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Winston Takes Lead in Heisman Poll, Ohio State Confident Going Up Against Tide, Seminoles

After spending weeks at the top of the Heisman chatter, odds and polls, #6 Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has dropped and there’s a new top contender in the USA Today weekly Heisman survey: #2 Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

The ascension comes after #4 Stanford (8-1, 6-1) defeated #6 Oregon (8-1, 5-1) last Thursday, 26-20. With the Oregon loss, came Mariota’s 20 for 34, 250 yards and two touchdown-game. He was playing on a bum left knee but has vowed he’ll be back this week for the Utah (4-5, 1-5) game.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

As for Winston, his rise came on a statistically low game for the season. He went 17 of 28, a season-low 159 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 59-3 win against Wake Forest (4-6, 2-5). Winston’s passer rating, 124.8, was off more than 25 points from his earlier season-low (152.8).

Here’s a look at Week 11 ballots with all quarterbacks (Note: three points are for first-place votes, two for second and one for third):

Winston (Florida State): 19-6-3 = 72

Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M): 7-11-6 = 49

Marcus Mariota (Oregon): 1-5-8 = 21

AJ McCarron (Alabama): 1-4-9 = 20

Bryce Petty (Baylor): 1-3-3 = 12

Manziel had the greatest gain in the race by 10 percent. Last week in a 51-41 win over Mississippi State (4-5, 1-4), the quarterback went 30 for 39, 446 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for 47 yards.

Vegas has their own race for the candidates and the latest odds include the following:

Winston (1/5),  Manziel (4/1), McCarron (7/1) and Petty 20/1.

The Heisman will be awarded on Saturday, December 14, 2013.

Just as the race is heating up for the Heisman, so is the one for the BCS Championship game. Well, at least #3 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) thinks it is.

The Buckeyes will return to action after its bye week and have three games left on their schedule: winless Illinois (3-6, 0-5) on Saturday, followed by Indiana and then Michigan.

Looking at these three games, it’s likely the Buckeyes will win these and remain undefeated (sorry Wolverine Nation). This week they sit at No. 3 in the BCS rankings and continue to have their eye on the BCS National Championship game. Ahead of them sits No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State, which isn’t giving some of the Buckeyes pause.

Evan Spencer

Evan Spencer

On Monday, Ohio State wide receiver Evan Spencer said of Alabama and FSU via the Buckeye Sports Bulletin: “I think we’d wipe the floor with both of them.”

This comes as Ohio State has gone undefeated since head coach Urban Meyer took over the team last season. For this season, their most impressive win has come against #22 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1), 31-24.

For the Badgers, this was their only conference loss of the season to date.

Ohio State’s only other win against a ranked team came against then #16 Northwestern (4-5, 0-5), 40-30 on the road. Not so impressive.

There’s there’s the SEC’s Alabama and the ACC’s FSU who have won tough games on the road (see at Texas A&M, at Clemson) as well as at home (LSU, Miami). According to NBC Sports, Sagarin has rated Ohio State’s schedule strength at No. 81 while FSU is No. 62 and Alabama is No. 42.

But here’s the thing…Should Alabama and Florida State both win their remaining games to win out, they will play each other for the BCS title. Alabama has been a given in the top spot while the Seminoles have a .069 margin over the Buckeyes.

The Seminoles had been the top-ranked team for the BCS computer aggregate and they have a strong lead for the Coaches and Harris polls.

Keep in mind, there’s team who throw a wrench in these plans. #7 Auburn (9-1, 5-1), the ACC’s Coastal champ, or the SEC East’s champ that could wreak some havoc in the BCS rankings in a few weeks. This could go the Buckeye’s way and enable them to face either Alabama or Florida in Pasadena.

For now, Vegas sees Alabama at the top to win the BCS title game (5/4), followed by Florida State (8/5), Baylor (9/2) and Ohio State (17/2).


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