1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
Pryor is coming off one of his more spectacular days as he went 20 of 26 passing for 224 yards and four touchdowns while running for 104 yards and a score on seven carries against Eastern Michigan. Oh, and he also caught a touchdown pass. His trump card over the rest of the field remains his team’s tradition and lofty ranking. As long as he keeps playing like he has been lately and the Buckeyes keep winning, he’ll stay the favorite. Looking ahead, he is likely to be challenged just once over the next five games -– a road trip to Wisconsin in mid-October. Get through that, and he’ll head into November with a chance to seal the deal.
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
I’m convinced that the only thing standing between Robinson and the Heisman is the health issue. Can he survive a full season? If so, I think he’s going to put up numbers that will be impossible for the Heisman electorate to ignore –- regardless of Michigan’s record. Before getting dinged up against Bowling Green last Saturday, he still managed 129 rushing yards and two scores on just five carries while completing all four of his passes for another 60 yards. Despite the limited play, he still leads the nation in rushing and is second in total offense. If he stays healthy, the combination of Michigan’s traditional-power status and his overwhelming stats should carry him through.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
Moore looked fantastic against Oregon State and once again reminded voters why he’s such a special player. He was 19 of 27 for 288 yards and three touchdowns against the Beavers and it seemed like he put every throw on the money. Unfortunately for his Heisman aspirations, he’ll go into the equivalent of hibernation for a while as Boise State heads into conference play against a slate of lesser foes. However, Moore has a chance to get a boost later in the year when the Broncos play three late November games on Friday night, which means he’ll have the spotlight to himself.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Luck acquitted himself well against Notre Dame, going 19 of 32 for 238 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions and rushing for 23 yards. Beating the Irish in a nationally televised game never hurts when it comes to the Heisman race (just ask Denard Robinson). But Luck has an great opportunity to add another feather to his cap this Saturday when Stanford takes on No. 5 Oregon in Eugene. If he plays well and beats the Ducks, then he’ll start to eat into a significant chunk of Moore’s West Coast vote and become a major Heisman contender.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
James has wasted no time getting back up to speed after missing the first game due to suspension, averaging 151 yards per game in his three outings. However, he had just 114 yards and a score on 28 carries against Arizona State, so he needs to pick up the pace a bit. He’s got just the arena to do it, too, as the Ducks host Stanford on Saturday in a game everyone will be watching. If James explodes for big yardage and Oregon wins, he’ll solidify his status as the running back with the best chance of taking home the Heisman
Denard Robinson, Michigan
The only question for Robinson is whether he can stay healthy and keep up his torrid pace. Not that he has to put up 500 yards every game. If he averages 154 rushing yards from here on out, he’ll crack the 2,000- yard mark. As it stands, though, he’s on pace to have 2,600 passing yards and 2,700 rushing yards by the time the vote goes down. Um, yeah. That’d do it.
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State
He didn’t blow people away against Miami, but he threw for 233 yards and rushed for 113 to lead his Buckeyes to a victory, and that’s what counts. He still has the best chance of winning the Heisman and, if for some reason he’s behind the curve, there is that little matchup with Michigan at the end to make things right. He’s on pace to have 2,880 yards and 24 TDs passing and another 780 yards and 12 TDs rushing by the time of the Heisman vote. Those are Heisman-worthy numbers by any measure
Kellen Moore, Boise State
Has any team or player been more quickly overshadowed than Boise State and Moore has this past week? Thanks to Virginia Tech’s loss to James Madison and the heroics of Denard Robinson and Terrelle Pryor, Moore isn’t the talk of the town so much anymore. Still, he’s established as a name and his team is in the title mix. He’s just going to need a little help, which means the players ahead of him need to mess up
DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
I am of a mind that the voters are unlikely to pick Landry Jones for the Heisman so soon after choosing former Sooners QB Sam Bradford, but that shouldn’t prevent Murray from making headway. Even though he was shut down against Florida State, he still scored a couple touchdowns and the Sooners won. He’s on pace to rush for over 1,600 yards and score 24 touchdowns by the time of the Heisman vote. If some of the other candidates slip up and he gets to these marks, he’d have a shot
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Mallett is a juggernaut lurking in the shadows of the Heisman race. As expected, he’s putting up huge numbers, but so far it’s not against marquee competition. Coming showdowns with Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and Auburn will prove his mettle in this race. He’s on pace for 4,200 yards and 36 touchdowns, so the stats should be there. If the wins follow, look out.