The Heisman race is once again wide open and it’s going to be a fun race down the stretch of the season. There are a lot of players that still have a chance to throw their names into the Heisman ring.
The Front Runners
- Terrelle Pryor (QB/Ohio State) – Terrelle Pryor is the new leader in the clubhouse after his career passing day against Indiana as his team is now the new #1 in all major polls. Pryor entered Saturday’s game a little banged up and he had no intention of running the ball much against Indiana. He didn’t have to. He beat the Hoosiers with his arm on a career passing day. He completed 24 of his 30 pass attempts for 334 yards and three touchdown tosses without an interception. His brilliant day led the Buckeyes to a 38-10 rout of the Hoosiers. Now, Pryor will need to be at full strength, so he can use his legs next week as the Buckeyes head to Madison for a date with Wisconsin. If he can keep throwing the ball like he did against Indiana and he can add back in the running portion of his game when he’s back at full strength, then Pryor will be lifting the Heisman Trophy at season’s end.
- Kellen Moore (QB/Boise State) – It was just another efficient passing night for Kellen Moore as he lead Boise State to a 57-14 win over Toledo. He went 16 of 22 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He’s been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation this year with passer rating over 180. He’s thrown for 1336 yards with 14 touchdowns and a lone interception. The Broncos are going to have a great shot at playing for the National Title if they can remain undefeated and they get a little help, especially since Alabama went down last Saturday. If Boise State gets into the National Title game, then don’t be surprised to see Kellen Moore taking home the Heisman Trophy at the Downtown Athletic Club in December.
- LaMichael James (RB/Oregon) – Oregon is 6-0 and a lot of that credit goes to LaMichael James’ performance. He was huge again in Oregon’s 43-23 win over Washington State. He rushed for 136 yards on 25 attempts and punched in two touchdowns and also added 87 receiving yards on two catches and added another touchdown. He’s now rushed for 848 yards in just five games this season after missing the team’s season opener due to suspension. He’s rushed for over 100 yards in four of his five games this season and the one time he didn’t he rushed for 94 yards against Arizona State. The Ducks are ranked 2nd and if they continue winning, he has a great shot at winning the Heisman.
- Denard Robinson (QB/Michigan) – Denard Robinson’s Heisman hopes took a hit in East Lansing on Saturday as the Wolverines were defeated 34-17 at the hands of Michigan State. Robinson came into the game with only one interception thrown and he tossed three picks against the Spartans with only one touchdown. He threw for 215 yards on 17 of 29 passing, but he had the three costly interceptions. Also, for the first time in 2010, Robinson was held under 100 yards rushing as he notched only 86 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown on the ground. Still, his Heisman hopes aren’t completely dashed; because he is still on pace to put up numbers we have never seen before. If he can become the first player in college football history that throws and rushes for 2000 yards and the Wolverines can win 9 games or so, then I still think he has a great chance at winning the award.
- Taylor Martinez (QB/Nebraska) – Taylor Martinez got his chance to shine on a National Stage and he did just that on Thursday night in Manhattan against Kansas State. Martinez made believers of all of his and his teams’ doubters. A lot of people were saying the Huskers were ripe for an upset, but Martinez wouldn’t let that happen. He threw for 128 yards on 5/7 passing and rushed for 241 yards on 15 carries and added four more touchdowns on the ground. Martinez has the Huskers undefeated and in the top five and that greatly improves his chances at winning the stiff-arm trophy. He’s going to get another chance to shine on the big stage as Nebraska gets set to host Texas on Saturday. If he can put up a strong performance against the Longhorns and lead his team to another victory, then he’s going to be a serious threat for the award.
Just off the Pace
- Cameron Newton (QB/Auburn) – If it wasn’t for Taylor Martinez’s spectacular performance on Thursday night against Kansas State, then Cameron Newton would be in the top five in the Heisman race right now. He had another strong performance for Auburn to lead them to a 37-34 win over Kentucky in Lexington Saturday night. He completed 13 of his 21 passes for 210 yards and an interception without a touchdown pass. But, as usual, Newton did his damage with his legs and sheer strength. He rushed for 198 yards on 28 carries and punched in four touchdowns for the Tigers. Newton leads the SEC in rushing and has been one of the most efficient passers in the nation this season. Auburn is undefeated and Newton is the reason why. It will be interesting on Saturday as Cameron Newton gets a chance to take a big step forward against Arkansas and their Heisman candidate Ryan Mallett.
