NCAA Football

Power Ranking the Top Heisman Trophy Candidates for Week 5

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Power Ranking the Top Heisman Trophy Candidates for Week 5

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There’s just under three months and hundreds of college football games still before the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner is announced, but it’s never too early to see who the front-runners for the award are.

Heading into the season, there was a lot of talk about University of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney making a run at the award. A defensive player hasn’t won the Award since Charles Woodson did it at the University of Michigan in 1997, and it usually takes a pretty spectacular season to do so.

Clowney’s name has all but left the conversation for Heisman, and the offensive players, namely the quarterbacks, are the ones getting all the attention.

Last season, Texas A&M University quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to ever win the award and will be looking to repeat the feat in 2013. But he already has a loss in the SEC and is going to have to play steady from the position all season to have a shot at the award this season.

There are plenty of key match ups in Week 5 that should help distinguish who is in the discussion to stay and who deserves to be removed from the watch list. One subpar game could easily take a name off the list and have them on the outside looking in.

11 of the last 13 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks, with the other two being running backs. It makes sense that as signal callers they would generally be at the head of the pack in the race for the Heisman. It takes a special player, no matter what position, to win the award and 2013 will be no different.

David Fouty is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @davefouty, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville Cardinals

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Teddy Bridgewater will most likely post gaudy stats for the Louisville Cardinals, but he is going to have to be nearly perfect to win the award in 2013. The Cardinals have one of the easiest schedules in the FBS and the other candidates have much more difficult paths. The Cardinals will likely have to go undefeated for Bridgewater to have a legitimate shot at the Heisman.

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4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies

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As last year's winner of the award, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M has heaps of pressure on him with every snap he plays. Teams have used last season as a learning experience and are employing better ways to handle Manziel.

Manziel and the Aggies have already lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide, which was one of the major reasons he won the award last season in the first place when he was able to beat the national champions on their field. This year, he has already lost to them at home so the signature win he had from last season won't be replicated.

He's still going to put together highlight reel plays, but winning the Heisman will be more difficult for Manziel this season.

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3. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama Crimson Tide

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A.J. McCarron already has three BCS National Championships to his name, and there's something to be said about coming out of the SEC victorious and representing the conference in the big game. If McCarron leads his team there again, there's no reason he shouldn't win the award.

The SEC isn't dominated by defense like it has been in the recent past, so McCarron should be able to post some impressive numbers.

McCarron already has avenged his only loss from last season by beating Texas A&M on the road. He already has one signature win to his resume and will likely have a few more by the time the votes are tallied.

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2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin Badgers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Melvin Gordon has been an absolute beast for the Wisconsin Badgers through their first four games. He's already amassed 624 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on just 53 carries. He's averaging 11.8 yards per carry and isn't even the feature running back for the Badgers.

Gordon will have to continue on a similar pace to surpass the quarterbacks on this list. He can't afford to disappear if he wants to remain on the Heisman watch list until December.

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1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon Ducks

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The loss of Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles hasn't hurt the high-flying Oregon Ducks offense one bit, and Marcus Mariota has been the biggest key to the team's success.

The sophomore quarterback has already passed for 889 yards and seven touchdowns without throwing an interception and rushed for 262 yards and four scores as well. He likely won't continue to average 17.5 yards per rush, but he will be a dual-threat QB all season.

The Ducks have blown out some decent competition already, including the Virginia Cavaliers and Tennessee Volunteers, and the PAC 12 should give Mariota plenty of exposure. Barring injury, Mariota should continue to put up impressive numbers and is a lock to at least be in the conversation by season's end.