Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 6

October, 5, 2010
10/05/10
10:15
AM ET
Still no Big 12 candidates on my ballot for ESPN's Heisman Watch, but here are the five players from the conference with the best chance to win. They are all on undefeated teams.

1. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: DeMarco Murray is taking a little bit of Jones' momentum, which is great for Oklahoma but bad for the Sooners' chances to rack up another Heisman winner. Jones played great against Texas with 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while completing 60 percent of his passes against one of the most talented secondaries in college football. Most importantly, he had no turnovers, despite an almost disastrous late fumble against Texas that rolled out of bounds. He's on pace to equal his 26 touchdowns from a year ago, while throwing half as many interceptions.

2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: He'll get his chance to rebound from a shaky game against South Dakota State with a start on the road Thursday night against Kansas State on ESPN.

[+] EnlargeKendall Hunter
AP Photo/Brody SchmidtSenior running back Kendall Hunter is averaging 7 yards per carry on 82 attempts.
3. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State: Hunter only got eight carries in the first half against Texas A&M. The Cowboys made an effort to get him more touches in the second half and he finished with 22 carries for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns to stay undefeated. He's topped 100 yards in three of four games this year.

4. Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State: Look for him to switch places with Martinez if he has a big game and Kansas State beats Nebraska. UCF bottled him up and kept him from scoring a touchdown (or two, like in his first three games) and kept him under 100 yards. That will be an afterthought if he breaks off a few huge runs against the Huskers.

5. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma: Murray erased a few memories of his past Red River struggles with a pair of touchdowns and 115 rushing yards against Texas. He'll need more days like his 208-yard performance in the season opener, however, to warrant more serious Heisman discussion. He's racking up touchdowns with a national-best nine in five games, but he's failed to top 70 yards twice so far this season.

Finally, I was asked to take my turn explaining my ballot for this week's Heisman Watch on the ESPN website, so here's what I wrote about who I voted for this week:

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan: I was one of the guys who had Kellen Moore above Robinson the entire year. Until this week. Regardless of who Michigan is playing, his production and status as the nation's leading rusher as a quarterback is astounding. If he keeps at this pace and ends up running for 2,000 yards and throwing for 2,000 more, there's no way anyone should be above him, regardless of record. Anytime the biggest criticism of a player is, "Well, he might get hurt doing what he's doing," you know you're talking about a special talent.

2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: There's not a quarterback in college football I'd trust more down four on my own 20-yard line with two minutes to play. He showed why against Virginia Tech and his decision-making over the course of the season has been great. The best news for Moore is teams like Nevada and Utah State are playing well, and if that continues, he'll have a big finish to his year.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon. There's no bigger home run hitter in college football, and James' big week against Stanford propelled him onto my list for the first time this week. The most staggering statistic from his day against the Cardinal is he didn't have a single run for no gain or negative yardage. How many running backs have had a day like that ever? Much less one against a top 10 team in which he carried the ball 31 times?

4. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State. Pryor has shown the improvement as a passer that he's needed to show to become the type of quarterback people thought he'd become. He's well on pace for career highs in completion percentage and touchdowns, and career lows in interceptions. His game against Illinois wasn't great, but if you're busting 66 yard runs off and topping 100 yards rushing, you don't need to be Joe Montana.

5. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Ingram didn't get a lot of touches against Florida, but he was reasonably productive with the ones he got. His game against Arkansas got him back into the race after missing the first two games of the year, and Ingram looks better than ever. With another big game against South Carolina this week, he'll have a shot to climb these ballots if he tops 150 yards again.

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