The Heisman Trophy is hours away from finding a new home.
Although Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel is a finalist for the award, it's not expected that he'll go back to back. He hasn't had the same kind of all-conquering season he did last year, not to mention the backlash stemming from behavior before the season.
Early in November, the star quarterback said that he wasn't paying much attention to the Heisman race, per Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle:
I wasn’t even in (the race) for a long time last year and didn’t really get much into (following) it last year. I’m the same way this year. My sole focus is, and I want nothing more, than to win these last two games and get into a good bowl game.
The other five finalists are Florida State's Jameis Winston, Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch, Boston College's Andre Williams, Alabama's AJ McCarron and Auburn's Tre Mason.
Most of the players have been in New York for the last night or so, giving them the chance to take in the sights.
Saturday night is the culmination of an entire year's worth of work on and off the field. It's not enough to have a player doing well. He's also got to have the right kind of PR campaign to build name recognition.
Each and every year, schools do their best to tout their stars to voters, whether it's Ohio State sending out Orlando Pace pancake magnets in 1996, Washington State putting up a picture of quarterback Jason Gesser on a grain elevator in 2002 or Kent State commissioning Chuck Ayers to create a comic strip this season for running back Dri Archer.
On Saturday, fans will find out which finalist was able to strike that balance between on-field skill and off-field hype.
When: Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Best Buy Theater, New York City
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Is the Heisman Jameis Winston's to Lose?
Winston is by far the odds-on favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy. He's already won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and the Davey O'Brien Award. Saturday night is merely a coronation for the FSU signal-caller.
The redshirt freshman has been outstanding this year. His 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns are both FBS records for a freshman, and they came with Winston often leaving early in the third quarter. Had Florida State been tested more often this year, who knows how gaudy his stats could've been?
In addition, Winston has helped the Seminoles make the national championship, so not only are the numbers there, but the on-field results are as well.
As a Heisman voter, what else can you ask for?
It would be a huge shock to have anybody else lifting the golden statue on Saturday night. It would seem the only real drama surrounds who will finish in second, and whether or not Winston can have the biggest landslide in Heisman history.
How High Will Jordan Lynch Finish?
Each year, it seems the non-AQ players get closer and closer to winning the Heisman Trophy. It's hard for a player in the MAC, Mountain West, Conference USA or Sun Belt to get any sort of consideration because he's not facing tough competition each and every week.
At least Lynch looks like he could finish runner-up. Alabama losing the Iron Bowl could mean a precipitous drop for McCarron, while Mason and Williams are running backs and haven't had an entire season with which they've been building a Heisman campaign.
Lynch, on the other hand, has had Northern Illinois' support the entire year and sent out lunchboxes, or "Lynch-boxes," out to voters, per Athlon Sports.
In addition, the senior QB has been putting up ridiculous numbers in 2013.
While Lynch almost certainly won't win, the closer he gets to the podium, the more open the door for non-AQ players will be to compete for national recognition.
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