Collin Klein is the leading contender in the Heisman race, the leader of the no. 2 ranked team in the nation and facing a ranked opponent that has the sixth highest scoring average in the country. Yet outside of Manhattan (Kansas) and Stillwater (the only Stillwater) no one will really take notice unless there is an upset. For Klein, a ranked Big 12 opponent coming into town is just another day at work, with little fanfare or publicity.
Klein probably prefers it this way.
For a guy who should be practicing his acceptance speech (that I told him to get started on in September) Klein doesn’t seem to be fazed by the Heisman hype. In his first week as the Heisman favorite Klein accounted for four touchdowns and an blowout win over Texas Tech. Oklahoma State might be able to score more than Tech did but Klein and the Wildcats have made a habit of scoring 50 or more points.
In Columbus the Braxton Miller train is still rolling along albeit with a little less steam. Miller performed last weekend but was overshadowed by Klein and Manti Te’o. This week he takes on a hapless Illinios team that he should literally be able to run over. Miller doesn’t have much in the way of marquee games the rest of the season (save Michigan… I guess) so he will have to put up stellar stats in the last month of the season.
Geno Smith could not have had an off week at a worse time this season. After two straight losses and a bye week it feels like the Geno Smith of September last played in 1936. Is Smith out of the Heisman race? Technically no, but the hill he has to climb is only slightly easier than that of Sisyphus. A herculean effort (no more greek mythology I promise) against TCU this weekend would put Smith back on the right track but Klein has created a large gap between the conference foes.
For Te’o up in South Bend there isn’t much he can do but watch and wait. Te’o is in a unique position where he is his in our polls but low on our watch. Basically it means he is a contender but he has a very little chance to win. That possibility only arises if he is viewed as the best alternative to a weak group of finalists. With Klein in the race Te’o has no chance but he could make a case if Klein and company falter late in the season.
Games to Watch
November third has been circled on every college football fan’s calendar since schedules were released. Before the season began the first weekend of November was tabbed as the Saturday we’d find out who is going to the national championship game. In the preseason the match ups looked great; no. 1 USC taking on no. 5 Oregon and no. 2 Alabama playing no.3 LSU. What we’re left with, no. 17 USC taking on no. 4 Oregon and no. 1 Alabama playing no. 5 LSU, isn’t quite what we imagined but is very compelling none the less.
USC has irreparably damaged its season and now must take on the role as spoiler or simply roll over and die. Matt Barkley has faded from the Heisman race but surprisingly Marqise Lee has sprung up in his place. Lee can make a case for the Heisman because his stats are not dependent on wins or losses.
In Tuscaloosa, AJ McCarron will try to legitimize his Heisman hopes by beating LSU in arguably the biggest football game of the regular season. I don’t really care what happens in this game but if it is a snoozefest like the previous two I’m boycotting this rivalry for at least a decade.