With no clear-cut option this year, voting could be split around the country. Winston appeared to be head and shoulders above the rest a month ago, but a messy investigation complicated the balloting. Since Winston wasn't charged with any crime, he'll almost certainly emerge as the winner Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Here's a quick look at each of the finalists.
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Lynch, a senior, put up video game-like numbers in 2013. While leading the Huskies to a 12-1 record – some actually liked him to win the Heisman before NIU fell to Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game – Lynch threw for 2,676 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 63 percent of his throws. He also carried the football 274 times for 1,881 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Against Western Michigan last month, Lynch broke the all-time quarterback rushing record with 321 rushing yards. He finished the season No. 2 in rushing yards, making him the only QB to finish in the top 15.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about Lynch: he was a two-star prospect coming out of Mount Carmel High School in Chicago. Recruit rankings are far from a perfect science, but for a player who wasn't even really pursued by any BCS-conference programs, his five years at NIU really were remarkable.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Last year's Heisman-winner wasn't quite as amazing in his follow-up campaign in College Station, but he was still pretty darn impressive. He threw for 3,732 yards and 33 touchdowns, seven more than he had in 2012. Manziel did throw 13 interceptions, though, and didn't do nearly as much in the run game as he did last season.
Manziel was squarely in the hunt to win the Heisman again as the final weeks of the season approached, but two uninspiring performances on the road against nationally ranked LSU and Missouri just about ended any chance he had at repeating.
Tre Mason, Auburn
After Auburn beat Florida Atlantic on Oct. 26, Mason had rushed for 753 yards and nine touchdowns through eight games. He wasn't even on the top-50 list for Heisman candidates.
Following last weekend's win over Missouri to claim the SEC Championship, Mason finished the regular season with 1,621 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. With all eyes watching him in the Georgia Dome, he carried the football an absurd 46 times for 304 yards and four scores. That is how you get yourself into the Heisman race in a hurry.
Mason probably joined the race a little too late to garner enough votes to win the trophy, but he's likely to at least get a serious boost from the writers in SEC country. That's quite the turnaround for a guy who wasn't even on the watch lists two months ago.
AJ McCarron, Alabama
Take a look at McCarron's numbers, and they're as solid as they come. He completed 68 percent of his throws and only turned the ball over five times, all while throwing for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns. Those aren't fall-out-of-your-seat numbers, though.
A big reason McCarron will be in New York City is to recognize all he's achieved over the last three years. He led the Crimson Tide to two national championships, and he will make another BCS appearance in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Add in that he's been a model citizen both on and off the field, and voters felt there were few players more deserving than he was to appear near the Heisman this year.
Andre Williams, Boston College
No player in the country ran for more yards than Williams did in 2013; the senior tailback carried the ball 329 times for 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Eagles gave him the ball early and often, and he helped lead the team to a 7-5 mark and their first bowl bid since 2010.
While those numbers are certainly impressive, some have pointed to his performances against USC, Florida State and Clemson to ask just how good he really is. Williams ran all over weaker opponents, but against the Trojans, Seminoles and Tigers, he ran for just 257 yards on 69 carries without ever reaching the end zone. That's just 3.7 yards per carry against a couple of the nation's better teams. Still, 2,000 yards is impressive against anybody.
With the sexual assault case now over – and that was certainly be a consideration for some voters, even with Winston not facing any charges – Winston fits all the criteria of a Heisman winner. He's the star quarterback on the nation's top-ranked team, throwing for 3,820 yards, rushing for 193 more and accounting for 42 total touchdowns.
He shined on the big stage against the likes of Clemson, Florida and Duke, and the fact is that the Seminoles have just dominated every team they've faced in 2013.
Winston heads to New York as the odds-on favorite to win.
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