Setting up the 2013 Heisman race

Ranking the top 10 front-runners in a crowded field

Updated: January 15, 2013, 10:26 AM ET
By Ryan McCrystal | ESPN Insider
Braxton MillerRick Osentoski/US PRESSWIREOhio State's under-the-radar undefeated season puts Braxton Miller in the Heisman Trophy driver's seat.

After Johnny Manziel became the fourth consecutive Heisman winner to enter the season as a virtual unknown, predicting next season's winner in January may seem like a futile task. But just because preseason lists are rarely accurate doesn't mean they're insignificant.

Just like the preseason top 25 polls, early Heisman lists set the expectations for the year. The players on this list enter the season with a slight advantage due to the fact that voters will focus on their performance from the time the season kicks off. However, their front-runner status also puts an incredible amount of pressure on them to meet these lofty expectations. While dark-horse candidates may be forgiven a few early-season mistakes (Robert Griffin III and Manziel being two great examples of this), the voters expect perfection from the preseason favorites.

Using the Heisman Predictor formula as a guide, here are the top 10 front-runners for 2013.

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes