Heisman Rankings: Week 11

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – While there’s a couple of newcomers to
the list and one signal caller made a huge leap to put himself in the
finalist conversation, the No. 1 player in the Heisman Rankings continues to
assert himself as the clear favorite.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (last week: No. 1) — The Ducks’ quarterback
continued to do his thing over the weekend by separating himself from the
field with yet another outstanding performance. Oregon got off to a shaky
start against Utah but eventually smoothed things out en route to an easy
51-27 victory thanks in no small part to the efforts of Mariota, who completed
17-of-29 passes for 239 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions while
simultaneously putting together his most impressive rushing output of the
season (18 carries, 114 yards, TD). On the season, Mariota has amassed 3,330
total yards, and his 38 total touchdowns are just two shy of the career high
set last season. The Ducks’ final two regular season games (versus Colorado on
Nov. 22, at Oregon State on Nov. 29) are non-threatening, and if they can come
out victorious in the Pac-12 title game and earn a spot in the College
Football Playoff, Mariota will likely be the award’s runaway winner next

2. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (last week: No. 2) — Playing a soft
matchup against Tennessee-Martin in the Bulldogs’ Homecoming Game, Prescott
didn’t have much to gain but still put together a fine performance, completing
14-of-23 passes for 206 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions to go
with 54 rushing yards and an additional score. Despite Mississippi State’s
reign as the No. 1 team in the nation and Prescott’s outstanding campaign
(3,045 total yards, 30 TDs), the dual-threat signal caller has fallen further
behind Mariota in recent weeks. He’ll have a golden opportunity to gain ground
in Tuscaloosa on Saturday in a matchup with Alabama that will likely determine
the SEC Western Division champion.

3. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (last week: No. 9) — No one’s stock has sky-
rocketed in recent weeks more than Boykin’s, who helped the Horned Frogs
collect another signature win over the weekend by downing nationally-ranked
Kansas State, 41-20. Boykin bounced back from a disappointing showing on Nov.
1 at West Virginia by putting together an astounding performance, completing
greater than 67 percent of his passes (23-of-34) for 219 yards, a touchdown
and zero interceptions, while dazzling with his legs as well with 123 rushing
yards and three touchdowns, leaving him with eye-popping year-to-date numbers
(2,691 passing yards, 546 rushing yards, 30 TDs, four interceptions). Boykin’s
status as a finalist could depend on the thrilling stretch run in store for
the Big 12, as TCU, Baylor and Kansas State all sit at 5-1 in the conference.
The Horned Frogs have the easiest remaining schedule of the three (at Kansas,
at Texas, versus. Iowa State) but do not control their own destiny, having
lost to Baylor back on Oct. 11 (61-58).

4. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (last week: No. 5) — The Badgers’ stud
running back continued to terrorize Big Ten opponents over the weekend with
another huge performance. Gordon was the primary reason Wisconsin was able to
cruise to a 34-16 victory at Purdue, as he rushed for 205 yards and a
touchdown on 25 attempts, while adding a 27-yard touchdown reception. He
continued to display plenty of explosion and with a 47-yard run he became the
FBS leader in runs of 40 or more yards this season with 10. Gordon has been a
model of consistency over the past two months with seven straight 100-yard
games (including three 200-yard performances), and he now sits with 21 total
touchdowns on the season and an FBS-leading 1,501 yards, a comfortable 140
yards ahead of second place Tevin Coleman of Indiana.

5. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (last week: No. 4) — It’s always an instant
classic when Alabama and LSU meet, and Saturday’s heavyweight bout lived up to
the hype as the Crimson Tide fought back in the final minute of regulation to
tie the game on a field goal and went on to win in overtime, 20-13, to stay
alive in the SEC Western Division hunt. For just the third time this season,
Cooper was held under 100 yards receiving, but he still hauled in eight passes
for 83 yards and a touchdown as he continued to act as the Tide’s only viable
receiving option. Alabama now controls its own destiny in the SEC West – its
last two league matchups against Mississippi State and Auburn are very
difficult but both are at home – and it would be hard to imagine the squad
achieving such success without Cooper’s incredible season (79 receptions,
1,215 yards, 10 TDs).

6. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State — The Seminoles just keep winning.
Following a 34-20 triumph over Virginia, they became the 25th team in NCAA
history to win 25 games in a row, and they have a clear path to the College
Football Playoff barring an unforeseen slip up en route to an ACC
Championship. Despite FSU’s sustained excellence however, Winston simply
hasn’t played as well as a reigning Heisman Trophy winner should. He scored a
pair of touchdowns in the UVA victory, but he also tossed two interceptions,
giving him five over the past two weeks. Winston’s winning track record could
very well earn him a spot in New York as a finalist, but his less-than-
outstanding numbers (2,540 passing yards, 20 TDs, 11 interceptions) simply
aren’t good enough to become a repeat winner.

7.Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (last week: No. 7) — The Cornhuskers escaped
potential disaster on Nov. 1 when learning Abdullah’s knee has no structural
damage after suffering an injury against Purdue. After healing up on a well-
timed bye week, Abdullah (1,250 rushing yards, 169 receiving yards, 19 TDs) is
expected to be at full strength for Saturday’s matchup against the Gordon-led
Badgers in a highly-anticipated contest between the nation’s best running

8. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor (last week: unranked) — Petty, a preseason
favorite, fell off the radar last month following Baylor’s 41-27 loss at West
Virginia, but a historic win over Oklahoma has put the squad back in thick of
the Big 12 Conference race. In the Bears’ first-ever win over Oklahoma in
Norman and their first road win over a ranked team in their last 38 tries,
Petty completed greater than 76 percent of his passes (32-of-42) for 387 yards
with a touchdown an no interceptions. Petty is falling well short of his pace
from last season, when he threw for 4,200 yards and accounted for 46
touchdowns, so his showing this season (2,421 passing yards, 24 touchdowns)
isn’t likely to turn voters’ heads, but he still has time to improve his stock
as Baylor makes a late push at a conference title and a potential College
Football Playoff berth.

9. Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss (last week: No. 10) — The Rebels are all but dead
in the race for the SEC Western Division crown, and a homecoming rout of FCS
squad Presbyterian (48-0) can only do so much to lift their spirits. Wallace’s
chances to become a finalist for the award are slim, but after adding another
three-touchdown performance in the victory, his outstanding season still
deserves some love. The senior is completing 64 percent of his passes for
2,556 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions and has piled up solid
rushing totals as well (233 yards, four TDs) in leading Ole Miss to an
improbable strong season.

10. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (last week: unranked) — Much like Petty, Hundley
was also a preseason favorite that fell out of favor early in the season due
to injury and underperforming numbers, but with the spotlight off him in
recent weeks he has returned to form for the surging Bruins. He was
outstanding in UCLA’s 44-30 win at Washington, completing greater than 80
percent of his passes (29-of-36) for 306 yards, two touchdowns and zero
interceptions, and while he rushed for just 18 yards after picking up 424
yards on the ground in the previous four, he still found time to rush for a
pair of touchdowns. Hundley has 24 total touchdowns to just seven picks and
has amassed 3,120 total yards. At 5-2 in the Pac-12, UCLA still needs help to
win the South Division, but if it can earn itself a rematch against Oregon in
the conference title game, Hundley will have a big opportunity for a late
surge at the award.

Dropped Out: Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn; Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame

Honorable Mention: Gerod Holliman, DB, Louisville