Week 13 proved to be a very strange one for the 2013 Heisman race.
Heading into Saturday's action, it appeared to be a four-man race featuring Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Bryce Petty.
When the dust cleared, three of the four lost games that will undoubtedly plant the seed of doubt in the voters' minds. As BCS Guru of Bleacher Report pointed out, all three lost out on great opportunities to make a statement.
3 guys had Heisman delivered to their doorsteps today and all declined: Manziel, Mariota, Petty.— BCS Guru (@BCSGuru) November 24, 2013
There is a silver lining to all of this losing, though. The Heisman race has become much more intriguing over the final stretch run of the season, and these big winners can now consider themselves in the running for the Heisman.
Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Up to this point, quarterbacks have absolutely dominated the Heisman conversation. After Arizona's 42-16 beatdown of Oregon, running back Ka'Deem Carey absolutely deserves to be mentioned among those who deserve to win the trophy.
The explosive back, who led the nation in rushing last season with over 1,900 yards, is spearheading a rushing attack that averages 263 yards per game. However, it was his 48 carries for 206 yards and four touchdowns that gave him his ever-elusive "Heisman Moment" this week.
As Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports pointed out, his performance against Oregon gave him a stage to shine on alongside a popular Heisman hopeful.
Carey has a long way to go if he wants to be invited to New York. Another performance over Pac-12 South champion and in-state rival Arizona State might do the trick, but he was no doubt among the biggest winners of the weekend.
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
The Heisman generally goes to the quarterback on one of the nation's best teams. It's what makes Jameis Winston the front-runner. It's what had Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty as serious threats to steal the award with a strong finish to the season.
With Mariota and Petty both dropping games (and not playing well on an individual level), there's room for a new quarterback with prolific numbers to become a viable candidate. That's Jordan Lynch.
Lynch was once again prolific against the Toledo Rockets on Wednesday night as he threw for over 200 yards and had three scores on the ground for the third time this season:
Jordan Lynch runs for 3 scores for 3rd time this season as Northern Illinois clinches a berth in MAC Championship Game— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 21, 2013
Even though he has the stigma of playing in the MAC, there's no denying that Lynch's numbers require some attention from voters. Over the last two years, his numbers have been prolific.
Over the past two years, Jordan Lynch has over 5500 passing yards and over 3200 rushing yards. 82 total TDs— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) November 24, 2013
However, the most important number for Lynch is zero. As long as the Huskies continue to go undefeated under his watch, he should continue to move up in the Heisman rankings.
AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
No Heisman candidate was a bigger winner on Saturday than AJ McCarron.
No, the Crimson Tide quarterback didn't have the game of his life. He was just 13-of-16 for 171 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama got one last scrimmage in against Chattanooga before a colossal matchup with Auburn next week.
However, when you look across the field, it becomes apparent that McCarron now has a great opportunity to make up some ground in the race over the coming weeks.
His numbers are strong. He's completing 67.8 percent of his passes. He has 21 touchdown tosses to just five interceptions on the season and is 12th in the nation in passer rating at 162.2.
But most importantly, his team still has the magical zero in the loss column that will continue to keep him in the conversation for voters who view winning as the most important thing.
It seems we've reached the point in the Heisman race where voters break the AJ McCarron "in case of emergency" glass.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 24, 2013
He would be a controversial winner because of his lack of super sexy stats, but in the aftermath of Week 13, McCarron is right in the thick of things by default.