Johnny Manziel

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Isaiah Taylor has got until Sunday to figure out if he’s as ready for the NBA as Johnny Manziel was for the NFL. There’s no question in my mind: Taylor should stay for his junior year, further develop his skills and delay entering the NBA draft.

Taylor is a 6-foot-1-inch tall point guard who is astonishingly quick, has a unique ability to drive the ball and is a feisty ball defender. But he lacks a consistent jump shot and weighs a mere 170 pounds.

If Taylor chooses to stay at Texas, he’d be the driving force for head coach Shaka Smart’s new offensive and defensive scheme.

Taylor was already the head of the snake whenever the Longhorns decided to press opponents last season. He only averaged one steal per game in 2014–2015, but Smart’s “havoc” system will increase that number — Smart’s system demonstrably produces steals.

Since Taylor flourishes in the open court, the up-tempo pace Smart employs on offense will allow Taylor to drive the ball and have the defense on its heels.

Furthermore, with Taylor breaking down defenses as a result of his driving, he’ll be able to produce shots not just for himself, but also for his teammates. Texas’ two incoming recruits, Eric Davis and Kerwin Roach, are both players who can shoot and attack.

When Taylor blows by his man, it will force the next defender to help on the drive, if that defender helps off someone such as Davis, Roach, rising senior guard Javan Felix or any other player Texas has that can shoot (sorry, Demarcus Holland). From there, they’ll have fairly open looks at the basket.

Taylor’s drives will have the defenses scrambling from all of the team’s help and the knowledge that Texas has shooters on the perimeter. It’s often not the first drive that hurts the most — it’s the second drive. If Davis, Roach or Felix can drive the ball after getting a kick out pass from Taylor, then that will put even more pressure on the defense.

In order for Taylor to be as effective as possible, he will have to develop a jump shot. Without a jump shot, the chain of events that he causes as a result of his drives are unlikely to happen because Taylor’s defender could simply play off him. A consistent jump shot would make Taylor the best point guard in the nation because of all the threats he would pose. It’d be hard to guard someone with his quickness and a consistent jump shot.

The jump shot wouldn’t just elevate Isaiah’s game to a whole other echelon, but it would improve his draft stock. A former Arizona State point guard told me that when he would go up against point guard Avery Johnson, he would play off him because Johnson didn’t have a consistent jump shot.

Taylor would be guarded similarly, but his unique skill set merits something different. He should stay at UT and develop those skills further.

1. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota 

Last week (W, 46-27, vs. Michigan State): 17-for-28, 318 yards, 3 TDs   

2014: 585 yards, 6 TDs, 1 rushing TD

When trying to win a Heisman, there are few things that can boost the résumé quite like a comeback victory against a top-10 opponent. Two weeks into the season, and Mariota can already check that off his list. Oregon was down 27-18 early in the third quarter against Michigan State when Mariota engineered a video game-style comeback. He threw two of his three touchdowns, including a 37-yard strike, within three minutes of each other, giving Oregon a lead it would not surrender in the fourth. Mariota has not faltered so far and appears to already be in mid-season form.

2. Georgia RB Todd Gurley

Last week: BYE

2014: 15 attempts, 198 yards, 3 TDs

Gurley’s Bulldogs had a bye week, but the junior running back remains at the top of the Heisman race based on what he did in week one. Gurley’s manhandling of Clemson in Georgia’s season debut is still fresh enough to remember, and if last season is any indication, Gurley should continue to roll against South Carolina this week. In 2013, Gurley had 132 rushing yards and one touchdown against the Gamecocks. He’ll look to post similar numbers this time despite the added challenge of playing on the road.

3. Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill

Last week (W, 73-3, vs. Lamar): 17-for-26, 283 yards, 4 TDs

2014: 794 yards, 7 TDs 

The Aggies thrashed Lamar so badly last week that Hill didn’t even have to play in the fourth quarter. And even against an FCS opponent, Hill’s four touchdowns gave him another good-looking box score, reason enough for him to keep his spot in the Heisman race. Hill’s looked even more comfortable in Texas A&M’s offense than Johnny Manziel was early in his first season, and although it’s early, his confidence seems to be soaring. This week’s game against Rice should give Hill another chance to fill the stat sheet.

