- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Brandon Weeden, quarterback, Oklahoma State: While the two quarterbacks ahead of him suffered setbacks, he went out and had one of his best games of the season, throwing five touchdowns and completing 83.8 percent of his passes. His numbers are comparable or better than almost every other quarterback in the field and he has his team in position to play for a national championship. He might not be the NFL prospect that Andrew Luck is, but he's got the numbers and the undefeated season (with wins over three Top 25 teams) to back up his top billing.
LaMichael James, running back, Oregon: He was the best player on the field Saturday night in Palo Alto, Calif., darting and dashing his way to 146 yards and three touchdowns -- including a scoring run of 58 yards. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry against the Cardinal and was equally effective between the tackles or bouncing to the outside. He's the best running back in the nation for one of the best offensive teams in the nation. For the year, he averages almost 8 yards per carry and 150.8 yards per game. Those are Heisman numbers.
Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford: This is not a knee-jerk reaction to Saturday night. Over the past few games, Luck has not looked as good as he had earlier in the year. Consider: In the first five games of the season, Luck was completing 73 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions with an average of 286.5 yards per game. In the last five, the completion percentage dropped to 68 percent with 15 touchdowns, five interceptions and 259.4 passing yards per game. Saturday night, he accounted for three turnovers in the biggest game in school history. Lots of blame to go around, but fair or not, the quarterback usually shoulders the bulk of it. Comes with the job. No other player in the last couple of weeks was able to make a push that justified dropping Luck. This week, two players did.
Case Keenum, quarterback, Houston: With Moore dropping, Keenum is the lone non-AQ player still in the mix. And it's hard not to be impressed with his accuracy and efficiency. It's been said before about Keenum: if the Heisman was a pure numbers award, it would be his. But his team's non-AQ status and the fact that almost every team he's faced this year ranks in the bottom half nationally in defense has to be considered.
Trent Richardson, running back, Alabama: A nice bounce-back performance after the loss to LSU, going for 127 yards against Mississippi State. But it took him 32 carries to get there on 4 yards per carry -- his third-lowest average of the season. Very good player, but I think James put a little distance between the two with his performance Saturday night.
Kellen Moore, quarterback, Boise State: If only this guy had a kicker. But that's not the real reason he dropped. The past two weeks, he's had his worst games of the season in terms of accuracy (58.1 percent against UNLV, 73.7 against TCU). While the latter is still pretty good, combine it with a loss and it's enough to knock a non-AQ contender out of the picture.
With Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore losing last week, there was quite a bit of movement, as expected. Here's the results of the ESPN.com writers' poll, as always, followed by my ballot.