2013 Heisman Trophy Race: Breaking Down Results Beyond Jameis Winston's Victory

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14:  Jameis Winston, quarterback of the Florida State Seminoles, poses with Head coach Jimbo Fisher and the trophy during a press conference after the 2013 Heisman Trophy Presentation at the Marriott Marquis on December 14, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston can add Heisman Trophy winner to his impressive list of accomplishments from the 2013 season.

The Seminoles signal-caller threw for 3,820 yards and an incredible 38 touchdowns in his freshman season and led his team to a dominant victory in every single game it played, save for a closer-than-expected contest with Boston College. Winston’s next game will be at the national championship tilt with Auburn on Jan. 6. 

USA Today college football writer Dan Wolken broke down the rest of the results beyond Winston’s victory:

Let’s dig into a few takeaways from these results outside of Winston’s win.


AJ McCarron’s Career Achievement Award Tour Is Still in Full Swing

AJ McCarron’s second-place finish in the Heisman race isn’t about eye-popping statistics or flashy play.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14:  (L-R) Jordan Lynch, quarterback of the Northern Illinios Huskies, Johnny Manziel, quarterback of the Texas A&M aggies, Tre Mason, running back for the Auburn University Tigers, AJ McCarron of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Andre Wi
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

In fact, the Alabama quarterback threw for fewer yards than 38 other quarterbacks across the country and isn’t nearly the rushing threat that many of the other top signal-callers are even in his own conference. However, McCarron put together an illustrious career that saw his program become the stick that every other program measures itself up against in college football. 

McCarron’s runner-up status is likely largely due to his two national titles and winning ways. Look at it as something of a career-achievement award along with his Maxwell Trophy he won over the likes of Winston and Johnny Manziel.


There Is Hope for Non-BCS Schools After All 

The last time a player who didn’t play for a non-BCS school won the Heisman Trophy was in 1990. BYU’s Ty Detmer took home the award only one season after Houston’s Andre Ware won the hardware in 1989.

Jordan Lynch’s third-place finish is impressive considering he plays for Northern Illinois and lost the MAC Championship Game. The Huskies will play in the Poinsettia Bowl against Utah State on Dec. 26.

There may not be a such thing as moral victories in the Heisman race, but Lynch’s spot at the finalist table gives hope to those at non-BCS schools in the future. If someone can put up eye-popping numbers a la Lynch (2,676 passing yards, 1,881 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns combined on the ground and through the air) and lead his team to an undefeated season and BCS bowl, perhaps the Heisman isn’t out of reach.


Archie Griffin’s Accomplishments Shouldn’t be Overlooked

Manziel won the 2012 Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman, and many assumed he could repeat again in 2013.

Sep 21, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Former Ohio State Buckeyes fullback and two-time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin waits on the sideline for a TV interview during the game against the Florida A&M Rattlers at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 76-0.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

After all, he plays in the SEC and was in the national spotlight against the likes of Auburn and Alabama all season long, and his play certainly speaks for itself. However, Manziel battled injuries throughout the year and struggled with turnovers (13 interceptions). Furthermore, his team lost every single time it took on a ranked foe this year, which doesn’t do wonders for the Heisman campaign.

Manziel still finished fifth in the balloting, which is a testament to his individual ability, but he never felt like a serious candidate in the season’s final weeks. It puts Ohio State’s Archie Griffin’s accomplishment of being the only two-time Heisman winner in perspective.

Winning college football’s most coveted award even once requires incredible skill, talented teammates, impressive performances in the biggest moments, consistent health and a little bit of luck. To do so twice is rather incredible.

Keep that in mind before anointing Winston as the overwhelming favorite entering next season.


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