NCAA Football

Power Ranking Top Heisman Candidates After Week 14

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Week 14: Power Ranking Heisman Trophy Candidates

Power Ranking Heisman Trophy Candidates
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 college football season keeps bringing surprise after surprise and because of it, the Heisman race is just as cloudy as the National Championship picture. With the Alabama Crimson Tide falling this past weekend, A.J. McCarron not only hurt his Heisman stock, but took the Tide out of the running for their third straight championship as well.

McCarron played well in that game, but other players have recently seen their stock plummet due to a decreased level of play, most notably Bryce Petty. Petty was in charge of the no. 1 offense in the country earlier in the year, but after a lackluster performance against Oklahoma, the Bears’ offense simply hasn’t been the same. With a few mediocre games, Petty has seen his name drop out of the Heisman conversation.

Deserved or not, phenomenal freshmen Jameis Winston has seen his character called into question recently because of an alleged sexual assault. While the law says he's innocent until proven guilty, the Heisman voters may feel uneasy about naming a possible criminal as the best college football player who is often looked at as a role model.

All votes for the Heisman are due on December 9, meaning that the deadline is just days away and we could be in for one of the most surprising winners of all time. It’s hard to know what to expect when there are valid arguments against most top candidates, but the following five are the likely favorites heading into next Monday’s voting deadline.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Derek Carr

No. 5 Derek Carr
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The only knock on Derek Carr is that his Fresno State Bulldogs play in the Mountain West Conference. Even though he’s thrown for 4,462 yards and 45 touchdowns, people will dismiss the strong-armed quarterback because of the competition he plays. To really see why Carr deserves the Heisman, take a look at his last two performances as he threw for over 500 yards in both games. Last week was the Bulldogs’ first loss, but it came in the quarterback battle of the year as Carr and David Fales threw for a combined 1,066 yards in a high-scoring affair.

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4. A.J. McCarron

No. 4 AJ McCarron
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A.J. McCarron played well against Auburn this past weekend as the senior threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns in a dramatic loss. McCarron doesn’t carry an offense like the majority of players on this list, so it was crucial for him to finish the year unbeaten on his way to another National Championship. Now with a loss and mediocre stats, McCarron is down in the Heisman watch list with no time left to recover.

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3. Jordan Lynch

No. 3 Jordan Lynch
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Lynch has the same hurdle to overcome as Carr, and that is playing for a small school in a non-power conference. Lynch is showing to be one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the country as he’s eclipsed 1,700 rushing yards for the second consecutive year. Lynch also has 2,457 passing yards and 42 total touchdowns this season, and holds the record for most quarterback rushing yards in a single game with 321.

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2. Andre Williams

No. 2 Andre Williams
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Williams is the least recognizable name on this list, but the senior running back from Boston College most definitely deserves to be mentioned with the others. Despite being game planned against every week with teams knowing he will touch the ball 30-plus times, Williams is still averaging 6.4 yards per run. With 329 rushing attempts, that equates to a NCAA-leading 2,102 rushing yards. Williams hasn’t caught one pass this season, but his dominant running style has helped the Golden Eagles earn a 7-5 record, an impressive feat knowing Williams has more yards than the team's starting QB.

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1. Jameis Winston

No. 1 Jameis Winston
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jameis Winston is looking to become the second consecutive redshirt freshmen to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy. Winston has the numbers, undefeated record and no. 1 ranking to show that he deserves the award. The off-field issues are what could hold Winston back, which may not be a huge deal considering that he will likely be vying for the award again next season. Winston is still the favorite to win the award, but it could be a close race given the recent allegations.