Heisman Watch Week Eight: Winston Bright In A National Spotlight

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel won the 2012 Heisman on the strength of many things — his legs, his arm, his leadership, his youth and his persona. As an added bonus, the moments Manziel contributed to 2012’s season of fun were seemingly non stop. On Saturday, Manziel had a chance to submit another one of those much-coveted “Heisman moments” on Saturday. And yet, it just wasn’t there when needed this time. A visibly shaken and likely injured Manziel threw for 454 yards, accounted for five touchdowns and was key in his team’s attack. But he didn’t get the win.

Tajh Boyd

Everything that Jameis Winston achieved on Saturday night could have just as easily been Tajh Boyd’s. The national exposure, the bright lights, the top-five matchup — it was all there. But it was clear who was the better player was on this night. And it wasn’t the senior, it was the freshman. Boyd threw for one touchdown, two interceptions and didn’t complete more than 35 percent of his passes.

Teddy Bridgewater

A Friday night seemed to fit undefeated and No. 8 Louisville just right. And yet, things didn’t feel perfect for Louisville from the get-go. And Bridgewater and the Cardinals went down hard. Bridgewater’s 341 yards and two touchdowns were big, and continue a trend of the leader putting up big numbers no matter the opponent, but Louisville lost. And in a race that is so crowded at the quarterback position, Bridgewater needed to also be in the thick of the title game race to make some headway in the Heisman race.

AJ McCarrron

AJ McCarron seems to know exactly how to, with neurosurgeon-like efficiency and accuracy — pick apart a defense in the most simple way possible, and get the most out of his time on the field. McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes, threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns in Alabmaa’s blowout victory over Arkansas, the Crimson Tide’s second straight such win in as many seasons. McCarron has been the leader the Tide has needed in those big wins.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota wont stop. Against a surprisingly game Washington State team, Mariota and the Ducks went to work. And work they did — Mariota threw for two touchdowns and 327 yards. But that wasn’t it — Mariota ran for another touchdown and a nice collection of 67 yards. The chunk of that rushing total was the game’s first score, and proved once against what a threat Mariota is all over the field.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston took control. Winston took total control of the game against Clemson, the Seminoles offense, and the media’ attention with his performance against the Tigers. Winston threw for 444 yards, accounted for four touchdowns and was the star of the biggest game of the season in college football thus far. Completing nearly 90 percent of his passes, Winston looked well beyond his years and drove the Seminoles to a convincing and dominating win against No. 3 Clemson.

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Heisman Watch Week Seven: Contenders Step Up When Needed

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Johnny Manziel

On a Saturday full of upsets Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M past an upset bid of their own from Ole Miss. Though his performance wasn’t one for the record books, or anything quite close to that, his two rushing touchdowns and yet another 300-plus yard game through the air was enough to lift the Aggies to victory, which was all the more important on this Saturday in particular.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd seems to have the tendency to give Clemson exactly what they need, when they need it. It was no different on Saturday, as in a 24-14 victory over Boston College, Boyd tossed and ran for key touchdowns in a closer-than-expected victory over the Eagles. Was it pretty for the Tigers? No, but it was a victory, and a much-needed one before they gear up for a showdown with Jameis Winston and Florida State.

Teddy Bridgewater

With Thursday night all to himself, Teddy Bridgewater may not have broken out the big guns, but his performance against Rutgers was key to the Cardinals continuing their undefeated start to the regular season and a run at the Heisman trophy. Bridgewater connected on 21 of 31 attempts for two touchdowns and 310 yards to help Louisville top Rutgers on the night.

AJ McCarrron

It was a slow start for AJ McCarron and the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday against a much lesser Kentucky team. But once the Tide got started, it was tough to stop them, much to McCarron’s credit. Throwing for 359 yards and a touchdown, the senior leader helped the Tide score 24 points in the second quarter after a barren first, and helped Alabama to an eventual 48-7 victory.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offensive attack was needed for most of the game against Washington, a revived program with much to prove this weekend. But Mariota delivered against the Huskies, passing for 366 yards and three touchdowns to go with 88 yards and another score against a Huskies defense that nearly knocked off Stanford last weekend, and clearly put a shake into the Cardinal, which lost this weekend.

Jameis Winston

Though Jameis Winston and Florida State rested this weekend, it’s safe to say their minds were not far from the football field with top-five Clemson looming. Sure Winston has collected nearly 1,500 yards passing in five games, and sure, he’s passed for 17 touchdowns against just two interceptions, but the game against Clemson could decide the fate of not only the ACC, but also a possible BCS national title game storyline. Winston will get the chance to shine, as will Boyd, next Saturday.

