Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There's lots of moving and shaking in the Week 12 version of the Heisman rankings, with a couple of newcomers making a splash and a historic performance skyrocketing another towards the top. However, the top spot remains unchanged despite a bye week for one superstar.
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (last week: No. 1) -- Despite the best efforts from the new No. 2 contender, Mariota was able to hang on to the top spot through his bye week. No one has been more consistently outstanding this season than the Ducks' quarterback, who has 2,780 passing yards (on 67.1 percent completions), 524 rushing yards and 38 total touchdowns paired with just two interceptions. Oregon is firmly in the College Football Playoff if it can win its final two games plus the Pac-12 Championship, and assuming Mariota can put together a few more stellar performances along the way, it'll be him hoisting the trophy over his head in New York next month.
2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (last week: No. 4) -- Gordon was already in the midst of a campaign that was likely to land him in New York as a Heisman finalist, but after a historic showing over the weekend, he's now a legitimate threat to Mariota for the award. In Wisconsin's 59-24 romp of Nebraska, Gordon pieced together a game never before seen at the highest level of competition, as he rushed for an FBS single-game record 408 yards and four touchdowns. What made the accomplishment even more incredible was he needed just 25 carries (16.3 ypc) to get there, breaking LaDainian Tomlinson's previous record on a 26-yard touchdown run to close out the third quarter, his final carry of the game - all against a Cornhuskers' squad that ranked in the top-25 nationally in rushing defense heading into the game. There's now no question who the nation's top running back is, as Gordon (1,909 yards, 23 TDs) is more than 200 yards clear of the field for the FBS rushing crown, and with two regular season games, a possible Big Ten Championship Game and a bowl still left, Barry Sanders' single-season rushing record (2,628) could very well be in jeopardy.
3. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (last week: No. 3) -- The Horned Frogs nearly had their hopes at a Big 12 championship and a College Football Playoff berth come to a disastrous end at Kansas, as they trailed by 10 in the third quarter to a three-win team, but thanks to the Boykin-led offense and a special-teams touchdown, they rallied for the 34-30 victory. The near fatal showing came in spite of a stellar performance by Boykin, who completed greater than 72 percent of his passes for 330 yards with a touchdown, although he did throw a costly interception and had his worst rushing performance of the season (11 carries, two yards). The dual-threat quarterback - who's racked up 3,021 yards passing, 548 yards rushing, 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions - is still right in the mix as a favorite with TCU still in the thick of the College Football Playoff discussion.
4. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State (last week: unranked) -- When Braxton Miller, a preseason Heisman candidate, went down in the preseason, Ohio State's hopes hinged on an unknown under center, but the fast-rising Barrett has exceeded all expectations to keep his team as the favorite in the Big Ten. He's saved his best play for late in the season. In back-to-back road wins over Michigan State and Minnesota, Barrett has piled up 775 total yards and nine touchdowns, which included a 189-yard rushing effort over the weekend to push OSU to 9-1. Whether or not the Buckeyes can beat out TCU, Mississippi State and Baylor for the No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff remains to be seen, but Barrett (2,356 passing yards, 771 rushing yards, 38 TDs, eight interceptions) has been more than good enough, setting a pace even better than Miller's 2013 season (2,094 passing, 1,068 rushing, 36 TDs, seven INTs).
5. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (last week: No. 5) -- While the Crimson Tide's defense was the true star of their all-important 25-20 victory over Mississippi State - a triumph that put Alabama in the driver's seat in the SEC Western Division - Cooper continued to be the team's biggest difference maker on the offensive side of the ball. For the fourth straight week and the ninth time in 10 games this season, Cooper finished with eight receptions, totaling 88 yards while hauling in an outstanding touchdown catch in the second quarter. With defenses keying on Cooper as the Tide's only dangerous pass- catching threat, he has come through week after week (87 receptions, 1,303 yards, 11 TDs).
6. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (last week: 6) -- The Seminoles faced yet another scare at Miami-Florida but used a fourth-quarter comeback to secure a 30-26 victory to remain undefeated, extending their winning streak to 26 and clinching the ACC Atlantic Division. Despite throwing for 304 yards and a touchdown, Winston wasn't great, as he completed less than 60 percent of his passes and tossed an interception for the fourth straight game. The reigning winner's numbers this season simple aren't Heisman-worthy (2,844 yards, 18 TDs, 12 interceptions), but there's something to be said about finding a way to win every week, and through all the controversy surrounding him over the past two seasons, he's continued to keep FSU out of the loss column.
7. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (last week: No. 2) -- Not only did the Bulldogs lose their grasp on the SEC Western Division, but Prescott's Heisman campaign hit a brick wall against the ferocious Alabama defense. His final numbers were pretty impressive (290 passing yards, 82 rushing yards, two TDs), but the biggest difference in the game was his three interceptions (giving him eight picks in the last five games). Of course, facing Alabama in Tuscaloosa is one of the toughest tasks in college football, but Prescott's performance simply wasn't worthy of contender status regardless. His season has still been outstanding (2,521 passing yards, 861 rushing yards, 32 TDs, 10 interceptions), and he could still work his way back into finalist consideration with a strong finish, but Mississippi State no longer controls its own destiny certainly hurts.
8. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (last week: No. 7) -- To say that Abdullah was overshadowed by Gordon in a highly anticipated battle between two of the nation's best running backs would be putting things lightly. Returning from a minor knee injury suffered against Purdue on Nov. 1, Abdullah rushed for just 69 yards on 18 carries and failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season in any full game he's played. Abdullah's campaign has lost all momentum, especially with Nebraska losing a step to Wisconsin in the race for the Big Ten West Division crown, but the running back has still rushed for 1,319 yards and scored 19 touchdowns, an outstanding season that deserves plenty of love.
9. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (last week: No. 9) -- Although the Bruins didn't play over the weekend, they were still big winners with Arizona State losing to Oregon State, meaning they now control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South Division, with Saturday's matchup against cross-town rival USC likely determining who will play Oregon in the league championship game. Hundley, who's completed 72.1 percent of his passes (tops in the nation) for 2,547 yards, 17 touchdowns to just four picks to go with impressive rushing totals (564 yards, seven TDs), has a couple more opportunities to move up the list at the last minute.
10. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (last week: unranked) -- The Bulldogs' welcomed back star tailback Todd Gurley after a four-game suspension and he did not disappoint (29 carries, 138 yards, TD), but disaster struck late in the game when he suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Luckily for Georgia, it has a contingency plan in Chubb, who still found time to produce even with Gurley back by picking up 144 yards and two scores on 19 carries. Chubb has done his best Gurley impression as the featured back, rushing for at least 140 yards in four straight to give him 1,039 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, and he'll be ready to carry the full load during the stretch run.
Dropped Out: Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor; Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss
Honorable Mention: Gerod Holliman, DB, Louisville