- Ryan Mallett (QB/Arkansas) – Ryan Mallett had a second opportunity to perform on the national stage after his disastrous performance against Alabama two weeks ago. This time, he led Arkansas to a 24-17 win over Texas A&M with is 27 of 38 passing day for 310 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception. He’s led the Hogs to a 4-1 start and has thrown for over 300 yards in all five of their games this year. He’s completed nearly 70% of his passes and is own pace to throw for over 4000 yards this season. Mallett will get his opportunity to jump right back into the Heisman race on Saturday as he leads Arkansas onto the Plains for a date with undefeated Auburn. If he can lead the Razorbacks past the Tigers and he plays well, then he will be back in the thick of the Heisman race.
- Andrew Luck (QB/Stanford) – Andrew Luck fell off the pace a bit in Stanford’s loss to Oregon in Autzen last week, but he came back and re-submitted himself as a Heisman contender with his performance in Palo Alto against USC. He was brilliant as he completed 20 of his 24 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. We always talk about Heisman defining drives and he had one after USC scored a touchdown to go up on Stanford 35-34. The Trojans left too much time on the clock for the Cardinal and Luck led them down the field to set up a game winning field goal and Stanford walked away with a 37-35 win. Luck will have a few more chances on the national stage against the likes of Washington, Arizona, and Oregon State this season. I still think Luck is the best QB in college football, but it won’t be easy for him to take home the Heisman.
Falling off the Pace
- Mark Ingram (RB/Alabama) – After two brilliant performances against Duke and Arkansas in his first two games of the season, Mark Ingram had seemingly jumped right back into the Heisman conversation. But, after two subpar performances against Florida and South Carolina, Ingram is falling off the pace. He rushed for just 47 yards against the Gators and followed that up with only 41 yards against the Gamecocks on just 11 carries. Alabama went away from the running game as they had to throw the ball a lot trying to get back into the game. In the end, Alabama is no longer undefeated and Mark Ingram has lost a lot of ground in the Heisman race. He’s going to need a spectacular six game stretch and for Alabama to play in the SEC Championship game to get him another game for him to have any shot at winning a second straight Heisman Trophy.
- John Clay (RB/Wisconsin) – It’s going to take a great second half for John Clay to win the Heisman trophy. The Badgers are going to have to win 10-11 games and he’s going to have to rush for 100+ yards in nearly every game. His 100 yard streak ended last week against Michigan State where he notched only 80 yards on the ground, but he got another one started this week with 111 yards rushing on 21 carries to lead Wisconsin to a 41-23 win over Minnesota. John Clay will get a chance to reassert himself into the Heisman conversation on Saturday as Wisconsin welcomes Ohio State to Camp-Randall. If Clay has a big day and the Badgers knock off the Buckeyes, then Clay will be back in the conversation.
- Colin Kaepernick (QB/Nevada) – Colin Kaepernick has led Nevada to a 6-0 start and he has played great for the Wolfpack this season. He threw for 273 yards against San Jose State on Saturday with 20 of 27 passing and an interception. He also rushed for 91 yards on 17 carries and punched in a pair of touchdowns on the ground. Like I have said many times before, Kaepernick won’t be a serious Heisman contender until Nevada plays Boise State. For him to become a serious Heisman threat, Nevada will have to win that game with Boise State.
- Andy Dalton (QB/TCU) – That’s more like it from Andy Dalton. I said for him to have any shot at the Heisman trophy, he was going to have to start putting up better numbers for TCU. He did so in the Horned Frogs 45-0 win over Wyoming on Saturday. He completed 14 of his 17 pass attempts for 270 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions. That was the kind of performance I had been hoping for from Dalton. He still doesn’t have much of a shot in the Heisman race, but you have to say the QB for a top five team is a sleeper at this point.
- Greg McElroy (QB/Alabama) – This one may catch you off guard, but hear me out. Even in defeat, Greg McElroy had a career day for Alabama against South Carolina and the blame of the loss is not on his shoulders. He completed 27 of his 34 pass attempts for 315 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. McElroy has been the best player for Alabama recently with the running game struggling a bit and if he can continue being captain clutch in the fourth quarter and lead this team to running the table for the rest of the season and an SEC Championship win, then he could get some serious consideration. It’s not likely, but I think he at least deserves a mention for now.