NCF Nation: heisman-watch-110111

SEC Heisman watch: Week 10

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:47
AM ET
Our weekly look at the Heisman Trophy candidates in the SEC:

1. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: If Richardson is going to make his run, he has a huge stage awaiting him on Saturday in the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown against LSU. It's a game everybody will be watching, and Richardson could move to the top of the list by rushing for 150-plus yards and leading Alabama to a win. He leads the SEC with an average of 123.6 yards per game and has scored an SEC-leading 17 touchdowns. The reality is that he's the SEC's only serious candidate at this point and a strong one.

2. Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn: Dyer would be a real long shot from a national perspective, but he's knocking on the door of his second straight 1,000-yard season and is coming off another big game for the Tigers in their win last week over Ole Miss. They've leaned on him as hard as any team in the league has leaned on one player this season, and he's continually delivered. Dyer has now carried the ball 186 times, which leads the SEC.

3. Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas: Wright joins the conversation this week and really should have been a part of it all season. He leads the SEC in catches (44), receiving yards (709) and is tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns (7). In every game, he's been a factor for the Hogs and has become a better overall receiver, especially with his ability to make things happen after the catch.

4. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: OK, defensive players don't win the Heisman Trophy, but there's not a hotter defensive player in the SEC right now than Jones. He had four sacks and forced a key fumble last week in the win over Florida and leads the league with eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss. This is a league full of great defensive players, and Jones is right there at the top.

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 10

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:30
AM ET

More movement after a week of upsets and blowouts in the Big 12. The league still only has three viable candidates, and here's how I rank them.

1. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

Last week: 24-36, 274 yards, 3 TD in a 59-24 win over Baylor.

Making the case for Weeden: Weeden's quarterback rating of 158.1 is his third-highest of the year, and he picked apart Baylor's defense all night as the Cowboys raced to a 49-3 lead. How confident is Weeden? OC Todd Monken called a run play on a 4th-and-goal at the one-yard line, and Weeden checked to a fade. He completed it, of course, to Justin Blackmon.

2. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

Last week: 35-47, 505 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT in a 58-17 road win over Kansas State.

Making the case for Jones: Jones slipped out of the race last week, and he'll need to keep playing like he did Saturday to officially get back in it. A school-record performance of 505 yards is an outstanding start, and if Oklahoma keeps winning, you'll see him on the short list by season's end. The numbers will be there. Bedlam should decide who grabs this honor for good.

3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Last week: 33-of-50, 425 yards, TD, 2 INT. 16 carries, 27 yards, TD.

Making the case for Griffin: Griffin put up good final numbers, but the red-zone failures made Saturday's result a forgettable one for the Bears. He added some nice numbers late, but Oklahoma State's defense made a pretty good statement against the Bears. Baylor needs to grab a win and for Griffin to play well if he's going to stay in the race, but three losses have him close to elimination now.

Here's how I voted in ESPN's weekly Heisman Watch:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
4. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
5. Case Keenum, QB, Houston

Big Ten Heisman Watch: Week 10

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:30
AM ET
This is not so much an update as it is a farewell.

Say goodbye to any hopes the Big Ten had to winning the Heisman Trophy this year. And I so looked forward to chronicling the race each week.

Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson had a great shot heading into late October, but two consecutive losses by the Badgers have dealt his campaign a fatal blow. Shame, too, because the fourth-quarter comebacks he led against Michigan State and Ohio State would have been perfect Heisman fodder. Unfortunately, Wilson does not also play defensive back.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson threw another interception last week against Purdue and wasn't even the offensive star for his team (Fitz Toussaint was). The Wolverines still have only one loss, and I suppose that if Shoelace could turn in a November that was as dazzling as his 2010 September was, he could climb back in. But as much as Brady Hoke has been using Devin Gardner and trying to get the running game going, I seriously doubt that happens.

Penn State's Silas Redd and Nebraska's Rex Burkhead have been great of late, but the running backs haven't gotten much national traction. If one has a huge closing month and other Heisman candidates really falter, then maybe that will change. If so, count on the glorious return of the Big Ten Heisman Watch.

But for now, this is farewell.

Pac-12 Heisman Watch: Week 10

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:30
AM ET
Here's a look at what the Pac-12's top Heisman Trophy candidates did over the weekend. Our list has notably thinned.

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: Luck completed 29-of-40 for 330 yards with three TDs and an interception in the 56-48 triple-overtime win over USC. He also rushed for 36 yards and a score. He ranks fifth in the nation in passing efficiency. He's completing 72 percent of his throws with 23 TDs and four interceptions. Trending? Same.

Chris Polk, RB, Washington: Against Arizona, Polk scored five touchdowns and became the first player in Washington history with at least 100 yards rushing and receiving in a single game. He had 34 carries for 144 yards and four TDs and he caught four passes for 100 yards with another score. He ranks fifth in the nation in rushing with 127 yards per game. Trending? Up.

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: James returned to action against Washington State after missing two games. He had 53 yards rushing on 13 carries in the Ducks win. He ranks second in the nation with 150.8 yards rushing per game. Trending? Down.

ACC Heisman Watch: Week 10

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:30
AM ET
For the past few weeks, this space has been dedicated to the ACC's Heisman hopefuls. Long shots, dark-horse candidates, and the most legitimate name -- quarterback Tajh Boyd -- have all been mentioned.

Now, it's time to say goodbye.

Goodbye, Heisman update post. Farewell, New York. Adios national spotlight.

It's a two-player race between Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who are both still playing for undefeated teams. Without a national title contender, the ACC's chances of producing a Heisman candidate decrease significantly. That's not to say the Heisman winner and finalists won't come from a one-loss team, or a team on the outside looking in, but after throwing one touchdown and two interceptions in a loss at Georgia Tech, it's probably not going to be Boyd. Can Boyd play his way back into the conversation? Absolutely, but his biggest obstacle isn't his stat line at this point, it's Andrew Luck, who is widely regarded as the best quarterback in the country right now.

The good news for the ACC? Boyd, receiver Sammy Watkins, Virginia Tech running back David Wilson, Miami running back Lamar Miller -- they're still some of the best players in the country, and they're all young. Just because it doesn't happen this year doesn't mean it won't happen.

Non-AQ Heisman Watch

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:30
AM ET
Two non-AQ quarterbacks remain in the hunt for the Heisman. Here is a look at how they fared in Week 9.

Kellen Moore, Boise State. Moore was off last week but has a record in his sights Saturday at UNLV. With a victory, Moore will pass Colt McCoy to set the NCAA record for most wins by a starting quarterback with 46. Moore has thrown for 2,010 yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions this season, and it seems he has a great shot to be invited back to New York.

Case Keenum, Houston. Keenum is a big-time player to watch Saturday against UAB. After throwing for over 500 yards in a 73-34 win over Rice, Keenum needs 268 yards against the Blazers to set the NCAA career passing mark. Timmy Chang currently holds the record of 17,072 yards set from 2000-04 at Hawaii. Keenum threw nine touchdown passes in the win over Rice, passing Graham Harrell for the most career touchdown passes in FBS history. Keenum now has 139, five more than Harrell had from 2005-08 at Texas Tech. As other teams and players have fallen, watch for Keenum to keep rising for at least some consideration. It is hard to ignore what he has done so far this season for the No. 13 Cougars. Keenum has thrown for 3,219 yards, 32 touchdowns and three interceptions and is completing a career-high 71.9 percent of his passes.

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