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Dark Horses Enter the Heisman Race, Rivalry Week This Saturday

With the regular season wrapping up for NCAA teams in the next few weeks, the Heisman race is also nearing its end and at this late stage, dark horses are emerging.

#2 Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has remained at the top of this week’s USA Today Sports Heisman Survey. He received his greatest number of votes to date at 43 percent. He sits with the country’s most efficient passer rating at 194.5 and has gone 199-of-286, 3,163 yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions to date.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

For Winston, while his team will play Florida on Saturday, this is the least of his worries. He is still being investigated for a sexual battery incident from Dec. 7, 2012. Charges have yet to be filed and the school has said Winston’s status remains unchanged. Nothing is expected to happen this week.

With this hanging over his head, many pundits see voters potentially shifting their votes to other candidates. This could include #1 Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, who jumped into the second spot, up from the fifth slot.

To date, McCarron has 2,399 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions. This week Alabama plays #4 Auburn and Vegas thinks they’ll get the win (-11).

Rounding out the top three is #14 Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch from his previous sixth spot.

So where’s #21 Texas A&M’s quarterback Johnny Manziel? He slipped down to the fourth spot–his first time out of the top three. This comes after last week’s 16 for 41 passes and two interceptions versus #17 LSU in the 34-10 loss. His total vote percentage fell from last week’s 30.3% to this week’s 5.6%.

Manziel is now tied with up-and-comer Boston College running back Andre Williams while Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota sits in the sixth spot.

Here’s a look at this week’s Top 10 (Note: three points for first-place votes, two for second place and one for third place)

1.Winston (Florida State) 21-3-1 = 70

2. McCarron (Alabama) 5-13-4 = 45

3. Lynch (Northern Illinois) 1-4-7 = 18

4. Johnny Manziel  (Texas A&M) 0-2-5 = 9

4. Williams (Boston College) 0-2-5 = 9

6. Mariota (Oregon) 0-1-2 = 4

7. (tie) quarterback Derek Carr (Fresno State) 0-1-0 = 2

7. (tie) quarterback Braxton Miller (Ohio State) 0-1-0 = 2

7. (tie) running back Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona) 0-0-2 = 2

10. defensive tackle Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh) 0-0-1 = 1

Vegas has its own thoughts on the race per Bovada. The top five includes Winston in the No. 1 spot at 4/7, followed by McCarron 21/10, Williams 3/1, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller 12/1 and Manziel at 15/1.

Rivalry Week

Many teams already know their season has ended but there’s still ones fighting for a good bowl and others just looking for bragging rights. Here’s a slew of rivalry games to get this fix.

A.J. McCarron

A.J. McCarron

#1 Alabama (-11) at #4 Auburn: Known as the Iron Bowl, the game could decide the SEC West’s winner. Alabama has won the last two meetings but this is a better Auburn team this year. With a good game, will McCarron leap past Winston in the Heisman race?

#6 Clemson at #10 South Carolina (-5.5): The Gamecocks have won this matchup four straight times with last year’s win by 10 points. It has covered the spread in the four games, according to CBS Sports, but you can’t help but assume Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd does not want go out on a losing note.

#3 Ohio State (-14.5) at Michigan: While one of the biggest rivalries in the sport, it would be more interesting this year if Michigan hadn’t undergone such a weak November. But these teams still hate each other and the Wolverines will do everything in their power to make it a good game.

#21 Texas A&M at #5 Missouri (-4.5): For Mizzou, the conference title game is on the line. With a win, they’ll punch their ticket, if not, it goes to South Carolina. Texas A&M will seek to rebound from last week’s spanking and Manziel needs a good game.

#22 UCLA at #23 Southern California (-3.5): These two teams really dislike each other, which always makes it interesting to watch. USC has gone 5-2 ATS since interim coach Ed Orgeron took over and he’s still playing for his job.



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