Week four is in the books and the 2011 Heisman race is starting to heat up a bit.
Below 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 bye week and this hurt him a little in the sense that he was out of sight, out of mind, but he remains the strong favorite.
Last Week: Bye
Next Opponent: UCLA
Season: 57 of 85, 786 yards, 67.1%, 8 TDs, 1 Ints., 173.44 rating
2. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina – Lattimore was contained by the Vanderbilt defense (77 yards) and it could be that the QB problems at South Carolina are starting to affect the running game a bit. However, Lattimore was productive as a receiver, adding another 73 yards and a score. Almost one-third of the way into the season, he’s second nationally in rushing and on pace to challenge the 2,000-yard mark, which would probably be enough to derail the Luck coronation.
Last Week against Vanderbilt: 20 carries, 77 yards, 1 TD, 3 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD
Next Opponent: Auburn
Season: 107 carries, 611 yards, 5.7 ypc, 8 TDs, 12 catches, 139 yards, 1 TD
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State – Another week, another stellar game for Moore, who was 23 of 29 for 279 yards and 4 TDs against Tulsa. He has a chance to get revenge this week against Nevada for last year’s heartbreaking loss. Moore is averaging 331 passing yards per game and has an efficiency rating of 192.
Last Week against Tulsa: 23 of 29, 79.3%, 279 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints.
Next Opponent: Nevada
Season: 83 of 105, 79%, 995 yards, 12 TDs, 2 Ints., 192.56 rating.
4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama – Richardson’s start to the season was a bit under the radar, but he’s starting to come around. He came up big last week in a win over then-No. 14 Arkansas and now he’s got another chance to show his stuff against a ranked Florida team. Putting up big performances in these kind of games is what Heisman voters like.
Last Week against Arkansas: 17 carries, 126 yards, 3 catches, 85 yards, 1 TD
Next Opponent: Florida
Season: 67 carries, 441 yards, 6.58 ypc, 8 TDs, 9 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD
5. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor – Griffin’s numbers continue to astound as he has more TD passes than incompletions on the season. Can he keep up the pace? The best way for him to win is to have statistics that are above and beyond those of all the other candidates. Now that conference play is coming, we’ll know a bit more about how his season will play out.
Last Week against Rice: 29 of 33, 338 yards, 5 TDs, 6 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD
Next Opponent: at Kansas State
Season: 70 of 82, 85.4%, 962 yards, 13 TDs, 0 Ints., 236.34 rating, 24 carries, 167 yards, 1 TD
6. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma – Jones isn’t setting the world on fire, but as a high-profile quarterback with some big games yet to play, he has a chance to make a run later in the season. He’ll have to increase his TD passes and limit his interceptions, but he’s still got a chance.
Last Week against Missouri: 35 of 48, 448 yards, 3 TDs, 2 Ints., 1 rushing TD
Next Opponent: Ball State
Season: 88 for 122, 72.1%, 1,022 yards, 5 TDs, 4 Ints., 149.46 rating, 2 rushing TDs
7. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan – Robinson is starting to rev up his rushing yardage, averaging 199 yards his past two games. It could be that he challenges for the 2,000 yard mark, but most likely he’ll taper off a bit. He also needs to improve his passing numbers. However, if he can lead Michigan to 10 wins or better, he has a chance to make a serious Heisman run.
Last Week against San Diego State: 21 carries, 200 yards, 3 TDs, 8 of 17, 93 yards, 2 Ints.
Next Opponent: Minnesota
Season: 71 carries, 552 yards, 7.7 ypc, 5 TDs, 35 of 72, 48.6%, 624 yards, 6 TDs, 6 Ints., 132 rating
8. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin — Wilson has been brilliant so far and he’s second nationally in passing efficiency, but we’ll see how legit his Heisman hopes are this week against Nebraska. If he can lead the Badgers to a win here, it could be a special season in Madison.
Last Week against South Dakota: 19 of 25, 345 yards, 3 TDs
Next Opponent: Nebraska
Season: 69 of 91, 75.8%, 1,136 yards, 11 TDs, 1 Int., 218.38 rating, 108 rushing yards, 1 TD
9. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd is the ‘it’ quarterback on the ‘it’ team right now. He is off to a fabulous start and the Tigers have beaten two consecutive ranked teams. This might be the best Clemson team since 1981 and Boyd is a big reason for it. If he plays well in a win over Va. Tech, he’s a legit candidate.
Last Week against FSU: 22 of 35, 344 yards, 3 TDs, 16 carries, 19 rushing yards, 1 TD
Next Opponent: Virginia Tech
Season: 90 of 136, 66.2%, 1,255 yards, 13 TDs, 1 Int., 51 rushing yards, 2 TDs