The HP Heisman Watch, Week 4

Go to this great sportsbook for the latest betting odds, but in the meantime, it’s time to look at the state of the Heisman race.

Here is my list of the players who currently stand the best chance of actually winning the Heisman.  This is not a predicted order of the final vote, nor the order of how the vote would go if held today.  Some players not on this list are likely to receive support, but not enough to win. 

So, here is the HP Heisman Watch after four weeks of football.  One of these guys is going to win the 2010 Heisman:

1. Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State–Pryor is coming off one of his more spectacular days as he went 20 of 26 for 224 yards and four touchdowns while running for 104 yards and a score on seven carries against Eastern Michigan.  Oh, and he also caught a touchdown pass.  His trump card over the rest of the field remains his team’s tradition and lofty ranking.  As long as he keeps playing like he has been lately–and the Buckeyes keep winning–he’ll stay the favorite.  Looking ahead, he is likely to be challenged just once over the next five games–a road trip to Wisconsin in mid-October.  Get through that, and he’ll head into November with a chance to seal the deal.

Current Stats: 71/107 (66.4%), 939 yds, 10 TDs, 2 INTs, 167.18 rtg; 43 att, 269 rush yds (6.3 ypc), 3 TDs; 1 TD rec.

Projected Season Stats*: 2,817 passing yds, 30 TDs, 6 INTs; 807 rush yds, 9 TDs

2. Denard Robinson, Michigan–I’m convinced that the only thing standing between Robinson and the Heisman is the health issue.  Can he survive a full season?  If so, I think he’s going to put up numbers that will be impossible for the Heisman electorate to ignore–no matter what Michigan’s record.  Before getting dinged up against Bowling Green last Saturday, he still managed 129 rushing yards and two scores on just five carries while completing all four of his passes for another 60 yards.  Despite the limited play, he still leads the nation in rushing and is second in total offense.  If he stays healthy, the combination of Michigan’s traditional power status and his overwhelming stats should carry him through.  However, the more time he misses and the more his stats suffer due to injury, the more he’ll have to make up for it by leading Michigan to some big wins down the road.

Current Stats: 57/80 (71.3%), 731 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 162.01 rtg; 79 att, 688 rush yds (8.71 ypc), 6 TDs

Projected Season Stats*: 2,193 passing yds, 12 TDs, 3 INTs; 2,064 rush yds, 18 TDs

3. Kellen Moore, Boise State–Moore looked fantastic against Oregon State and once again reminded voters why he’s such a special player.  He was 19 of 27 for 288 yards and three touchdowns against the Beavers and it seemed like he put every throw on the money.  He and his team are just really, really good, despite playing in a non-BCS conference.  Unfortunately for his Heisman aspirations, he’ll go into the equivalent of hibernation for a while as BSU heads into conference play against a slate of lesser foes.  However, Moore has a chance to get a boost later in the year when the Broncos play three late November games on Friday night, which means he’ll have the spotlight to himself.  In the meantime, he’s got to keep adding to his already dazzling career numbers  (29-1 as a starter; 47-4 TD-to-INT ratio in the last 17 games) and hope Pryor and Robinson falter a bit.

Current Stats: 62/95 (65.3%), 873 yds, 8 TDs, 1 INT, 168.13 rtg

Projected Season Stats*: 3,492 passing yds, 32 TDs, 4 INTs

4. Andrew Luck, Stanford–Luck acquitted himself well against Notre Dame, going 19 of 32 for 238 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions while also rushing for 23 yards.  Beating the Irish in a nationally-televised game never hurts when it comes to the Heisman race (just ask Denard Robinson).  But Luck has an great opportunity to add another feather to his cap this Saturday when Stanford takes on No. 5 Oregon in Eugene.   If he plays well and beats the Ducks, then he’ll start to eat into a significant chunk of Moore’s West Coast vote and become a major Heisman contender.  Beating USC the following week would also be a boon to his candidacy.  Lose to one or both and it gets problematic.  In the end, several things have to fall into place for Luck to have a shot, but the same was true of Toby Gerhart last year and he missed the Heisman by the closest vote ever.

