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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
'Heisman Predictor' ranks Luck third

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

ESPN.com's Heisman Predictor, which uses a formula created by Ryan McCrystal, has published its latest Heisman Trophy rankings, and the only Pac-12 player on the list is Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck at No. 3.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is No. 1 and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson is No. 2.

McCrystal has only missed predicting the Heisman Trophy once since he started his system, so what we can guess is that Robinson shortly will tumble on this list.

Iron-clad guarantee: Robinson won't win the Heisman Trophy unless his passing numbers improved dramatically.

Robinson is the nation's 39th-rated passer. He's completed just 53 percent of his passes and thrown six interceptions with just eight touchdowns against a schedule that's featured no ranked teams.

Robinson is fourth in the nation in rushing with 139 yards per game -- he's as exciting a player as there is out there -- but he's still a quarterback, and if his passing numbers are mediocre, he won't win the Heisman. Not this year, with Luck, Wilson, Boise State's Kellen Moore and Baylor's Robert Griffin putting up eye-popping stats.

Oregon fans are probably going: What about LaMichael James?

James leads the nation in: 1. Rushing (153.3 yards per game); 2. All-Purpose yards (226.8); 3. Punt returns (22.8 yards per return).

Yes, no one has noticed.

But they will if he keeps rolling. For one, James will be on ESPN on Thursday night against California. If he puts up big numbers against a quality defense, he'll make a statement.

Then he needs to continue piling up numbers -- and the Ducks piling up wins -- in advance of the red-letter date with Stanford on Nov. 12. If he puts on a big show against the Cardinal -- as he did last year -- and upstages Luck, he'll be well on his way to getting an invitation to New York again.

Oregon fans also want to root for this: Boise State to stumble, LSU to beat Alabama (and stuff running back Trent Richardson) and for Baylor to start losing. This weekend it would help James if Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones plays poorly in a loss to Texas.

In other words, we've got lots of football ahead for Heisman candidates to rise and fall.