Tennessee v Oregon

Marcus Mariota tops USA Today Heisman poll


Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the strong leader in the Heisman race, according to a poll of Heisman voters released by USA Today on Monday.

The Ducks sophomore collected 17 of a possible 22 first-place votes to finish well ahead of Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Bryce Petty of Baylor and A.J. McCarron of Alabama rounded out the top five.

All eight of the players appearing on the ballots were quarterbacks, which shouldn’t be a shock considering 11 of the last 12 winners have been quarterbacks.

The results for the poll are well in line with recent polls done by HeismanPundit.com and ESPN.

Breaking down the ballots (three points are awarded for a first-place votes, two for second and one for third):

1. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon: 17 firsts-3 seconds-1 third=58 points

2. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State: 3-11-6=37

3. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: 1-7-9=26

4. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor: 1-0-1=4

5. QB AJ McCarron Alabama: 0-0-3=3

QB Derek Carr, Fresno State: 0-1-0=2

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville: 0-0-1=1

QB Sean Mannion, Oregon State: 0-0-1=1

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

AP Photo

Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo

The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.