We have a clear frontrunner right now in the Heisman race. Through eleven weeks, it’s obvious who should be awarded the Heisman Trophy. But, we can’t say it’s not getting more interesting by the day.
An NCAA investigation has taken the college football world by storm and has thrown a serious curveball toward the Heisman race. At this point, the investigation is the only thing that could keep our current front runner from hoisting the bronze statue in three weeks.
The Front Runners
- Cameron Newton (QB/Auburn) – Cameron Newton is leading the Heisman race by a country mile right now. You have heard by now that the NCAA is investigating whether or not Newton or anybody took money on his behalf to play college football. Even if the story is not true, Cameron Newton’s Heisman hopes have taken a bit of a dip. He would still be the winner by a considerable margin if it all ended today, but some voters are beginning to second guess voting for him. Cameron Newton put the NCAA investigation out of everyone’s minds for sixty-minutes on Saturday with an outstanding performance against Georgia. He controlled the game completely as he threw for 148 yards on 12/15 throwing and two of the passes were drops. He also had two touchdown tosses. He ran the ball 30 times for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground. Newton has been the best player in college football so far this season and unless something comes of this investigation, he will be your Heisman Trophy winner.
- Kellen Moore (QB/Boise State) – Kellen Moore has taken a step up in the Heisman race as he moves up to second this week ahead of Oregon RB LaMichael James. Moore is the most efficient passer in college football with a QB rating of 191.15. You can say it’s because he isn’t playing top level competition every week, but he is the leader by a lot. He was impressive again on Friday night against Idaho as the Broncos crushed the Vandals 52-14. He completed 19 of his 26 passes for 216 yards and three touchdown passes in the win. For the season, Moore is completing 72% of his passes for 2588 yards and 24 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. Moore is going to be a Heisman finalist and is well deserving of actually winning the award, but we don’t see a Cam Newton every single year.
- LaMichael James (RB/Oregon) – It wasn’t a banner day for LaMichael James or Oregon on Saturday. The Ducks staved off upset on Saturday night in Berkeley against California. Oregon survived 15-13 to hang on to their undefeated record and #1 ranking. James was held to a season-low 91 yards on 29 carries in the win over the Golden Bears and was on crutches after the game due to an ankle injury. James will still likely be a Heisman finalist, but his chances of winning the award did slip a bit against California. James has two more chances to impress the voters against Arizona and Oregon State following a bye week this weekend.
- Andrew Luck (QB/Stanford) – I’m not sure other than Cameron Newton that there has been a player that meant more to his football team than Stanford QB Andrew Luck. He has played brilliantly all season long and once again did so on Saturday as he led Stanford to a 17-13 come-from-behind victory over Arizona State on Saturday. He threw the ball 41 times against the Sun Devils and completed 33 of his passes (81%). He threw for 292 yards with an interception and no touchdown passes. Stanford is now 9-1 on the season and I think they are the best #1 loss team in the country. If Luck could have led Stanford to a win over Oregon in Eugene, then the Cardinal QB would be near the top of the Heisman race.
- Andy Dalton (QB/TCU) – TCU was another team in full out survival mode on Saturday as they had to come from behind to knock off San Diego State 40-35. Let me get on the soapbox for a second. Any of you who are knocking TCU for barely hanging on to a win over the Aztecs need to seriously think before they speak. San Diego State was a 7-2 team coming into that game and they nearly beat Missouri earlier in the year. Anyway, Andy Dalton once again played great for the Horned Frogs to lead them to victory. He completed 21 of his 36 passes for 240 yards and 4 touchdowns with only 1 interception on the afternoon. Dalton has been great all season long and has led TCU to an unblemished record and #3 ranking up to this point.
Just off the Pace
- Justin Blackmon (WR/Oklahoma State) – Justin Blackmon has played in nine games this season for Oklahoma State. In all nine games, Blackmon has recorded over 100 yards receiving as he did so again on Saturday against Texas. In Oklahoma State’s 33-16 win over Texas, Justin Blackmon had nine catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. He’s been by far the best WR in college football this season and if Oklahoma State is able to run the table and win the Big XII, then there is a strong possibility that Blackmon is a Heisman finalist. He’s had an incredible season so far and has made all the people in Stillwater forget about Dez Bryant.
- Terrelle Pryor (QB/Ohio State) – As long as Ohio State keeps winning, Terrelle Pryor has a great chance of getting invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony. In Ohio State’s comeback win over Penn State on Saturday, Pryor completed 8 of his 13 pass attempts for 139 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He also rushed for 49 yards on 9 carries. The Buckeyes will now travel to Iowa City to face off with the Hawkeyes on Saturday and if Pryor can have a big game, then he will likely creep his way up a bit and possibly back to being one of the frontrunners for the award.
Falling off the Pace
- Darron Thomas (QB/Oregon) – Darron Thomas had been creeping up a lot of people’s Heisman boards over the last few weeks, but he dropped a bit this week after he struggled a bit against California on Saturday. By no means did he play a bad game, but he didn’t have a Heisman-esque performance that would have helped his case. He completed 15 of 29 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown to go along with just 34 yards on the ground on 16 carries. California’s defense did a very good job in stopping the Oregon offense as both Darron Thomas and LaMichael James saw their Heisman hopes slip a bit this week. Thomas wasn’t going to win it, but he had a chance of being a finalist. Those chances pretty much ended in Berkeley on Saturday.
- Ricky Stanzi (QB/Iowa) – Ricky Stanzi had been hovering around the Heisman race the last few weeks, but Iowa’s 21-17 loss to Northwestern knocks Stanzi completely out of the running for the award. Stanzi went 23 for 41 for 270 yards and two touchdowns with an interception in Iowa’s third loss of the season. Stanzi’s hopes were already pretty slim, but they went from slim to none with the Hawkeyes falling short against the Wildcats.