Heisman Watch 2013: Previewing the Top Contenders' Matchups for Week 15

Sebastian Lena@SP7988Analyst IDecember 4, 2013

Who will lift up college football's most-coveted hardware next weekend?
Who will lift up college football's most-coveted hardware next weekend?USA TODAY Sports

As we enter the final week of the college football regular season, the quest for the Heisman Trophy has been whittled down to a two-man race.

In one corner stands Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. In the other corner is Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Although they differ in age, their similarities are bountiful.

Both have helped lead their respective teams to perfect 12-0 marks while breaking school and national records along the way. Both have answered any challenges and hurdled any obstacles thrown in their path.

Most importantly, though, both are just one win away from a conference title and a berth into a BCS bowl.

On Saturday, Winston’s Seminoles will battle Duke for the ACC title, while Lynch’s Huskies will square off against Bowling Green for the MAC crown.

How will each fare?

Jameis Winston

The Heisman Trophy is Winston's to lose.
The Heisman Trophy is Winston's to lose.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
2013 Stat Line68.83,49035-8192.61343

Poll Points: 80 (16)

Week 15 Matchup: vs. No. 20 Duke (10-2), Dec. 7, 8 p.m. ET on ABC

The Heisman Trophy is literally Winston’s to lose.

He’s just been that good. Even a decent showing against the Blue Devils should be more than enough to see him walk out of New York City on Dec. 14 with college football’s most-coveted hardware in tow.

It only helps that the Duke secondary presents Winston with a favorable matchup.

Through 12 weeks, the unit ranks No. 56 against the pass (225.2 YPG). The Blue Devils have given up 18 passing touchdowns on the season and have conceded 6.9 yards per attempt.

Just a couple weeks ago, Miami’s inconsistent quarterback Stephen Morris torched Duke for 379 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

That shouldn’t be too tough a feat for Winston to duplicate on Saturday.

Expect the redshirt freshman to put up a strong showing in what should be another dominating win for Florida State.

Jordan Lynch

Lynch has staked his claim for the award.
Lynch has staked his claim for the award.Brian Kersey/Getty Images
2013 Stat Line64.42,45722-5146.21,75520

Poll Points: 49

Week 15 Matchup: vs. Bowling Green (9-3), Dec. 6, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Lynch has single-handedly made Northern Illinois a team to watch for in the BCS.

Just last Tuesday, the senior broke the FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback, racking up 321 yards on the ground against Western Michigan. The record he broke was one he set earlier in the season.

Unfortunately, accomplishing that feat against the Falcons won’t come as easily.

Thus far, Bowling Green currently ranks No. 28 against the run (134.8 YPG) and No. 4 against the pass (161.8 YPG). Furthermore, the team has only conceded 10 touchdowns through the air and only 12 on the ground.

Seeing as how Lynch struggled through the air against the Broncos last week—5-of-17 for 39 yards—that could be a problem once again this weekend.

Unlike Western Michigan, though, the Falcons have a solid run defense.

Although Northern Illinois should escape with a victory, don’t expect Lynch to do anything to convince voters to push him ahead of Winston.

Only a horrible performance by Winston in a Seminoles loss could do that.

All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.

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