On Monday, six finalists were named for the Heisman Trophy: NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Auburn running back Tre Mason, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, Boston College running back Andre Williams and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. That's four quarterbacks and two running backs, all but one of them from east of the Mississippi, and no defensive players or linemen.
That's also a lot of finalists.
There are 6 Heisman finalists for the first time since 1994. Only second time in Heisman history. Reflects lack of consensus after top spot.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) December 9, 2013
Here was some of the reaction.
According to the Gannett Heisman survey conducted prior to the finalists being announced, Winston received 44.8 percent of the vote. Unless something crazy happens, he should win the award by a landslide on Saturday.
98.1% chance #FSU's Jameis Winston wins Heisman Trophy based on betting odds. pic.twitter.com/Ek5xns2CpA— PayneInsider.com (@PayneInsider) December 9, 2013
Jameis Winston leads opp-adjusted QBR: 90.9; leader in 3 of past 6 seasons won Heisman, including Manziel in 2012. http://t.co/kFmUhqyXDF— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 10, 2013
Tomahawk Nation thinks the long field further indicates how sure Winston's win is.
Six Heisman finalists? Wow. They really need content for Saturday's show.— TomahawkNation.com (@TomahawkNation) December 9, 2013
Six Heisman finalists also shows the voters had no idea of who to put two and three. Hell, Braxton Miller was 2 or 3 a week ago in Vegas.— TomahawkNation.com (@TomahawkNation) December 9, 2013
McCarron has done just about everything there is to do in college football. He's been a (two-time) national champion, a conference champion, and the winner of numerous individual awards, and he has earned his degree. But he's never won the Heisman, and he was thrilled to be selected as a finalist.
Here's AJ McCarron's statement on being selected as a Heisman finalist. pic.twitter.com/Oj5cHtKME1— Jonathan Biles (@Jonathan_Biles) December 9, 2013
However, many feel his nomination is more of a career-achievement honor than anything having to do with this season.
Is AJ McCarron the first all-conference honorable mention selection to become a Heisman finalist?— Blake Eddins (@_BlakeEddins) December 9, 2013
McCarron didn't make first- or second-team All-SEC this season, ranking behind Manziel and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
His selection also raises the issue of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater not making the cut:
Bridgewater 70.2% completion, 3523 passing yds, 28 TD, 4 INT, 169.7 QBR; McCarron 67.6%, 2676 passing yds, 26 TD, 5 INT, 165.8 QBR.— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_cj) December 9, 2013
Here is Roll Bama Roll's full story on McCarron being invited to New York City.
The nation's leading rusher flew under the radar all season long. For a school that hasn't had a ton of success on the field lately, being a finalist was quite the achievement for the program, as BC Interruption notes:
This is a huge moment for Boston College who haven't had a finalist in almost 30 years. Odds are not in Williams favor, but just getting the invite is a huge honor for the school and for Williams.To just think that this was the same school that a year ago was wallowing in a 2-10 mire with no light in sight. This is a glorious day to be an Eagle.
Credit to the Boston College Athletics Department for the full out media blitz they created over the past three weeks. The athletics department got ESPN College GameDay to come to Boston College, put Williams through the ESPN Car Wash and pushed hard for his inclusion on social media. Basically they took a guy from a 7-5 team and made him a national story.
You've probably heard of the last Eagle to be named a Heisman finalist.
Andre Williams is the first Boston College Heisman finalist since Doug Flutie in 1984.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) December 9, 2013
Lynch's numbers were video game-like in 2013. Hustle Belt detailed just how magical his season was on the field:
Lynch completed 233 out of his 361 attempted passes this year (63.1 percent) for 2,676 yards with 23 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. On the ground, Lynch ran the ball 274 times picking up 1,881 yards (6.9 yards per carry) with 22 touchdowns. Picking up a receiving touchdown against Eastern Michigan as well, Lynch has accounted for 46 touchdowns this season. His longest pass was for 66 yards and his longest run was for 61 yards. Lynch is 119 yards away from being the first quarterback to have at least 2,000 passing and rushing yards, ever.
Even with Lynch's gaudy numbers, there are still plenty of doubters out there.
Don't believe for a second anyone in college football thinks Jordan Lynch is a better player than Aaron Donald, Trent Murphy or Mike Evans.— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) December 10, 2013
Derek Carr played one less game than Jordan Lynch, but has 426 more yards of Total Offense. #FunFactMonday #SendTheInviteToNYC #DC4Heisman— Fresno State QB Club (@QBCBulldogs) December 9, 2013
Good Bull Hunting compared Manziel's numbers to Winston's. They were probably closer than you thought:
Total Offensive Yards:
Manziel -- 4418
Winston -- 4013
Total Offensive Yards Per Game:
Manziel -- 368.2
Winston -- 308.7
Total Offensive Touchdowns:
Manziel -- 41
Winston -- 42
Granted the Heisman has never been (nor will it ever be) an award given solely for on-field production, but those are interesting to look at. All season long the narrative seemed to be Manziel wasn't having as good of a season as he was when he won the award in 2012, but his stats are awfully similar to the probable winner's this time around.
However, if we're comparing stats, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has a snub case:
Mariota: 3,412, 30 TD, 4 INT, Rush: 81-582 (7.2) 9 TD. Manziel: 3,372, 33 TD, 13 INT, Rush: 133-686 (5.2) 8 TD. Oregon 10-2, TAMU 8-4.— Kyle Bonagura (@KyleBonagura) December 9, 2013
A month ago, Mason wasn't even on Heisman watch lists. Now he could be voted as highly as No. 2 by voters, especially if the writers in SEC country give him the nod over McCarron and Manziel. College and Magnolia detailed his quick rise towards the top.
Mason has mostly flown under the radar this season, not receiving national attention until recent weeks. He ran for 164 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries against Alabama, the SEC's top rushing defense, in the regular-season finale, and in the SEC Championship Game against Missouri, the conference's second-best rushing D, he blew up for 46 carries, 304 yards and four TDs. Mason broke SEC title game records in all three categories and was picked as the game's MVP.
In addition to Mariota, Bridgewater, Carr, and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (who probably wasn't that big of a snub) and all those linemen and defensive players, many felt Ka'Deem Carey should've been named a finalist. This makes Arizona's Independence Bowl against Williams' Eagles that much more interesting, and Arizona Desert Swarm wonders what Mason has that Carey doesn't:
After all, Mason didn't break the 100-yard mark until Aurburn's fourth game of the season, and he started off splitting carries with teammate Cameron Artis-Payne. Mason finished with five more touchdowns than Carey and a higher per carry average, yet he compiled nearly 100 yards less than Arizona's go-to guy, and needed two more games to get that close.
And Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, who slowed toward the end of the year but still finished with some of the country's best numbers, didn't make the cut, but Our Daily Bears thinks he'll have his shot next year.
The Heisman Trophy presentation will begin at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN on Saturday night.
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