4. Florida State QB Jameis Winston

Last week (W, 37-12, vs. Citadel): 22-for-27, 256 yards, 2 TDs 

2014: 626 yards, 3 TDs, 1 rushing TD

Winston finally found the rhythm he’d been lacking in week one during the Seminoles’ week two victory over The Citadel. The redshirt sophomore looked much more consistent Saturday as he only missed on five of his throws. And while he wasn’t tested much, it was the kind of game Winston needed to get himself back on track. A big week three outing versus Clemson could send Winston shooting up this list.

5. Notre Dame QB Everett Golson 

Last week (W, 31-0, vs. Michigan): 23-for-34, 226 yards, 3 TDs 

2014: 37-for-56, 521 yards, 5 TDs, 3 rushing TDs

Remember when Golson was suspended by Notre Dame and missed the entire 2013 season? That’s been easy to forget after the senior’s phenomenal start. The Fighting Irish didn’t just beat their nemesis on Saturday, they shut Michigan out in what was the last scheduled matchup between the two teams. It was Golson who shined brightest in the game, proving he might just be better than when he left.

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2010, file photo, former UCLA basketball player Ed O'BannonJr. sits in his office in Henderson, Nev. Five years after the former UCLA star filed his antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, it goes to trial Monday, June 9, 2014, in a California courtroom.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Because of the Northwestern University football team’s recent vote on whether to unionize, momentum both for and against further financial compensation to college athletes has increased dramatically. Citing a need for broader health care as well as fully guaranteed scholarships, supporters of the at least partial unionization of college athletes argue that some college athletes deserve further compensation, “compensation” that extends farther than the reaches of a scholarship as presently constructed.

Detractors, on the other hand, find a number of reasons not to compensate. They argue that amateur status paired with sentiments of “love of the game” define our romantic notion of what a volunteer student-athlete ought to represent. 

And yet both sides of the argument revolve around perceptions of fairness and whether or not we are treating equals equally.

The real answer should lie somewhere in the middle, however, where athletes first receive full scholarships before any further compensation is granted. 

USA Today recently reported that University of Texas athletics amassed $165.7 million in operating revenue in the academic year 2012-2013, $109.4 million of which arrives directly as a result of the football program. This was the largest revenue-producing year in the history of UT athletics, and when we consider the increasingly profitable Longhorn Network, not to mention the excitement surrounding new head coach Charlie Strong, we can reasonably conclude that that $165.7 million number won’t be a record for long. 

Further complicating the issue is the Edward O’Bannon case. In O’Bannon v. NCAA, former UCLA basketball standout Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA over a violation of antitrust laws. He argued that because his UCLA likeness was still being used without compensation, the NCAA was treating him unfairly. In other words, UCLA should not be able to continue profiting from images of Ed O’Bannon in a UCLA uniform without O’Bannon receiving some form of compensation. 

On Aug. 8, 2014, District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in favor of O’Bannon.

The ramifications of this decision are as yet unknown. Surely, as a result of the O’Bannon decision, instances such as Johnny Manziel’s autographing controversy will eventually become a thing of the past. After all, it seems fair that a popular college athlete ought to make money off his or her own likeness without fear of losing his or her scholarship.

Unfortunately, we are dealing with a case wherein presumed equals are not at all equals with regard to their significance to the university as a whole. Particularly, there are 109.4 million reasons — roughly two-thirds of the entire UT athletics revenue production — why UT football players ought to receive more financial compensation for their work as opposed to other UT students and even other UT student-athletes. This is not at all to say that, among UT student-athletes, only UT football players deserve further compensation. Rather UT football players most deserve more compensation. 

