Now for 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 six weeks of football. One of these guys is going to win the 2010 Heisman:
1. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State–Pryor bounced back this past weekend with a fine performance against Indiana and maintains his status as the player most likely to actually win the Heisman. He really kicked it up a notch in the air, throwing for 334 yards and three touchdowns on 24 of 30 passing. Due to a tender thigh, he did little running and ended up with negative 19 yards on the ground. Pryor gets a chance to highlight his candidacy on Saturday with a high-profile game against Wisconsin. Now that the Buckeyes are No. 1, teams will be gunning to knock them off their perch. If Pryor can keep Ohio State on top and keep performing at his current high level, he’ll be tough to beat in this race.
Current Stats: 104/153 (68%), 1,349 yds, 15 TDs, 3 INTs, 170.46 rtg; 57 att, 354 rush yds (6.2 ypc), 3 TDs; 1 TD rec.
Projected Season Stats*: 2,698 passing yds, 30 TDs, 6 INTs; 708 rush yds, 6 TDs
2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan–Neophyte Heisman observers are quick to dismiss Robinson from the race after his 3-interception performance in a loss to Michigan State. But discerning viewers noticed that he still put up good numbers on the day and kept his march toward the magical 2,000/2,000 mark alive. Throwing for 217 yards and rushing for 84 is hardly a poor performance and if he continues to produce the rest of the way, few Heisman voters will remember or care about the couple bad throws he made against the Spartans. We’ll know a whole lot more about Robinson’s Heisman hopes after this Saturday, when the Wolverines take on Iowa. At this point, it is not critical for Michigan to actually win (though it would help), but we do need to see Robinson prove that he can put up good numbers against a good defense while single-handedly keeping his team competitive.
Current Stats: 84/125 (67.2%), 1,223 yds, 8 TDs, 4 INTs, 164.11 rtg; 119 att, 991 rush yds (8.3 ypc), 9 TDs
Projected Season Stats*: 2,446 passing yds, 16 TDs, 8 INTs; 1,982 rush yds, 18 TDs
3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon–James’ Heisman hopes were helped by Alabama’s loss, as Oregon moves up in the rankings and now has a clear shot at a BCS title game berth. James rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and added an 84-yard reception for a score against Washington State. He now leads the nation in rushing yards per game at 169.6. James is the only running back left in college football with a chance at winning the Heisman in 2010. His production is very good, but not yet to the level it will need to be at in order to overcome the players in front of him, so he needs to increase his output in the next couple weeks. The key to his hopes might lie in how he plays in two end-of-season showdowns with Arizona and Oregon State.
Current Stats: 114 att, 848 yards, 9 TDs; 3 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD
Projected Season Stats*: 1,868 yards, 18 TDs; 6 catches,192 yards, 2 TDs
4. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–Five game games into the season, Moore’s production has been outstanding. He now leads the nation in passing efficiency with a rating of 183.28. After a 267 yard, three-touchdown performance against Toledo, he now has a remarkable 14-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, which is entirely in keeping with his 39-3 ratio from last season. In the last 19 games, he has thrown 53 touchdown passes with just four interceptions. Unfortunately for Moore, Boise State won’t seep back into the public conciousness until November (though the BCS rankings next Sunday will create some buzz). In the meantime, he’s doing what he has to do–putting up great numbers and winning.
Current Stats: 91/135 (67.4%), 1,336 yds, 14 TDs, 1 INTs, 183.28 rtg
Projected Season Stats*: 3,206 passing yds, 34 TDs, 2 INTs
5. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn–Newton continues to shine and remains the candidate with the most upside in this race. He is coming off 210 passing yards and 198 rushing yards (with four touchdowns) against Kentucky. He has clearly emerged as the only remaining SEC candidate with a real shot at winning the Heisman. It helps that he is second nationally to Moore in passing efficiency and also 17th in rushing. He can make a strong move in the race with big games the next two weeks against Arkansas and LSU. If he leads Auburn to an undefeated season and keeps performing at this high level, he’ll have a great shot at the Heisman.
Current Stats: 70/108 (64.8%), 1,138 yds, 12 TDs, 5 INTs, 180.74 rtg; 104 att, 672 rush yds (6.5 ypc), 9 TDs
Projected Season Stats*: 2,276 passing yds, 24 TDs, 10 INTs; 1,344 rush yds, 18 TDs
If the vote were held today
1. Denard Robinson
2. Terrelle Pryor
3. LaMichael James
4. Kellen Moore
5. Cameron Newton
6. Andrew Luck
7. Mark Ingram
8. Taylor Martinez
9. Patrick Peterson
10. Justin Blackmon