A Look At 5 Heisman Hopefuls Who Raised Their Stock Most In Week 1
Putting A Pulse On The Heisman Trophy Race
With the first weekend of college football now over with we can begin to get a feel for what the Heisman Trophy race will look like this season. Sure making assumptions one week into the season may seem a little early, but first impressions are often the ones that leave the biggest mark on voters minds when they are filling out their ballots. After all, the best players usually are either already somewhat established names, or have a breakout Week 1 that puts their name in voters minds.
In order to currently gauge each candidate, one must consider both how well a player did during the first weekend of games and the quality of the opponent they faced. Sure, picking up five touchdowns is nice against an FCS opponent, but it doesn't hold the same weight as putting up a game changing performance against a top-10 opponent. This is the dilemma that voters face on a week-to-week basis in a college football world that does not see teams play anywhere close to equally tough schedules, and is what makes the Heisman Trophy race so great. With the college football landscape where teams only play 12 games with very unbalanced schedules, it is imperative to consider the leaders in the race for the Heisman Trophy at each possible moment.
With both the urgency of the Heisman Race and the difficulty to gauge it each week in mind, we have compiled a list of the five Heisman hopefuls who did the most for their stock during the first weekend of the college football season.
5. Johnny Manziel
Despite winning the Heisman Trophy last season, there was genuine doubt within the college football world whether Johnny Manziel would be able to be a great quarterback in 2013 after a tumultuous offseason. Well, any doubts were quelled on Saturday as Manziel went 6-of-8 passing for 94 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-31 Texas A&M win. Sure he got pulled out of the game for taunting players on Rice, but shouldn't we always expect a little drama with Johnny Football?
4. Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater came out in the first week and showed why he has gained a following of people who believe he will win the 2013 Heisman by throwing for 355 yards and 5 touchdowns and leading Louisville to 49-7 win over Ohio University. While some will say that this type of performance should be expected by Bridgewater against lackluster competition, one can not undervalue the games when Heisman hopefuls pad their stats a little.
3. Marcus Mariota
After seeing Oregon head coach Chip Kelly bolt for the NFL after Marcus Mariota's incredible freshman season in 2012, many people wondered whether he could have another great year with Mark Helfrich in charge. Well, after an opening-week performance when Mariota threw for 234 yards and a touchdown while running for 113 yards and two more touchdowns, those concerns have been alleviated. Sure, the Ducks opponent was Nicholls State, but if the opening weekend of college football taught us anything, it is to not doubt an underdog.
2. Tajh Boyd
Tajh Boyd came into the 2013 season as a contender for the Heisman Trophy, but was generally viewed as a guy that would be left on the outside looking unless he put up great performances against great opponents. Week 1 accomplished at least part of that requirement as Boyd led Clemson to a 38-35 victory over Georgia, throwing for 270 yards and three touchdowns in the process. This was a Heisman-worthy performance, and vaulted Boyd to the top of the Heisman list after Week 1.
1. Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston put in a performance for the history books in his first college football game for Florida State, completing a whopping 92.7% of the passes he threw. It wasn't as if he didn't throw the ball at all either, as he threw 27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Despite being a top recruit coming into college, no one could have anything near a Heisman-worthy season, but after Week 1, it seems foolish to not have him on your board.