There are other legit contenders, but I can’t see an argument to be made for anyone else at the #1 spot at this point. But, it’s a long season and you never know what can happen. That’s why the trophy isn’t given out after five weeks.
It is still going to be an interesting race for the rest of the season as a multitude of players continue to try and showcase their abilities and prove they deserve college football’s most prestigious individual award.
The Front Runners
- Denard Robinson (QB/Michigan) – Could it be anyone else in the top spot at this point? Robinson has put up video game like numbers so far this season and he leaves you speechless after watching him perform. He became the first player in college football history on Saturday to have multiple games of 200+ pass yards and 200+ rush yards. And he did in just five games! Robinson threw for 277 yards on 10/16 passing against Indiana with three touchdowns. He added 217 yards on the ground with a pair of touchdowns. He’s rewriting the Michigan record book. Another crazy stat: He has more rushing yards than 91 FBS schools. If Michigan keeps winning, Robinson is going to be your Heisman winner.
- Kellen Moore (QB/Boise State) – I wasn’t too impressed with Terrelle Pryor or Ohio State on Saturday against Illinois, and that has allowed Kellen Moore to slip into second place for this week. Moore is one of the most efficient passers in the nation and has thrown just one interception this season compared to eleven touchdowns. He was impressive again against New Mexico State as the Broncos continued to roll with a 59-0 win. He threw for 196 yards on 13/18 passing and three touchdowns without a pick. He was brilliant the week before against Oregon State and as long as Boise State doesn’t stumble, he’s a legit Heisman contender and should see an invite to the Downtown Athletic Club.
- Terrelle Pryor (QB/Ohio State) – Terrelle Pryor slid back to third place this week, but he’s still in good shape. The one thing I’m worried about is Jim Tressel handcuffing him and not letting him play the way he was earlier in the season. He threw a season low sixteen passes and completed nine of them for 76-yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He ran the ball 11 times for 104 yards. In the end, the Buckeyes survived a surprising test from Illinois and remain undefeated. Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State will come back to the Horseshoe to face off with Indiana on Saturday. It’s still been an impressive season for Pryor and he still has a great chance at winning the Heisman.
- LaMichael James (RB/Oregon) – LaMichael James got his chance to prove himself on a national stage on Saturday night against Stanford and he did not disappoint. He was right off the pace coming into this week and he jolted into front runner status with his performance in Oregon’s 52-31 win over Stanford. He carried the ball 31 times for 257 yards and punched in three touchdowns. He also certainly has that “wow” factor that everyone likes and he showed it with a 76-yard touchdown run against the Cardinal on Saturday night at Autzen. He missed the first game of the season, but that hasn’t hindered him as he has rushed for 712 yards through four games with an astonishing 8.0 yards per carry. He’s the best player for one of the best teams and he is a legit Heisman threat.
- Mark Ingram (RB/Alabama) – Mark Ingram didn’t have the most impressive day when it comes to his numbers, but he’s still the best player for the #1 team in the nation. He only carried the ball 12 times against Florida for 47 yards, but he punched in Alabama’s first two touchdowns and that really started the rout in the Tide’s 31-6 win over Florida at Bryant-Denny Saturday night. The reason for Ingram’s lack of carries was mainly due to Alabama not having the ball very long in the second half. Alabama took their foot off the gas after busting out to a 24-3 lead and Ingram didn’t see a whole lot of action after that. Ingram will get a chance to make a push in the race on Saturday when Alabama travels to Columbia to face off with South Carolina.
Just off the Pace
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- Cameron Newton (QB/Auburn) – I sure didn’t want it to be true, but Cameron Newton is legit, folks. Being an Alabama fan made me not want to believe the Newton hype, but he is for real. I still believe some Auburn fans are a little too obsessed with the guy after five starts, but he’s proven his worth. He had a point to prove to the naysayers on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe that he wasn’t just a runner and that he could stand in the pocket and deliver throws. He didn’t run the ball on Saturday, but he did complete 14/19 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns and an interception. He’s been one of the most efficient passers in the nation with a 191.44 passer rating.
- Ryan Mallett (QB/Arkansas) – Make no mistake, Ryan Mallett is not out of the Heisman race just because of his struggles against Alabama. Sure, he blew his first opportunity on the big stage, but even the best players have a rough game every now and then. Mallett will get more opportunities to showcase his abilities, and I really believe he is going to take advantage of it. Also, there is no rule that the Heisman winner has to play for an undefeated team or even a top five team in the country. (See Tebow in ’07) Mallett is still going to have a huge season and put up huge numbers for the Hogs. He’ll get another opportunity on the national stage in two weeks when Arkansas travels to the Plains for a game against Cameron Newton and the Auburn Tigers.
- Landry Jones (QB/Oklahoma) – I really don’t know what to make of Landry Jones. He’s so streaky. He goes from struggling in games against Utah State and Air Force to playing great against Florida State and Texas. He was great against Texas on Saturday in leading the Sooners to a 28-20 win over the Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry. He completed 24 of his 39 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. For the season, he is completing 64% of his passes with 1457 passing yards and 11 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. He’s also the QB for a top 10 team that is still undefeated and that makes him a serious Heisman threat, especially if the Sooners can run the table.
Falling off the Pace
- Andrew Luck (QB/Stanford) – While LaMichael James seized the opportunity of playing on the national stage and led Oregon to a win, Andrew Luck couldn’t get Stanford past Oregon in Autzen. He wasn’t horrible on Saturday as he went 29 of 46 for 341 yards and traded two touchdowns for two interceptions. Oregon was just too much for Stanford and Luck couldn’t do enough to lead his team to a win and that does hurt his chances. I’m still a firm believer in Luck’s abilities and he is certainly not completely out of the Heisman race after Saturday, but his chances have taken a hit with the loss.
- John Clay (RB/Wisconsin) – John Clay’s impressive streak of consecutive 100-yard rushing games finally came to an end in East Lansing against Michigan State. Clay already had the odds stacked against him, even after rushing for over 100 yards in each of the Badgers first four games of the season. He doesn’t have that wow factor that impresses the Heisman voters and he really needed to shine against the Spartans. Instead, he was held to just 80 yards on 18 carries and Wisconsin lost 34-24 to Michigan State. Clay isn’t completely out of the race, but he’s going to need a huge rest of the season to have a shot at winning the Heisman.
- Colin Kaepernick (QB/Nevada) – Colin Kaepernick continues leading a surprising Nevada team. The Wolfpack are off to a 5-0 start and they owe it to the stellar play of their QB. We all knew Kaepernick was a dangerous runner, but he has finally shown his ability to pass the ball. He’s eclipsed 1,000 yards passing already with seven touchdown passes to just two interceptions and he has continued to be impressive running the ball with 548 rushing yards on 69 carries this season. Kaepernick is a long shot for the Heisman and they are going to have to continue winning and likely even pull off an upset of Boise State late in the year for him to have any shot at getting his hands on the stiff-arm trophy.
- Patrick Peterson (DB/LSU) – If a defensive player is going to win the award this season it’s going to be Patrick Peterson. He’s another long shot, mainly because I don’t see LSU continuing their undefeated ways and if you watched their game with Tennessee on Saturday, then you know why. But, for now, the Tigers are 5-0 and their best player is Peterson as he leads a ferocious LSU defense. Peterson not only gets it done in the secondary, but he is a deadly return man.
- Andy Dalton (QB/TCU) – Andy Dalton hasn’t put up huge numbers this season, but he is leading an undefeated TCU team that is currently ranked 5th in the country. If he wants a realistic shot at winning the award, he’s going to need to put up better numbers in the rest of the season and that’s not out of the question. He has nine total touchdowns this season, 6 passing and 3 rushing. I don’t really think he has much a chance at winning the Heisman, or ever really posing a serious threat as he is currently on pace to not touch his numbers from last season, but you have to give some love to the leader of a team like TCU.
- Kendall Hunter (RB/Oklahoma State) – It’s time to give some love to Kendall Hunter. Oklahoma State is 4-0 and he’s a huge reason why. He’s averaging seven yards per carry this season and has rushed for 574 yards. We forgot just how good this guy is after he missed most of last season with an injury. He rushed for over 1500 yards in 2008 and he is on pace to surpass that this season. He had his third game of over 100 yards rushing against Texas A&M on Thursday night. He rushed for 101 yards on 22 carries and he punched in a pair of touchdowns. Oklahoma State is going to need to keep winning and be a legit contender in the Big XII for him to have a serious shot at taking home the Heisman.