The HP Heisman Watch, Week 7

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 seven weeks of football.  One of these guys is going to win the 2010 Heisman:

1. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon–Things went about as well as they could go this past weekend for James, who did not play due to a bye week.  The top candidates for the Heisman fell by the wayside and he moves up into the top spot as a result.  Right now, he’s the nation’s leading rusher and he plays for the No. 1 team.  This week, he’ll get a chance to put an exclamation point on his front runner status with a Thursday night game against UCLA that will get a LOT of attention due to it being the first game as No. 1 in Oregon’s history.  The schedule the rest of the way is favorable in the sense that James will have chances to shine in a few more high-profile games, including at USC, versus Arizona and at Oregon State to close the year.  I believe that if the Ducks finish unbeaten and James leads the nation in rushing, he’ll win the Heisman, but he’s a narrow leader in this watch right now.

Current Stats: 114 att, 848 yards, 9 TDs, 7.44 ypc; 3 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD

Projected Season Stats*: 1,868 yards, 18 TDs; 6 catches,192 yards, 2 TDs

2. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn–Last May, I mentioned that Newton could be a darkhorse Heisman candidate if his transition into Gus Malzahn’s offense went smoothly.  Well, I think we can safely say that it has gone very well to date.  Newton is flourishing in the Auburn attack and seems to be single-handedly winning games for the Tigers.   This past Saturday, Auburn beat Arkansas 65-43 behind Newton’s 188 rushing yards, 140 passing yards and four total touchdowns.  The Tigers have LSU up next, but I don’t think that will be too much of an obstacle.  It looks like Newton’s Heisman candidacy could all boil down to the showdown with Alabama at season’s end.  However, there is also a chance that Newton could win the Heisman even with a loss to the Tide.  In that scenario, Oregon suffers a loss or James falls off a bit statistically, but Newton plays well in a close loss to the Tide and his season numbers remain too impressive to ignore.  Also, if Alabama loses one more game before then, the Tigers could clinch the SEC West regardless and give Newton another chance to redeem himself in an SEC title game. 

Current Stats: 80/122 (65.6%), 1,278 yds, 13 TDs, 5 INTs, 180.52 rtg; 1129 att, 860 rush yds (6.7 ypc), 12 TDs

Projected Season Stats*: 2,191 passing yds, 22 TDs, 9 INTs; 1,476 rush yds, 21 TDs

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–Moore’s Heisman hopes are humming along quite nicely, thank you.  He remains the candidate of last resort in that voters find him to be a perfectly acceptable choice but are not exactly rushing to proclaim him to be the most outstanding player just yet.    His campaign for the Heisman mirror his team’s quest for the BCS title.  It will require the more exciting players ahead of him to falter a bit for him to have a shot.  At the same time, he’s probably already assured himself of no worse than a third-place finish in the race.  He will appear on almost every ballot, so he’s within striking distance.  It helps that his numbers are quickly becoming ridiculous.  He leads the nation in passing efficiency with a mark of 190.36, which as it stands is an NCAA record.  Furthermore, after throwing for 231 yards and two scores last Saturday against San Jose State, he now has 55 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his last 20 games.  It could well be that his numbers alone end up making his case–not to mention his status as the quarterback for an undefeated team–but it would really help him if James or (especially) Newton mess up.

Current Stats: 105/151 (69.5%), 1,567 yds, 16 TDs, 1 INTs, 190.36 rtg

Projected Season Stats*: 3,132 passing yards, 32 TDs, 2 INTs

4. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State–The rationale for Pryor’s candidacy was always centered around the Buckeyes being prime contenders for the national title.  The thinking was that Pryor couldn’t do it on his numbers alone.  With Ohio State losing to Wisconsin, it looks like Pryor’s only chance at the Heisman is if he finishes out on a torrid pace and the Buckeyes work their way back into title game contention.  This certainly is a possibility–and maybe Pryor will shine more now that the pressure is off–but it’s not one that I would bet on.

Current Stats: 118/181 (65.2%), 1,505 yds, 15 TDs, 4 INTs, 157.97 rtg; 75 att, 410 yards, 3 TDs

Projected Season Stats*: 2,580 passing yds, 26 TDs, 7 INTs; 129 att, 703 yards, 6 TDs

5. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan–While Pryor’s Heisman rationale was centered around his team’s lofty ranking, Robinson’s was centered around his incredible statistics.  But thanks in large part to being knocked out early in the second half against Iowa, Robinson’s numbers have suffered a setback.  Unless he can get back on that pace he set in the season’s first half, he’s going to have to defer his Heisman hopes until next year.  He did rush for 105 yards and throw for 96 before exiting against the Hawkeyes, so he showed he could still produce against a top flight defense, but his lack of durability has always been the main obstacle to his winning this race.  And so it remains.  He’s still on pace for some great season numbers, but his penchant for injury will probably prevent him from getting there.

Current Stats: 97/143 (67.8%), 1,319 yds, 9 TDs, 5 INTs, 159.09 rtg; 137 att, 1,096 rush yds (8.0 ypc), 9 TDs

Projected Season Stats*: 2,260 passing yds, 15 TDs, 8 INTs; 1,884 rushing yds, 15 TDs

If the vote were held today

1. Cameron Newton

2. LaMichael James

3. Kellen Moore

4. Denard Robinson

5. Terrelle Pryor

6. Andrew Luck

7. Demarco Murray

8. Justin Blackmon

9. Matt Barkley

10. Andy Dalton

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, 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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13 Responses to The HP Heisman Watch, Week 7

  1. Buck Futt October 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Typical: it’s always a Rose Bowl Buddy in the lead at HeismanPundit. How it must pain you to see Southern Cal having to pay for Cheat Carroll’s multitude of sins; guess Oregon and its slate of cupcakes is the next best thing.

