- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you've been following the weekly Heisman tracker on the blog, then you know several players have been in flux throughout the season.
First, it was USC quarterback Matt Barkley who started off in the usually disadvantageous position as preseason favorite. Then De'Anthony Thomas started making some waves at the prospect of a 1,000-yard rushing/1,000-yard receiving year.
Then Johnathan Franklin burst into the rankings after a hot start. Marqise Lee picked up some votes (though he officially fell out two weeks ago) and Kenjon Barner has risen to third in the ESPN.com Heisman poll.
There is still plenty of time for Barner to assert himself as the top running back in the country; for Barkley to declare that his absence from the top of the poll was short-lived; and for Thomas to show off his explosive play-making potential and convince folks that it's him, not Barner, who should be top Duck.
All three of these players meet next week when the Trojans host the Oregon Ducks in Los Angeles in one of the most highly-anticipated games of the year -- both in the Pac-12 and nationally.
In fact, it's very possible that a good showing from Barner or Barkley could solidify, at the very least, a trip to New York. For Thomas, it could elevate him back into the top five and big numbers down the stretch could earn him an invite.
Or, it could be a bust of a game for all three and the Pac-12 will not be represented in New York. That's also a possibility to consider.
So, for your Thursday poll question, how many players does the Pac-12 send to New York as Heisman Trophy Finalists?
Will it be Barner, Barkley or Thomas in a solo act?
Two Oregon teammates or Barkley and a Duck?
Do all three make the trek?
Or will the conference be blanked?
I suppose it's possible that Lee or Franklin climb back into contention -- but it's going to take monster games down the stretch for that to happen. For our purposes here, we're sticking to the three Pac-12 players represented in the ESPN.com Heisman poll.
2dChantel Jennings and David Lombardi