Current Stats: 67/108 (62.7%), 912 yds, 11 TDs, 2 INT, 169.52 rtg; 17 att, 163 rush yds (9.6 ypc), 1 TD

Projected Season Stats*: 2,736 passing yds, 33 TDs, 6 INTs; 489 rush yds, 4 TDs

5. LaMichael James, Oregon–James has wasted no time getting back up to speed after missing the first game due to suspension, averaging 151 yards per game in his three outings.  However, he had just 114 yards and a score on 28 carries against Arizona State, so he needs to pick up the pace a bit.  He’s got just the arena to do it, too, as the Ducks host Stanford on Saturday in a game everyone will be watching.  If James explodes for big yardage and Oregon wins, he’ll solidify his status as the running back with the best chance of taking home the Heisman.

Current Stats: 58 att, 455 rush yds (7.8 ypc), 4 TDs

Projected Season Stats*: 1,672 rush yds, 15 TDs

6. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas–This past Saturday, Mallett had the ideal scenario in place for taking control of the Heisman race.   The No. 1 team was on the ropes, but he wasn’t able to deliver the knockout punch.  While he did throw for 357 yards and a score on 25 of 38 passing, he also tossed three costly interceptions.  I don’t count him completely out of this race, however (though his chances have plunged).  Nowhere is it written that you have to go undefeated to win the Heisman.  And if Mallett can play really well the rest of the year and the Hogs win out and beat some good teams along the way, he’ll have a chance to win if the rest of the field slips up.  It might be a fat chance, but there’s a chance.

Current Stats: 95/138 (68.8%), 1,438 yds, 10 TDs, 5 INTs, 173.03 rtg; 2 rush TDs

Projected Season Stats*: 4,314 passing yds, 30 TDs, 15 INTs; 6 rush TDs

* – Stat projection is for end of regular season when the Heisman votes are due.

If the vote were held today

1. Denard Robinson

2. Kellen Moore

3. Terrelle Pryor

4. Mark Ingram

5. Andrew Luck

6. LaMichael James

7. Ryan Mallett

8. Cameron Newton

9. Patrick Peterson

10. Russell Wilson

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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28 Responses to The HP Heisman Watch, Week 4

  1. BlueBullsz September 27, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    I’m sorry, but Pryor had no business being in the game that long. It was a shameless attempt at stats. They even had him catch a TD against a team that hasn’t won a game in over a year. There’s no way Denard would have played in the second half even if he hadn’t been temporarily knocked out of the game.

  2. Pac10Chris September 27, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    The razzle-dazzle at the end of the 3rd quarter was clearly Heisman cheese and will not help Pryor. Andrew Luck has played better against a tougher schedule.

  3. Glen September 27, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    OK, here’s my obligatory protest.

    The returning Heisman Trophy winner, the holder of the belt, shows every sign of being one of or the best player in college football. This week he took the load on his shoulders and virtually single-handedly led the #1 team to victory in what was at least arguably the best big game of the young college football season.

    He’s averaging 154.0 yards a game, 5th in the nation, even though he only played one half in one of his games, and if he gotten another 40 yards in the 2nd half against Duke, he would lead the nation in yards per game. And his 9.3 yards per carry is, well, it is what it is. It’s 9.3.

    Yet he’s not even on the candidate list?

    There is a pretty good list of national writers who take issue with you. Come on, you can at least do Ingram the honor of putting him on the list – if he keeps playing at the level he’s playing, which is likely barring injury, because he’s just that good, your silence will become more and more embarrassing.

    My suggestion: don’t get so in love with your little theory that you overlook what happens on the field. Best player for best team – wonderful stats – many prime time contests yet to be played – Ingram’s a candidate, there ain’t no two ways around that.

