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Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 11

By David Ubben

We've got a third Big 12 player making an appearance on my Heisman ballot this week. Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon tops my list of Big 12 players with an opportunity to win the award, and cracked my overall top 5 this week.

He's the Big 12's most consistently unstoppable player. For some perspective, here are Blackmon's three worst games of the season.
Yeah.

Among the Oklahoma State fans and media, there seems to be some hesitancy to declare Blackmon better than former Cowboy Dez Bryant. Bryant had more jaw-dropping catches, and was a better threat with the jump ball, but when it comes to simple production, he's not even close to Blackmon.

In 2008, in one of Oklahoma State's best offenses ever with an All-American running back in Kendall Hunter and the school's leader in all-time offense in Zac Robinson, Bryant caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns in 12 games. Blackmon has 75 grabs for 1,285 yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games. He could theoretically surpass Bryant's production for the entire year with a big game this week.

He's averaging 160.6 receiving yards a game, which leads the nation by a full 36 yards a game, but it might be even better than that. Two other receivers who drew some Heisman buzz in their day, Pitt's Larry Fitzgerald (2nd in 2003) and Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree averaged 128 and 151 in their best years.

Fitzgerald also had just one game with double-digit catches and was held below 100 yards three times. Blackmon has double-digit catches in five of eight games, and hasn't been held below 125 yards in any game this year. He twice surpassed 200 yards receiving and topped out at an eight-catch, 207-yard game.

Blackmon has a 207-yard game with 10 catches and another with 13 for 190 yards. He has three touchdowns in the two games combined.

Blackmon is on track for 100 catches, more than 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns, and I don't see much reason to believe he won't get there or further. Obviously it's extremely difficult to actually win the award as a receiver, if he keeps this up, he should absolutely be given a trip to New York as a finalist.

1. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: I don't know if I've said this yet, but he's pretty good, and a deceptively fast long-strider.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin wasn't at his best on Saturday, missing on a few key throws in his touchdown-less, 30-of-48, 267-yard performance, but if he gets back on track and the Bears win out against Texas A&M and Oklahoma, he could get back into the finalists picture.

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: Martinez's production has slowed thanks to an ankle injury and no big runs since his best running game of the year against Kansas State, but you saw on Saturday what life is like for Nebraska's offense without him.

4. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State: Hunter only notched 66 yards on Saturday, but he's got a wide lead in the Big 12 rushing title race. No player is within 125 yards of his 1,240 yards this year, which also stayed constant at No. 3 nationally.

5. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Broyles had an underwhelming eight catches for 59 yards against Texas A&M, but with 86 catches and one of just five receivers in the country with 1,000 yards receiving, he's still a cut above the Big 12's No. 3 receiver, Jeff Fuller.

Here's my ESPN Heisman Watch ballot for this week:

1. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State