The Heisman Trophy, presented to the nation's top college football player, will be announced Saturday on ESPN, with TV coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Here are the three finalists and why they may or may not win it:

AMARI COOPER, Alabama wide receiver

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His 224 receiving yards tied his single-game school record, and he has 115 receptions for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The best-player-on-the-best-team theory also applies.

MELVIN GORDON, Wisconsin running back

Only three running backs in the game's history have rushed for more than Gordon's 2,336 yards, and two of them - Southern Cal's Marcus Allen in 1981 and Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders in 1988 - won the Heisman. None of them were better for one game than Gordon against Nebraska this season, when he rushed for 408 yards. Working against him, he rushed for just 76 yards in a 59-0 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.

MARCUS MARIOTA, Oregon quarterback

He has the numbers, like 38 touchdown passes and two interceptions. He plays for a conference champion, tossing five touchdown passes in the Pac-12 title-game victory over Arizona. And unlike some previous winners - such as Florida State's Jameis Winston, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, and Auburn's Cam Newton - there's not a hint of scandal or embarrassment. Mariota is the total package.

- Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star

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