  4. PAANNNTTTTHHHHHEEEEEERRRRRRR September 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Andrew Luck wins it if he can somehow win the next two games, and stays healthy enough for Arizona and Cal.

  5. HP September 27, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Glen, Ingram is not going to win. If the vote were held today, he would finish fourth. He won’t win. Sorry. I stand by that. We’ll see who is right.

  6. Glen September 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Well, you keep saying that, and as I keep saying, I’m sure you’re a fine analyst but I question your grasp of future facts.

    As I also keep saying, I believe Ingram deserves some props, as opposed to just being excluded from the discussion based on some so-called “rule” that doesn’t hold up under serious analysis.

    Very simply: the odds against a random returning Heisman winner winning again, based on history, are approximately 10-1, since 10 winners have returned and one of them one. The odds against picking a random non-Heisman-winning star from the previous season and seeing him win it HAVE TO BE higher than 10-1 because there are always more than 10 stars coming back, plus the actual winner may well not be a previous-season star at all (see, e.g., Mark Ingram).

    Also bear in mind that, of the 10 returnees, several of them played on undistinguished teams, unlike current returning champion and top-ranked Alabama. Few if any of those 10 had the kind of spotlight Ingram has access to.

    In addition to the spotlight, Ingram has a good argument to be called the best player in the nation, once you deflate Denard Robinson’s stats for level of competition. Amazing stats and a studly game-winning performance in possibly the best game of the young season.

    And the general rule in the sports world is that the reigning champion gets a little special consideration, as opposed to being specially ignored and having his achievements specially discounted.

    Yet Mark is not even a candidate?

    ???

  7. Doug V. September 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Dude: Where o where is Auburn’s Cam Newton?

  8. socraticsilence September 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Wait if we’re deflating Robinson’s stats we need to do the same for Ingrams- his first game back was against Duke, his second against the worst Rush defense in the SEC.

  9. NYDuck September 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    FYI, LaMichael James had 114 yards on 28 carries against ASU, not 94 as you reported.

  10. Glen September 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Yeah, Ingram’s 9.3 should be deflated. Duke is nothing. Arkansas, though, has a good rush D, whatever the stats say, and Ingram put up his numbers.

    I agree that Cam Newton is demanding some attention. Both these guys should be well ahead of LaMichael James.

  11. Glen September 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Also, bear in mind this: I’m not saying that Ingram should be leading right now, or that he would win if the vote is now. I’m saying it’s absurd not to put the defending champ on the list, especially since he has looked much improved over last year in his first two games, and he has a bunch of high-profile games left to prove himself in. He has to be considered a candidate.

  12. Plainsrunner September 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    Isn’t it a bit early for HP to be pronouncing Ingram out, and also too early for Glen to be putting him in? If he lights up Florida and SC, I can guarantee you that he will be on the top of everyone’s lists. If he has very good but not great performances, then people will recognize him as a fantastic back — maybe the best in CFB, but just not the best player on the field this particular year.

  13. Chris September 27, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    Arkansas was giving up 111 rushing yards/game before Alabama. That would have been good enough for 5th in the SEC and 34th in the nation. Ingram is the main reason Arkansas is now 9th in the SEC and 60th in the nation.

  14. Andy September 28, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    Your stats are off on LaMichael James. He had 114 yards at Arizona State and 475 for the season.

  15. Chris September 28, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    Has anyone ever won the Heisman in the same year they served time in jail? Has anyone ever been invited to New York after choking and roughing up their girlfriend?

    Seems if HP is going to completely boycott Ingram he needs to show a little less homerism with the Pac 10. He’s got LaStrangle James in his top 5 when anyone with an ounce of common sense would know he can’t possibly win.

