Athlon Sports Heisman Voting: Week 12

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Oregon's LaMichael James has vaulted back into the top ten in the Heisman voting.

Oregon's LaMichael James has vaulted back into the top ten in the Heisman voting.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. A nine-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports will vote for their top 10 Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every Wednesday of the regular season.

Note: A first place vote earns a player 10 points. A second place votes earns nine points - so on and so forth until the 10th place vote receives one point.

With three weeks left in the regular season, the 2011 Heisman Trophy race has morphed into one of the most exciting stiff-armed chases in history. For the first time this fall, three different players received first-place votes, and a legitimate case could be made for more than half a dozen superstars.

Stanford's Andrew Luck, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Alabama's Trent Richardson each landed a first-place vote as the trio appears headed for New York — at least, for now.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (87/90 total points, 6/9 first place votes)
Season Stats: 221/313, 2,680 yards, 29 TD, 7 INT, 34 att., 134 yards, 2 TD

Luck did not play a great football game in the 53-30 loss to Oregon — but neither did his pass catchers or defense. Dropped passes and missed tackles cost Mr. Luck a chance at an undefeated season and Pac-12 championship. An at-large BCS bowl bid and the Heisman Trophy are still very much within grasp if Luck can wrap up the season with two wins. Luck finished 27-for-41, 256 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Next Game: Cal

  Name Pos. Team Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Andrew Luck QB Stanford 87 6 3 - - - 9
2. Trent Richardson RB Alabama 78 1 4 4 - - 9
3. Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma St 67 2 - 1 4 1 9
4. Robert Griffin III QB Baylor 57 - 2 1 2 2 9
5. Russell Wilson QB Wisconsin 42 - - 1 1 3 8
6. Case Keenum QB Houston 42 - - 1 - 2 9
7. Kellen Moore QB Boise St 30 - - 1 - - 9
8. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma 22 - - - 1 - 5
9. Montee Ball RB Wisconsin 21 - - - - - 6
10. LaMichael James RB Oregon 19 - - - 1 1 6
11. Matt Barkley QB USC 10 - - - - - 3
12. Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St 6 - - - - - 2
13. David Wilson RB Virginia Tech 5 - - - - - 3
14. Sammy Watkins WR Clemson 5 - - - - - 1
15. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 3 - - - - - 1
16. Brad Wing P LSU 1 - - - - - 1

2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (78)
Season Stats: 204 att., 1,205 yards, 18 TD, 25 rec., 318 yards, TD

Richardson carried a sluggish Alabama offense with 32 carries, 127 yards, two receptions, 26 yards and one second half trip to paydirt in the 24-7 road win over Mississippi State. Richardson is the most talented running back in the nation, and the Tide might still sneak into the title game. Don't expect a huge workload from T-Rich this weekend against the mighty Eagles of Georgia Southern. Next Game: Georgia Southern

3. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (67)
Season Stats: 313/428, 3,635 yards, 31 TD, 9 INT, 15 att., minus-95 yards

Weeden didn't even need three complete quarters to throw for 423 yards and four touchdowns on an incredible 31-of-37 passing in the 66-6 road win over Texas Tech. A road trip to Iowa State this weekend seems like only a formality before the Pokes get a bye over Thanksgiving — and then host the Sooners on Championship Saturday. Weeden is fourth in the nation in total offense (354.0) and leads the nation's No. 2 passing attack and scoring offense, trailing only Houston in both categories. Next Game: at Iowa State

4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (57)
Season Stats: 224/302, 3,093 yards, 29 TD, 5 INT, 117 att., 478 yards, 5 TD

Griffin accounted for 415 yards of total offense and scored four total touchdowns in what was a furious season- and Heisman-saving overtime comeback against Kansas. With 3:31 left to play in the third, Baylor trailed 24-3. Griffin engineered three fourth-quarter touchdown drives and scored again in overtime to halt the Jayhawks' upset bid 31-30. At 396.78 yards per game, Griffin trails Case Keenum by less than two yards per game as the nation's leader in total offense. His 188.58 passer rating is third nationally but would break the single-season NCAA record (186.0). With six wins, the Bears are poised for a second consecutive bowl game for the first time since 1993. Next Game: Oklahoma

5. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin (42)
Season Stats: 160/218, 2,416 yards, 25 TD, 3 INT, 55 att., 295 yards, 4 TD, 1 rec., 25 yards, TD

The accolades for the Badgers' quarterback continue to grow. Wilson threw his 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th touchdowns in the 42-13 win over rival Minnesota last Saturday — each one of which added to his Wisconsin single-season school record. He completed his first 16 passes and finished 16-of-17 for 178 yards and those four scoring strikes. His last pass attempt was a dropped deep ball by Nick Toon with 6:22 left in the third quarter. Wilson now has thrown a touchdown pass in 34 straight games, two short of the NCAA record of 36 (Graham Harrell), and is sporting a 201.58 passer rating, which would be an NCAA record. Next Game: at Illinois

6. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (42)
Season Stats: 279/376, 3,951 yards, 37 TD, 3 INT, 37 att., 35 yards, 2 TD

Keenum and the Cougars have scored no less than 56 points in five straight games, and Tulane posed no real threat in the 73-17 Thursday night win. Keenum went 22-of-29 for 325 yards and three more touchdowns. Aside from being the NCAA's all-time leading passer and touchdown thrower, Keenum currently leads the nation in total offense at 398.6 yards per game. He is also spearheading the nation's top scoring attack at 54.7 points per game. Next Game: SMU

7. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (30)
Season Stats: 220/297, 2,549 yards, 31 TD, 5 INT, 14 att., minus-40 yards

For all intents and purposes, Moore's National Championship and Heisman Trophy campaigns ended for the second straight year on the leg of a kicker. Moore went 28-of-38 for 320 yards and two scores as he pushed the Broncos back into the lead at the start of the fourth quarter (35-28). After a TCU touchdown and 2-point conversion with just over a minute to go, Moore drove his team to the TCU 22 yard-line, where Dan Goodale missed the game-winner. Next Game: at San Diego State

8. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma (22)
Season Stats: 254/393, 3,349 yards, 28 TD, 9 INT, 17 att., 22 yards, 2 TD

Jones and his Sooner attack rested up last weekend while they watched their counterparts in Stillwater roll up a 60-point win. Jones now gets winnable games against Baylor and Iowa State to prep for the championship tilt in Boone Pickens Stadium. Next Game: at Baylor

9. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (21)
Season Stats: 185 att., 1,242 yards, 23 TD, 14 rec., 234 yards, 4 TD, 1/1, 25 yards, TD

In the seventh consecutive win over rival Minnesota (42-13), Ball rushed 23 times for 166 yards and two scores while catching another touchdown. Ball has now scored 27 touchdowns on the year, setting a new Big Ten single-season record. He leads the nation in scoring at 16.2 points per game and leads the Big Ten in rushing at 124.2 yards per game. He is 11 touchdowns away from breaking Barry Sanders' NCAA all-time single-season mark of 38. Next Game: at Illinois

10. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (19)
Season Stats: 153 car., 1,207 yards, 12 TD, 13 rec., 175 yards, 1 TD

James has come up big in big-time spots (excepting maybe the LSU game) this season despite his severly dislocated elbow. James put on a show this weekend with 146 yards and three touchdowns in the key Pac-12 game of the year at Stanford. The 53-30 win over the Cardinal not only vaulted James back into the Heisman conversation but likely won the Ducks the conference title. James technically leads the nation in rushing at 150.9 yards per game. Next Game: at Baylor

Previous Voting:

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 11

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 10

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 9
Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 8

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 7

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 6

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 5

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 4

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 3

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 2

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 1

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<p> Athlon Sports Heisman Voting: Week 12</p>
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