Heisman Watch is a look at 2010 Heisman Trophy candidates. It is not intended to serve as an opinion piece about who should win, instead it's intended to be a gauge of how all voters across the country seem to be leaning.
Cam Newton, Auburn, QB
Last week: Maybe Cam heard the cries of people who don't think he can throw the ball. He tossed four touchdowns as part of his first 300-yard game of his career. He also added his 15th rushing touchdown -- second in the nation. The Tigers defeated Chattanooga to run their record to 10-0 and remain part of the national title picture.
Remaining: vs. Georgia, at Alabama; possibly SEC championship
Chances: If the voting took place now and there were no off-field issues, I believe Newton would have this thing in the bag. He's second in passing efficiency, fourth in rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns while quarterbacking one of the nation's two undefeated teams from AQ conferences. That's the recipe for a winner. Of course, Auburn still has a few tests left and as the weeks mount, so do the allegations levied in Newton's direction. To debate whether or not these things should factor in on the Heisman voting is one thing, but it would be a complete folly to believe they'll have no impact on the actual voting. If the Tigers do run the table with Newton playing well and he emerges relatively unscathed from all the allegations, however, he's got the best shot at the award.
LaMichael James, Oregon, RB
Last week: He actually had his second-worst rushing output of the season -- 121 yards -- but found the end zone three times as Oregon destroyed Washington to move to 9-0 and remain No. 1.
Remaining: at Cal, vs. Arizona, at Oregon State
Chances: Let's see ... leads the nation in rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, points scored, is second in rushing yards (by just 18, even though he missed a full game) and plays for the No. 1 team. He's gone for at least 220 yards in three of his eight games and is easily the most explosive running back in the nation. So, yeah, he's got a pretty good shot at the thing. Big games against Arizona and Oregon State en route to an undefeated season would do wonders for his chances.
On Their Heels
Kellen Moore, Boise State, QB
Last week: The Broncos throttled Hawaii -- arguably the second-best team in the WAC -- to move to 8-0 and stay fourth in the BCS standings. Moore threw for a whopping 507 yards and three touchdowns while connecting on 30-of-37 passes. Of course, he did throw two interceptions as well.
Remaining: at Idaho, vs. Fresno State, at Nevada, vs. Utah State
Chances: Moore leads the nation in passing efficiency and his 21-4 TD-INT rate is incredible. The problem is Boise only faces one more tough opponent and many believe Moore's numbers are coming against drastically inferior competition. He'll need Newton and James to slip -- maybe a few others -- in order to have a legitimate shot.
Andy Dalton, TCU, QB
Last week: He was nearly flawless as the Horned Frogs dismantled then-No. 5 Utah 47-7, connecting on 21-of-26 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. TCU is now 10-0 and third in the BCS standings.
Remaining: vs. San Diego State, at New Mexico
Chances: He's fourth in passer efficiency, which trails Newton and Moore. His team doesn't have a big test left, either. Basically, he's gonna need help in the form of a few bad games from the guys listed above.
Andrew Luck, Stanford, QB
Last week: You may have missed it, as it was one of the later games, but Luck and the Cardinal obliterated then-No. 13 Arizona, 42-17.
Remaining: at Arizona State, at Cal, vs. Oregon State
Chances: He sits seventh in passer efficiency rating while having tossed for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns thus far. He's run for 370 yards (averaging 8.6 per carry) and has only taken three sacks all season. His team has only lost to No. 1 Oregon, too. Three strong games to close the regular season teamed with several of the above players stumbling could open up the award for the probable No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, WR
Last week: He caught 13 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown and added a 69-yard touchdown run. His team throttled Baylor and is now 8-1, having only lost to No. 9 Nebraska.
Remaining: at Texas, at Kansas, vs. Oklahoma; possible Big 12 championship
Chances: Considering the numbers he's putting up and the chances he has in front of him, Blackmon's stock could really skyrocket. He leads the nation with 1,285 yards and 15 touchdowns (he's tied here) receiving. He's caught 75 passes, which is fourth in the country. And he's only played eight games. Let's say the Cowboys run the table while Blackmon continues to put up these kind of numbers. They'd be 12-1 with only a 10-point loss, which likely would have been avenged (if OSU makes the Big 12 title game, Nebraska is their probable foe), while Blackmon would likely be the top receiver in all three categories -- and it wouldn't even be close in yardage. The sophomore would be awfully tough to ignore. The problem, of course, is Blackmon served a one-game suspension for getting arrested on suspicion of DUI. If the voters overlook Blackmon's arrest and vote for him, they'll probably be inclined to forgive any indiscretions of Newton. Just don't sleep on this guy.
Denard Robinson, Michigan, QB
Last week: Threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in a 67-65 triple-overtime win over Illinois. He only rushed for 62 yards, his lowest output of the season.
Remaining: at Purdue, vs. Wisconsin, at Ohio State
Chances: He leads the nation in rushing with 1,349 yards on a whopping 7.4 yards a trip. He's rushed for 12 touchdowns while throwing for 13. He's actually 11th in passing efficiency, even though the common sentiment is he can't pass. Still, Michigan has lost three games and probably has two more coming. Robinson may win a Heisman, but the chances this season are very slim. Then again, if the Wolverines knock off both Wisconsin and Ohio State while Shoelace goes nuts in each ...
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State, QB
Last week: Ohio State had a bye. Last time out, Pryor had a very solid game against a weak Minnesota team.
Remaining: vs. Penn State, at Iowa, vs. Michigan
Chances: It doesn't look great. Pryor is fifth in passing efficiency and has thrown for 20 touchdowns. On the ground, he's gained 463 yards and four touchdowns. It's just that you can find a more impressive quarterback in any area of Pryor's game. Even if Ohio State wins its last three games and Pryor has big games in all three, he'd need a lot of people to fall flat on their faces in order to catapult himself into serious Heisman discussion.
In a Perfect World
The reality of Heisman Trophy voting is that you have to have big numbers on a winning team to win. There's nothing wrong with that, but the voting seems to favor quarterbacks and running backs -- so these guys have virtually no shot at winning. But maybe they should.
Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin, OT
Rationale: The Badgers have three running backs with at least 346 yards and six touchdowns. The team is averaging 5.1 yards a carry and routinely runs through strong defensive fronts -- even if they have to use a third-string running back. Quarterback Scott Tolzien has only been sacked nine times in nine games. With Wisconsin sitting at No. 6 and having a great shot at a BCS bowl, someone should get the recognition. My vote would be for the senior leader of the bullish line.
DaQuan Bowers, Clemson, DE
Rationale: The nation's sack leader (12.5) continues to do the job even with all the extra attention. There's a reason he's going to be a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft come April. Of course, he has no chance at Heisman consideration playing for a four-loss team in the ACC.
Cliff Harris, Oregon, CB/PR
Rationale: Look, if anyone on Oregon wins it's gonna be James. In fact, second in line would be dynamic quarterback Darron Thomas. But don't get fooled into believing all the explosive weapons reside on the offensive side of the ball in Eugene. Harris has five interceptions, which is tied for third in the nation. He's also managed to find the end zone four times. He's second in the nation in punt return average and has taken three to the house (of 79, 67 and 64 yards). He also ran one of his picks back 76 yards for a score.