NCF Nation: heisman watch 102312

Pac-12 Heisman tracker

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
10:30
AM ET
As noted last week, Taylor Kelly was on the shortlist for my Heisman ballot because through the first six games, I believed he deserved the recognition -- with the stipulation that it may only last a week. And it did. But Kenjon Barner picked up a few more voters and has risen to third in the ESPN.com poll. Matt Barkley and De'Anthony Thomas continue to receive votes. Here's how the Pac-12 players shake out in the ESPN.com poll.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
  • Week 8 numbers: Carried 16 times for 143 yards (8.9 average) with three touchdowns that included a 71-yard score.
  • Season numbers: Has carried 132 times for 870 yards (6.6 average) with 12 touchdowns. Has 11 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.
  • What went well: While the nation tuned in to see what De'Anthony Thomas was all about, it was Barner who stole the show. His ankle-breaking moves were on full display as he showed burst, elusiveness and hard running.
  • Any questions? Were enough people watching for him to at least garner some attention on a national scale? He's got a quarterback and a linebacker in front of him in the poll, but it seems like he's getting some more looks.
Others receiving votes

Matt Barkley, USC, QB
  • Week 8 numbers: Was a sparkling 19-of-20 for 298 yards, 6 touchdowns and no interceptions.
  • Season numbers: Has completed 140 of 213 passes (65.7) with 22 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
  • Thoughts: He's not out of it yet. A few more games with some big numbers -- especially on Nov. 3 against the Ducks -- could swing some voters back his way.
De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
  • Week 8 numbers: Carried 12 times for 25 yards and no touchdowns. Caught three balls for 4 yards and no touchdowns.
  • Season numbers: Has 53 carries for 402 yards (7.6 average) and 6 touchdowns. Has caught 23 balls for 209 yards with 3 touchdowns.
  • Thoughts: He picked up one second-place vote, but the touches just haven't been there. More and more people are starting to throw support to Barner, who at this point is clearly the better candidate.

Notre Dame Heisman watch: Week 9

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
10:30
AM ET
Who else?

Manti Te'o, LB: The senior captain recorded 10 tackles in the Irish's 17-14 win over BYU, his third straight game with double-digit stops. He recorded his fourth interception of the season, tying him for the nation's lead among linebackers. As Notre Dame Director of Football Media Relations Brian Hardin points out, Te'o's six takeaways on the season are second in the nation to Fresno State's Phillip Thomas, and Te'o is the only player in the top 10 for both interceptions and fumble recoveries (two). His six takeaways are greater than six FBS schools' total and equal to four more.

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 9

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
10:30
AM ET
Here are the Big 12's best opportunities to bring home the Heisman this season:

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein is the new front-runner for the award, and largely stands alone atop the standings. He threw for a career-high 323 yards and accounted for seven touchdowns in Saturday's 55-14 win over then-No. 13 West Virginia.

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith hit rock bottom this week and WVU's offense is reeling, but he's still got good numbers, and if he gets back on his previous pace, he might play his way back to the ceremony and who knows, maybe more. Can't emphasize enough how much football is still left to play, and his ratio of 26 touchdowns to two picks is still impressive.

3.Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege had a terrible outing in the loss to Oklahoma, but he's been lights-out just about every other week. If Texas Tech springs the upset in Manhattan this week, you might see Doege get some Heisman hype, especially if he plays well. He leads the nation with 28 touchdown passes and is third in the Big 12 with 2,209 passing yards with just seven interceptions.

4. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones has played fantastic football these past three weeks. Blake Bell is still vulturing touchdowns, which hurts Jones' case, but he's kept a low profile this season and could make a late-season charge if the Sooners keep winning. His numbers still aren't fantastic, though. He's fifth in the Big 12 in yards and ninth in completion percentage, though he's thrown 12 touchdowns to three interceptions.

5. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle's been pretty consistent this season and he's all alone at the top of the Big 12 rushing race. He has 765 yards and eight scores, and averages 127.5 yards a game on the ground. No other back averages more than 94. If OSU makes a late-season run, he'll get into the mix, especially considering OSU's quarterback injuries.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch, and did so with the belief that there's really only one player in the country right now who's played well enough to really deserve the award:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. DeAnthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
  3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

ACC Heisman Watch: Week 9

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
10:30
AM ET
At this point in the Heisman race, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein appears to be the front-runner, with a long list of contenders right behind him.

But nobody on that list is from the ACC. The opportunities to seize the moment have been there, but nobody has had headline-worthy performances on a consistent basis. However, there might be some time left to make a run because the race is totally unpredictable. Remember, three weeks ago, Geno Smith was a "lock."

Here are a few ACC players to keep an eye on as the season winds down.

1. Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. The Seminoles relied more heavily on their run game to wear down Miami on Saturday, as Manuel threw for 229 yards and no touchdowns in the victory. He still leads the ACC in pass efficiency and is averaging 254.1 yards passing per game.

2. Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had only three catches for 68 yards and a touchdown in a win over Virginia Tech in Week 8, but I still think he is worthy of much more national attention than he has gotten. Hopkins has 52 catches for 845 yards and nine touchdowns this season -- all tops in the ACC. He ranks No. 2 in the nation in total receiving yards.

3. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. He did not play his best game against Virginia Tech last week, throwing for a season-low 160 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Boyd still ranks second in the league in passing efficiency.

Big East Heisman Watch: Week 9

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
10:30
AM ET
The reigning Big East Freshman of the Year stated his case with another strong performance Saturday.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. A fourth game completing more than 76 percent of his passes keeps Bridgewater here, especially with his team standing 7-0. An even bigger test comes Friday against a rival Cincinnati team coming off its first loss, but the sophomore signal-caller has answered the bell all season long for the Cardinals. The Davey O'Brien Award semifinalist inspired Tim Tebow comparisons from coach Charlie Strong after leading his team to a late comeback win over USF with an 11-yard touchdown pass, and he flashed his versatility by rushing for 74 yards on 10 carries. For the season, Bridgewater has thrown for 1,694 yards with 11 touchdowns and three picks. He is third nationally in completion percentage (73.4).

Big Ten Heisman watch: Week 9

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
10:30
AM ET
The Heisman Trophy probably was the last thing on Braxton Miller's mind when paramedics loaded him into an ambulance in the fourth quarter of last week's Purdue game.

Now that we know the Ohio State quarterback's injury was apparently not that serious -- Urban Meyer said Monday that Miller has a sore neck but should be able to play this week -- we can look at how the injury nearly derailed his Heisman chances. Even before he got hurt, Miller had his worst statistical game of the season versus the Boilermakers, completing just 9 of 20 passes for 113 yards and rushing 12 times for 47 yards and one touchdown. The Buckeyes were also losing the game when he went down late in the third quarter.

A loss and an injury that forced Miller to miss significant time would basically have ended his Heisman hopes. Fortunately, Kenny Guiton helped saved the day, and it looks like Miller will return to start this weekend at Penn State in a big matchup. We'll have to see whether the injury causes Miller to alter his running style or play with less abandon. But the most important thing is that he's OK.

Kansas State's Collin Klein has assumed the lead in the Heisman chase, and the Wildcats' drubbing of West Virginia pushed Geno Smith back into the crowd. Because there are no clear-cut No. 2 choices at this point and Ohio State is undefeated, Miller's candidacy absorbed a rough outing. But it can't take too many more.

As we pointed out last week, the numbers between Miller and Klein aren't all that different:

Klein (7 games): 551 rushing yards, 1,397 passing yards, 24 total touchdowns, 278.3 total yards per game

Miller (8 games): 959 rushing yards, 1,354 passing yards, 21 total touchdowns, 292.9 total yards per game

The biggest difference? Klein has won more high-profile games. Miller gets a chance to answer on Saturday.

My ESPN.com Heisman Watch ballot for Week 9:

1. Klein
2. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
4. Miller
5. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

SPONSORED HEADLINES