Heisman Watch Week Six: McCarron, Winston and Boyd Set The Tone

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M had the week off to prepare for Ole Miss. Though the toughest part of Manziel’s season, his matchup with Alabama, is behind him, he still has plenty of chances to make an impact in the Heisman race with strong performances against schools like upcoming Auburn and Mississippi State, not to mention a showcase meeting with LSU as the season winds down in late November.

Tajh Boyd

Four hundred and fifty-five yards will jump out at you on a stat sheet and a box score. That’s what strikes you first when you look at Clemson’s easy win over Syracuse from Saturday. Clemson certainly didn’t need the five touchdowns Body contributed to the win, but it was sure to fun to watch Boyd pick apart the new-to-the-ACC Orange defense in his time in the game before coach Dabo Swinney took his star out.

Teddy Bridgewater

Playing in the newly formed American Athletic Conference for the first time Saturday, Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville had little trouble with Temple, using a 24-point first half and suffocating defense to top the Owls. Bridgewater, for his part, contributed two touchdowns and 348 passing yards to help the Cardinals breeze by Temple and continuing their undefeated start to the season.

AJ McCarrron

Georgia State might not have put up much fight against Alabama and AJ McCarron, but McCarron took his game to a different level, as he completed 15 of 16 passes for four touchdowns and 166 yards. His completion percentage set a record for Crimson Tide and the victory was an easy walkover for the Tide before their SEC schedule sets in.

Marcus Mariota  

Seven touchdowns, no matter who they are scored against, is an impressive stat line for any quarterback to submit in a college football weekend. Yes, Marcus Mariota passed for five touchdowns and ran for two more against Colorado, but it was a stunning line none the less. Mariota also pushed near to 400 yards against the Buffaloes. The Ducks didn’t even score after the third quarter and Mariota played little more than a half.

Jameis Winston

A ranked matchup against Maryland should have promised a tough battle between two ACC schools in the middle of the conference’s resurgence. Instead, Winston and Florida State demolished the Terrapins, with Winston delivering highlight reel play after highlight reel play. Add to that SportsCenter-ready package Winston’s 393 passing yards and five touchdowns and you’ve got a Heisman highlight-type game that could stick out this year.

Aaron Murray

Though Georgia’s matchup with Tennessee didn’t seem to offer much in the way of drama, the SEC battle turned out to be among the weekend’s best games, and offered one of the week’s best performances in support of a victory, in Aaron Murray’s charge to lead the Bulldogs’ rally for a win. Importantly, Murray’s comeback bid helped Georgia keep its national title hopes alive as well with his 196 yards and three touchdowns

Heisman Watch Week Five: Winston, Boyd Key Big Victories

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel loves playing against Arkansas, following up his 500-plus yard performance last season against the Razorbacks with another 300-plus yards of offensive in Texas A&M’s Saturday night win. Manziel finished with 261 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air to go with 59 yards rushing. The Aggies get Ole Miss and Auburn after their bye next weekend, chances for Manziel to either bolster his chances at a repeat trophy, or watch others pass him by.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd was back in a big way on Saturday, accounting for four touchdowns in Clemson’s dominating victory over Wake Forest. Boyd recorded his 100th career touchdown and passed for more than 300 yards on the day, picking apart the Demon Deacons easily. With Boston College and Syracuse up next for Clemson before they take on Jamies Winston and Florida State, Boyd has a few weeks to do some stat-padding.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville were off this weekend, but with more than 1,200 passing yards and 14 touchdowns through four games, and some weaker AAC defenses upcoming, expect Bridgewater to stay in the Heisman race all year.

AJ McCarrron

Clearly the star of Saturday’s game between Alabama and Ole Miss was the Crimson Tide’s defense, but once again AJ McCarron efficiently led the Tide to the score drives they needed to pull off the victory, although the stats were not eye-popping. McCarron threw for 180 yards and was intercepted once in the 25-0 win.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota didn’t need to do much to help Oregon to a victory over California in the Ducks’ return from a bye week. The Golden Bears were put away early, and Mariota was a big part of the early burst, throwing two touchdown passes and rushing for a third in the blowout victory. Mariota might not be truly tested or forced to play a full game until Oct. 12 against Washington.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston passed for 330 yards and four touchdowns against Boston College on Saturday, and for most of the game, Florida State needed every single one of those touchdowns to avoid the upset. Though the Eagles trailed off at the end, they hung around for the majority of the game, and Winston stepped up when needed. The freshman quarterback also helped out the Seminoles’ rushing attack with 67 yards on the ground.

Heisman Watch Week Four: Strong Performances With No Stand Out

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Johnny Manziel

After his performance against Alabama was most notable for Johnny Manziel’s work through the air, it was his work in the rushing game that helped Texas A&M top SMU this weekend. Manziel rushed for two touchdowns and more than 100 yards to go along with his nearly 250 yards passing and passing score. A&M will start to hit the meat of its SEC schedule next week against Arkansas.

Tajh Boyd

Clemson didn’t always look its best against NC State in its ACC opener, but behind the senior quarterback’s leadership and three touchdown passes, the Tigers continued their hot start to the 2013 season. And in the process, Boyd again put up big numbers in a game that got a lot of national attention, as the Thursday night kick gave the country a chance to watch Boyd again.

Teddy Bridgewater

When a quarterback’s team scores 72 points, its easy for each accomplishment to disappear into the blowout. But Biridgewater was able to post four passing touchdowns and 212 yards before giving way to the rest of his offense to put away Florida International

AJ McCarrron

After a season-defining performance when it counted most against Texas A&M, McCarron followed it up this weekend with a somewhat muted performance against Colorado State. McCarron didn’t need to be the force against the Rams, and threw for just one touchdown, but was also intercepted once.

Marcus Mariota  

After three consecutive weeks of stat lines that stood out among the early performances and leading his Oregon team to blowout victories, Marcus Mariota and the Ducks got the week off. In what seems like a good way to view his early statistics, no one player’s performance in week four was as completely dominant as Mariota’s had been.

Others To Watch

Melvin Gordon

Three touchdowns for Gordon this weekend, and in the early going, he’s staying the thick of this race well.

De’Anthony Thomas

Thomas, like Mariota, and Oregon were also off this week. The Ducks get California next week.

Jameis Winston

A solid performance from Winston in a blowout victory over Bethune-Cookman. Winston attempted only 19 passes, and threw for two touchdowns.

2013 AQ Conference Profiles: Atlantic Coast Conference

 

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BCS Know How will take you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2013 season. Short and sweet previews keep going with the expanded ACC. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Active Since: 1953

Current Member Schools:

Atlantic Conference: Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, Maryland Terrapins, NC State Wolfpack, Syracuse Orange, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Coastal Conference: Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Miami Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Pittsburgh Panthers, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies (14)

2013 Bowl Affiliations and Tie-Ins: Orange Bowl (BCS), Military Bowl, Belk Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Music City Bowl, AdvoCare V100 Bowl, Sun Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl (8)

2012 Results:
Conference Champion — Florida State Seminoles (12-2, 7-1)
Conference Runner-up — Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-7, 5-3)
BCS Bowl Results: 2013 Orange Bowl: Florida State 31 vs. Northern Illinois 10
Overall Bowl Record: 4-2

2013 Heisman Hopefuls: Miami RB Duke Johnson, Miami QB Stephen Morris, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins

BCS Know How’s 2013 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Clemson Tigers
Conference Runner-up — Florida State Seminoles
BCS Bids — Clemson — Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists: None

2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Atlantic Coast Conference

BCS Know How will take you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Short and sweet previews begin with the ACC. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Active Since: 1953

Current Member Schools:

Atlantic Division: Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Coastal Division: Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Orange Bowl (BCS), Military Bowl, Belk Bowl, Independence Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Music City Bowl, Sun Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl (8)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Clemson Tigers (10-4, 6-2, Coastal Division Champion)
Conference Runner-up — Virginia Tech Hokies (11-3, 7-1, Atlantic Division Champion)
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia 70 vs. Clemson 33; 2012 Sugar Bowl: Michigan 23 vs. Virginia Tech 20
Overall Bowl Record: 2-6

2012 Outlook: Up, down and up again, Clemson spent the early part of the 2011 season as a top-10 team. Stumbles mid-season broke any chance of a national title shot for the Tigers, but a Clemson ACC championship game victory over Virginia Tech brought the ACC two BCS bids for the first time in conference history.

With an unparalleled season in that respect in the review mirror, can the ACC again deliver top-flight talent on a national stage? The pieces seem in place, as Florida State — BCS bowl-less since 2006 — is a preseason top-10 team and the consistent Hokies figure to play a role in the national discussion somewhere down the line.

A conference that hasn’t participated in the BCS title game since 2003 may have a shot with the Seminoles in 2012. but a so0n-to-be-outdated BCS title shot or not, the ACC is certainly a force to reckon with.

Heisman Hopefuls: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas; North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard; Florida State QB E.J. Manuel

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Florida State Seminoles
Conference Runner-up — Virginia Tech Hokies
BCS Bids — Florida State — Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists: None