Although you can never truly know for sure the results of the Heisman Trophy voting, past results and common sense paint a pretty good picture of how things will unfold on Saturday night.
Florida State's Jameis Winston is the heavy favorite. He's been nearly flawless on the field, helping the Seminoles get in the national championship for the first time since the 2001 Orange Bowl.
Despite all the hype, the redshirt freshman has remained humble in the buildup to the ceremony. Per the Orlando Sentinel's Brendan Sonnone, Winston said:
Instead of just thinking individually, it means a lot to the team. Especially with this team, too. At Florida State, we haven’t had a Heisman in a long time. And better than that, we haven’t had a championship in a long time.
Regarding FSU's previous two Heisman winners (Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke), he added:
They have done some outstanding things, especially Chris Weinke with his baseball career and coming back and winning the Heisman, and Charlie winning the Heisman and not playing pro football. Those guys are some unique creatures, and I’m just blessed to be following in their footsteps.
While some are looking at the ceremony as Winston's coronation, he's not the only player making the trip to New York. Six finalists in all will be vying for the Heisman, per College GameDay.
Congratulations to the #Heisman Finalists: Jordan Lynch Johnny Manziel Tre Mason AJ McCarron Andre Williams Jameis Winston— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 9, 2013
GameDay came up quick a brief defense of each candidate.
Heisman Finalist: Jameis Winston ACC Offensive Player of the Year 3820 yards, 38 TDs, 10 INTs Freshman FBS record for most TDS & Yards— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 10, 2013
Heisman Finalist: Jordan Lynch 2,676 passing yds - 23 TDs 1,881 rushing yds - 22 TDs FBS record for single game rushing yards by a QB (321)— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 10, 2013
Heisman Finalist: Johnny Manziel 3,732 passing yds – 33 TDs 686 rushing yds – 8 TDs 1st Team All SEC Set school record for passing TDs— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 10, 2013
Heisman Finalist: Tre Mason SEC Offensive Play of the Year 1621 yards, 22 TDs School Record 2,137 All Purpose Yards— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 10, 2013
Heisman Finalist: AJ McCarron Honorable Mention All-SEC 2676 yards, 26 TDs, 5 INTS Winningest QB in Alabama History— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 10, 2013
Heisman Finalist: Andre Williams 1st Team All ACC 2102 yards, 17 TDs FBS leading rusher Only Division I RB with 2,000 + yards— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 10, 2013
Of course, there can only be one winner. Looking ahead to Saturday night, here's how the results could shake out.
1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Does this need any explanation? The question isn't whether Winston will win, but rather by how much he'll win. Maybe he can make history for the biggest margin of victory.
The redshirt freshman has consistently been a top candidate, and with Florida State's unbeaten record, the Seminoles haven't had that crippling loss that damages his campaign (see McCarron, AJ).
The road was made easier after Winston won the Davey O'Brien and Walter Camp awards.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Florida State's two other Walter Camp winners went on to win the Heisman.
2. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
AJ McCarron's chances to win the Heisman died when Alabama lost the Iron Bowl. So much of his campaign hinged on the Crimson Tide going to the national championship. Without that, his numbers don't match up to Winston's (2,676 yds., 26 TDs vs. 3,820 yds., 38 TDs).
Despite that 99-yard throw to Amari Cooper, most everybody remembers the "Kick Six" instead, so McCarron doesn't even have a "Heisman Moment."
If Alabama's only loss of the season came earlier in the year, perhaps he could've crept back into pole position.
The fact that McCarron won the Maxwell Award makes you believe that he's got enough votes to finish in at least second place.
But don't be surprised if Tre Mason finishes here instead.
3. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Between the Iron Bowl and SEC Championship, Mason's stock is rising faster than any other candidate. Before the season, nobody would've even had the junior running back on Heisman watch lists, and now he's a major contender.
The problem for Mason is that it's nearly impossible for running backs to win the Heisman Trophy today. For it to happen, you pretty much have to be Reggie Bush, reeling off electrifying run after electrifying run and maybe returning punts and kicks.
Mason's running style isn't conducive to winning the Heisman Trophy, at least without the benefit of an entire season with which to build hype.
4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
You have to wonder how much Heisman consideration Johnny Manziel would've gotten had his offseason not been full of incident after incident. As if voter fatigue wasn't enough, all that bad press meant that Manziel going back to back was out of the picture.
Texas A&M's 8-4 record and the Aggies losing their last two games of the regular season only confirmed that Johnny Football would be on the outside looking in.
5. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
You can't knock Northern Illinois for a lack of trying. The Huskies handed out "Lynch-boxes" to voters to strengthen Jordan Lynch's Heisman campaign, per Athlon Sports.
There's simply way too much working against Lynch.
He plays in the MAC, which almost automatically eliminates him from Heisman contention. In addition, Northern Illinois lost the conference championship, with the senior QB throwing two interceptions.
Lynch will get some votes based off of reputation and his performance last year but nowhere near enough to get him close to the top.
6. Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
A lot of what was said about Mason applies to Andre Williams, except he's even more behind the 8-ball. Playing for a 7-5 Boston College team won't impress too many voters.
It's a shame, because any time you can run for 2,102 yards, you deserve a ton of credit.
What would be funny is if voters argue that Williams hasn't had a tough enough schedule, while simultaneously putting a player from the same conference in first place.