College Confidential: Baylor’s Petty, A&M’s Manziel in the thick of Heisman race

Star-Telegram writers Jimmy Burch and Stefan Stevenson sound off on the issues of the day in college football in College Confidential at

The latest straw polls identify two quarterbacks from Texas colleges among the primary Heisman Trophy contenders: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, the 2012 winner, and Baylor’s Bryce Petty. What are the chances that one or the other makes it three consecutive Heismans for a high school quarterback from the state of Texas?

Jimmy: Anything is possible because the Heisman race does not truly start until November. I think Manziel makes it back to New York but watches someone else win it this time, like Tim Tebow watching Sam Bradford celebrate at the 2008 ceremony. My projection today would be Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.

Stefan: If Petty continues to pile up the numbers against tougher opponents down the stretch his stock will rise. If the Bears stay undefeated and he performs as he has, he’ll make it three consecutive for Texas QBs.

Texas makes its first trip to Fort Worth since 1994 for Saturday’s game at TCU and will arrive as a slight underdog. How do you see this game unfolding?

Jimmy: I’m mildly surprised oddsmakers favored TCU, based on the teams’ last outings. But these are two inconsistent teams with comparable talent levels. Neither outcome would surprise me. Because Texas has shown more of an offensive pulse in recent weeks, I think the Longhorns win.

Stefan: I expect a close, low-scoring game with a slight edge to Texas. Whether Casey Pachall is available and plays well is something we don’t know. If he is and does play well, then TCU could win because its defense will keep the Frogs in the game. [Pachall’s availability was announced later.]

No. 10 Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0 in Big 12) and No. 8 Baylor (6-0, 3-0) are the only undefeated teams left in the state. Will either one, or both, still be undefeated heading into their Nov. 16 meeting at AT&T Stadium in Arlington?

Jimmy: Baylor should be. Tech could be, but I do not expect that to happen. I think the Red Raiders drop one of their next two games, either to Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. But I think Baylor arrives in Arlington with an undefeated record.

Stefan: Before the Sooners were upset and dominated by Texas a few weeks ago, I was thinking the Bears would have their hands full against OU on Nov. 7. Not as much anymore. I think Baylor can win that game and come to Arlington 8-0. I agree that Tech probably trips up at least once before the meeting and will finish with two or three losses.

There are 10 undefeated teams left in major-college football, all in contention for the BCS title. How many will still be undefeated when the final BCS standings are released on Dec. 8, determining the participants in the BCS National Championship Game?

Jimmy: I think there will be more undefeated teams still standing than spots in the title game (2). I look for an undefeated school from a BCS league to be left out in the cold. Whether that is Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor or someone else, I am not sure. But I believe it will happen, allowing the BCS era to end with one final, controversial finish.

Stefan: I agree and it will be a fitting end to the BCS. Good riddance to the two-team controversy, hello four-team controversy. The CFB playoff is better, but will still attract similar beefs.

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