Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman after his incredible season and even more incredible performance in the PAC-12 Championship game.
READ MORE:Tyreek Hill domestic violence arrest – Oklahoma State star arrested for punching pregnant girlfriend Adrian Peterson suspension upheld – Former NFL MVP eligible to play in 2015 Army vs Navy game – Historic rivalry renewed in college football
Tonight the 79th Heisman Trophy will be awarded to the best College Football player in the FBS. This year three outstanding offensive playmakers who have led their schools to the top of absolute top have be nominated for a chance to win the coveted award. And with all of those players likely to head to the NFL in 2015, this will very likely be the biggest chance for one of those players to increase their draft stock – after all, every Heisman Trophy winner since 2007 has been a first-round draft pick.
Here are the candidates for the 2014 Heisman Trophy:
QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks
Undoubtedly the prohibitive favorite in this game, Mariota leads the FBS in TDs, passer rating, yards of offense, and yards/play. He is also 6th in the FBS in completion percentage and passing yards, and 2nd in passing TDs – with only 2 INTs all season. Mariota, who has already won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Maxwell Award, has started every game for the Ducks this year and led them to a 12-1 record and a PAC-12 Championship win over #8 Arizona.
Among some of his highlights from 2014 are his performances against Oregon State (367 passing yards, 6 TDs, only 6 incompletions), Utah (4 TDs, 114 yards rushing), Washington State (5 TDs, 84% completion) and of course the PAC-12 Championship game against Arizona with 5 TDs and 303 passing yards. Mariota also set PAC-12 records for TDs in a season, and Oregon school records in just about every major offensive category.
Mariota is considered the heavy favorite to win the award, as he had the biggest performance in any of Week 15’s Championship games.
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin Badgers
The historically amazing season of Melvin Gordon included leading the FBS in rushing while putting up the 4th highest total in a single season ever, as well as leading the FBS in rushing TDs, yards from scrimmage and total TDs. He became the fastest player to ever top 2,000 rushing yards, doing so on his first 241 carries, and set multiple Big Ten conference and Wisconsin school rushing records. His efforts earned him the Doak Walker award for the best RB in the nation.
Among his marquee performances are amazing rushing performances against Bowling Green (19.5 yards/carry, 5 TDs), Purdue (205 yards rushing, 2 TDs), Illinois (175 yards, 4 TDs).
But his greatest performance, and arguably one of the greatest in college football history, came on November 15th against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. In that game Gordon broke LaDanian Tomlinson’s FBS single-game rushing record with 408 yards on only 25 carries to go along with 4 TDs. Unfortunately, the record was broken again the following week by Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, taking the record from him.
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama Crimson Tide
The key to the Alabama Crimson Tide’s incredible season and efficient offense, Cooper led the FBS in receptions and receiving yards, taking home the Fred Biletnikoff award for the best WR in the country in the process. He was 2nd in the FBS in receiving TDs as well and led the SEC in yards from scrimmage.
Among Cooper’s best performances this season are his games against Tennessee (Alabama record 224 receiving yards) and Florida (201 yards, 3 TDs) and Florida Atlantic (13 catches, 14.5 yards/catch). Cooper really shined though in the 2014 Iron Bowl against hated-rival Auburn with a 13 catch, 224 yard and 3 TD performance to clinch the SEC West championship.
Prediction: Marcus Mariota – As good as Gordon and Cooper have been, Mariota has been the key to the Oregon Ducks going to the College Football Playoffs as the No. 2 team. He is as tough to handle on the ground as he is accurate through the air and is the most efficient passer of the football in the country – and the last three QBs to match such a feat (Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston) have all won the award.