Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Big Ten Heisman watch: Week 7
By Brian Bennett
And then there was one.
Last week, we waved goodbye to Le'Veon Bell's Heisman Trophy candidacy, which fell by the wayside like those of Montee Ball and Denard Robinson. We said that Taylor Martinez remained just on the periphery of the race and could jump into the mix with a big game against Ohio State. And we applied the darkhorse label to Kain Colter.
Well, Martinez's struggles with ball security on the road continued, as the Nebraska quarterback threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in a 63-38 blowout loss to the Buckeyes. And while Colter had some brilliant moments at Penn State, Northwestern strangely went away from him with the game on the line, and the Wildcats lost. So say sayonara to the Heisman long-shot chances of Martinez and Colter.
That means as we reach the halfway point of the season, the Big Ten has only one legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. At least he's building a pretty good case.
In all reality, the Heisman discussion right now is about who will finish as a runner-up to West Virginia's Geno Smith. But there's a lot of time for Smith to falter. Ohio State's Braxton Miller could be there to reap the benefits if that happens.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Monday that he doesn't think Miller is a serious Heisman candidate. And maybe Miller time really will come in 2013 or '14. Yet it's hard to deny what he's done for the 6-0 Buckeyes. You could see it in the Nebraska game. Miller started off slowly in the first quarter, and the Buckeyes fell behind. Once he got going in the second quarter, though, it was goodnight for the Huskers.
If Miller can keep delivering highlight plays and help keep his team undefeated, he's going to stay in the race. There aren't a lot of other serious candidates out there. Especially in the Big Ten.
My ESPN.com Heisman Watch ballot for Week 7:
3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
4. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
5. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon