By Kevin McGuire
Oregon’s loss last Thursday night at Stanford put a little bit of a dent in the Heisman profile of quarterback Marcus Mariota. Right now, Florida State’s Jameis Winston is probably the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy but one candidate who has started to gain some traction has continued to keep his team in the BCS championship race as well.
QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
Baylor has just one Heisman Trophy winner in its program’s history, Robert Griffin III. This season, with Baylor undefeated and in the BCS Championship conversation, the Bears have another quarterback receiving Heisman consideration. Bryce Petty may not be putting up quite the same numbers Griffin did in his 2011 Heisman Trophy season, but his numbers are still impressive this season.
Petty’s touchdown-to-interception ratio is amazing, entering this weekend with 21 touchdown passes to just one interception. The only quarterback with a better ratio is Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, with 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Petty leads the nation with 13.2 yards per attempt, more than two yards more per attempt than Florida State’s Winston, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger ,Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Oregon’s Mariota. Of course, it helps having some big play receivers with speed. Petty also leads the nation in passer rating with a 210.64, which puts him on pace to smash the FBS single season record set by former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, who recorded a 191.8 passer rating in 2011. Petty is not a huge rushing threat but he does have 118 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to complement his passing numbers.
Petty is probably on the outside looking in on the Heisman Trophy, but a trip to New York for the ceremony is well within reach. What Petty needs to receive an invite as a finalist is to play well over the next few weeks as Baylor’s schedule continues with a back-loaded line-up in Big 12 play. If Petty can continue to be as efficient as he has been and Baylor remains undefeated, he should expect to be invited to New York next month.
Heisman Match-Up of the Week
Louisville vs. Houston: It almost seems as though Teddy Bridgewater has fallen off the Heisman map this season. Since losing to Central Florida, there has not been a whole lot said about Bridgewater but he still has 24 touchdowns to three interceptions, is one of six passers completing over 70 percent of his attempts and is tenth in the nation in passing yards. Bridgewater is the nation’s fourth highest-rated passer as well. This week Louisville plays its final big game of the year against a very good Houston team with one of the nation’s best pass defenses when it comes to interceptions.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.