The 2013 Heisman Trophy race is heating up, even if none of the candidates have done much in recent weeks to set themselves apart from the rest of the competition.
Week 13 of the college football season featured several blowouts and a few exciting matchups between ranked teams, but big-time players expected to perform at a high level disappointed. Quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty—former top contenders for the Heisman—seriously hurt their stocks with poor performances this past Saturday.
This week's top contenders are ranked primarily based on consistency—not so much standout games. With so many candidates falling off because of bad games, those who remained steady certainly benefited in Week 13.
1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Jameis Winston was his usual self against Idaho on Saturday, completing 14 of 25 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns. Winston did not see the field for much of the second half—as per the usual for Florida State this season.
On the year, Winston is completing 69.6 percent of his passes for 3,163 yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has also tallied three rushing touchdowns.
Winston has the Seminoles playing stellar football, and they continue to show why they are one of the top teams in college football. Whether or not they can compete with Alabama remains to be seen, though a bowl game between the two powerhouses might be in the cards for the future.
It's not often that a first-year quarterback comes in and dominates like Winston has, and that makes his story even more impressive. Sure, there are a few things he needs to work on—like picking his spots downfield—but he's by and large one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
2. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Quarterback Jordan Lynch has led the Northern Illinois Huskies to an 11-0 record, and it has been his stellar production in the air and on the ground that has led them thus far.
He's completing 66.3 percent of his passes on the season, and he has racked up 2,418 yards in the air so far. He has 21 passing touchdowns and has also tallied 17 rushing touchdowns. It's clear that Lynch is one of the most dynamic players in the sport.
He has rushed for more than 100 yards in six games this season, including a 316-yard clinic he put on against Central Michigan on October 19. That was also the last game in which Lynch has thrown an interception, and the fact that he's turning up his production level know is indicative of his Heisman candidacy.
Lynch doesn't play for a big-time program, but he puts up gaudy numbers that are deserving of national recognition.
3. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Derek Carr's numbers are simply unbelievable.
He has compiled 3,948 receiving yards, 39 touchdowns and four interceptions on 69.7 percent passing through 10 games this season, and he's even added in two rushing touchdowns on the ground.
Even though he plays for a Fresno State that isn't a program along the lines of Florida State, Alabama or Auburn, Carr deserves Heisman recognition. I mean, how can a guy averaging 4.1 total touchdowns per game not get a Heisman nod?
Carr also just tossed for 527 yards and seven touchdowns on Saturday against New Mexico. This guy will receive more than a few votes.
Honorable Mention: Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
As one of the most dynamic running backs in the nation, Boston College running back Andre Williams deserves a look as a potential Heisman outsider.
Boston College may be just 7-4, but Williams has done his part to keep them competitive. He already has 2,073 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns. He doesn't make an impact in the passing game (he has no catches on the year), but the impact he makes on the ground is undeniable.
The senior rushed for 263 yards in Week 13's comeback win over Maryland. That performance pushed him over the 2,000-yard mark for the season, making him just the 16th player in NCAA history to eclipse 2,000 yards in a season.
Williams can really work his way up the rankings with a strong finish to the season.