A week’s absence due to work and illness and naturally I missed the shocker of the 2012 Heisman campaign – Geno Smith getting schooled by Seth Doege and Texas Tech – although to be fair, no-one was really shocked except by the 49-14 scoreline. What this does mean is the race is wide open again with other candidates back in the running. I still think it’s Smith’s to lose, as long as there are no more slip-ups along the way.
The Top 10
Geno Smith, West Virginia
Smith showed his mettle despite a “down” performance against Texas – just 268 yards and 4 TDs – but the stress of 2 straight shootouts showed against the Red Raiders, who were hell-bent on adding to their collection of top-ranked scalps. He still threw for 275 yards and a score (still no picks), but in the eyes of Joe Public, he’s fallen back among the ranks of mortals, and it doesn’t let up next week with the Wildcats coming to town.
Next Week: Kansas State
Stats to Date: Passing 259-195-2271-25-0, Rushing 28-71-1.
Jonathan Franklin, UCLA
Franklin hasn’t been bad this season; he just doesn’t look like the guy who ripped up Nebraska for 217 yards in Week 2. He’s “only” managed 179 yards the last 2 weeks, but while he’s still high on the yardage charts, he only has 4 TDs on the ground, and that’s not going to cut it. You’re out!!
Next Week: Bye (for all it matters)
Stats to Date: Rushing 130-878-4, Receiving 16-199-1.
Aaron Murray, Georgia
Murray’s been very efficient this season, but picked a bad night for a bad game – the biggest game of the season for the Bulldogs. It wasn’t all his fault – no-one really bothered to show up in the 35-7 loss – but he will take the rap, hurting his Heisman prospects. He has to play lights out the rest of the season and win the SEC Championship to have a realistic shot.
Next Week: @ Kentucky
Stats to Date: Passing 161-100-1487-12-4, Rushing 25-(-17)-3.
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Unlike Murray, Lattimore played well in the Georgia game, rushing for 109 yards and a score and pacing the offense, giving him a jump on Murray. However, the following week against LSU, the Gamecocks looked out of their depth for much of the game, and Lattimore was not much of a factor with just 35 yards and a TD rushing. Now he’s in a similar boat to Murray, and he needs a huge game to really catch the eye. Gators next week.
Next Week: @ Florida
Stats to Date: Rushing 129-584-10, Receiving 22-156-0.
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Thomas continues to be merely okay as Oregon roll through the season, occasionally flashing the talent he displayed last season, but mostly being “productive”. Part of it his teams kicking away from him on special teams, but he’s less impressive this season on offense too. Big game coming up – time to put up or shut up.
Next Week: @ Arizona State
Stats to Date: Rushing 41-377-6, Receiving 20-205-3, Punt Returns 10-150-0, Kick Returns 6-88, Total Yards 77-820-9.
Kenjon Barner, Oregon
Barner just continues to perform, but isn’t getting any love from Heisman types despite ranking second only to Franklin in the conference. Part of it is the fact that the offense is so good Barner is on the bench before most starters, but a late push isn’t beyond him as the opposition gets tougher.
Next Week: @ Arizona State
Stats to Date: Rushing 116-727-9, Receiving 11-111-1.
Braxton Miller, Ohio State
The rest of the team, at least on offense, is starting to get the hang of the new offensive system, but instead of catching up with Miller, they still seem far behind as he comes up with the goods week after week. The offense has knocked up 94 points in the last 2 games but, especially against Indiana, needed Miller to make the difference. As usual. Geno Smith had better watch his back.
Next Week: Purdue
Stats to Date: Passing 159-96-1271-11-4, Rushing 129-912-9.
Collin Klein, Kansas State
K-State may have had a sleepy first half against Kansas and gotten a fight from Iowa State, but none of this was on Klein, who kept the offense ticking over with tough running and accurate passing. He doesn’t have the stats of some of the other contenders, but he is absolutely the reason the Wildcats are unbeaten so far this season. No other player on this list betters portrays his team.
Next Week: @ West Virginia
Stats to Date: Passing 118-79-1074-7-2, Rushing 98-510-10.
AJ McCarron, Alabama
Of all the stats that will be accumulated by season’s end, McCarron will probably be the top QB in one of them - wins. He doesn’t seem to be just along for the ride this year either. Unlike last year, and even with his predecessor Greg McElroy, McCarron is the mainstay on an offense which has struggled to move the ball on the ground on occasion. How he plays against LSU will dictate his season, but let’s get the win over the Volunteers first.
