Big Ten: Heisman watch 100411

Big Ten Heisman Watch: Week 6

October, 4, 2011
10/04/11
10:30
AM ET
When I submitted my Heisman Watch ballot to ESPN.com this week, there was a new leader on top. Yep, I voted for Wisconsin's Russell Wilson at No. 1.

Saturday's 48-17 beatdown of Nebraska served as a virtual three-hour infomercial for Wilson. He was brilliant, as he has been all season. The big stage afforded him a priceless opportunity, and he cashed in. With Boise State's Kellen Moore having a rare off night against Nevada, Stanford's Andrew Luck once again being really good but not transcendent, and Baylor's Robert Griffin III throwing a costly interception as his team lost, I think Wilson is the top candidate at this point.

A quick comparison between what I see as the three top quarterback candidates and their season numbers:

Russell Wilson: 1,391 passing yards, 74.8 percent completions, 13 touchdowns and one interception, plus 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Andrew Luck: 1,013 passing yards, 71.4 percent completions, 11 touchdowns and one interception, plus 58 rushing yards and a score.

Kellen Moore: 1,137 passing yards, 73.9 percent completions, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions.

They're all having fantastic seasons, but Wilson's numbers are just a bit better through the first five weeks. He might suffer a bit the next two weeks with Wisconsin off and then playing Indiana, but another showcase came could then arrive at Michigan State.

I wrote last week that the Wisconsin-Nebraska game could be a Heisman elimination showdown, and it appears that was the case. Huskers quarterback Taylor Martinez made too many mistakes in a national spotlight and had his passing problems exposed. There's very little chance he gets back into the race.

The only other serious Heisman candidate from the league right now appears to be Michigan's Denard Robinson. The Wolverines are 5-0 and climbing up in the national polls, and that will keep Robinson in the front of voters' minds. He's also put up good numbers and showed deft passing against a bad Minnesota defense last week in a 58-0 rout. How cool would it be if both Wilson and Robinson were serious Heisman candidates and their undefeated teams met in Indianapolis on Dec. 3? But that's a whole lot of ifs.

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball might be in the Heisman discussion if Wilson hadn't stolen much of the limelight from the Badgers' backfield. Ball has rushed for 511 yards and has a whopping 14 total touchdowns, putting him on pace for nearly 34 trips to the end zone in a 12-game season. Or maybe we could split the Heisman five ways among the Badgers' offensive linemen.

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