The HP Heisman Watch, Week 6

Time for a look at week six 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 from the Heisman electorate, but not enough to actually win it.

Remember, this is my own analysis of how the race is, not how it should be. From how I see things as we approach the halfway point of the season, there are only SIX players who stand a legitimate chance of winning the 2011 Heisman Trophy. I truly believe one of these six players will be the guy:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford  Luck continues to put up impressive numbers as expected. He’s already logged his ‘Heisman Moment’ for the year and will likely coast for a while until the schedule gets more challenging. His last five games are against USC, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame and how he plays in them will determine whether he gets the Heisman or not.

Last Week against Colorado: 26 of 33, 370 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Next Opponent: Washington State

Season: 106 of 145, 1,383 yards, 73.1%, 14 TDs, 2 Ints., 182.32 rating

2. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin – The Badgers had off last week, but the win over Nebraska continued to reverberate. Wisconsin now has a pretty good shot at running the table, which is why Wilson moves up to No. 2.

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

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Richardson had a solid game against Vanderbilt and is on pace for 22 touchdowns on the season. I’d like to see him turn it on a bit more in the next couple weeks. However, the key to his Heisman hopes lies in the matchup with LSU in early November.

Last Week against Vanderbilt: 19 carries for 107 yards, 1 TD

Next Opponent: Mississippi

Season: 115 carries, 729 yards, 6.34 ypc, 11 TDs, 13 catches, 149 yards, 1 TD

4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor Griffin III pulled out his wheels and rolled up his first 100-yard rushing game of the season against Iowa State. His passing numbers have come down to earth a bit along with his Heisman hopes, but back-t0-back games with Texas A&M and Oklahoma State give him a shot at redemption.

Last Week against Iowa State: 22 of 30, 212 yards, 1 TD, 24 carries, 107 rushing yards, 1 TD

Next Opponent: Texas A&M

Season: 115 of 143, 80.4%, 1,520 yards, 19 TDs, 1 INT, 212.15 rating, 60 carries, 280 yards, 2 TDs

5. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan – He’s not quite as explosive as last season and he still makes mistakes, but he’s more clutch and his team is better. Michigan is 6-0 for the first time since 2006 thanks to Robinson. Any time your team goes 14 for 17 on third down, as Michigan did last week, you have to give the quarterback some credit. Get by Michigan State this week and his Heisman hopes get a nice shot in the arm.

Last Week against Northwestern: 17 of 26, 337 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 25 carries, 117 yards, 2 TDs

Next Opponent: Michigan State

Season: 67 of 117, 57.3%, 1,130 yards, 10 TDs, 9 INTs, 102 carries, 720 yards, 7.06 ypc, 8 TDs

6. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma Jones had a good game last week against Texas, but I don’t see him getting much traction in the race just yet. Luckily, he’s got a back-loaded schedule that will allow him to make up some ground. But he’s got to hope some of the guys ahead of him screw up before he can break into the top tier of candidates.

Last Week against Ball State: 31 of 50, 367 yards, 3 TDs

Next Opponent: Kansas

Season: 142 of 205, 69.3%, 1,814 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs, 159.65 rating

About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, 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.

14 Responses to The HP Heisman Watch, Week 6

  1. CM October 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    >>>>His last five games are against USC, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame and how he plays in them will determine whether he gets the Heisman or not.>>>

    And out of those 5 teams in Stanford’s “gauntlet” to end the season, only 1 is even ranked. And that Oregon team doesn’t exactly have a great defense.

    Competition matters…and that’s why Luck shouldn’t be automatically awarded the reward just because he came back to school and put up big stats against nobody defenses.

    I think the Heisman should come down to Trent Richardson and Russell Wilson. If TR puts up 100+ yards rushing vs that LSU defense in the “Game of the Year”…he should get very strong consideration at the top of ballots. Plus, Richardson has big, national games against Tennessee and Auburn, plus the SECCG, to go along with the LSU title bout before the Heisman is announced.

    NONE of the other candidates face the type defenses Richardson does…none. And it’s not even close.

    • Heismanpundit October 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      USC is USC and is a high profile game featuring a bunch of great athletes.

      Notre Dame could well be ranked by then, too, and is always a high profile game, too.

      Competition does matter, but that’s only a part of it. As for those great defenses Bama plays, which ones are great? North Texas? Kent State? Arkansas? Some of these so-called great defenses put up big numbers against bad offenses.

      Don’t worry about Richardson. If he has that big game against LSU and the Tide go undefeated, he has a very good chance to win.

      Tennessee and Auburn are big national games? Well that just displays your provincialism.

      • CM October 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

        If Stanford was playing Tennessee…even now…it would be their “game of the year”…maybe behind only Oregon. On Bama’s schedule, it’s maybe the 5th biggest game of the year. The SEC has proven what it is on the field. If Stanford was in the SEC West, Luck wouldn’t even be in this conversation.

        • Jonsi October 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

          No, if Stanford were playing Tennessee it would be their 6th biggest game behind Oregon, Notre Dame, USC, Cal, and Arizona State (and possibly even Washington.) LSU and Bama are excellent, but to state Tennessee would be a bigger game than those teams as a self evident truth is provincialism. Sure, it would be nationally compelling because it is rare for a Pac 10 team to play a SEC team, but being compelling doesn’t make it BIG any more than if Bama played Washington.

  2. Paul Lyford October 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Um… where the f**k is LaMichael James?

    • Heismanpundit October 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      Injured and out of the race.

      • Kyle October 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

        Here’s what I don’t get: he could play this Saturday.

        People are acting as if his season is over with this injury! HE. MIGHT. PLAY. SATURDAY.

        Honestly, realistically, I bet he misses one game. Still, even if he misses one game, watch him lead the NCAA in rushing yards. Watch him go for 300 against Colorado. Best RB in college football. The disrespect is unbelievable.

        HOWEVER… Some silver lining…

        The negative coverage on his injury- being written off, and all- is setting him up for a major Heisman moment this Saturday, if he does manage to suit up.

        • CM October 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

          Put Jeff Demps or Chris Rainey from Florida in James’ role with Oregon and they’d put up similar stats…yet we saw what they could do against the Bama and LSU defenses. Big numbers against nobodys doesnt impress much.

        • Heismanpundit October 11, 2011 at 10:41 am #

          LMJ will not win the Heisman.

      • john skrabo October 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

        LaMichael James without a doubt has been the nation’s top performer this year. Andrew Luck is over rated. James has rushed for more than 230 yards in THREE STRAIGHT Games. What the hell is wrong with you?

        • Heismanpundit October 11, 2011 at 10:45 am #

          All against bad defenses.

          • Kyle October 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

            Wrong. Cal was ranked 9th nationally in rush defense (78.3 YPG) leading into Oregon game. LMJ goes for 239 yards by himself through 3 quarters.

          • Heismanpundit October 13, 2011 at 10:25 am #

            Cal hadn’t played a team with a good running game. Playing Presbyterian certainly helps that ranking.

  3. Glenn F. October 13, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    I love HP’s short and simple replies to all of the disrespectful and profanity-laden comments.