Next Week: @ Tennessee
Stats to Date: Passing 132-89-1170-12-0, Rushing 23-(-32)-0.
EJ Manuel, Florida State
A week after showing my faith in Manuel by putting him the top 10, he blows it when the whole team has an almighty choke in the second half against a good, but not particularly great, North Carolina State squad. While this may have cost him his National Championship shot, Manuel may not be out the running for a Heisman, but he’s got to play more like he did against BC last week (439 yards, 4 TDs). Watch this space.
Next Week: @ Miami (Fl)
Stats to Date: Passing 183-132-1804-14-4, Rushing 46-186-1.
Best of the Rest
Tajh Boyd, Clemson – Boyd has been very productive since the loss to Florida State, although he’s been a little pick happy with 3. Still, the offense has been great and easily compensated for a suspect defense. Can the team win out with this D? Probably not, but a trip to (and win in) the ACC Championship game won’t hurt at all. Next Week: Virginia Tech
Stats: Passing 201-137-1748-14-5, Rushing 71-224-2.
Andre Ellington, Clemson – Ellington just isn’t having the same impact he had last year, especially with the emergence of Boyd. He’s gone. Next Week: Virginia Tech
Stats: Rushing 116-597-6, Receiving 7-137-1, Kick Returns 6-153-0.
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska – Burkhead wasn’t really a factor in the big loss at Ohio State, even though he’d 119 yards. The score just got out of hand too quickly, costing him carries as the team needed to pass to keep pace. He didn’t play last week, but he needs a big game to stay here. Next Week: @ Northwestern
Stats: Rushing 43-392-3, Receiving 4-29-1.
Derek Carr, Fresno State – Carr needed to beat Boise State, or at least rack up some serious stats against them, but just 266 yards and one TD isn’t what I had in mind, and non-BCS types always have an uphill battle. Gone! Next Week: Wyoming
Stats: Passing 275-188-2082-19-4, Rushing 34-40-0.
Nick Florence, Baylor – Florence has been chucking the ball about with reckless abandon- literally- and has tossed interceptions in every game bar one. But, when you play a defense like TCU’s that’s designed to punish wild passers, bad things usually happen. Four interceptions don’t rule Florence out, but he has to be far more accurate from here on in. He needs to win some big games too. Next Week: @ Texas
Stats: Passing 176-112-1874-18-9, Rushing 36-148-2.
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame – The Irish defense continues to dominate opponents, highlighted by the almost-shutout of Miami and the (controversial) goal-line stand against Stanford. Te’o isn’t racking up the big plays, but he’s had 21 tackles the last 2 weeks. Next week brings the stingy Cougars, who are capable of shutting down the ND offense. Can the D rise to the occasion again? Next Week: Brigham Young
Stats: 59 Tackles, 2 for Loss, 3 Interceptions, 3 PBUs, 1 Fumble Recovered, 3 QB Hurries.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia – No-one really looked good in the Lubbock debacle, and Austin had his worst game of the season with a “mere” 9 catches for 99 yards, while also returning a kickoff 47 yards. I’m not even gonna try to justify writing him off, even if the rest of the football world has failed to notice him. His biggest enemy is playing alongside Geno Smith. Next Week: Kansas State
Stats: Receiving 67-761-8, Rushing 8-90-0, Kick Returns 9-293-0, Punt Returns 9-43-0, Total Yards 93-1187-8.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville – Bridgewater doesn’t have the look of a Heisman winner, although he has the talent. So far he’s done what is required to win, whether it’s eking out a tough win against Southern Miss in a deluge; or keeping ahead of Pittsburgh in a shootout. He needs to blow up over the last few weeks to get a serious look, but the Big East is tough this year, and one loss should see him out. Next Week: South Florida
Stats: Passing 163-117-1438-9-3, Rushing 32-78-1.
Stephon Jefferson, Nevada – He’s really starting to make a name for himself and made a lot of midseason all-American lists. Only a sterling effort from Wyoming held him to less than 138 yards (82), and he’s averaging over 31 carries per game. Next Week: San Diego State
Stats: Rushing 219-1140-14, Receiving 14-139-1.
Mark Weisman, Iowa – the late bloomer has a lot of work to do to catch up with the rest of the pack, but he’s had at least 113 yards in the 4 games he’s started. More importantly, Iowa have a 3-1 record in that time, and it sure wasn’t Weisman’s fault they lost to Central Michigan. Next Week: Penn State
Stats: Rushing 100-631-8, Receiving 9-53-0, Kick Returns 1-11-0.
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