Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By CORY McCARTNEY  |  Last updated 9/25/13
The email came the day after Fresno State's win over Boise State. The school had launched a Web site, DC4Heisman.com, promoting quarterback "The West's Wonderdog Underdog" Derek Carr for the Heisman Trophy. Carr has company in the underdog department with Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, whose "Jordan Lynch for 6" push began this summer with lunch boxes mailed to voters (they're a play off the 'Lunch With Lynch' videos the school is producing) and Utah State's Chuckie Keeton. Ultimately, their campaigns, like those of DeAngelo Williams, Ben Roethlisberger Ian Johnson and so many others, only underscore one of the truths regarding the Heisman: no non-BCS conference player is ever going to win again. We've seen shifts in voters tendencies, with the first sophomore in Tim Tebow (Florida) in '07 followed by two more (Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Alabama's Mark Ingram) and, of course, the first redshirt freshman last year with Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel. But the prospects for players from outside the sport's power structure are only getting worse. It's the 23 years since Houston's Andre Ware (1989) and BYU's Ty Detmer won (1990) claimed the trophy and no one from non-AQ schools has finished higher than San Diego State's Marshall Faulk, who was second in 1992. Hawaii's Colt Brennan made the last real push, taking third in 2007. Carr's No. 25 Bulldogs are unbeaten; Lynch took his Huskies to the Orange Bowl last year with another perfect season a real possibility and Keeton, despite a rough outing vs. USC, continues to dazzle. But in a season where the top candidates are well-defined, "joining the conversation" is likely their ceiling. It's not fair, but it's the reality. Before we turn to the players poised to rise and fall in the race this week, here's a look at how things stack up after Week 4: 1. Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon, RS Soph. 2. AJ McCarron, QB Alabama, RS Sr. 3. Tajh Boyd, QB Clemson, RS Sr. ON THE RISE 1. Zach Mettenberger, QB LSU, RS Sr. Overshadowed by the SEC's three other QBs whose last names start with M -- Manziel, McCarron and Murray -- Mettenberger ranks second in the conference in passing efficiency and touchdowns. But in order to truly join the race he needs a marquee win, which could come against a Georgia defense that's allowing 245.3 yards per game through the air (78th in FBS). A campaign is all about the narrative and Mettenberger can pen a redemption story back in Athens, where he began his career battling with roommate Aaron Murray for the starting job before being dismissed in May of 2010. 2. AJ McCarron, QB Alabama, RS Sr. Tuscaloosa may be the stage for a shootout as No. 21 Ole miss takes on the top-ranked Crimson Tide and that should only help to elevate McCarron's cause. The Rebels' 60th-ranked pas D has already allowed Vanderbilt's Austyn Carta-Samuels (46th in pass efficiency) to throw for 300 yard and two scores and McCarron represents a major step up in competition. He's firmly entrenched as a leading contender, but McCarron does have the potential to slip in the race in the weeks after the Rebels with a run of Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee. It's imperative he take advantage of 'Bama's only Top 25 clash until November. 3. Duke Johnson, RB Miami, Soph. He's fallen behind on the list of running backs vying to end the run of three straight QBs to claim the award, largely because he was bottled up in the Hurricanes' biggest game of the year to date when Florida held him to 59 yards on 21 carries. But with a four-game stretch beginning Saturday vs. South Florida, Johnson faces rushing defenses ranked 68th (USF), 72nd (Wake Forest) and 113th (North Carolina), along with a nice test vs. Georgia Tech's 22nd-ranked unit. He's rested, with all of nine carries since the Gators game on Sept. 7. If he's going to live up to the preseason hype, it starts now. FALL GUYS 1. Todd Gurley, RB Georgia, Soph. With a number of contenders on the field when No. 9 Georgia hosts No. 6 LSU, one will have to fall if another rises. Murray could be hurt the most, especially if Mettenberger steals the show, but as we've discussed before it's Gurley that seems to be the Bulldogs more logical Heisman fit. First in the SEC and 11th nationally with 125.7 ypg and averaging six yards a carry, Gurley could have a big day vs. the Tigers but it might not matter if the Bulldogs fall. With McCarron locked in as the SEC's top Heisman hope, overtaking him is going to mean dominating and keeping a team in the BCS title hunt. 2. Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin, RS Soph. On the rise in the Heisman Forecast a week ago, Gordon is getting plenty of attention as the nation's leader in yards (624) and yards per game (156) and four weeks in, he may be the Big Ten's best hope at its first trophy since Troy Smith in '06 and the first for an RB since another Badger, Ron Dayne in '99. But that push may take a hit this week. No. 4 Ohio State hasn't faced a gauntlet of yet, its defense is stout, ranking ninth against the run (79.8 ypg) and just twice in the last 10 games have linebacker Ryan Shazier and Co. allowed anyone to go over 100 yards. 3. Devin Gardner, QB Michigan, RS Jr. His performance against Akron -- 248 yards passing, 103 rushing, three total TDs and four turnovers -- didn't completely destroy his chances as the Wolverines snuck out with a victory. Plus, a quasi-letdown was expected after the big win over Notre Dame. But whatever pass he got was cashed in vs. UConn as he threw two picks, was sacked three times and lost a fumble in the 24-21 victory. Four games in and already Gardner can't afford another setback with Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State still on the schedule. It doesn't look like a scenario that gets him to New York.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sabathia on post-rehab health: The best I've felt in three years

Carmelo Anthony says he's putting his trust in Phil Jackson

Lynn Swann: Calvin Johnson not a Hall of Famer

NFL requiring background checks for combine participants

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

Oscillation, thy name is Pablo Sandoval

Mat Latos could be the steal of free agency

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker