Heisman Preview: What to look for, Week 13

Braxton Miller can make his way to New York with a strong outing against Michigan (US Presswire)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

There are just three games on tap this weekend that matter in the Heisman race. We should have a pretty good idea of the order of the final vote come Monday.

No. 20 Michigan at No. 4 Ohio State -- Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller is still hanging around in the Heisman race. He doesn't have a chance to win the award, but he can shape the final outcome by virtue of how he finishes up against Michigan. Leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated season during probation is an impressive feat, and playing well in a win over the Wolverines could earn him a trip to New York and also eat into Manti Te'o's vote total in the Midwest region. This game will be the voters' last chance to see Miller before next season, when he should be one of the front-runners for the award.

Missouri at No. 9 Texas A&M -- It's pretty simple: If Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has his usual type of game against Mizzou, with over 200 yards passing, 100 yards rushing and multiple touchdowns, he should clinch the Heisman. However, if he struggles or his team loses, that will open the door for Collin Klein to make his case one last time next weekend when Kansas State plays Texas. Right now, Manziel is the Heisman favorite, despite being a freshman, mostly due his incredible single-season numbers and the lack of viable alternatives to his candidacy. As long as that remains the case, he'll go on to a historic win.


No. 1 Notre Dame at Southern California -- This game has so much riding on it. It's appropriate that two great rivals will face off in a matchup that will help determine the BCS title game and, perhaps, the outcome of the Heisman race. Manti Te'o's road to the Heisman is very difficult. Voters are even less likely to vote for a defensive player than they are a freshman who plays offense. So if he is going to somehow jump Manziel in the race and win over the Heisman electorate in the process, he'd better do something really spectacular against the Trojans. On the other side of the ball, USC receiver Marqise Lee still has a chance to make it to the Big Apple as a finalist by leading the Trojans to an upset win. A ton of receiving yards, return yards and a few touchdowns would do the trick for him. The one big wild card here is the mystical impression these two teams tend to make with Heisman voters. In this matchup, ordinary plays become extraordinary and incredible plays become the stuff of legend. These are arguably the two top Heisman powers, and performances in this one carry more weight than usual.

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