Heisman Watch (10/29)
*All rankings listed are BCS, players listed alphabetically by last name
+Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (Ranked No. 17)
Head Coach Mike Gundy has no problem with Justin Blackmon speeding on the football field, but speeding on the highway is something different altogether. The Cowboy from Stillwater watched the Cowboys from Dallas on Monday night, and apparently the night got a little too celebratory for the highway patrolís liking. Blackmon was arrested early Tuesday morning for DUI, after cops registered Blackmonís car traveling 92 mph in a 60 mph zone. The shame for Blackmon is that heís in the middle of a monster year with 14 scores and over 1,000 yards receiving. Hopefully itís a lesson learned for Blackmon, but the chances of a receiver with a DUI arrest and one-game suspension winning the Heisman are right around zero.
Last game: Five catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns receiving (31.4 YPC) vs. No. 16 Nebraska
Next game: @ Kansas State (Will not play. One-game suspension)
Stock: Approaching Rock-Bottom
+LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (Ranked No. 2)
Saturday is a statement/trap game for both Oregon and LaMichael James, as they face an un-ranked 5-2 USC team whose two losses came by a combined three points. When you add Matt Barkley and his 20 touchdowns to the equation, the Trojans will be playing with a chip on their shoulder to improve their 2-2 Conference record, play spoiler to Oregonís campaign, and bolster Barkleyís own Heisman candidacy. James cannot afford a setback.
Last game: 123 yards and two touchdowns rushing (6.2 YPC), one catch for 25 yards receiving vs. UCLA
Next game: @ USC
+Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (Ranked No. 13)
When facing a 1-6 Washington State team thatís now ranked 117th in the nation allowing 40 points a game, youíre pretty much Ďdamned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-donít.í In Luckís words, ďWe got the win and a winís a win no matter how you slice it.Ē The BCS, however, did not see it that way, as the Cardinal dropped from 12th to 13th in the rankings. Nevertheless, Luck controlled what he could in guiding Stanford to the 38-28 win, and has now accounted for at least three touchdowns in five of seven games. An Auburn, Oregon, or Boise State loss would help his cause.
Last game: 190 yards, three touchdowns and one interception passing (71 percent completed, 6.8 YPA), 11 yards rushing (2.8 YPC) vs. Washington State
Next game: @ Washington
+Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska (Ranked No. 14)
Martinezís recent three-game stretch is shaping up like a Rocky movie. He was sky high in a rout of Kansas State with five touchdowns, knocked to the canvas (held scoreless) in an upset loss to Texas, and is now back on his feet again. Martinez set a freshman record for passing yards in a game against Oklahoma State, and his five scores through the air showed that the Cornhuskers arenít just a one-dimensional attack. His offensive stats trail Cameron Newton in all of the relevant categories, but if he continues his fine season at the current pace, heís bound for a Heisman nomination.
Last game: 323 yards, five touchdowns passing (65.7 percent completed, 9.2 YPA), 112 yards rushing (5.9 YPC) @ No. 14 Oklahoma State
Next game: vs. No. 6 Missouri
Stock: Way Up
+Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (Ranked No. 3)
If weíre going to be nit-picky, Moore did throw an interception for the first time since September 18th. Similar to his last one, Mooreís interception was largely inconsequential as it came in the fourth quarter with the Broncos up 42-13. Also somewhat unexpected was Mooreís first touchdown reception of the year, which game off a trick play with Austin Pettis tossing the score. Moore is now projected to throw 31 touchdowns and three interceptions. Keep in mind, he threw 39 touchdowns and three interceptions in 2009 and still did not win the award.