Considering the extreme amounts of money brought to the university directly from the football team, as well as the finding that Northwestern football players expended “50 to 60 hours of football-related work per week” during training camp, not to mention the “40 to 50 hours per week to football” during the regular season, it seems mostly unfair that UT college football players — and student-athletes from high revenue programs across the country — are not further compensated. 

Which then leads to an even more controversial and complicated issue: What constitutes “further compensation”? Broader health care? Guaranteed, four-year tuition? A four- or five-figure salary? Or, more relevant to our own football program: Should players be able to accept free dinners from potential sports agents? 

It is easy to understand why the notion of “pay for play” makes many uncomfortable. At the end of the day, students make a choice whether or not they want to be a student-athlete and are free to quit whenever they want. In this context, the current system seems appropriate, as a scholarship to many is payment in and of itself. But even this thought experiment is too simplistic. What if a player who could not otherwise afford to pay tuition decides to quit football and thereby loses his scholarship? What if a freshman football player on scholarship suffers a career-ending injury and his scholarship is revoked? For many players football is a choice and for many others football is the only choice, the only avenue to a college education and social mobility. For most, only the football-playing journey ends in college. 

Among all these gray areas lies one glaring fact: the current system of scholarship-granting with regard to UT football players and college athletes as a whole (who help bring in a giant amount of their school’s financial pie) is inadequate. Instead of derailing what is becoming a more important issue each day with socially and politically charged words like “entitled,”  “unionize” and “exploitation,” let us first ask ourselves whether that kind of temporal and physical devotion with that incredibly large amount of money on the line is fair without, at the very least, four years’ guaranteed tuition. 

Sundlin is an English and radio-television-film senior from San Antonio.

Georgia RB Todd Gurley

Last week (W, 45-2, vs. Clemson): 15 attempts, 198 yards, 3 TDs, 1 kick return for TD

2014: 15 attempts, 198 yards, 3 TDs

If the Heisman Trophy was handed out after the first week, it would be hard to argue against what Gurley did on Saturday. Gurley’s week one stats, which included a school-record 293 all-purpose yards, reminded America that he’s a man amongst boys on the field. Gurley didn’t just tear up a small-school defense either. He did it against a ranked Clemson team, averaging a ridiculous 17.2 yards per carry on just 15 touches. When healthy, Gurley is very capable of this sort of performance, and that’s what makes him the frontrunner for the Heisman heading into week two.

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota

Last week (W, 62-13, vs. South Dakota): 14-for-20, 267 yards, 3 TDs (43 rushing yards, 1 TD)

2014: 14-for-20, 267 yards, 3 TDs (43 rushing yards, 1 TD)

Oregon’s well-oiled scoring machine made it look easy against South Dakota on Saturday, and its field general, Mariota, was at the center of the offensive attack. The truth is, Mariota did what was expected of him, but that shouldn’t discount his great week one numbers. If he keeps it up against the tougher competition that awaits, it could be his Heisman to lose.  

Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill

Last week (W, 52-28, at South Carolina): 44-for-60, 511 yards, 3 TDs

2014: 44-for-60, 511 yards, 3 TDs

Johnny who? It didn’t take long for Aggie fans to forget about Johnny Manziel once the world saw what Hill could do. Hill didn’t just replace Manziel in the first game; he broke his passing record doing so. And maybe most impressive, Hill did it on the road against a talented South Carolina defense. Teams don’t just walk into Williams-Brice Stadium and get a win. The Gamecocks hadn’t lost at home in their previous 18 games, the longest streak in the nation. Hill changed that and vaulted himself into the early-season Heisman conversation.

Florida St. QB Jameis Winston

Last week (W, 37-31, vs. Oklahoma State): 25-for-40, 370 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs (9 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD)

2014: 25-for-40, 370 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs (9 rushing yards, 1 TD)

Florida State wasn’t supposed to struggle in its first game of the season, but they did, and some of the blame fell on Winston’s inconsistent play. Winston led a late charge to push the Seminoles past Oklahoma State and saved his spot among the top Heisman candidates, but his two second-quarter interceptions were unacceptable for someone many consider to be the best quarterback in the nation. The reigning Heisman winner needs to get back to last year’s form if he wants to top the list again. 

Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah

Last week (W, 55-7, vs. Florida Atlantic): 21 attempts, 232 yards, 1 TD

2014: 21 attempts, 232 yards, 1 TD

Like Gurley, Abdullah had too good of a first game to ignore. With Baylor’s Bryce Petty now battling a back injury, Abdullah moves into the top five this week. Even in Nebraska’s run-heavy system, 232 yards on the ground is no small feat. Abdullah had more than 1,600 rushing yards in 2013, so don’t be surprised if the senior continues to impress.

One would have imagined that now that the NFL Draft has passed, the dust would finally settle and the media would stop highlighting Johnny Manziel’s every step.

Well, think again.

The 21-year-old rookie quarterback of the Cleveland Browns can’t catch a break. Since being drafted, the negative press has only escalated for the former Aggie.

Small things like Manziel wearing Nike slippers in a rookie photo shoot led to incredible backlash on Twitter. People interpreted it as Manziel not being interested or caring about Cleveland’s rookie photo shoot.

Another huge headline came when the Browns’ front office named Manziel as the backup quarterback heading into training camp this season. And another when rumors swirled about the possibility of A&M’s beloved Kyle Field being renamed “The House that Johnny built.” None of these things have made Johnny’s short career in the NFL any easier thus far.

To some extent it’s hard not to feel bad for Johnny Football. As an undersized pro prospect his play on the field has been highly scrutinized, and now the media is watching his every move off the field, looking for something to put on the front page.

Most recently, Manziel was scrutinized for his decision to spend a weekend in Las Vegas. Many have questioned the timing of the trip, saying that he should be more concerned with winning over the starting position instead of partying with NFL star Rob Gronkowski.

Of course, naysayers will jump on any opportunity to critique Manziel, but if you ask his coach, he’s doing everything they ask of him.

“The playbook has not been an issue for him,” Browns head coach Mike Pettine said. “I told him to have fun. He’s a young guy.”

Pettine makes a good point. Manziel deserves a chance to prove himself as a professional football player before we jump to criticize him.

Should he really be blamed for his behavior this far? Ask any 21-year-old what they would do with millions of dollars and all the fame and they would probably handle it similarly, if not worse.

It’s difficult to have everything you do magnified in the national spotlight. But if he’s keeping up with the playbook and working to move up the depth chart, then he deserves a chance to enjoy himself.

Known for his on the field antics and his questionable off the field conduct, quarterback Johnny Manziel is set to take the NFL by storm. Love him or hate him, the Heisman-winner is projected to be a first round pick in this year’s draft.

Manziel’s raw ability to make plays out of nothing is spectacular. It’s not his ability to play the game in question but rather the need for him to develop as a player and as an adult.

Scouts list multiple concerns in Manziel’s game- underdeveloped body, lack of pocket discipline, inconsistent accuracy and an unwillingness to protect himself on the run.

The biggest issue in Manziel’s game is his lack of pocket discipline. Manziel is known for making wildish plays but with those plays come unnecessary sacks. The typical Manziel play requires a lot of pocket protection and a breakdown in defensive coverage. In the NFL, these plays aren’t typical. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Manziel’s game won’t translate into the NFL but there is definitely a chance it might not.

Along with the concerns about Manziel’s game, many NFL teams worry about his off the field history. Manziel hangs out with rapper Drake and sits courtside at NBA games. He was also the subject of an NCAA investigation regarding profiting from autographs.

Manziel’s off field troubles have many people troubled especially analyst Nolan Narwocki.

“[Manziel] carries a sense of entitlement and prima-donna arrogance seeking out the bright lights of Hollywood,” Narwocki said. “[Manziel} is known to party too much and is drawn to all the trappings of the game. … He has defied the odds and proven to be a great college-system quarterback, but still must prove he is willing to work to be great.”

While some question his ability and antics away from the game, Manziel has worked to better himself as the NFL Draft approaches.