  16. Glen September 28, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    Heisman Predictor: Week 4

    These are the top 10 in the Heisman Predictor standings as September ends. For a full understanding of how points are calculated, please click here.
    Player Team Points
    Mark Ingram Alabama Crimson Tide 107.5
    Terrelle Pryor Ohio State Buckeyes 103
    Denard Robinson Michigan Wolverines 101
    Taylor Martinez Nebraska Cornhuskers 101
    Andrew Luck Stanford Cardinal 97
    Russell Wilson North Carolina State Wolfpack 97
    Daniel Thomas Kansas State Wildcats 92
    Kendall Hunter Oklahoma State Cowboys 90.5
    Ryan Mallett Arkansas Razorbacks 88.5
    Kellen Moore Boise State Broncos 78.5

  17. Glen September 28, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Sorry, should’ve attributed that. It’s ESPN’s Heisman Predictor.

  18. Not Anon September 28, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Glen, I feel like you’re missing the point of this blog. HP believes that he has the Heisman down to as much of a science as possible, and that he has derived some overall truths from it. He uses these supposed truths to predict and analyze the Heisman in a way that I haven’t seen on any other site. This blog is so good because it has a unique angle and sticks with it–not because it conforms to the same analysis that every other sportswriter has.
    HP doesn’t give a hoot about some tradition of respecting the defending champion, because that isn’t his business. What he does is try to predict who will win the Heisman before and more accurately than everyone else. And, right or wrong, in his mind there is no way that Ingram will win this year.

  19. Who September 28, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Not Anon –

    HP sure gave a hoot when the returning Heisman winner was from USC. Matt Leinart was listed as a favorite in 2005, starting as #10. That makes HP a flaming hypocrite.

    Here’s HP’s excuse for his flip-flop back then: “We put him [Leinart] here because we do not deny the possibility that History may intrude and call for a realignment of the Heismandments.”

    Now HP is back to denying the possibility. This hypocrisy damages HP’s credibility. Also, HP has emphatically said that the winner would come from his preseason short list the last three years and no one else has a chance to win. He’s been wrong all 3 years on all 30 guesses.

    • Heismanpundit September 28, 2010 at 10:57 am #

      I did the same thing with Tebow (and had him even higher), so not sure why you are trying to mislead people. This was in recognition that both Leinart and Tebow were huge names in college football history and had the potential to make that kind of mark.

      I have consistently defended the idea of no player repeating, probably more than anyone ever has, so your charge has no credibility.

      And this site is here to analyze the race as it happens, not just predict it before the season.

      But I appreciate you going back into my archives. You must really have a crush on me.

  20. Who September 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    HP –

    Actually you excluded Tebow from your list in 2008. It was only after he rallied and led his team to a national championship and received the most first place Heisman votes that you flip-flopped. The data suggests Tebow didn’t win in 2008 because he was left off so many ballots in the west and southwest. I think Bradford was a fine choice, but Tebow would have won had the vote been held after the BCS championship that he won and was named MVP.

    HP said: “I have consistently defended the idea of no player repeating, probably more than anyone ever has, so your charge has no credibility.”

    In the 6 years you’ve had your website we’ve seen Leinart, Tebow, Tebow, Bradford and Ingram return after winning.

    That’s 5 years when you could have CONSISTENTLY said no repeats. Your real responses?
    YES to Leinart
    NO to Tebow
    YES to Tebow (after your near disaster)
    NO to Bradford
    NO to Ingram

    It’s not my charges that have a credibility problem.

    • Heismanpundit September 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

      But I did include Tebow on the list in 2009 and had him way higher than I did Leinart. So you are obfuscating again.

      It is not just in the preseason watch that I have offered my opinion on the ‘no repeat’ rule, but in scores of posts and comments and interviews since.

      I have never been wrong on this matter to date.

  21. Who September 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    HP –

    How delusional can you possibly be? You very clearly have not been consistent on this matter. And saying you included Tebow after you excluded him is just another flip-flop! It’s like telling us you voted for something before you voted against it.

    So we know why you reversed yourself on Tebow (he got the most first place votes the year you boycotted him). Why did you flip-flop so easily for USC’s Leinart?

  22. Bucknut September 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Mark my words. Pryor will win it.

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