ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 9

Jameis Winston Flies to the Top of the Heisman Watch List After Beating Clemson

FSU’s Jameis Winston Flies to the Top of the Heisman Watch List After Beating Clemson

You’ve heard this before: Florida State’s big win on Saturday shakes up everything we thought we knew about the ACC. And that includes the Heisman race. As long as FSU keeps winning, Jameis Winston is a serious contender and should remain atop this list. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (2,022 total yards, 23 total TD, 3 INT, 71.3% completion) (Last: 2)

No matter the size of the stage, Jameis Winston has risen to the occasion, with his performance against Clemson obviously being the year’s standout game for any player. He’s got at least two or three “Heisman moments” already, the season’s landmark win and he’s piloting a National Championship contender. What more could you ask for out of a quarterback? He’s a Heisman frontrunner now — arguably even more so than the next man on this list ever was.

2. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (2,134 total yards, 21 total TD, 4 INT, 63.1% completion) (Last: 1)

Any Heisman contender can survive one “bad” game, however this was Boyd’s second. Plus, he lost to fellow contender in Winston. Yes, the senior passer has been in the conversation since the year began, but at this point, his time might have run out. Winston’s energy and charisma are infectious and his performance against Boyd’s Tigers was other-worldly. Boyd is still a stellar senior. It’s just unlikely he’s stellar enough to take home this award.

3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (2,257 total yards, 22 TD, 2 INT, 72% completion) (Last: 3)

Like Boyd, Bridgewater’s time as a Heisman contender may have run out, but it shouldn’t take away from the excellent season he’s had for the Cardinals. While his team lost last Friday, it’s to little fault of their quarterback, who still threw for over 300 yards and two scores. At this point, all he can do is continue to help this team win, and hopefully they can work their way back into the BCS conversation. They’ll need some help, but it’s possible.

… and that’s it. No point extending this list past the top three anymore, since that’s really all there is. Obviously discussions can be reopened if/when all these contenders are eliminated and we revert to the Weinke Awards Watch (named for the last ACC Heisman winner, Chris Weinke) instead.

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 8

Clemson's Tajh Boyd is Still Very Much in Control of Heisman Race, Though Jameis Winston is Gaining

Tajh Boyd is Still Very Much in Control of Heisman Race, Though Jameis Winston is Gaining

Like the national Heisman race, the ACC‘s version is packed very tightly with a bevy of spectacular passers leading undefeated teams. There’s very few ways to separate any of these players from each other, but we try our best with what we have at hand. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (1,970 total yards, 20 total TD, 2 INT, 66.5% completion) (Last: 1)

No, Boyd’s performance against Boston College wasn’t amazing, but at the end of the day, he still managed over 360 total yards and two TDs. In a game that only featured 38 combined points between the two teams, I’d still say that’s pretty impressive. Under pressure, the senior’s accuracy has fallen off a bit, so that’s something to watch for. Though the main concern at the end of the day is to continue winning football games.

2. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (1,576 total yards, 19 total TD, 2 INT, 73.2% completion) (Last: 2)

Winston had a bye last week, though it’s tough to forget how well he’s played up to this point. He’s played second-fiddle to Boyd all season, but that could all change should he lead FSU to a victory against the Tigers on Saturday. In last year’s ACC Heisman race, EJ Manuel and Boyd were both pretty equal until the ‘Noles beat Clemson in late September. Winston has an opportunity to repeat the feat this year, and truly state his case for the trophy.

3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,921 total yards, 20 TD, 2 INT, 71% completion) (Last: 3)

Louisville appears bored with their opponents, and that goes double for Bridgewater, whose incredible statistics have fallen off somewhat from the early part of the season, but still possesses one of the best number lines in the entire sport. Just like the two gentlemen in front of him, if Bridgewater can continue to generate wins without many mistakes, his candidacy will only continue to improve. Unfortunately, Friday against UCF is likely to be one of his final performances on a national stage.

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 7

After a Five-Touchdown Effort Against Maryland, Jameis Winston Shoots Back up the Charts

After a Five-Touchdown Effort Against Maryland, Jameis Winston Shoots Back up the Charts

Like the national Heisman race, the ACC‘s version is packed very tightly with a bevy of spectacular passers leading undefeated teams. There’s very few ways to separate any of these players from each other, but we try our best with what we have at hand. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (1,603 total yards, 18 total TD, 2 INT, 66% completion) (Last: 1)

A game against Syracuse‘s lackluster secondary was exactly what Boyd needed to bolster his case as a Heisman contender. The star senior was pulled early, along with several other Tigers starters, and yet still accounted for 450 yards of offense and five scores. Every game won’t be against the Orange, of course, but if nothing else, the strong effort was a stern reminder of just how explosive Boyd can be.

2. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (1,576 total yards, 19 total TD, 2 INT, 73.2% completion) (Last: 3)

Just like Boyd, Winston used last week as a reminder to everyone about just how high his ceiling really is. Up against a Maryland team that was simply embarrassed, he tallied over 400 yards and five touchdowns — making things seem effortless for the second straight week and handing himself yet another “Heisman moment.” At this point, there’s no question the redshirt freshman can keep up a high level of play. The question is now how much better can he get?

3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,600 total yards, 18 TD, 1 INT, 71.7% completion) (Last: 2)

And this is where Bridgewater and Louisville’s fortunes start to dip somewhat. They’ve been playing for style points all season to make up for the poor schedule and poor American Athletic Conference affiliation for one more year, but they’re starting to lose ground on the other top-ranked teams now. Beat Temple 30-7 is not just what they were supposed to do, it’s less than what they should’ve been the Owls by (according to voters). It could spell doom for Bridgewater’s Heisman hopes and the Cardinal’s dreams of playing for a national championship, even if undefeated at year’s end.

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 6

After His Strong Play Carried FSU Over Boston College, Jameis Winston Moves Up the Watch List

After His Strong Play Carried FSU Over Boston College, Jameis Winston Moves Up the Watch List

After five weeks of play, the ACC‘s set a pretty high standard for who belongs on this list. Among the criteria: have zero losses (as four — sort-of five teams do), be your team’s undisputed best player and in one case, giving us what could be a “Heisman moment.” Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (1,153 total yards, 13 total TD, 0 INT, 64% completion) (Last: 1)

Boyd’s made a habit of making opponent demolitions look easy, and that goes double for Saturday’s win over Wake Forest. Throwing just 24 passes, he still managed 311 yards and three scores. Rushing an uncharacteristic 17 times, he still ended up amassing 69 yards on the ground, with another TD thrown in for good measure. As everyone well knows by now, he’s a machine. And we’re so used to his success for the past three years that the gravity of his performances don’t even register anymore. It’s unfair, but it also sets you up well to be a Heisman frontrunner at times (like this one).

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,250 total yards, 14 TD, 1 INT, 71.8% completion) (Last: 2)

A bye week may have actually done Bridgewater a favor, as most players got a full week to catch up to his astronomical statistics, yet still couldn’t. Through four games, he’s been absolutely clinical in his execution — easily one of the best playmakers in the country, even in what amounts to half-games for the most part. If he’s going to move up in the national conversation though, he needs the rest of the teams on Louisville’s schedule to pick it up a little bit. You can’t amass a Heisman resume blowing out a team destined for 2-10 every week, even if your numbers are as good as his have been.

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (1,159 total yards, 14 total TD, 2 INT, 73.6% completion) (Last: 3)

That sloppiness that’s been hinted at over the past couple weeks? Still there for the entire FSU team, Winston included, as we saw in last week’s oddly close victory over Boston College. And as much as that game may have given way to some doubts about the ‘Noles, it actually ended up pleading the case for Winston’s abilities above all else, and maybe even handed out what could be his “Heisman moment.” Tied at 17 with just a few seconds left in the second quarter, Winston unleashed a pressured Hail Mary to Kenny Shaw, which he completed for a touchdown. The feat of pure athleticism was a microcosm of what makes the true freshman such a force on the game, and a leader for this team.

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 5

Through Four Games, No Defense Has Been Able to Stop Maryland's C.J. Brown

Through Four Games, No Defense Has Been Able to Stop Maryland QB C.J. Brown at All

The ACC‘s top teams are still unbeaten, but that doesn’t mean we’re only choosing from a few teams here. The league is deep with playmakers this season, so plenty to choose from as we try and determine who might contend for college football’s highest honor. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (773 total yards, 9 total TD, 0 INT, 62.2% completion) (Last: 1)

Boyd’s performances have seemingly become old hat to most viewers, which could end up hurting his candidacy in the long run (especially if the Tigers wind up losing a game at some point). And that’s not even his fault. It takes a pretty talented player to make 282 total yards and three scores seem mundane, and yet, that’s where he’s at. He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing and help his team keep winning games.

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,250 total yards, 14 TD, 1 INT, 71.8% completion) (Last: 2)

Bridgewater never seems to stay in a game long enough to put up even bigger numbers — or his team just starts running the ball incredibly early. That’s unlikely to change as the year goes on and this schedule fails to get much harder. But it doesn’t appear that critics are complaining much thus far. The Cardinals winning, specifically on account of the junior quarterback, is all that really matters in the big scheme of things.

