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Russell Wilson continues to climb the standings and faces Nebraska this weekend.
-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)
Each week, the Athlon editors will 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: The scoring system is as follows: 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 player receives one point.
There is a new challenger in the race for the 2011 stiff-armed trophy, and frankly, it's about time. Robert Griffin III is the nation's most efficient passer and is the most dynamic quarterback playing the game at any level of competition. He is the most exciting and valuable player in the nation. And he is now breathing down Andrew Luck's neck.
The other name creeping steadily up the charts has been Wisconsin quaterback Russell Wilson. The nation's second most efficient passer has been totally absorbed in the Badger program and is now shaping it with his leadership, work ethic and poise. All of which will be heavily tested this weekend - but more on that in a second.
LaMichael James and Brandon Weeden both made big jumps after huge road conference performances and are positioned for much bigger things should the winning continue for both.
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (83/90 total points, 7/9 first place votes)
Season Stats: 57/85, 786 yards, 8 TD, INT, 8 att., 47 yards, TD
The Cardinal enjoyed the weekend off and get to ease back into play with the UCLA Bruins at home this weekend. Luck wasn't needed much last season against the Bruins, throwing for a season-low 152 yards on only 11-of-24 passing in the 35-0 win in the Rose Bowl. With Colorado, Washington State and Washington as his next three contests, don't expect the best player in America to be removed from the top slot anytime soon. Next: UCLA
|2.||Robert Griffin III||QB||Baylor||70||1||2||3||1||1||9|
|3.||Kellen Moore||QB||Boise St||69||-||4||1||2||1||9|
|4.||Marcus Lattimore||RB||South Carolina||65||-||2||3||3||-||9|
|9.||Brandon Weeden||QB||Oklahoma St||23||-||-||-||-||2||5|
|10.||Justin Blackmon||WR||Oklahoma St||22||-||-||-||1||-||6|
|16.||Michael Floyd||WR||Notre Dame||1||-||-||-||-||-||1|
|18.||Melvin Ingram||DL||South Carolina||1||-||-||-||-||-||1|
2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (70/90)
Season Stats: 70/82, 962, 13 TD, 0 INT, 24 att., 167 yards, TD
The level of production coming from Waco, Texas is downright insane. By now everyone knows the stats: RG3 has more touchdown passes (13) than incompletions (12). His 236.23 QB rating not only ranks him No. 1 in the nation, but would absolutely shatter the NCAA single-season mark set by Colt Brennan in 2006 (186.0). Against Rice last weekend, Griffin completed 29-of-33 passes for 338 yards and five scores to go with 51 yards rushing and another score on the ground. There are two more "easy" ones before a nasty three-game stretch in late October. Next Game: at Kansas State
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (69 pts)
Season Stats: 83/105, 995 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT
Moore completed 23-of-29 passes for 279 yards and four more touchdowns in his 41st victory of his career in the 41-21 win over Tulsa. Moore's 192.55 passer rating ranks him third nationally as he continues to plug along in one of the most productive college careers in history. But as Griffin jumped him for second place this week, Moore will have to post huge numbers each week to remain front of mind with voters. Next Game: Nevada
4. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (65 pts)
Season Stats: 107 att., 611 yards, 8 TD, 12 rec., 139 yards, TD
Lattimore had an off week running the football - he only galloped for 77 yards and one touchdown. Yet, he proved his versatility once again as he caught three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown in the 21-3 hard-fought victory over the game Vanderbilt Commodores. He is now third in the nation in rushing at 152.75 yards per game. Only LaMichael James (613) has more rushing yards. Next Game: Auburn
5. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin (40 pts)
Season Stats: 69/91, 1,136 yards, 11 TD, 1 INT, 16 att., 108 yards, TD
If not for Griffin's unbelievable start to the season, Wilson's No. 2 ranked passer rating of 218.38 would be making its own headlines. Wilson threw for his second 300-yard effort in as many games and has the Badgers leading the Big Ten in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. This weekend could be a Heisman elimination game as darkhorse Taylor Martinez and Nebraska come to Madison. This will be Wilson's first real test. Next Game: Nebraska
6. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma (35 pts)
Season Stats: 88/122, 1,022 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT, 2 rushing TD
Jones' 448 yards were his third-highest single-game total of his career and his fifth career 400-yard effort. It is also his third such yardage total in his last six games. He completed 35-of-48 passes and tossed three touchdowns against two more interceptions. After falling behind 14-3 against Mizzou, Jones led the Sooners to four unanswered touchdowns, pulling away from the Tigers for the Sooners' eighth straight win. Jones has not played elite football, statistically, but still has his team unbeaten and poised for a BCS bid. Next Game: Ball State
7. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (34 pts)
Season Stats: 67 att., 441 yards, 8 TD, 9 rec., 121 yards, TD
Richardson came up big again in another big spot. This time, against SEC West rival Arkansas, T-Rich rushed for 126 yards, caught three passes for 85 more yards and scored a key touchdown. It was his third straight 100-yard effort as he trails only Lattimore for rushing in the SEC. His Heisman hopes, and the Tide's SEC and BCS title hopes, will be on the line this weekend when he faces a dominant front seven in Gainesville. The Gators are fifth nationally against the run and fourth nationally in scoring defense. Next Game: at Florida
8. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (24 pts)
Season Stats: 35/72, 624 yards, 6 TD, 6 INT, 71 att., 552 yards, 5 TD
Robinson continues to be the dynamic dual-threat Maize and Blue fans have come to love. Robinson posted his third career 200-yard rushing effort in a 28-7 win over San Diego State. He is still struggling to pass the football as efficiently as Brady Hoke might want (0 TD, 2 INT, 8-of-17 passing), but he has his team unbeaten and poised for a deep Big Ten run. Other than Griffin, Shoelace is the most electric player in the nation. Next Game: Minnesota
9. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (23 pts)
Season Stats: 142/191, 1,592 yards, 10 TD, 6 INT
No one has had a more important half of football in the nation than Weeden did in the second 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon. Weeden threw for a school-record 438 yards and led the Pokes to 27 second-half points and the massive come-from-behind victory over Texas A&M. His 380.75 yards of total offense per game are good for No. 2 in the nation (Case Keenum). Next Game: Kansas
10. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (22 pts)
Season Stats: 38 rec., 450 yards, 4 TD
Blackmon came up big on Saturday with 11 catches for 121 yards and his 26th career receiving touchdown. The bulk of his work came in the dramatic second-half comeback as the 2010 Biletnikoff winner caught seven passes for 72 yards and the touchdown in the final 30 minutes. Next Game: Kansas