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By Nicholas DeLorenzo, FBS Editor - Archive - Email
Heisman Rankings: The Final Ballot
(L-R) Melvin Gordon, Trevone Boykin, Marcus Mariota and Amari Cooper The Heisman Trophy will be awarded on Saturday, Dec. 13th.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While championship weekend caused a big shake up in the College Football Playoff rankings, it was uneventful in the Heisman race as the favorite only separated himself from the field even more.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (last week: No. 1) -- There's officially no more drama left in the race for the Heisman Trophy, as Mariota sewed up the award with yet another dazzling performance in the Pac-12 title game against Arizona (51-13). Mariota successfully avenged the Ducks' only loss of the season to the Wildcats back in October by completing 25-of-38 passes for 313 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while rushing for an additional three scores. After Mariota's big-game presence was questioned in recent seasons with crucial losses late in the year, the star signal caller has stepped up with one of the greatest seasons in recent memory, passing for 3,783 yards while throwing just two interceptions in 372 attempts, and rushing for 669 yards. He's accounted for 53 total touchdowns, the most by an FBS player in a single season since 2008 (Chase Clement 57, Sam Bradford 55). Expect a near- unanimous vote in Mariota's favor on Saturday night in an exciting precursor to Oregon's College Football Playoff experience.

2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (last week: No. 2) -- It was an anticlimactic finish to the season for Gordon and the Badgers, who were embarrassed in the Big Ten Championship Game by Ohio State, 59-0. For the first time since Sept. 9 (a span of 10 straight games), Gordon failed to top 100 yards rushing in the blowout loss, as he turned 26 carries into only 76 yards. The stud tailback had worked his way into a neck-and-neck competition with Mariota for the award with his outstanding play of late, which was highlighted by a then- FBS single-game record 408 yards against Nebraska on Nov. 15, but he needed a much better performance against Ohio State to earn additional first-place votes. Ending the campaign on a whimper has all but locked up the award for Mariota, but Gordon and his Big Ten-record 2,336 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns is a deserving No. 2.

3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (last week: No 3) -- The Crimson Tide dominated Missouri in the SEC Championship Game with a 42-13 victory, and Cooper capped the regular season with his fifth double-digit reception game of the year, as he finished with 12 catches for 83 yards. The performance left Cooper with 115 receptions on the year, which is not only tops in the nation but an SEC record, breaking Jordan Matthews' (Vanderbilt) previous mark of 112 set last season. Cooper is the most dominant receiver in the country -- his 1,656 yards is also most in the FBS and his 14 touchdowns are tied for second. Alabama was heavily reliant on Cooper this season, as the team's 16 other pass-catchers combined for just 153 receptions, and it's likely 'Bama wouldn't be the No. 1 team ready to take on Ohio State in the College Football Playoff without Cooper.

4. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (last week: No 4) -- The Horned Frogs have experienced several different emotions over the past week. They were riding high into their matchup with Iowa State as the No. 3 team in the College Football Playoff rankings, and took care of business with a resounding 55-3 victory over the Cyclones, only to get leapfrogged by Ohio State in the final version of the rankings to miss out on the tournament. It's certainly a frustrating time for TCU, but at least it can hang its hat on Boykin as a Heisman finalist. The signal caller saved his best performance for last, as he threw for a career-high 460 yards on 30-of-41 passing against ISU, rushing for 44 yards and even caught a 55-yard touchdown. Boykin's not going to win the award, but with more than 4,400 total yards and 39 touchdowns, he deserves to be mentioned among the best of the best.

5. Cody Kessler, QB, USC (last week: No. 5) -- Last year, six players were invited to New York City as finalists, a rarity, but expect the number to go back to the traditional four this year, with Kessler falling just shy of finalist distinction. Kessler was arguably the nation's best pocket passer with 3,505 yards on 70.7 percent completions, 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions, and if he decides to return for his senior season he can expect another shot at the award in 2015.

6. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor (last week: No. 6) -- The Bears have all the same beefs as TCU, a team they defeated on their way to an 11-1 record, but ultimately the College Football Playoff committee punished the Big 12 for not having a conference championship game. Petty ended the year on a high note to give his team the best opportunity to sneak into the field. In a 38-27 victory over nationally-ranked Kansas State, Petty completed 85 percent of his passes (34-of-40) for 412 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while adding a rushing touchdown. Petty failed to make the finalist field last season with 46 touchdowns, and he fell well short of that number this time around with 31, but his accomplishments as the captain of the nation's most prolific offense are still worth noting.

7. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana (last week: No. 7) -- Gordon has cast a large shadow over the running backs this season, but Coleman quietly went about his business for a three-win Indiana team by recording a 2,000-yard season of his own (2,036 to be exact) while scoring 15 touchdowns. The tailback's accomplishments are even greater considering he chewed up some impressive defenses like Missouri, Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa in a one- dimensional offense where he was the only weapon.

8. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (last week: unranked) -- It's difficult to gauge which is more impressive: the Seminoles' undefeated record or their uncanny ability to pull out nail-biting wins without looking very good. FSU was up to their usual shenanigans in the ACC Championship Game, as it held off Georgia Tech for a 37-35 to secure its spot in the College Football Playoff. After struggling mightily leading up to the game with 11 interceptions in the previous five contests, Winston finally looked like his old self in the victory, completing 21-of-30 passes for 309 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. But it was too little, too late for the reigning Heisman winner, who sits with 3,559 yards, 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Now we'll have to see if the Seminoles can continue their magic against Oregon in the playoff, and ultimately if Winston returns for his junior season to try and rebound from a disappointing individual campaign this year.

9. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (last week: No. 10) -- All of the momentum Prescott built up while leading his team to a 9-0 start came to a screeching halt once the Bulldogs closed out the regular season with losses in two of three games, but even with a poor finish the quarterback put together a fantastic year with 2,996 passing yards, 939 rushing yards and 38 total touchdowns. If Prescott improves as much next season as he did from his sophomore to junior years, he'll be in the thick of the 2015 Heisman race as well.

10. Gerod Holliman, DB, Louisville -- Holliman finally sneaks onto the list after weeks of being relegated to honorable mention status. One of the best defensive players in the nation, Holliman was a game-changer in the secondary for the 9-3 Cardinals with an FBS-record tying 14 interceptions, including two off Winston back on Oct. 30. Holliman will have a chance to break Al Worley's 46-year-old record in the Belk Bowl against Georgia.

Dropped Out: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma; Anu Solomon, QB, Arizona.

Honorable Mention: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska; Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn; Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss.


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