It’s about that time for the Heisman Trophy race to start heating up. The college football season is two or three games old, depending on early-season off weeks, and we almost have enough of a sample size to start guessing about the early Heisman favorites.
Let’s gloss over who you should be keeping an eye on Thursday through Saturday in this week’s Once-Over.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: The Aggies are at home Saturday facing the SMU Mustangs (1-1). SMU ranks 105th in the country among FBS schools, giving up 35.5 points to opposing teams. The Mustangs also rank 10th in passing offense. What this tells me is that both offenses are going to move the rock all day, which is great for Johnny Football.
Last week: 464 yards and five touchdowns passing and 98 yards rushing in a loss to Alabama.
2013 pace: 3,936 yards and 44 touchdowns passing and 612 yards with four touchdowns rushing.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville: The Cardinals just offed an SEC team, and even though it was Kentucky, Louisville had to fight to get it done. Bridgewater’s completion percentage fell off dramatically in the win, so it’d be nice to see him get back up to the 70 percent level. Louisville is at home against Florida International (0-3), a team that’s given up at least 34 points in all three games it’s played.
Last week: 250 yards and one touchdown passing in a win over Kentucky.
2013 pace: 4,008 yards and 40 touchdowns passing.
Tajh Boyd, Clemson: The Tigers hit the road for the first time this season Thursday night as they travel to NC State (2-0). Boyd has had mixed results against the Wolfpack in his career. He threw for five touchdowns last season at home and led Clemson to a 62-48 win. In Raleigh in 2011, the Wolfpack thumped Clemson and held Boyd without a touchdown.
Last week: Bye
2013 Pace: 2,634 yards and 18 touchdowns passing and 312 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing.
Todd Gurley, Georgia: After a bye week the Georgia Bulldogs host the North Texas Mean Green (2-1) Saturday. Only once has the North Texas defense held an opposing starting running back less than 10 yards per carry and that was Ohio’s Ryan Boykin who ran for 93 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry. North Texas is giving up 168.3 yards per game on the ground this season, which bodes well for Gurley.
Last week: Bye
2013 Pace: 1,716 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing.
AJ McCarron, Alabama: Coming off a major win in College Station, the Crimson Tide welcome Colorado State (1-2) into Tuscaloosa. The Rams rank 84th in the country against the run and 90th against the pass. McCarron should be able to move his team at will and add onto his Heisman resume.
Last week: 334 yards and four touchdowns passing in a win over Texas A&M.
2013 Pace: 2,664 yards and 30 touchdowns passing.
Jameis Winston, Florida State: Bethune-Cookman is coming to Tallahassee on Saturday. And even though this team is 3-0, its FCS schedule hasn’t prepared the team for what Winston and the Seminoles can do. Expect Winston’s numbers to look more like Week 1 against Pitt that Week 3 against Nevada, but both were impressive.
Last week: 214 yards and two touchdowns passing and a rushing touchdown in a win over Nevada.
2013 Pace: 3,420 yards and 36 touchdowns passing and 198 yards with 12 touchdowns rushing.
Duke Johnson, Miami: The Hurricanes are playing host to the FCS Savannah State Tigers (1-2). Savannah State has given up over 71 points per game in its two losses and allowed 20 in its win. They allowed 576 yards rushing to Georgia Southern in Week 1 and on average give up 340.6 per game. Johnson’s numbers should spike dramatically. How much depends on playing time in the second half.
Last week: Bye
2013 Pace: 1,470 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing.
- Marcus Mariota, Oregon: Bye
- Brett Hundley, UCLA: Home vs. New Mexico State
- Paul Richardson, Colorado: Bye
- Aaron Murray, Georgia: Home vs. North Texas
- Braxton Miller, Ohio State: Home vs. Florida A&M