The HP Heisman Watch, Week 5

Time for a look at week five of the 2011 Heisman race.

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 another strong outing and punctuated it with a magnificent one-handed reception that will, no doubt, be seen as his ‘Heisman moment’. Moments like those remind voters of why he’s such a special player. He’s still the default candidate until he screws up or some other player overtakes him.

Last Week against UCLA: 23 of 27, 227 yards, 3 TDs, 1 catch, 13 yards

Next Opponent: Colorado

Season: 80 of 112, 1,013 yards, 71.4%, 11 TDs, 1 Ints., 178.03 rating

2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — The benefit of playing for a team like Alabama in a conference like the SEC is the big spotlight games that inevitably take place. Richardson took advantage of a high profile matchup with No. 12 Florida to make himself the top running back in this race and, in my mind, Luck’s main challenger from here on out.

Last Week against Florida: 29 carries for 181 yards, 2 TDs, 2 catches, 27 yards

Next Opponent: Vanderbilt

Season: 96 carries, 622 yards, 6.48 ypc, 10 TDs, 11 catches, 148 yards, 1 TD

3. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin — Wilson came up big in a route of No. 8 Nebraska and now has a chance to lead his team to an undefeated season. If he does so, he’s a lock to get to New York. Can he produce the numbers he needs to overtake Luck, though?

Last Week against Nebraska: 14 of 20, 255 yards, 2 TDs, 6 carries, 32 yards, 1 TD

Next Opponent: Indiana

Season: 83 of 111, 74.8%, 1,391 yards, 13 TDs, 1 INT, 216.90 rating, 22 carries, 140 yards, 2 TDs

4. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor — Sure, the Bears lost, but no one expected them to go undefeated. Griffin’s Heisman hopes rest on his superior stats and he came through with yet another fantastic game. On this pace, he’ll shatter several NCAA records.

Last Week against Kansas State: 23 of 31, 346 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT,

Next Opponent: Iowa State

Season: 93 of 113, 82.3%, 1,308 yards, 18 TDs, 1 INT, 230.33 rating, 36 carries, 173 yards, 1 TD

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — Moore had the worst game of his career, but voters will gladly give him a mulligan based on his reputation. He’ll soon become the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, so that counts for something.

Last Week against Nevada: 19 of 33, 142 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs

Next Opponent: Fresno State

Season: 102 of 138, 73.9%, 1,137 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs, 170.80 rating

6. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan — The Wolverines appear to be headed back to national prominence and Robinson is a key reason for that. If he can lead them back into the top 10 this season, he could make it to New York.

Last Week against Minnesota: 15 of 19, 169 yards, 2 TDs, 6 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD

Next Opponent: Northwestern

Season: 50 of 91, 54.9%, 793 yards, 8 TDs, 6 INTs, 77 carries, 603 yards, 7.83 ypc, 6 TDs

7. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma — Jones is off to a somewhat slow start to the season, but if he heats up starting this week against Texas, he could make a second-half run at the trophy.

Last Week against Ball State: 23 of 33, 425 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT

Next Opponent: Texas

Season: 111 of 155, 71.6%, 1,447 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs, 164.86 rating

8. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson — Boyd is the ‘it’ player on the ‘it’ team of the moment. He’s putting up good numbers and if he can lead the Tigers to an ACC title, he’s going to get a lot of Heisman attention.

Last Week against Virginia Tech: 13 of 32, 204 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 10 carries, 28 yards

Next Opponent: Boston College

Season: 103 of 168, 61.3%, 1,459 yards, 14 TDs, 2 INTs, 159.38 rating, 79 yards rushing, 2 TDs


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About Heismanpundit

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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14 Responses to The HP Heisman Watch, Week 5

  1. Trickster October 4, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Here is my weekly “not Luck” comment. Luck had a pretty good week, but it was against a very bad defense. Going against a bad D has been a theme for him, and probably will be, but he should be a marginal candidate by now as opposed to entirely off the radar screen, with the nifty highlight on the reception boosting his candidacy.

