No one has meant more to their team as an individual than Jameis Winston has to the Florida State Seminoles. Winston may just be 19 years old, may just be a redshirt freshman and may not have been completely on the radar at the start of the year, but the quarterback is now the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and he deserves every bit of the honor.
Coming into this college football season, the preseason polls had the Seminoles ranked outside of the top 10 in both the AP Top 25 and the coaches’ poll from USA Today. Now that the regular season is wrapped up, though, Winston and the Noles are headed to Pasadena for a spot in the National Championship. That wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t for Winston.
Perhaps Winston’s best attribute, particularly in comparison to the other five finalists for the award, is the simple fact that he led his team to a perfect, unblemished season. A.J. McCarron, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, Andre Williams and Jordan Lynch all failed to add that to their resumé.
More than just team success, though, Winston has the numbers on his side. Winston finished the year with the eighth most passing yards in all of college football with 3,820. In comparison, though, he, Manziel and Bryce Petty were the only three quarterbacks in the top 10 in passing yards to have fewer than 400 passing attempts on the year, with Winston having the fewest at 349 and Johnny Football coming in with 391.
Winston also completed a solid 67.9 percent of his passes this season, the 12th best completion percentage in the country. Moroever, Winston also finished the year with 38 touchdown passes on the year, second only to Derek Carr. Throw in his four touchdowns on the ground as well and it’s clear that the overall production was there.
Going even beyond the overall numbers, though, Winston’s consistency this season was remarkable. Winston threw for 200 yards in all but three games this season and threw for 300 yards seven times. Winston also threw for two touchdowns in all but one game this season. There’s no game you can point to and say that Winston wasn’t the clear leader of this FSU team.
You can bring up whatever you want to detract from Winston’s season all you want. You can talk about how he was aided by FSU’s elite defense, how he didn’t have a “Heisman moment” or whatever else, but when it comes down to it, Winston was the only choice for the trophy that made sense.
With the release of the second BCS Standings after week 10 of the College Football season, the hot topic of discussion is almost unquestionably that the Florida State Seminoles, who were second in the initial BCS Standings in week 9, were leap-frogged by the Oregon Ducks for the second position in the standings this week.
However, there’s a story buried in these rankings that hasn’t been discussed. In the initial BCS rankings, the Baylor Bears came in at only eighth with an average ranking of .7120. One week later, though, the undefeated Bears now sit at sixth with an average ranking of .7645.
There’s no question that Baylor’s stock continues to rise as the weeks go on and they continue to rattle off dominant victories. However, a case could be made that they still aren’t getting the respect that they deserve. Most notably, the Bears come in behind the Stanford Cardinal in the standings, a team with a loss to an unranked opponent on their résumé. Baylor should be among the four other unbeaten teams at the top of the standings, not behind Stanford.
The obvious case against Baylor thus far has been their strength of schedule. All seven of their games and subsequent wins were against unranked opponents. However, they’ve done exactly what you would ask of a team playing against lesser competition. The Bears have scored less than 50 points just once this season and have won by a margin of fewer than 25 points just once this season. That’s domination at its finest and what you would expect from a serious BCS contender.
Since what the Bears and their group of rising stars like quarterback Bryce Petty, running back Lache Seastrunk and a bevy of receivers have done so far hasn’t been enough to earn the respect of the BCS, the next three games on their schedule are vital to this team. Over the next four weeks, which includes an open week, Baylor will face off with three Big 12 opponents who are all ranked in the top 20 in college football. If the Bears want to be serious title contenders, wins over these teams would do wonders for their chances.
If Baylor is able to score victories in these games and do so rather convincingly, they could be sitting pretty in regards to their BCS ranking. Oregon and Florida State both have huge matchups this week that could potentially wind up as losses and drop them in the BCS Standings. That could be good news for the Bears.
Despite the fact that Baylor wasn’t in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, they now have an outside shot at making it to a National Championship game. There is still work to be done and wins to be captured, but they have shown that they have the firepower to do just that. If they are able to stay unbeaten over the next few weeks, they could improbably wind up playing for a national title.