Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 7

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
10:30
AM ET
Here are the Big 12's best hopes for a Heisman after six weeks of football:

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith is all alone in this race for now. It's a long season, but after EJ Manuel and Aaron Murray suffered losses this past weekend, Smith would win the award in an absolute landslide if it were distributed this week. He had two fumbles against Texas, but threw four TDs and has thrown 30 touchdowns since his last interception, dating to last season's final regular-season game, Dec. 1 against South Florida. This year, he's got 24 TD passes and no picks.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein got my No. 2 vote this week, but he's definitely in the mix to win this, and would be in New York if voting were held this weekend. A simple win might not be enough, but Klein might become a co-leader of this race if he goes to Morgantown Oct. 20 and wins. For now, he's got to go to Ames and beat a good Iowa State team.

3. Tavon Austin, WR/KR, West Virginia: Austin turned his first five touches into 166 total yards Saturday against Texas, including a pair of long kick returns and an unbelievable 40-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4 that was the best play of the weekend in the Big 12. He caught 10 passes for 102 yards, and his two kick returns went for 111 yards.

4. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle leads the Big 12 in rushing, and if Oklahoma State makes a run later this season, he might get in the Heisman mix, too. Casey Pachall and David Ash took a tumble on this list, and Randle moves up, despite being off last week.

5. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: Bailey was money against Texas, catching touchdowns on three of his eight grabs in the win over the Longhorns. He finished with 75 yards, and the Longhorns simply couldn't cover him in the red zone.

6. David Ash, QB, Texas: The Longhorns lost Saturday, but it wasn't because of Ash. In a 48-45 loss to West Virginia, he completed 22 of 29 passes for 269 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He takes a tumble down this list, but he's still third nationally in passer rating.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch, a panel of 15 voters comprising ESPN experts and analysts.
  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

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