    But he still isn’t producing Heisman stats:

    6th in passing efficiency
    54th in passing yardage
    Stanford’s schedule is in a 12-way tie for 57th

    Against a similarly weak schedule, but at least boasting one marquee opponent, Russell Wilson is

    2nd in passing efficiency
    11th in passing yardage

    Trent Richardson is 9th in rushing, but deserves to be high-ranked because of his back-to-back 200 yards rushing/receiving games against ranked SEC foes.

    Griffin’s stats continue to speak for themselves. If it weren’t for the large bias in favor of guys who play for top teams, he would lead easily. Even though his team has gone up against two pretty rugged Ds in TCU and Kansas St., he is

    1st in passing efficiency
    20th in passing yardage

    Wilson should probably be leading, followed by Griffin and Richardson. Not sure who else deserves strong consideration. Kellen Moore took a tumble this week and will have trouble getting back in against BSU’s succession of cupcakes.

  2. DannyAdelante October 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    It’s a fairly good list, and I agree that Andrew Luck has been playing well (and Stanford is undefeated), but I think we’re far enough into the season that we can objectively look solely at 2011.

    For me, Robert Griffin has been the player of the season so far. He’s playing as good as anyone in recent memory, and his only loss was by one point on the road against an undefeated, ranked team.
    After him, Russell Wilson and Trent Richardson would be numbers 2 and 3, probably followed by luck at 4.

    The rest of the list is fine. I would probably drop Landry Jones out. He’s playing well, but he’s just in there because he’s the QB for Oklahoma, not because he’s wowed us.

    As for people not on the list – Lattimore has been great. His YPC aren’t as good as Richardson’s, but he has an inferior line and an infuriating QB working against him.
    As for receivers, Robert Woods has been amazing. Kendall Wright is playing out of his skin. And Sammy Watkins is the best Freshman receiver I’ve ever seen. Don’t think any of them will win it though.
    Tyrann Mathieu has been phenomenal, but with guys like Griffin playing out of his skin, I don’t see a defensive player winning it.

  3. ian October 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    robert woods deserves consideration. he’s super-performed at the wr spot so far. pretty much a solid lack of awareness not to include him.

  4. wbond October 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Stanford has won its last seven games by a combined score of 309-72 (average score = 44-10). In Football – last I checked – points matter, not yards.

    According to Shaw, Luck called his own plays utilizing the entire playbook this week during their no-huddle sets. No other college QB comes close to his combination of game management, passing precision, athleticism, and brute strength.

    If he keeps winning like this no one else should be in the conversation no matter how many yards they pass or rush for.

    (Perhaps when fans of NFL teams start campaigns for their teams to play poorly for the chance to get one of the other players mentioned I’d make an exception to the last statement).

    • Trickster October 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

      No offense, but having your team win 7 straight games doesn’t make you a Heisman candidate. There would be hundreds of candidates, for sure.

      Having your team win helps, but the Heisman is based on stats. Period. No stats, no Heisman.

      • R D October 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

        Trickster – you’re flat out wrong saying “no stats, no Heisman”.

        First of all, Luck has actually led Stanford to 12 straight wins, not 7, which is the longest current NCAA streak. And the Heisman is DEFINITELY NOT based more on stats as you claim. Just look at Ingram vs Gerhart two years ago: Gerhart had over 200 MORE rushing yards, and OVER 10 MORE rushing touchdowns (7 more total TDs) than Ingram did. He was Ingram’s statistical superior in almost every category. But Gerhart didn’t win. Where are your stats now? Ingram won, albeit in the closest race in Heisman history, because his team won the national championship, and Gerhart’s did not. Stats play a role, but BIG WINS and BIG PLAYS against great competition are what distinguishes the best from the rest. Even if the statistical comparison favors the other guy.