Last game: 298 yards, two touchdowns and one interception passing (71.4 percent completed, 10.6 YPA), one catch for seven yards and one touchdown vs. Louisiana Tech
Next game: vs. Hawaii
+DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma (Ranked No. 9)
Judging DeMarco Murray on the upset-loss to Missouri is a tough call. While he didnít rush for many yards, his YPC wasnít awful, and he was facing a defense thatís now ranked 4th in the nation allowing 13 points a game. He contributed offensively by catching eight passes and scoring on a four-yard pass that tied the game in the second quarter. Murray has at least one touchdown in every game this year, and while the loss to Missouri hurts, heís projected for 24 touchdowns and over 1,200 rushing yards, which would easily get his name on the ballot.
Last game: 49 yards rushing (4.1 YPC), 48 yards and one touchdown receiving (6.0 YPC) @ No. 11 Missouri
Next game: vs. Colorado
+Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn (Ranked No. 1)
It was just another Ďho-humí day for Cameron Newton. He broke Jimmy Sidleís 47-year-old record for single-season rushing yards by an SEC quarterback (1,006) and surpassed Heisman winner Pat Sullivanís 40-year-old school record of single-season rushing/passing touchdowns. (26) And oh, by the way, Newtonís team vaulted to No. 1 in the country after taking down the SECís top-ranked defense of LSU. Assuming Auburn runs the table, you could safely say Newtonís ĎHeisman momentí came when he broke two tackles, juked two more, and dragged All-American Patrick Peterson into the end zone to cap an amazing 49-yard, go-ahead score.
Last game: 86 yards passing (62.5 percent completed, 5.4 YPA), 217 yards and two touchdowns rushing (7.8 YPC) vs. No. 6 LSU
Next game: @ Ole Miss
Stock: Sky High
+Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State (Ranked No. 11)
Ohio State came back strong against Purdue in a 49-0 romp, but their performance would have been better served had it been a week previously in Wisconsin. Pryorís three touchdowns came in the second quarter with the Buckeyes already ahead 21-0. With a 42-0 lead at halftime, Pryor didnít see much action the rest of the way. Pryorís 21 touchdowns are impressive, but his current pace is not likely to catch the other 6-6, dual-threat quarterback playing for Auburn. Season-ending contests against No. 15 Iowa and Michigan will serve as his chance to change the minds of voters.
Last game: 270 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions passing (72.7 percent completed, 12.3 YPA) vs. Purdue
Next game: @ Minnesota
+Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
After a bye, Denard Robinsonís shoulder problem seems to have worked itself out, and heís declared himself 100 percent for the Wolverines visit to Happy Valley. The case against Robinson is that heís lost his last two games, throwing crucial interceptions in both contests, and trails Auburnís Cameron Newtown by nine total touchdowns. The case for Robinson is that heís actually rushed for more yards than Newton (1,096 vs. 1,077), has a higher yards per carry average (8.0 vs. 6.9), and trails in passing by only 45 yards. Season-ending games against No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 11 Ohio State can swing the pendulum dramatically.
Last game: 96 yards, one touchdown and one interception passing (72.2 percent completed, 5.3 YPA), 105 yards rushing (5.8 YPC) vs. No. 15 Iowa
Next game: @ Penn State
Todayís Verdict: Cameron Newton
After a great performance against LSUís strong defense, Newton is now our Heisman front-runner for the second week in a row. His scoring is off the charts, with a current projection of 41 total scores. Beyond Newton, the tandem of Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb have helped Auburnís running game, as the Tigerís are fourth in the nation with over 300 rushing yards per game. If the Tigers are able to avoid any hiccups on the way to the regular season finale against Alabama, itís really difficult to see Newton not winning the award.
THE BIG BOARD
1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
4. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
5. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
6. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
7. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
8. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
Also keep an eye on: Darron Thomas (QB, Oregon), Robert Griffin (QB, Baylor), John Clay (RB, Wisconsin), Kendall Hunter (RB, Oklahoma State), Russell Wilson (QB, North Carolina State), Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State), Ryan Broyles (WR, Oklahoma), Matt Barkley (QB, USC), Ed Wesley (RB, TCU), Randall Cobb (WR, Kentucky), Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn)