Why Weeden deserves the Heisman

Brandon Weeden's steady stats and undefeated record, combined with a Stanford loss on Saturday have opened up the Heisman race. Look inside, and you'll see Weeden sitting at or near the top.

ESPN Insider's KC Joyner makes the case for Weeden as the frontrunner for four reasons. You'll need ESPN Insider to see the full articleInsider, but here's a slice of what Joyner had to say.

1. His overall numbers are near identical to Luck's.

According to CFBstats.com, Weeden and Luck are very close in passing numbers posted against FBS opponents. Weeden's 164.16 passer rating mark ranks seventh, while Luck's 169.03 rating ranks fifth.

Clearly, the difference in the stat sheet is negligible.

2. He survived Justin Blackmon's dropoff.

So far this year, in games against teams from BCS AQ conferences, Blackmon has gained 948 receiving/penalty yards on 108 targets, or 8.8 yards per attempt.

Now contrast that with his numbers against AQ teams in 2010 -- 1,242 receiving/penalty yards on 103 targets, or 12.1 YPA.

One would expect that to correllate with a drop in Weeden's numbers. It hasn't. Weeden's numbers are better, and he's found other receivers.

3. He is peaking at the right time.

In this past weekend's matchup against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, he posted a season-best YPA total of 11.4.

In the battle against the No. 17 Kansas State Wildcats two weeks ago, Weeden topped the 500-yard passing mark in a single game for the first time in his career.

Weeden tore up Tech's defense, and the Cowboys needed every inch of his 502 yards against the Wildcats. He made plays when his team needed them.

4. Luck is falling at the worst time.

His YPA in each of (the last two) games fell short of the 7-yard mark, which is the first time Luck has posted consecutive games with fewer than 7 yards per attempt since his redshirt freshman season.

Luck also threw three interceptions in these games, which is only the second time in his career he has thrown that many picks in a two-game stretch. In addition, his 135.76 passer rating in the Oregon game was his lowest single-game passer rating mark of the season and his lowest in his last 13 starts.

Not to mention, the Cardinal lost. No, it wasn't all Luck's fault, but he didn't move the offense as much as needed. Weeden's defense gave up 38 points to K-State. It didn't matter for the Cowboys.

Weeden still has one final big showcase game against Oklahoma that will ultimately tell us whether he deserves it.

But for now, what do you think? Is Joyner right?

Read his full takeInsider. Then vote in our poll.