The former Aggie has worked with quarterback coach George Whitfield throughout his career. Whitfield helped Manziel conduct his pro day workout.

Manziel’s pro day was seen as successful as many NFL scouts were impressed by the outing.

"He made the throws that you look for and that you wanted to see, so it was good," Houston Texans’ GM Rick Smith said. "It's just a part of it and it was impressive."

While only two of Manziel’s 65 passes went incomplete, he was content with his pro day performance but knows that he can continue improve.

“I felt like it was good," Manziel said."(I) was obviously going for perfection. So I had a couple balls hit the ground. One was on me. One was a little bit high. I could've got it down for him a little bit."

Manziel is likely the riskiest quarterback prospect. He has all the skills to become an NFL superstar, the only thing stopping him is himself. 

As accomplished as Johnny Manziel was on the field, his impact off the field may be even more noteworthy. In the last few years, he has completely flipped the football recruiting script in Texas, giving the Aggies the edge over the Longhorns in living rooms all across Texas.

The Aggies’ 2014 recruiting class ranked No. 6 in the country, the Aggies’ first top-10 recruiting class since 2005, according to Rivals. The Longhorns brought in the No. 20 class in 2014, after signing the No. 24 class in 2013, their worst two-year recruiting stretch on record. But most of all, these classes will be remembered for the commits who flipped from burnt orange to maroon — Ricky Seals-Jones, Daeshon Hall, Zaycoven Henderson and Otaro Alaka — which is particularly disturbing as the Longhorns used to dominate the state and easily keep their commits. In fact, 2014 marked the first time since Rivals began its ratings in 2002 that Texas didn’t ink any of the state’s top nine players.

The Aggies’ 2015 class currently ranks 2nd compared to Texas’ 8th. Texas A&M continues to dominate, with six commits in the state’s top 30. That’s six more than the Longhorns, who have yet to lock up a top-30 in-state recruit. 

While the Longhorns may no longer be able to hand pick their in-state recruits, head coach Charlie Strong has expanded the program’s recruiting efforts to include a stronger out-of-state presence, which is an encouraging and much needed development. 

Strong appears comfortable pursuing out-of-state talent — signing former Louisville commits Poona Ford and Chris Nelson, from South Carolina and Florida, respectively. Strong could even open up a pipeline in Florida, where he drew many players at Louisville.

Texas has already offered scholarships to several highly touted players outside of Texas, including wide receiver John Burt from Florida, who was in town for Texas’ junior day and will likely make an official visit this fall. Linebacker Jeffery Holland and defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson are other elite Sunshine State natives who hold Longhorn offers.

Although prying top talent away from SEC powers and in-state schools will be tough, successfully doing so is key for Texas as it works to regain its place among the nation’s top programs. 

Gone are the times when the Longhorns could afford to stay home and let top recruits come to them, especially with schools like Alabama and Florida State growing their recruiting presences in Texas. 

If Strong can land a few elite players from around the country, the Longhorns will reap the benefits both on the field and inside the homes of local recruits. At the very least, Strong needs to recruit nationally in case the state produces a weak class at any given position. 

Ultimately, recruiting is all about signing top talent, and coach Strong gives Texas the greatest opportunity to do that by recruiting nationally.

After two consecutive trips to the playoffs, 2013 was supposed to be the year the Houston Texans made their run to the Super Bowl.

Unfortunately for Texan fans, the season that transpired was far from Super Bowl worthy. The team was in complete disarray throughout the year and ownership parted ways with head coach Gary Kubiak mid-season.

In January, Houston hired former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien to fill the vacancy. O’Brien has a chance to turn the Texans’ fortunes around with a great draft.

Here’s our first Houston Texans mock draft for the team’s first five rounds:

Pick No. 1: QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)

The Texans are in desperate need of a quarterback. Matt Schaub performed horribly in 2013. Schaub threw 14 interceptions in 10 games and was replaced by back-up Case Keenum.

With the first pick in the draft, the Texans have three replacements to choose from – Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), and Blake Bortles (UCF).

Fans have been pleading for Houston to pick Manziel. The former Aggie possesses great speed and is great in the open field. His passing has also improved over the past two seasons as quarterback at A&M. But Manziel’s knack for making big plays is what sets him apart from Bridgewater and Bortles.  

Pick No. 33: OT Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama)

In 2013, Houston’s quarterbacks were sacked 42 times, so the offensive line is clearly a need in this year’s draft.

Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio is an interesting prospect. Kouandjio is a 6’4”, 312-pound monster offensive tackle. He has great strength and is described as a “mauler” by many scouts.

Kouandjio is projected to be a late first round or early second round pick. If he is still on the board in the second, the Texans would be foolish to pass on him.

Pick No. 65: RB Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona)

The Texans’ running game was non-existent after Arian Foster suffered a season ending back injury last year. Backup Ben Tate wasn’t able to pick up the slack and the offense suffered as a result.

The 2014 running back class is deep but it lacks star power. Early draft predictions show that Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona), Lache Seastrunk (Baylor) and Andre Williams (Boston College) could all still be on the board early in the third round.

Ka’Deem Carey would be a valuable pick for the Texans in the third round.

Pick No. 97: S Terrence Brooks (Florida State)

At some point in the draft, the Texans need to address their defensive weaknesses. Houston could go with a defensive lineman or choose to pick up a defensive back.

Terrence Brooks is a potential steal if he falls from his mid-third round projection. If Brooks isn’t there, the Texans could wait until the sixth or seventh round to pick up a defensive back because their value isn’t as high in the mid-rounds.

Pick No. 129: DE Kareem Martin (North Carolina)

With their fifth round pick, the Texans should continue to add to their defense. A defensive end would be a great addition. The Texans need someone to play opposite of J.J. Watt.

Kareem Martin is a proven run stopper, is capable of disrupting the passing game and has a big frame that could continue to develop at the next level.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Auburn

Auburn’s slide into the Top 5, after its win against Georgia, set up the first matchup of Top 5 teams in the Iron Bowl since 1971. This high-stakes showdown is not just a fierce battle between in-state rivals but will also determine who wins the SEC West and plays for a conference championship. Auburn’s only loss of the season came on the road at LSU. Although Alabama beat LSU by 21 points, the Crimson Tide had the home-field advantage in that game, a factor that could have changed the game for Auburn. To keep Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron from throwing his way to securing its third consecutive Iron Bowl victory, the Tigers defense will have to keep their eyes up to stop completions — something it has not excelled at this season.


No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 10 South Carolina

South Carolina’s 70-10 win against Coastal Carolina set up the best-case scenario for the Gamecocks going into the game against Clemson. The Gamecocks didn’t struggle to put up points, leading 42-7 at the half, and more importantly didn’t sustain any more injuries. They finally got the opportunity to rest some of their key playmakers that have been playing through injuries all season. But Clemson is its toughest opponent yet and is led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, who threw for 288 yards and five touchdowns last week and holds more than 50 school records, is hoping to lead the Tigers to their first win in four years against their in-state rivals.


No. 19 Texas A&M vs. No. 5 Missouri

While Johnny Manziel took a step back in the Heisman race and Texas A&M got knocked down in the rankings after its loss to LSU. Missouri dodged a similar fate, beating Ole Miss, 24-10, in Oxford. Any fears the Tigers had of quarterback James Franklin performing poorly after more than a month of not starting (due to a shoulder injury) were silenced, as he completed 63 percent of his passes for 142 yards. In 2011, when both A&M and Missouri were Big 12 teams, the Tigers beat the Aggies, 38-31. But in 2012 when Texas A&M moved to the SEC and added Johnny Manziel to their roster, the new Aggies team proved to be too much for the Tigers, who fell drastically, 59-29. This year the game could go either way if Texas A&M is able rebound from their disappointing loss at LSU.


