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