3. C.J. Brown, QB/Maryland (1,326 total yards, 13 total TD, 1 INT, 66.7% completion) (Last: 4)

Maryland didn’t put up much of an effort in the second half against West Virginia, which explains why Brown’s numbers weren’t exactly at the season’s typical torrid pace. The senior passer really has put on quite a show overall though, and his team is still undefeated — both of which should count for something (especially the second part). He’s proved himself to be one of the best pure dual-threats in the country, and if they can pull off a monster upset of Florida State in a couple weeks, then maybe people will finally start taking notice of his body of work.

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 4

Looks Like a Terrapin Could Be Climbing Into Heisman Contention (and Not the One You'd Think)

Looks Like a Terrapin (Not the One You Think) Could Be Climbing Into Heisman Contention

No losses among the ACC‘s top teams yet, which means all of these players stay in the actual Heisman hunt for the time being. We’re still just a few games in, though. Plenty of season left to play, and plenty of players that might even be flying under the radar right now. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (491 total yards, six total TD, 0 INT, 60.4% completion) (Last: 1)

Boyd’s still leading, and is likely to be as long as Clemson’s undefeated. With his first test in a few weeks coming this Thursday against NC State though, we’ll see what happens next. His last trip down to Raleigh did not go well at all, so all eyes will be on how he responds this time around. Put up the type of stats he did in the opener, and we’re right back on track in the national Heisman race.

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,037 total yards, 10 TD, 1 INT, 70.5% completion) (Last: 2)

So Teddy Bridgewater is mortal? After throwing just one touchdown pass versus Kentucky, it does seem that way. If he’d kept up his pace from the first two games, he’d probably be atop this list. So is this the end of his scorched-earth sprint over the Cardinals’ schedule? Hardly. Kentucky, despite their overall weakness, is still one of the best opponents on the Cards’ schedule. Take a look. Bridgewater’s numbers are going to be just fine this year.

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (603 total yards, seven total TD, 1 INT, 88.9% completion) (Last: 3)

Even in a limited amount of playing time, Winston still knows how to continue growing his sort-of legend. Despite completing just 15 passes, he still managed 215 yards and two scores. He ended up tossing an interception, but beyond that, there’s still very little negative to say about the redshirt freshman’s game. Tougher tests await, though for right now, Winston can just continue to rack up yardage and touchdowns against FSU’s tune-up opponents. The fact that the numbers still stand out next to the Seminoles’ 377 rushing yards against Nevada says an awful lot of good about his game.

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 3

Despite Only Playing a Portion of Last Saturday's Game, Tajh Boyd Still Leads ACC's Heisman Hopefuls

Despite Only Playing in Part of Saturday’s Game, Tajh Boyd Still Leads ACC’s Heisman Hopefuls

No losses among the ACC‘s top teams yet, which means all of these players stay in the actual Heisman hunt for the time being. We’re still just a couple games in, though. Plenty of season left to play, and plenty of players that might even be flying under the radar right now. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (491 total yards, six total TD, 0 INT, 60.4% completion) (Last: 1)

Despite leaving Saturday’s contest very early, Boyd remains atop the list thanks to his team’s big win and their continued move up the polls. One would assume, so long as he remains healthy for the reason of the season and the Tigers don’t lose more than one game, he’ll be in contention for the long haul. Should the Tigers start running away with games and sitting Boyd by early in the third quarter though, it may end up hurting his chances in the long run. I stress may. Which brings us to…

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (752 passing yards, nine TD, 1 INT, 76.7% completion) (Last: 2)

Louisville’s schedule (as discussed previously) kills Bridgewater’s hopes when put up against Boyd, so he’s making up ground with statistics. Despite demolishing their first two opponents, the Cardinals have been leaving their quarterback in for as long as acceptable (and sometimes long past that) in order to give him a greater chance of putting up monstrous numbers. It’s worked thus far, as those eye-popping stats have kept him at the top of the conversation for the time being. No, Louisville’s not in the ACC just yet, but should Bridgewater win the award, you can bet the ACC claims it for themselves (and rightfully so).

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (381 total yards, five total TD, 0 INT, 92.6% completion) (Last: 3)

Winston didn’t play at all last week, since FSU had a bye. But the magnitude of his debut remains as everyone’s trying to project what he’ll do for an encore performance. Against a Nevada team whose defense isn’t exactly stellar (allowed 58 points to UCLA), one would expect the redshirt freshman to put up some astronomical numbers. If he’s going to continue living up to and surpassing the expectations set for him, that may be the only acceptable way he can do it before long.

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