Allegations of sexual assault have turned the incredible season of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston from Heisman-worthy campaign to highly questionable.
Winston was overwhelmingly favored to be the second straight redshirt freshman to capture the award, based off odds from sports book Bovada last week, but an ongoing investigation into an alleged sexual assault last December have plunged his future and the Seminoles season into jeopardy.
On Wednesday, a report linked Winston’s DNA to his accuser, however the Florida Department of Law Enforcement hasn’t charged Winston or claimed the test as proof he committed any crime.
Should Winston be charged he will automatically be removed from the No. 2 team in the country until the matter is resolved, per university rules. Two weeks remain in the regular season, and the investigation could seriously influence Heisman voters and Winston’s chances of clinching the most coveted award in college football.
Bovada has since taken down its Heisman odds, but before the allegations Winston was a 1/5 favorite, well ahead of other candidates like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, and Baylor’s Bryce Petty. However, the odds have shifted slightly, according to Yahoo! Sports.
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Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Winston has the stats (2,938 passing yards, 28 TDs, 195.5 rating), and the undefeated Seminoles are likely headed to the national title game. Destructive performances against ranked Miami and Clemson were his Heisman “moments” of the season, and should he stay with the team its Winston’s trophy to lose.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Aggies two losses haven’t wiped away defending Heisman champ Manziel’s shine, who also knows a thing or two about controversy, albeit to a far lesser extent than Winston. Manziel could surpass Winston with top performances against at LSU on Saturday, and next week’s road game versus Missouri. His numbers are better than Winston’s already with 3,313 passing yards, 611 rushing yards, and 39 total touchdowns.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
McCarron earned the Sports Illustrated cover, and while his stats aren’t nearly as gaudy as the other candidates he’s arguably the best player on the best team in the country. He played with poise in the win at College Station throwing four touchdowns with no picks, and fired off another three scores against LSU two weeks ago. But he’ll need Winston and Manziel to fall in order to pick up the award.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Petty’s put up arcade-like stats (206.2 passer rating, 24 TDs, 1 INT) and headlines the nation’s top offense (61.2 ppg), but is subject to the mid-level strength of the Bears schedule. Still Baylor did thrash its only ranked opponent Oklahoma 41-12, and Saturday’s matchup with Oklahoma State could be an opportunity to sway voters.