It’s Winston over Lynch in HeismanPundit Straw Poll with one week to go

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With one week to go before voters must submit their final ballots, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is in the driver’s seat to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

The redshirt freshman captured 7 of 10 first-place votes to lead the penultimate HeismanPundit Heisman Straw Poll of the season released on Tuesday (Nov. 3).

His 24 total points was six ahead of second place Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, who picked up the other three first-place votes in the weekly survey of Heisman voter sentiment. Lynch climbed from fourth place in last week’s poll, when he tallied just seven points.

Both Winston and Lynch have games on Saturday, so there is still potential for movement in the race. With a legal investigation of Winston ongoing, many voters remain unsure about how their final ballots will look.

“This is the toughest vote I can recall,” said one voter. “I’m going to wait until the 11th hour (to make my decision).”

Despite the doubts, Winston actually improved his standing from last week’s poll, which he led while appearing on just six of 10 ballots for a total of 18 points. He appeared on nine of 10 ballots this time around. Lynch appeared on eight.

The biggest plunge in support since last week’s poll took place with Boston College running back Andre Williams, who dropped from second place last week (with 16 points, just two points behind Winston) to a tie for seventh this week with one point.

Now in its eighth season, the HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll is the college football world’s most trusted gauge of Heisman voter sentiment. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country during the past seven seasons, with the final 2012 poll correctly picking the top five finishers and the final 2011 poll picking the top seven. This year’s poll is made up of 10 anonymous Heisman voters from across the country. Each week during the season they will pick three players. Tabulations for the preseason poll are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

Each week’s poll is released on Tuesdays throughout the season at HeismanPundit.com. The final poll will come out next Monday, Dec. 9.

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll, 12/3/2013

Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State — 24 (7)

2. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois — 18 (3)

3. (tie) AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama — 4

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State — 4

5. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor — 3

6. (tie) Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon — 2

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh — 2

7. (tie) Andre Williams, RB, Boston College — 1

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville — 1

Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State — 1

Number of ballots

Winston — 9

Lynch — 8

McCarron — 4

Petty — 2

Miller — 2

The rest — 1 each

Star WR Michael Pittman confirms he’ll play in USC’s bowl game

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(Pardon us as we’ve been catching up on a few things due to some very significant technical difficulties.)

USC fans can assuage their anguish somewhat over the retention of Clay Helton with the knowledge that one of their school’s most explosive weapons on offense will be available during the postseason. There, feel better?

After some uncertainty and speculation, Michael Pittman announced on Twitter this week that he will be playing in the Trojans’ bowl game. USC will face Iowa in Holiday Bowl Dec. 27, the first meeting between the football programs since 2002.

Pittman led the Trojans this season in receptions (95), receiving yards (1,222) and receiving touchdowns (11). The catches and yards led the Pac-12, while the scores were second.

The fourth-year senior was named first-team all-conference and is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.

FAU makes hiring of Willie Taggart as Lane Kiffin’s replacement official

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A week ago, it was reported that Willie Taggartbadly wants a second act” at USF.  While that job ultimately went to a Clemson coordinator, Taggart still ended up landing yet another gig in the Sunshine State.

With rumors swirling throughout the day, Florida Atlantic confirmed Wednesday evening that Taggart has been named as the Owls’ new head football coach.  Taggart replaces Lane Kiffin, who left shortly after FAU won the Conference USA championship game Saturday for the Ole Miss job.

“I’m grateful to Brian White and President Kelly for their belief in me to lead the football program at Florida Atlantic University,” a statement from Taggart began. “I’m looking forward to long-term success here. I think our players and the university deserve that commitment. Family is extremely important to me. I couldn’t do what I do without their love and support and all of us are looking forward to being here in Paradise for the foreseeable future.”

After four years as the head coach at South Florida, Taggart left USF for Oregon — for one season as it turned out as he pulled up stakes from the Pac-12 school for the Florida State job in December of 2017.  Less than two full seasons later, though, Taggart was shown the door by the Seminoles in early November.

Taggart is a native of Bradenton, Fla. and has deep, extensive recruiting ties in the state, which will only aid him in taking over a football program that has won two conference championships the past three years.

Taggart has never won a conference crown during his 10 seasons as a head coach, although he did claim a division title at South Florida in 2016.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Coach Taggart on board to lead our football program,” FAU athletic director Brian White said in his statement. “Coach Taggart is a proven program builder who will develop strong relationships with our student-athletes and develop them as future leaders. His deep relationships around the state of Florida and the nation will be vital in recruiting as well. The traits he brings to the table will allow us to continue building upon our recent success.”

FAU’s Harrison Bryant named Mackey Award winner as nation’s best TE

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In a change of pace, we come to an award that doesn’t involve either Joe Burrow or Chase Young.

The John Mackey Award winner was announced earlier in the day Wednesday, with Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant claiming this year’s honor.  The Mackey is handed out annually to the nation’s top tight end.

Established in 2000, the 2018 winner was Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson.

This past season, Bryant caught 65 passes for 1,0004 yards and seven touchdowns.  Bryant led all FBS tight ends in both catches and receiving yards.

Bryant beat out seven other tight ends for the 2019 Mackey.

  • Hunter Bryant, Washington
  • Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
  • Brevin Jordan, Miami
  • Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
  • Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
  • Colby Parkinson, Stanford
  • Giovanni Ricci, Western Michigan

Ole Miss announces future home-and-home with Oregon State

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With the 2019 regular season put to bed, there is some future scheduling news on which to hit — and some very rare news at that.

Wednesday afternoon, Ole Miss announced that it had reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series with Oregon State.  The Beavers will travel to Oxford Sept. 18, 2027, with the Rebels making the trek to Corvallis on Aug. 31, 2030.

The 2027 game will mark the first-ever between the football programs.

According to Ole Miss, they have played a current member of the Pac-12 just twice, with both of those games coming against Cal.  Those games, incidentally, came in the last three years, including this season.

Oregon State last played a team from the SEC in 1987 when they traveled to Georgia.  A team from that conference has never played in Corvallis.