Week three is in the books and the 2011 Heisman race is starting to take form.
Here is my personal list of the players who currently stand the best chance of actually winning the Heisman, based on season-long projections (rather than the current prevailing wind). 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.
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — Luck had a fine game against Arizona and is on pace for a Heisman-worthy season. As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing and Stanford continues to play well, he’s the front runner. UCLA is next up and there’s no reason to think Luck won’t have another productive outing.
Last Week vs. Arizona: 20 of 31, 325 yards, 64.5%, 2 TDs, 0 Ints.
Season: 57 of 85, 786 yards, 67.1%, 8 TDs, 1 Ints., 173.44 rating
2. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina — Lattimore has shoved his way into the thick of the Heisman race thanks to a stellar game against Navy. Sure, it was just Navy, but his efforts saved his team and Heisman voters will take notice of that. He’s a workhorse of a back and on pace for over 2,000 yards, but can he take all that pounding without getting hurt? The late October, early November part of the schedule will determine his Heisman fate.
Last Week vs. Navy: 37 carries, 246 yards, 3 TDs, 4 rec., 25 yards.
Season: 87 carries, 534 yards, 7 TDs, 6.14 ypc, 9 rec., 66 yards.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — Moore looked great on national television in a romp over Toledo, a team that gave Ohio State trouble the week before. He’s headed for another spectacular season and is probably a lock to get invited to New York City.
Last Week vs. Toledo: 32 of 42, 76.2%, 455 yards, 5 TDs, 1 Ints.
Season: 60 of 76, 78.9%, 716, 8 TDs, 2 Ints., 187.57 rating
4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor — The great wildcard in this race is Griffin, whose numbers to date are beyond spectacular. If he can keep this production up, his team doesn’t have to go undefeated for him to win the Heisman. Matchups with Texas A&M, OSU and Oklahoma will go a long way toward making or breaking his candidacy.
Last Week vs. Stephen F. Austin: 20 of 22, 91%, 265 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints.
Season: 41 of 49, 83.7%, 624 yards, 8 TDs, 0 Ints., 244.52 rating
5. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma — Jones wasn’t stellar against Florida State, but he was clutch when he needed to be and he led his team into a hostile environment and came away with the victory. His numbers are a little down compared to last year, but he’ll have plenty of chance to improve. As the top player on the No. 1 team, he’s a sure bet to hang around the top five for a while.
Last Week vs. FSU: 18 of 27, 66.8%, 199 yards, 1 TD, 2 Ints.
Season: 53 of 74, 71.6%, 574 yards, 2 TDs, 2 Ints., 140.29 rating
6. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan — Robinson finally got uncorked in the running game against Eastern Michigan. That’s his bread and butter statistically and if he can also produce big yardage against the likes of Nebraska and Ohio State, he’ll be a major factor in the race.
Last Week vs. Eastern Michigan: 7 of 18, 38.9%, 95 yards, 2 TDs, 1 int., 26 carries, 198 yards, 1 TD
Season: 27 of 55, 49.1%, 531 yards, 6 TDs, 4 Ints., 151.64 rating, 50 carries, 352 yards, 7.0 ypc, 2 TDs
7. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia — Smith remains a real darkhorse, but he can make a big jump this week by leading the Mountaineers to a win over LSU. I expect he’ll get better as the year goes on and he gets used to the new offensive system in place at WVU.
Last Week vs. Maryland: 36 of 49, 73.5%, 388 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.
Season: 82 of 118, 69.5%, 1,008 yards, 7 TDs, 1 Int., 159.13 rating
8. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin — You can’t ask a quarterback to play much better than Wilson has been playing, but we’ll know if he’s a real Heisman candidate two weeks from now when the Badgers host Nebraska.
Last Week vs. Northern Illinois: 23 of 32, 71.9%, 347 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int.
Season: 50 of 66, 75.8%, 791 yards, 8 TDs, 1 Ints., 213.40 rating
9. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — Richardson got off to a slow start his first two weeks, but he finally busted loose against NTU. A big game against Arkansas this week and Florida the week after could push him into the top five of this race.
Last Week vs. North Texas: 11 carries, 167 yards, 3 TDs.
Season: 50 carries, 315 yards, 6.3 ypc, 8 TDs, 6 receptions, 36 yards
10. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska — Martinez seems to be back to his freshman year form and he’s got the Huskers off to a good start. Back-to-back games against Wisconsin and Ohio State in early October will determine his Heisman fate.
Last Week vs. Washington: 10 of 21, 48.4%, 155 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints., 17 carries for 83 yards, 1 TD
Season: 31 of 64, 48.4%, 490 yards, 3 TDs, 2 Ints., 51 carries, 384 yards, 7.53 ypc, 6 TDs