boykin, and Jameis Winston
escaped losses last weekend and kept themselves in the distant discussion.
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Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (-700)
It was just a typical Mariota outing last weekend when Oregon hosted Colorado. Unfortunately for the rest of the Heisman Trophy contenders, “typical” means
“outstanding” for Mariota. The junior quarterback completed 24 of 32 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception in his
team’s 44-10 victory. He also rushed for 73 yards and a score on eight keepers. For the season, Mariota has 3,103 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and a mere
two picks to go along with nine TDs on the ground. In all likelihood, the only thing that can deny Mariota is both an Oregon loss to Oregon State in
Saturday’s Civil War and a disappointing individual performance in the process.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (+200)
Barry Sanders’ FBS single-game rushing record lasted 26 years. Gordon’s new record lasted for one week. The junior running back broke
Sanders’ mark in a Nov. 15 rout of Nebraska, erupting for 408 yards. He won’t necessarily be hurt by the fact that his output is no longer the standard
(Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine went for 427 last Saturday against Kansas), but it certainly does not help. Gordon, however, continued to help himself. He
rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns while also amassing a season-high 64 receiving yards in Wisconsin’s 26-24 win at Iowa. Gordon has 2,109 yards on
254 carries (8.3 average) plus 25 scores for the year.
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State (+2500)
Two interceptions did not help Barrett’s cause, but he at least managed to help Ohio State survive a sticky situation at home against Iowa when a loss
undoubtedly would have crushed his Heisman hopes. The Buckeyes trailed 20-14 in the fourth quarter before dominating the final 18 minutes of the game en
route to a 42-27 triumph. In addition to the pair of picks, Barrett threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns on 25-of-35 passing. He also called his own
number 20 times and gained 78 yards on the ground. Having filled in admirably for Braxton Miller, Barrett (42 total TDs, 10 INTs) should be on his way to
New York if he delivers solid showings against Michigan and in the Big Ten Championship.
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (+5000)
Boykin has been decent in three consecutive games since his seven-TD outburst against Texas Tech on Oct. 25, but “decent” is not going to cut it while
battling the likes of Mariota and Gordon for the most famous award in college football. The junior signal-caller threw for 330 yards with one touchdown and
one interception in a Nov. 15 defeat of Kansas, giving him three scores through the air and two picks in his last three outings. TCU was off last weekend,
so Boykin did not have an opportunity to gain any ground. Luckily for him, he still has two games left. The Dallas native will lead his Horned Frogs on the
road against Texas and at home versus Iowa State.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (+7000)
Given his off-the-field transgressions, Winston would have had to be positively amazing in between the sidelines in order to convince voters to make him
the first back-to-back Heisman winner since Archie Griffin. It looks like he has not done enough, because keeping a relatively unimpressive Florida State
squad undefeated is not “enough.” The Seminoles won their latest nail-biter 20-17 over Boston College thanks to a late field goal immediately following an
Eagles’ miss. Winston finished with one touchdown, one interception, and 281 yards on 22-of-32 passing. The sophomore’s season totals (19 TDs, 13 INTs) are
modest at best.
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (+10000)
It’s going to take a lot more than anything Prescott could have done against Vanderbilt to make up for his hiccup in Mississippi State’s biggest game of
the year—a 25-20 loss to now-No. 1 Alabama. The junior quarterback played well (16 for 21, 193 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, one rushing
score), but it won’t put him back in the Heisman race. Something similar in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss might, however, do the trick. Prescott has 2,714
passing yards, 35 total touchdowns (23 passing, 12 rushing) and 10 interceptions for his 2014 campaign.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (+10000)
Alabama might as well have had a bye last week. In fact, that would have worked out better for Cooper than the game against none other than Western
Carolina. The Crimson Tide actually led just 10-7 after one quarter before cruising 48-14 and shutting out the Catamounts in the second half. Cooper did
not have to do much—and he didn’t. The junior receiver caught just three balls for 46 yards and did not find the endzone. Cooper (90 catches, 1,349 yards,
11 touchdowns) may need a big Iron Bowl against Auburn in order to make it to New York.
Best Value Play: Gordon
Read more articles by Ricky Dimon