The Heisman race didn’t change much in week twelve as a few of the top candidates had bye weeks and didn’t see the field this weekend. A few players took advantage of others being on bye weeks and made their case to the Heisman voters with some stellar performances.
We are three weeks away from crowning a Heisman winner and while there is still a clear front runner, the race is far from over.
The Front Runners
- Cameron Newton (QB/Auburn) – As expected during Auburn’s bye week, we saw more and more allegations pouring in. As I’ve said since the allegations started, we cannot let them affect our viewpoint on Newton’s Heisman hopes. The worst thing that could possibly happen is if the voters don’t choose Cam Newton and we find out that he’s 100% innocent. Saying that, I am starting to lean toward him not being innocent and I do think sooner or later, we will found out that he’s ineligible, but that’s nothing more than speculation on my part. Cameron Newton has been the best player in college football this season and his amazing play has led Auburn to an 11-0 mark heading into a huge game with Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Friday.
- Kellen Moore (QB/Boise State) – Kellen Moore had an off game against Fresno State. Well, an off game according to his standard. His 174.14 passer rating is below his season average of 188.84. His off game was still brilliant has he sliced and diced Pat Hill’s Bulldogs for 333 yards on 27/38 passing and four touchdowns with one interception as he led Boise State to a 51-0 blowout win over Fresno State. The Broncos are now 10-0 and getting closer to being third in the BCS as they sit just behind TCU. A lot of Boise State’s success can be credited to Moore’s play and they are squarely in the National Title picture. But, if Moore wants a chance to win the Heisman Trophy, he has to hope for a bad performance from Cameron Newton and an Auburn loss.
- LaMichael James (RB/Oregon) – LaMichael James had the luxury of sitting back and resting up this week as Oregon enjoyed a much needed bye week. James is still firmly in the Heisman race and is one of four guys still alive in the Heisman race. LaMichael James does have work to do if he wants to be lifting the 25 pound bronze statue. James has the chance to do it on the national stage against Arizona and Oregon State. To this point, James has rushed for 1422 yards and scored 17 touchdowns to lead the Oregon Ducks to the #1 ranking and in a prime position to make it to the National Championship game.
- Andrew Luck (QB/Stanford) – Other than the three guys currently leading their teams to perfect records, Andrew Luck is the only other person still with a chance to take home the Heisman Trophy in a few weeks. The one blemish on Stanford’s resume was their 52-31 loss to top ranked Oregon. I believe that Stanford is the top one-loss team in the country and Luck is a major reason why. After California nearly upset Oregon last week, many thought that they would have chance at another upset at home against the Cardinal. Luck thought otherwise. He completed 16 of his 20 pass attempts for 235 yards and two touchdowns along with 72 rushing yards to lead Stanford to a 48-14 win in Berkeley over the Goolden Bears. Luck has been brilliant all season and he should end up being one of the finalists for the award.
- Andy Dalton (QB/TCU) – Andy Dalton didn’t have a great performance against San Diego State, but he did have a solid day to lead the Horned Frogs to a narrow 40-35 win over the Aztecs. Dalton is narrowly hanging on to one of the frontrunner spots, but he is nowhere near the top four. Dalton threw for 240 yards on 21 of 36 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. His completion percentage and overall performance was down from his brilliant performance against Utah the previous week. Andy Dalton only has one game remaining to impress the Heisman voters and he should be able to pad his stats against New Mexico.
Just off the Pace
- Justin Blackmon (WR/Oklahoma State) – There hasn’t been a finer WR in college football than Justin Blackmon. There hasn’t been a more dominating receiver either. In all ten of the games that Blackmon has played in for Oklahoma State this season, he has recorded over 100 yards. That streak continued on Saturday with a 10 catch 130 yard day against Kansas to help the Cowboys to an easy 48-14 win over the Jayhawks. For the season, Blackmon has 1560 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. Blackmon is a Biletnikoff award finalist and it would be a shock if he didn’t win that award. It won’t be easy for Blackmon to be a Heisman finalist, but he certainly deserves more attention than he’s been getting.
- Denard Robinson (QB/Michigan) – While Michigan may only be 7-4 on the season, Denard Robinson has had an incredible season. In the Wolverines 48-28 loss to Wisconsin, Robinson set two NCAA records. He broke the single season rushing record for a QB with 1538 yards on the ground. He also became the first player in NCAA history to pass for over 2000 yards and rush for 1500 yards. Robinson’s team hasn’t had a whole lot of success, but his numbers cannot be ignored. Robinson’s play in 2010 has saved his coach, Rich Rodriguez’s job for the time being.
- Marcus Lattimore (RB/South Carolina) – A freshman has never won the Heisman Trophy and that is not going to change this season. But, it’s time to recognize how good Marcus Lattimore has been for South Carolina this season to help lead the Gamecocks to the SEC Championship Game. He followed up his incredible 212 yard effort in the Swamp against Florida two weeks ago with 102 yards and three touchdowns against Troy while only carrying the ball seven times. Lattimore won’t win it this year and also will not be a finalist, but if his performance this year is any indication of things to come in the future, then it will surprise nobody if Lattimore wins a Heisman before his days are done in Columbia.
Falling off the Pace
- Terrelle Pryor (QB/Ohio State) – I don’t see any reason Terelle Pryor should be a Heisman finalist this season. I predicted in the preseason that Pryor would win the Heisman Trophy, but that’s not going to happen and he hasn’t performed on the level of the other guys fighting to win the award. He continued his road struggles on Saturday in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes albeit in a win. His QB Rating for the game was just a little over 100 as he completed 18 of 33 passes for 195 yards with one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Ohio State might have won the game, but Pryor certainly didn’t have a Heisman-esque performance and I don’t see him being invited to New York.