Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By CORY McCARTNEY  |  Last updated 9/11/13
From Adrian Peterson in 2006 to Matt Barkley in '12, it has been year after year of failure for preseason Heisman Trophy favorites since USC's Matt Leinart won it in 2005. Could Braxton Miller be the next name to join that list of misses? Urban Meyer said Ohio State's junior quarterback is day-to-day as he suffered a sprained ligament in his left knee during the first possession against San Diego State and did not return. But regardless of whether he plays Saturday against Cal, Miller doesn't have much margin of error. Just twice in the last 70 years has a winner missed one game and that last happened in 1993 with Florida State's Charlie Ward, who sat out against Maryland with bruised ribs. Its going to take Miller dominating the rest of the way, beginning with Saturday in Berkeley, to salvage his chances. But if he misses any more time, hell likely put his name alongside his former teammate Terrelle Pryor, who couldnt come through as the 2010 favorite. Heres a look at where things stand heading into Week 3: 1. Tajh Boyd, QB Clemson 2. Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon 3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB Louisville Now, on with the Heisman Forecast: ON THE RISE 1. Jameis Winston, QB Florida State, RS Fr. Mark Ingram, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel were all out-of-nowhere winners and Winston may be the most logical choice to follow them. Of course, it's been just one game, but Winston has only increased the already high expectations -- with some help from his girlfriend -- and with a schedule of Nevada (103rd ranked defense), FCS school Bethune-Cookman, Boston College and Maryland, he could set the stage for a clash to get all Heismanphiles on Oct. 19 vs. Boyd and Clemson. But let's not get too carried away just yet. First, he'll have to prove Week 1 was just a taste as the Seminoles take on the 1-1 Wolf Pack. 2. Devin Gardner, QB Michigan, Jr. He delivered one of the tent poles of any campaign by stealing the show in a marquee games, both with his impressive play (294 yards and four TDs passing and 82 rushing yards and a TD) and his tribute to 1940 winner Tom Harmon in the win over the-No. 14 Notre Dame. Gardner has our attention and now he has time to pad his stats, beginning this week against Akron and its 111th-ranked defense and 0-1 UConn, before the Wolverines head into Big Ten play Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota. 3. Lache Seastrunk, RB Baylor, Jr. The Bears lead the nation in total offense (736.5 yards per game) and are second in scoring (69.5 points per) and in any system that produces absurd stats, the QB is bound to get most of the Heisman love -- see Graham Harrell in '08 over Texas Tech teammate Michael Crabtree -- but it's Seastrunk who is the Bears' most intriguing candidate. With the trend of dual-threat QBs winning, it would take something substantial, say a run at Barry Sanders' single-season record of 2,628 yards, which Seastrunk has his eye on. He already has 261 yards in two games and gets Louisiana-Monroe and its 86th-ranked rush D this week. THE FALL GUYS 1. Aaron Murray, QB Georgia, Sr. He just earned his second career win over a top-10 team, beating then-No. 6 South Carolina and is in line to end his time in Athens as the SEC's all-time leader in nearly every major passing category. He's certainly re-entered the mix, but it's really RB Todd Gurley that has emerged as the Bulldogs' prime candidate, running for 154 yards on No. 1 Alabama and 134 vs. the Gamecocks. In an e-mail, Georgia's sports information director, Claude Felton, said they won't be launching a campaign for any of their players, but are they missing out in putting the focus on Gurley as Murray continues to make a run at the SEC record books? 2. Jadeveon Clowney, DE South Carolina, Jr. It's all over for the presumptive best defensive player in the nation. Georgia, like North Carolina before it, played away from Clowney, who has just six tackles and a sack after two games. The defensive end expressed his frustration and it only underlines the point that the mere fact that offenses can take a defender out of a game shows why no purely defensive player will ever win the award. He may still be the No. 1 pick in April's NFL draft, but Clowney won't be leaving college with the stiff-armed trophy. 3. Marqise Lee, WR USC, Jr. His story and Clowney's have so many parallels. Both entered the year with immense hype as arguably the best at their respective positions and both faced extremely long odds in ending the QBRB monopoly on the Heisman (no wide receiver has won since Desmond Howard in 1991). The reigning Biletnikoff Award winner has been hampered by the mess of a quarterback situation the Trojans are dealing with, posting a career-low 27 yards on seven receptions in last weekend's loss to Washington State. Lane Kiffin has named Cody Kessler the starter, which could help for continuity from Lee's perspective. But considering he was already playing from behind as a WR, that dismal performance vs. the Cougars may be too much to overcome.
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