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Ready, Set, Go

Jan. 13, 2014
Jan. 13, 2014

Table of Contents
Jan. 13, 2014

LEADING OFF
GOLF PLUS
THE MAIL
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP 2014
The MMQB
The Wizard And the Giant

Ready, Set, Go

The 2013 season is over, which means the 2014 Heisman race is on, marked by this early ranking of the top 10 contenders for the stiff-arming statue

1 MARCUS MARIOTA

This is an article from the Jan. 13, 2014 issue

QB Oregon, Jr.

A November loss to Stanford dashed Mariota's Heisman hopes, but Oregon's dual-threat signal-caller rang up 39 total touchdowns and nearly 4,000 (3,994) yards of offense. Mariota has already announced he'll return for his third year with the Ducks, when he should be even more dangerous.

2 BRAXTON MILLER

QB Ohio State, Sr.

Miller entered 2013 as a Heisman favorite, but early-season knee trouble forced him out of nearly three full games. The junior lost his shot at New York as a result. With a healthy senior year in Columbus, he should improve on his numbers as a 1,000-yard passer and rusher.

3 JAMEIS WINSTON

QB Florida State, Soph.

Only one player (Ohio State's Archie Griffin, 1974--75) has won the Heisman twice, but until two seasons ago a freshman had never won the award either. Johnny Manziel showed in 2013 how hard it is to repeat, but the talented Winston will lead another deep Florida State squad. Don't count him out.

4 BRYCE PETTY

QB Baylor, Sr.

Petty fell off the grid after his high-octane Bears lost to Oklahoma State late in the season. Still, the redshirt junior threw for 3,844 yards, 30 scores and only two picks as the nation's second-most-efficient passer. Assuming he stays in school, Petty's senior year could be just as impressive.

5 TODD GURLEY

RB Georgia, Jr.

The NFL is an option for Gurley, who was hampered by injuries in 2013, and not just his own. The Bulldogs limped to an eight-win season thanks to a banged-up roster while Gurley quietly amassed 903 yards and 10 scores in showing off a combination of size and speed that has scouts drooling.

6 T.J. YELDON

RB Alabama, Jr.

Already a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, Yeldon could make it three in a row. The departure of quarterback AJ McCarron might lead to more opportunities to run, but Yeldon's greatest competition may come from his own backfield, where sophomore Derrick Henry will earn his share of carries.

7 BRETT HUNDLEY

QB UCLA, Jr.

Hundley will stay at UCLA and enter 2014 as a third-year starter. He lifted the Bruins to 10 wins in 2013, though his Heisman hopes died after losses to Stanford and Oregon. Next year he'll have the experience and the deep Pac-12 schedule to make a run at the hardware.

8 MELVIN GORDON

RB Wisconsin, Jr.

The speedy tailback averaged an FBS-best 11.8 yards per carry through four games, but his numbers took a dive once the Badgers hit Big Ten play. Still, he finished fourth in the country in yards per carry (7.8) while splitting duties with Corey Clement and James White. White will be gone in '14.

9 TRE MASON

RB Auburn, Sr.

Auburn's speedy tailback wasn't on many Heisman watch lists until he blitzed Missouri for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the SEC title game. For the season he ran for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns. If he opts to return, he'll be the headliner of the country's top rushing offense.

10 KA'DEEM CAREY

RB Arizona, Sr.

Thanks in part to an early-season suspension for violating team rules, Carey wasn't a finalist in 2013. But he led the country in rushing in 2012 and finished third this fall with 1,716 yards. He could find his way to New York as a senior, unless he's collecting an NFL paycheck.

PHOTOSIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MARIOTA)PHOTOSIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MILLER)PHOTOGARY BOGDON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (WINSTON)PHOTODAVID EULITT FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PETTY)PHOTOAL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (GURLEY)PHOTOAL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (YELDON)PHOTOROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (HUNDLEY)PHOTOSCOTT HALLERAN/GETTY IMAGES (GORDON)PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MASON)PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (CAREY)