        • Trickster October 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

          RD, nothing you say contradicts the “no stats, no heisman” line. It’s certainly not news to me that there is a “large bias in favor of guys who play for top teams,” (to quote from myself above). And that’s exactly why Ingram beat out Gerhardt.

          But Ingram had plenty of stats. Gerhardt had 1871 yards rushing and Ingram had 1658, so it’s not like you can say “Gerhardt had stats, Ingram didn’t have stats.” In fact, if you add in receiving yards, it was 2028-1992, only a 36-yard edge for Gerhardt, and Ingram had a significant advantage in yards per carry, with 6.12 vs 5.45.

          OK, now let’s factor in strength of schedule, according to the official NCAA strength of schedule rankings. Alabama’s final SOS for 2009 was SECOND in the nation, while Stanford’s was EIGHTY-FOURTH. Does Gerhardt’s 36 extra yards from scrimmage, with a significant deficit in yards per carry, and against a creampuff schedule actually qualify as better stats than what Ingram got against a killer schedule? OK, that’s a rhetorical question, but IMO the answer is plain as day. Ingram’s stats were BETTER than Gerhardt’s.

          It was Ingram’s performances AND THE STATS HE RACKED UP in high-profile games that won him the Heisman.

  5. Audre Keller October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    You are all idiots… Watch LaMichael James make a 90 yard touchdown run & then tell me how “good” ;the QBs are..

    • AUman76 October 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

      when he does that against a good defense then you can run your mouth. He’s done nothing against top notch teams! James makes hay against the pitiful pac1 defenses and when facing real defenses he’s a no show.

      • Nate October 5, 2011 at 10:00 am #

        AUMAN76 – You need to educate yourself. Your bias is flowing freely in your post. Just FYI, LMJ will face 3 Top-10 rushing defefenses (and yes, two of those are in the PAC-12 btw), including tomorrow against Cal’s #9 rushing defense. See how he does tomorrow and then make an educated descision. Everyone can have a bad game, especially when it’s your first. He’s only getting better as the season goes on.

  6. SmartGuy34 October 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    If you don’t think Luck is the best player in college football then you are not watching him. Watch an entire Stanford game and you will then see why he is head and shoulders above every other player in cfb. Do yourself a favor , and watch him play the game… You’re welcome

  7. AUman76 October 4, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    Dyer is the best back in the nation. Has the speed, balance and endurance to do it all and does! Aubrn will shut down Richardson just like we have the last two seasons. Ingram, James and Lattimore haven’t hit a hundred against us yet. In three games lattimore only has 183 yards against AU. Ingram may not have had a 100 yards in both games against Auburn. We make look like shit against some teams but we shut down the glamour buys. The facts don’t lie, find em and check em out.
    Luck will probably win the Heisman but some one year wonder like Wilson,playing against poor competition might pull an upset. Ok let the BS hit the fan!

    • Nate October 5, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      @AUMAN76 – Again, you are making yourself look dumb with your posts. To get a better idea of who the best RB is in the nation, just check out this website for the Doak Walker Award; you know, that award they give to the best running back in the nation? They update it weekly (although the date on there is is wrong, the stats are correct and up to date).

  8. CM October 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Dyer couldn’t even lead auburn to a win over Clemson. Is it a hobby for university of auburn fans to randomly bash Alabama players? Geez…talk about obsession.

    Trent Richardson has had huge games against ranked SEC teams on national tv. He’s a beast.

    1. Trent Richardson
    2. Russell Wilson
    3. Andrew Luck
    4. RG III
    5. Kellen Moore

    I know Luck is a great QB and was basically annointed the Heisman winner already…but honestly, what is the best defense Stanford will play all season? Oregon?!?!?! I ranked my top 5 based on performance and WHO those performances were against. Stanford will probably have to lose a game for Luck to not win it…but if they do, Richardson will probably win it…and if he has a monster game against LSU in an undefeated matchup “game of the century” then he might just win the thing regardless. Bama plays 4-5 “huge” games during the season…the likes of Stanford and Boise play one…if that.