The Big Ten's window for the national title game seems to be closing. Can the same be said for the Big Ten's Heisman Trophy hopefuls?
I'm not sure any Big Ten candidate can catch Auburn's Cameron Newton or Oregon's LaMichael James (I'd pay to see Denard Robinson try, though). But there is a full month left in the season, and Big Ten players have three or four more chances to impress.
This week's update focuses on the top three candidates from the conference.
Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi
Week 9 stat line: 11-for-15 passing, 190 pass yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 1 carry, 26 rushing yards in win against Michigan State
Season statistics: 135-for-197 passing (68.5 percent), 1,922 pass yards, 19 TDs, 2 INTs, passer rating of 180.3 (No. 2 nationally)
Chances: Still looking good. Stanzi deserves to be recognized as a legit Heisman candidate after consistently putting up Heisman-worthy numbers week after week. He might not be as clutch as he was in 2009, but he's undoubtedly a better and smarter quarterback this fall. I still think he fights the pick-six-Rick stigma among the national media, but his numbers mirror those of Boise State's Kellen Moore.
Up next: Saturday at Indiana
Michigan QB Denard Robinson
Week 9 stat line: 27 carries, 191 rush yards, 3 rush TDs; 11-for-23 passing, 190 pass yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs in loss to Penn State
Season statistics: 164 carries, 1,287 rush yards (160.9 ypg, 2nd nationally), 12 TDs; 108-for-166 passing (65.1 percent), 1,509 pass yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs, passer rating of 155.3 (23rd nationally)
Chances: Still among the leaders, but needs strong finish. The Heisman Trophy is an individual award, but I worry that Michigan's slide has overshadowed the amazing things Robinson continues to do on the field. Robinson single-handedly kept Michigan in the game at Penn State, and his rushing numbers this season are simply staggering. He needs to improve the completion percentage this week against Illinois, and another strong game on the ground would help against a good Illini defense.
Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor
Week 9 stat line: 18-for-22 passing, 222 pass yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 5 carries, 55 rush yards, 1 rush TD in win against Minnesota
Season statistics: 152-for-225 passing (67.6 percent), 1,997 pass yards, 20 TDs, 7 INTs, passer rating of 165.2 (sixth nationally); 84 carries, 463 rush yards, 4 TDs; 1 reception for a 20-yard touchdown
Chances: Not bad after another efficient performance. Pryor would be higher on this list if not for three interceptions the last two games, his only mistakes in otherwise flawless performances against Purdue and Minnesota. The junior continues to complete passes at a high rate, and while he's running the ball a lot less in recent weeks, he made several plays with his feet against the Gophers. Pryor will need a very strong finish to remain in the race, but he'll be facing three big-name opponents (Penn State, Iowa, Michigan).
Up next: Open week before facing Penn State on Nov. 13 in Columbus