Heisman Trophy Ballots: Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota Will Win Heisman Trophy, Plus Where Amari Cooper, Melvin Gordon Will Finish

December 13, 2014

By Brad Carroll

 

There might be little drama and intrigue surrounding the Heisman trophy ceremony and presentation Saturday night, as most who follow college football will agree on the winner. But it doesn't mean the hearts of Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper and Melvin Gordon won't be racing leading up to the announcement of who will be given sport's best and most recognizable award.

 

Mariota, the Oregon quarterback, is a huge favorite to win the Heisman trophy, as he had far and away the best season in college football. Mariota threw for 3,783 yards with 38 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. He completed 68.3% of his passes. Mariota eclipsed 300 yards five times this season, had seven games where he had three or more touchdown passes and never had less than two scoring passes in a game. He also rushed for 669 yards and 14 touchdowns.

 

It's those numbers, plus his amazing leadership skills for the second-ranked Ducks, that will make him the runaway winner for the Heisman trophy.

 

The second and third slots will come down to Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. Those two will be the only ones joining Mariota in New York for the Heisman ceremony.

 

Cooper turned Alabama's ground attack into a passing offense this season, under the direction of offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Cooper had 115 catches for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, which are amazing numbers considering what the Crimson Tide are known for. Cooper went over 100 yards seven times this season and had three games where he went over 200 yards receiving. He also had five games where he caught double-digit passes.

 

Cooper's year doesn't get enough attention mainly because Mariota simply overshadowed everyone. There is a chance, albeit small, that Cooper wins the Heisman in a close vote. It's not likely, but the reason I have him at No. 1 on my ballot.

 

Finally, Gordon, the Wisconsin running back, could have made this award ceremony a whole lot more interesting if he had a solid game against Ohio State in the Big Ten championship. But Gordon finished that 59-0 loss with just 76 yards on 26 carries. It doesn't dampen what an outstanding season he had, however. Gordon rushed for 2,336 yards with 26 touchdowns this season. He added three more scores receiving. His biggest game came against Nebraska, as he broke the Division I record for rushing yards in a game, with 408 against Nebraska. Gordon went over 100 yards in all but two of the 13 games he played, and went over 200 yards five times.

 

But that final game against Ohio State, plus the amazing year put together by Cooper, has Gordon finishing third on my ballot.

 

Here's the ballots of all of our college football experts, with each agreeing Mariota will win the Heisman. Read our breakdown and picks against the spread on Army-Navy here and follow us on Twitter for the latest college football analysis and bowl picks.

 

Brad's Ballot

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

2. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

3. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

 

Craig's Ballot

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

 

Craig's Breakdown: Up until a dud by Melvin Gordon and the Badgers last week against Ohio State, Gordon could very well have been hoisting the Heisman, but he blew it and now it will land in the hands of the best quarterback  in the nation, Marcus Mariota. The Oregon quarterback could do the double-up with the Heisman and a national championship as the Ducks are one of four playoff teams. My pick is he will get both, then be the top quarterback drafted, and hopefully to the New York Jets.

 

Glenn's Ballot

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

2. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

3. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

 

Matt's Ballot

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama 

 

Matt's Breakdown: There is very little drama surrounding this year's choice, as Mariota has led Oregon's high-octane offense to the national semifinals despite the Ducks' awful luck with injuries to its offensive line. Gordon  didn't have his best day in the Big 10 title game, but it's hard to run the ball when you're down by 40. The guy ran for more than 200 yards four times and over 400 in another game. A big part of Alabama's new offense under Lane Kiffin, Cooper will need a big postseason if the Tide are going to roll again. Based on his year, he can do it.

 

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