Why the Heisman Trophy Winner Will Come out of the ACC

Sebastian LenaAnalyst IOctober 5, 2013

Winston has made a strong case for the Heisman thus far.
Winston has made a strong case for the Heisman thus far.Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

After successfully recapturing the attention of fans across the nation, the ACC has its sights set on college football’s most coveted hardware: the Heisman Trophy.

Last year’s winner, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, and Marcus Mariota of Oregon have made strong cases, but either Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Clemson’s Tajh Boyd should walk out of New York City as the conference’s third-ever Heisman winner and first since the Seminoles’ Chris Weinke in 2000.


Boy Oh Boyd! This Guy Is Good

Boyd has Clemson thinking BCS title this year.
Boyd has Clemson thinking BCS title this year.Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Boyd put on a show during the Tigers’ 49-14 victory over Syracuse.

The senior threw for a school-record 455 yards while finding the end zone five times on 20-of-27 passing. He also registered a career-high QB rating of 261.9.

ESPN Stats and Info put the performance into context:

On the season, Boyd has totaled 1,449 yards through the air to go along with 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He’s also rushed for 154 yards and four scores.

Boyd’s dual-threat ability has been nearly unmatched, as his eight career games with three touchdown passes and at least a rushing score are tied for the third-most by any player since 2000.

However, his arm has been his biggest asset.

Against the Orange, four of Boyd’s five touchdown passes were for 40 yards or longer. That included strikes of 60 and 91 yards.

In fact, his 15 career touchdown tosses of 50 or more yards are the most of any FBS quarterback since the start of 2011. Seven of those were to wide receiver Sammy Watkins—the most by any QB-WR combo in that same period.

Only behind Manziel and Mariota in ESPN’s latest Heisman Watch, Boyd is a sure bet to surpass that duo if he keeps this strong play up.


Back-to-Back for Freshmen?

Winston has made it look easy through the air.
Winston has made it look easy through the air.Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

Last season, Manziel became the first freshman to win the award. Winston, a redshirt freshman, is vying to make it two straight in 2013.

He’s certainly made his argument loud and clear.

Through five games, Winston has thrown for 1,441 yards, 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions on 73.2 percent passing. He’s also added 135 yards and two scores on the ground. Furthermore, Winston’s QB rating of 209.5 trailed only Baylor’s Bryce Petty (239.5) heading into Week 6.

It’s the kind of performance that has the Bessemer, Ala., native stacked up pretty well to each of the previous three Heisman winners.

With Winston under center, Florida State entered this weekend boasting the nation’s No. 10-ranked total offense (532.8 YPG) and No. 3 scoring offense (51.3 PPG). Those numbers should only increase after the team racked up 614 yards and 63 points in a shutout victory over No. 25 Maryland on Saturday.

Winston starred through the air, going 23-of-32 with career highs of 393 yards and five touchdowns.

The young signal-caller has already won over the hearts of everyone in Tallahassee. If Winston keeps it up, it shouldn’t be long until he enthralls the entire nation.

With Clemson and Florida State set to clash in Death Valley on Oct. 19, we’ll find out whether it will be him or Boyd that stands as the ACC’s best chance to bring home the Heisman.

All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.

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