As the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (11-0 overall, 8-0 in the ACC) travel to the Swamp to play the Florida Gators (4-7, 3-5 in the SEC) in a marquee in-state battle, the focus will be on Florida State’s Jameis Winston and his pursuit of the Heisman Trophy.
Through the first 13 weeks of the regular season, Winston is the leading candidate to win the award, per ESPN’s expert rankings, and the tally isn’t even close.
With 31 points more than running back Andre Williams from Boston College, who currently sits in second, the FSU quarterback is in the ideal position heading into Saturday’s final regular-season game with Florida.
|ESPN's Heisman Rankings|
|Jameis Winston||QB||Florida State||Fr.||11||2||1||1||0||68|
|Andre Williams||RB||Boston College||Sr.||0||6||3||1||2||37|
|Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M||So.||2||2||3||2||0||31|
|Jordan Lynch||QB||Northern Illinois||Sr.||0||1||2||4||3||21|
|Derek Carr||QB||Fresno State||Sr.||0||1||2||0||4||14|
|Braxton Miller||QB||Ohio State||Jr.||0||0||0||1||0||2|
College football fans were focused on how Winston would perform in Week 13 against a lackluster Idaho team, and the freshman didn’t miss a step. He threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns before sitting as his team cruised to an 80-14 victory.
This week’s matchup will be against the tougher Gators defense, though. Winston will be forced to use his ability to scramble in order to get away from Florida’s elite defense, but the Seminoles shouldn’t be too worried about a loss as long as they can rack up 21 points or more. Considering the program averages 55.2 points per game, that shouldn't be an issue.
The Gators, on the other hand, have not scored more than 20 points since Oct. 5.
Florida State’s offensive line has been playing strong in front of Winston, and that will be the ultimate difference Saturday. As long as FSU wins the war in the tranches, the freshman will be given opportunities to add to his already impressive numbers.
|Jameis Winston's Tale of the Tape|
While Winston’s 2013 season numbers look to be enough to lock up the 2013 Heisman Trophy, several players are doing their best to spoil the party. No player has a better chance of accomplishing the impossible than Boston College’s Andre Williams.
Williams is coming off a monster statistical day that saw him rack up 263 yards rushing and two touchdowns against Maryland, but he will have to put up even more impressive numbers this week against Syracuse if he wants to make a case for the Heisman.
Even if the Boston College standout has his best career game and builds off his incredible 2,073 yards and 16 touchdowns thus far in the 2013 season, Winston’s body of work during the regular season and his team’s status as a BCS National Championship contender has likely secured his spot as the top Heisman Trophy contender.
SEC quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Johnny Manziel have also made stellar efforts to add their names to consideration for the highest individual accolade in the sport, but they fail to make the cut based on either statistics (McCarron) or their team’s lack of success (Manziel).
The individual accomplishments and the success of Florida State indicate Winston is clearly the top contender to win the Heisman Trophy.
If he performs well against Florida and leads his team to victory in the favorable matchup, there is no doubt the FSU quarterback will be the best player in college football.