No. 22 UCLA vs. No. 23 USC

Last week UCLA came up short at home for their first time all season and dropped from No. 14 to No. 22 in the rankings. Previously, UCLA’s only two losses came from hard-hitting opponents, Oregon and Stanford, but last week they fell to No. 12 Arizona State, a team they could have beaten. The Bruins’ slow start and inability to avoid costly penalties meant the Sun Devils could get away with scoring just three points in the second half. USC, on the other hand, earned a 47-29 win against an easy opponent (Colorado) last week. The win served as a good warm-up for this week’s game, and gave sophomore Javorius Allen the chance to run for a career-best 145 yards and three touchdowns.



Photo Credit: The Associated Press

1. Florida State QB Jameis Winston (Fr.)

Last Week (W, 59-3, vs. Wake Forest) 17-for-28, 159 yards, 2 TD, INT (4 rush yards)

Season: 166-for-240 (69.2%),  2,661 yards, 26 TD, 7 INT (157 rush yards, 3 TD)

Winston grabbed the top spot after Mariota’s awful performance last Thursday night, but didn’t play like a Heisman favorite himself on Saturday. Going up against a below-average Wake Forest team, Winston struggled to move the ball as the Seminoles mostly relied on their six interceptions to score. Winston has thrown three touchdowns and three interceptions over the past two weeks, a sign he is either trying to do too much or defenses are starting to adjust to him. He is the clear Heisman favorite if the Seminoles win out, but his struggles as of late are alarming.


2. Baylor QB Bryce Petty (Jr.)

Last Week (W, 41-12, vs. Oklahoma): 13-for-26, 204 yards, 3 TD (45 rush yards, 2 TD)

Season: 135-for-202 (66.8%), 2,657 yards, 21 TD, INT (118 rush yards, 8 TD)

Petty overcame a slow start to help his team dominate Oklahoma in what was supposed to be Baylor’s first test of the season. The Bears continue to roll as Petty adds to his impressive stat line. The Oklahoma game was the start of a five-game stretch against the other top four teams in the conference standings, which means Baylor’s remaining schedule will be a lot more difficult than their first seven games. If Petty can keep the Bears’ offense going, he may catch Winston, especially if Winston’s struggles continue.


3. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel (So.)

Last Week (W, 51-41, vs. Mississippi State): 30-for-39, 446 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT (47 rush yards)

Season: 230-315 (73.0%), 3,313 yards, 31 TD, 11 INT (611 rush yards, 8 TD)

In what could be his final game in College Station, Manziel tied a career-high in touchdown passes while surpassing the 400-yard passing mark for the fourth time this season. He’s surpassed his number of touchdown passes from a year ago and is less than 400 yards away from his passing yard total. His rushing numbers are way down from last year, but he has made up for it with more efficient passing.  With games at LSU and Missouri left on the schedule,  Manziel still has enough time to impress voters enough to claim his second Heisman.


4. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota (So.)

Last Week (L, 26-20, at Stanford): 20-for-34, 250 yards, 2 TD

Season: 164-for-259 (63.3%), 2,531 yards, 22 TD (494 rush yards, 9 TD)

Mariota struggled against a stout Cardinal defense, but didn’t throw an interception, making it 11.5 games since he was last picked off. Mariota played his worst game of the year and with the loss, Oregon is out of the national title race as of right now. Still his numbers alone merit him consideration in the Heisman race, and if Florida State and Stanford both fall in the regular season, the Ducks could be back in position to play for the BCS title despite the loss. His team may not control its own destiny but Mariota is still very much in the Heisman hunt.


5. Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey (Jr.)

Last week (L, 31-26 vs. UCLA): 28 attempts, 149 yards, TD (1 reception, 2 yards)

Season: 216 attempts, 1,221 yards, 11 TD (19 receptions, 133 yards)

Carey continues to put up impressive numbers but lost a fumble in the UCLA end zone early in the second half that prevented the Wildcats from cutting the deficit in half. Despite the fumble, Carey’s numbers the past two seasons are probably the best of any running back in college football. With games against Oregon and at Arizona State, there are still a few opportunities left on the schedule to help Carey impress voters.