Auburn's quarterback vaults to the top of Heisman balloting.
The Heisman Trophy is college football's most prestigious trophy, so the editors here at Athlon take the voting for the 13.5-inch, 25-pound award very seriously. Each week, the ballots are collected and tallied from inside the walls of Athlon Sports. Each voter may vote for five players (unlike the official three) and a first place vote is worth 5 points, a second is worth 4 points so and so forth down to the fifth place vote earning 1 point.
Follow our voters on twitter: Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden), Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster), Nathan Rush (@AthlonRush) and Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman).
Here is this week's results:
1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn (35 pts, 7 first place votes)
The burly passer from Auburn jumped from 3rd to 1st in our voting after sweeping the top spot on every ballot. The Tigers' signal caller is still leading the SEC in rushing and passer efficiency. His defense isn't helping him win games but is certanly helping his statistics. Newton finished with 140 yards passing, 188 yards rushing and 4 total TDs in the 65-43 win over Arkansas this weekend. In the fourth quarter, he has been virtually unstoppable this fall.
What's Next: The Tigers of Auburn are hosting the Tigers of Baton Rouge this weekend. In what is normally a defensive struggle, Newton will face by far the best defense he has faced all season when LSU comes to the Loveliest Village on the Plains. Can he hold the top spot in the voting after dealing with the unbeaten Bayou Bengals?
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (20 pts, 0 FPV)
There is very little to write about James here seeing as how he had an off week. But since both Michigan and Ohio State lost, James (while sitting at home on his couch) stepped into the void left by the dual-threat Big Ten passers. He was on all but one ballot (more on that later) and has posted some electric numbers in big situations. There is still plenty of work left for him to do, since he took this No. 2 spot basically by default. How about this: he didn't miss any time due to injury.
What's Next: I highlighted the difficult Oregon stretch run last week and it begins this Saturday against maybe the easiest of the remaining opponents, the UCLA Bruins. James carried 20 times for 152 yards in Westwood a season ago.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (19 pts, 0 FPV)
Moore played only two quarters more than James and actually four less minutes than Denard Robinson. The Boise State passer did not see a single snap in the second half of the 48-0 blowout of poor San Jose State. Moore was incredibly efficient, completing 14 of 16 passes for 231 yards and two scores. It was 41-0 at halftime and his services were not needed (keep an eye on Joe Southwick, though, you fantasy owners in keeper leagues).
What's Next: Technically, Boise State is on bye this week. They will play Louisiana Tech on Tuesday, October 26th - which is officially part of Week 9. It can be argued that Moore has played the biggest in the biggest moments (see Va. Tech and Oregon State games) and has few chances (Nevada, Fresno State) to post those big moments like the other players on this list have.
4. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State (11 pts, 0 FPV)
Mr. Pryor, meet Mr. Watt. The massive Wisconsin defensive end sacked Pryor twice and helped keep the Buckeye's dynamic passer to the worst game of his season. A 3.1 rushing clip (18 for 56) was hurt by three Badger sacks (for 21 yards). He nearly led them on the big comeback after the defense allowed 21 unanswered points, but it was too little too late.
What's Next: Pryor gets to exercise some demons this weekend when the OSU takes on Purdue in the Shoe. After losing to them last season and coming off a crushing defeat to UW, I expect the Buckeyes to roll up a big number.
5. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (10 pts, 0 FPV)
Another injury and another underwhelming week for the Michigan quarterback. However, when he has was in the game, Shoelace was productive. In roughly one half of football against the nation's stingiest defense (34 minutes of action), D-Rob rushed for 105 yards (5.8 ypc) and threw for 96 yards and a score. Who knows what would have happened had he been able to play the whole game.
What's Next: Robinson and the Wolverines are on a much needed bye week aftet two straight losses. Penn State and Illinois, two solid defenses, will be waiting when they return to action.
Also receiving votes:
6. DeMarco Murray, QB, Oklahoma (5 pts, 0 FPV)
I will not normally write anything about the "ORV" players but I feel compelled to point out a few facts about Mr. Murray (who was second on my ballot). Murray has scored 13 TDs — three more than James. He has caught 22 passes for 170 yards — which is 19 more recptions and 74 more yards than James. He also has 15 more all-purpose yards than James (957 to 942). Murray had his biggest moment against his rival Texas (146 total yards, 2 TDs) like James. He also plays on the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, who according to the Sagarin Strength of Schedule ratings, has played a much tougher schedule than Oregon (No. 15 to No. 50). I am just saying!
7. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (3 pts, 0 FPV)
8. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (2 pts, 0 FPV)