November is typically the month in which Heisman legends are made.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel topped then-No. 1 Alabama in November of 2012 to spring to the forefront of the college football world. Baylor's Robert Griffin III led the Bears to a win over then-No. 5 Oklahoma in November 2011 to help earn himself college football's most prestigious individual award. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton led a remarkable 24-point comeback on the road at Alabama in 2010 to seal the deal.
This year, things are a bit different. Instead of a player stepping up to the plate and asserting himself as the front-runner, several contenders are doing all they can to play themselves out of the race.
Manziel was the latest to play his way out of consideration.
"Johnny Repeat" is a thing of the past after the redshirt sophomore completed just 39 percent of his passes (16-of-41) for 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 34-10 loss to LSU on Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge.
The low point of the performance came with the Aggies down 24 points midway through the fourth quarter. On 2nd-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Manziel forced a pass over the middle and was picked off by LSU safety Craig Loston, sealing the loss for the Aggies and effectively ending the sophomore signal-caller's Heisman Trophy chances, as CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd notes.
If holds up, got to think that Johnny Football's back to back effort is done.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) November 23, 2013
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota also fell victim to the November swoon.
The redshirt sophomore was the front-runner entering the month, but he fumbled three times (losing one) and was thoroughly confused by the Stanford defense in a 26-20 loss to the Cardinal.
He followed that up with a miserable performance at Arizona this weekend in a 42-16 loss at Tucson. He tossed his first two interceptions of the season and couldn't get the offense going as the Ducks suffered their second loss of the season.
Mariota was the forgotten man by many in the Heisman discussion leading into the contest, and the upset loss to the unranked Wildcats all but eliminates him from the discussion.
Not to be outdone, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty did all he could to play himself out of the Heisman discussion at Oklahoma State on Saturday night. He couldn't get the Bears' offense going in the first half, his team dug itself a 35-3 hole, and simply couldn't dig out of it in the 49-17 loss.
His stats on the night weren't bad—he threw for 359 yards and two touchdowns—but at this point in the season, he needed to keep his team in the BCS title hunt.
It's not, and as a result, Petty's Heisman hopes likely disappeared when the clock in Stillwater reached zero.
So who's going to win the Heisman?
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the odds-on favorite and has been ever since Mariota's loss to Stanford.
He was solid again on Saturday on the field in his limited time in a blowout of Idaho, tossing four touchdowns before giving way to backup Sean Maguire.
But an investigation into a sexual assault that allegedly occurred last December is ongoing.
According to the Associated Press, via USA Today, a decision on whether to charge Winston is unlikely to come before Thanksgiving, which means his status will be in limbo during the window to submit ballots (which runs from Monday through Dec. 9).
If he's charged with a felony, Florida State's code of conduct states that he'd be immediately suspended "absent extraordinary circumstances," per the Orlando Sentinel.
With Winston's status up in the air, Manziel coming back to the pack and Mariota dropping out of it, that left Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron as the player standing to gain the most.
McCarron completed 13 of 16 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a trouncing of Chattanooga, but he didn't do much to pad his stats. If he can lead his team to an Iron Bowl win and another SEC title, he has a chance to make a big move in the final month of the season.
The November swoon could also open the door for a dark-horse candidate like Jordan Lynch. The Northern Illinois signal-caller has completed 66.3 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,418 yards, 21 touchdowns and only five interceptions. And he's rushed for 1,434 yards and 17 touchdowns. He's fighting an uphill battle playing in the MAC, but if the favorites keep falling back to the pack, keep an eye on Lynch.
The final two weeks leading up to the close of voting should be interesting in the race for the 2013 Heisman Trophy.
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