Another game down for Marcus Mariota; one more to go. If Mariota and the Oregon Ducks can avenge their only loss of the season to Arizona in the Pac-12
Championship, it is almost impossible to see him being denied of the Heisman Trophy. But he is not entirely in the clear just yet because Melvin Gordon,
Trevone Boykin, and Amari Cooper all fared well in their second-to-last games before the bowl season. Jameis Winston also picked up another ‘W’ (what’s
new?), but he thoroughly underwhelmed in what was another nail-biter for Florida State.
Free $60 in Member College Football Picks No Obligation Click Here
Odds provided by Sportsbook
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (-1500)
Has any college quarterback ever been more consistent than Mariota? The guy has not yet had a bad game in 2014. In all 12 of his outings he has thrown more
touchdowns than interceptions, and only once has he tossed just one more touchdown than interception (two TDs, one INT in a Nov. 1 blowout of Stanford in
which he also rushed for 85 yards and two scores). Arguably his least productive performance of the season has come against Arizona on Oct. 2, when he
completed 20 of 32 passes for 276 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, gaining a mere one yard on the ground. Not coincidentally, Oregon
suffered its lone loss of the year. The Ducks have a chance for revenge on Friday, where they are -14 favorites. Only another Wildcats’ upset would likely
impact Mariota (3,470 passing yards, 636 rushing yards, 47 total TDs) in terms of his status as overwhelming Heisman favorite.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (+600)
After breaking Barry Sanders’ FBS single-game rushing record that lasted 26 years, Gordon saw his new mark go down the very next week (Oklahoma freshman
Samaje Perine exploded for 427 against Kansas). In his first attempt to regain the crown, Gordon fell just a bit short (how could he not, given
the loftiness of the total?). In all seriousness, though, the junior running back may have to be churning out those kinds of performances on a consistent
basis in order to steal the stiff-armed statue from Mariota. He carried 29 times for 151 yards and one score and also caught his third touchdown of the
season as Wisconsin beat Minnesota 34-24 last weekend. Gordon (2,260 yards, 8.0 average, 26 TDs) has an opportunity to make a real statement in the Big Ten
Championship this Saturday against the Badgers’ toughest opponent of the year, Ohio State. Wisconsin is a -4.5 favorite.
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (+2500)
Boykin climbed from fourth to third on the Heisman list thanks mostly to the season-ending ankle injury sustained by Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett.
The freshman sensation still finished with gaudy numbers (2,834 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns, 11 rushing touchdowns), but the fact that he no
longer has a chance to showcase himself against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship is crippling. Boykin, on the other hand, is still flying high and has
TCU on the brink of a berth in the College Football Playoff. The junior quarterback threw for 233 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while also
rushing for 50 yards and a score as the Horned Frogs destroyed Texas 48-10 on Thanksgiving. He has 3,254 yards through the air and 34 total touchdowns (26
passing, eight rushing) this season. Boykin should have a field day this weekend against visiting Iowa State, which is getting a whopping 33.5 points.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (+7500)
Cooper is likely to get support from Heisman voters who insist on casting their vote for the actual best player in the nation. If not the overall
top player, he will also garner votes as the perceived best player on the best team (Alabama is No. 1 in the AP poll and will almost certainly remain in
the top spot according to the College Football Playoff committee after beating Alabama 55-44 in the Iron Bowl). In the biggest game of the Crimson Tide’s
season against arch-rival Auburn, Cooper went crazy with 13 receptions for 224 yards and three touchdowns. All three of his scores came from at least 17
yards out, including a 75-yarder that cut Alabama’s deficit from nine points to two late in the third quarter. That performance alone may convince voters
to put Cooper at the top. As for his 2014 totals, the junior has 103 catches for 1,573 yards and 14 touchdowns with one game remaining before the award is
handed out. The Tide are -14.5 favorites over Missouri in the SEC Championship.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (+20000)
Winston would have to have literally the best individual game in the history of college football, and Florida State would have to beat its toughest
opponent of the season—Georgia Tech—by something like 50 points in order for the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner to be taken seriously as a candidate to win it
on back-to-back occasions. Actually, even that would not be enough. His statistics (255 for 392, 3,250 yards, 21 touchdowns, 17 interceptions) simply don’t
stand up to the rest of the field. What Winston does have going for him, of course, is his team’s record. The Seminoles are the only undefeated team in the
FBS after Marshall fell to Western Kentucky 67-66 in overtime last Friday. They are 12-0 thanks to continuously escaping close game after close game, the
latest against Florida (Winston was picked off a ridiculous four times in a 24-19 victory). FSU is a -3.5 favorite to beat Tech and win the ACC