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Watching the watch lists: Marcus Mariota gains Heisman buzz after big day

Despite losing 49-42 to Alabama last Saturday, Johnny Manziel wrested the top spot away from Marcus Mariota in the Heisman Pundit straw poll this week.

Manziel vaulted back to number one after being relegated to 5th previously following a half-game suspension and off-season controversies. He threw for 562 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Tide, making a big impression on voters.

Sign of the times: Despite an autograph scandal and off-season shenanigans, a leading Heisman poll favors Johnny Football to repeat for the Stiff Arm Trophy. Marcus Mariota is currently second (Texas A&M athletics photo).



In eight years, Chris Huston’s Heisman Pundit weekly award watch has successfully predicted the winner every season. In 2012 he correctly predicted the top five finishers, and in 2011, the top seven.

Mariota fell to second following a 4-touchdown, 456-yard passing effort against Tennessee, though he did get two first-place votes. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron was third, Tajh Boyd fourth. Last week’s leader, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, fell to fifth after the #7 Cardinal struggled a bit with Kentucky, winning 27-13. Bridgewater was 16-28 passing for 250 yards, with just one td.

Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas did not receive a vote from the ten anonymous Heisman voters who make up the panel. In ESPN’s Heisman Watch column Mariota is first overall followed by Boyd, Manziel and Bridgewater. DAT is 13th with one fifth-place vote from ESPN’s straw voters, which include 16 ESPN writers and television personalities like Ivan Maisel, Mark Schlabach, and Rece Davis.