    So much for your sure-thing freshman, huh? Robinson won’t be invited to NYC (and thus miss seeing Cam Newton win in a walk); odds are Robinson won’t even finish the season now that he has to play against something other than tomato cans. I loved the comment a few pages down about those dominant UConn and Notre Dame defenses. What a joke.

  2. SEC24drd October 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    I love the fact that Cam Newton is a QB and has more rushing yards and rushing TDs than the top RB on the Heisman watch. Newton also has 25 total TDs to James’ 10 total TDs. These two facts alone should make Newton a top candidate for the Heisman, and no one else should even be close. He simply takes over games for Auburn, and no other player in the nation brings the same dynamic to the game as Newton does. Compare Newton’s stats to Tim Tebow’s stats from his ’07 campaign. They are eerily similar through the first 7 games of the season.

  3. ross October 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Going to be kind of funny when Cam “Laptop” Newton has to go up against a real defense. Auburn will lose to LSU, Alabama, and will drop another to either Ole Miss or Georgia.

  4. Roby October 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Seriously Ross? Georgia? Ole Miss?

    You must be from Tuscaloosa to be hating on Auburn like that.

    Georgia’s defense is decent, but they haven’t faced anyone as dynamic as Newton.

    And there is no way they match Auburn score for score.

  5. HP October 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    Buckfutt: Who is this sure-thing freshman you are talking about? I hope you don’t think Denard Robinson is a freshman. As for Robinson, he was never on top of this Heisman Watch, so I’m not sure what your problem here is. The reason James is on top now is because he has the best chance of getting through the season unscathed (both personally and team-wise).

    SECdude: this Heisman Watch is a gauge of who currently has the best chance of winning. Newton has a great chance of winning, but so does James who, by the way, has fewer yards and touchdowns because he has played in two fewer games than Newton (he leads the nation in yards per game, fyi). Please don’t preach to me about Newton as I mentioned him as a possible candidate way back in May before anyone else.

  6. ross October 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Just wait and see Roby. Georgia and Ole Miss both have defenses that are more athletic than any Aubbie has seen so far. Stop Cam. Stop Auburn. It will happen 3 times in the regular season. Book it.

  7. Alfonzo S. Tangerine October 18, 2010 at 5:47 pm #


    Silly bammies, so jealous of Cam, so afraid of the havoc he’s going to wreak in your house. But two can play at this game:

    Mark “Fishing Trip” Ingram
    Julio “Hummer” Jones
    Nick “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach” Saban
    Josh “Hoover High Grade Fixing” Chapman
    Dre “Charger” Kirkpatrick
    Courtney “Domestic Violence” Upshaw

    … and that’s just off the top of my head. Care to go for Double Jeopardy, where the scores can really change?

  8. ross October 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    Yeah, I’m not even a Bama fan. Nice try though.

  9. Just Like Kevin October 18, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m surprised that not a lot of folks are talking about Demarco Murray. Sure, he’s fallen short of the 100-yard rushing plateau twice this year, but does well receiving the ball as well. He has 13 total TDs. Not saying that I’d put him at # 1 right now, just surprised he doesn’t get talked about alot. Also think Broyles is underrated, despite his poor showing against Texas …

  10. LaHeisman October 19, 2010 at 1:09 am #

    Tune in Thursday night to watch LaMichael James destroy UCLA. You SEC think you are gods gift. Your bedtime is before any of the PAC 10 games begin. Do yourself a favor and actually watch the Oregon games. They are good, real good, and James is a big reason why.

    That being said, Cam Newton is unbelievable, but HP is completely right. Odds and Auburn are he will stumble. There’s no doubt LaMichael James has a better chance of running the table and putting up huge numbers along the way.

    Quit drinking that SEC koolaid. You’re not the only show in town. Get used to it.

  11. Frank October 19, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    As bad as some SEC defenses are this year(Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky) the Pac 10 defenses are even worse. Oregon has a great offense, but I’m thinking they’ll stumble the first time they get hit in the mouth and a team holds them to under 30. USC, Zona, Cal, and O State all have a chance to knock Oregon off their path. They’ve jumped out to fast starts before(though never all the way to number 1) only to stumble a couple of times and become a non-issue in terms of the National Championship. They’ll probably go Rose Bowling vs either Ohio State or Michigan State. I think the Big 10 will win with defense in that match up.

  12. LaHeisman October 19, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    What are you smoking Frank? That must be some good stuff.

    No one is going to hold this Oregon team to under 30 points. They are averaging 55 points a game numnuts. And the PAC 10 does have good defense, at least Oregon does. They are only giving up 16 points a game on average, good for 18th in nation.

    If you’re going to open your mouth, please bring some facts to the table and try to at least give the impression you have some idea what you are talking about.

  13. Frank October 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Is that LaStrangle James himself talking? Oregon hasn’t played anyone of worth but a mediocre Stanford team yet. They’re defense is not great. They shut out two cupcakes which led to their inflated scoring defense ranking. They’ve given up 31 points to two mediocre Pac 10 offenses and 23 to an abysmal Washington State team. Bring some facts yourself, “numnuts”. Oregon is a good team, but they aren’t great by any means. They’ll stumble before the end of the year and miss out on the NC game. I still think they’ll be in the Rose Bowl.