TP2 tops the initial Athlon Sports' Heisman ballot.
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.
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Here is this week's results:
1. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State (26 pts, 4 first place votes)
The most physically gifted quarterback on the college gridiron plays his football on the Banks of the Olentagy. In addition to being the leader of the nation's No. 1 team, Pryor has quieted all doubts about his ability to develop as a passer rather quickly. TP2 is rated as 6th most efficient passer nationally (170.47) and has thrown only 3 INTs against 15 TDs this fall. In the BCS ranks, only Brandon Weeden (18), Russell Wilson (17), Taylor Potts (17) and Andrew Luck (16) have more touchdown strikes than Pryor. To top it off, he has added three 100-yard rushing efforts to his slate.
What's Next: Pryor returns to the site of his first fourth quarter comeback when he leads the Bucks against the Wisconsin Badgers in MadTown this weekend. In only his third start as a freshman, TP2 led the Buckeyes down the field capping the game-winning drive with an 11-yard TD run with 1:08 left in the game. He could have the opportunity this weekend for a big Heisman moment.
2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (21 pts, 0 FPV)
A week ago, this was Shoelace's award to lose, but all it took was a visit from Sparty to halt his progress. You know the bar has been set high when a 301-yard, 2 TD performance is an utter disappointment. The in-state rivals forced 3 INTs (two in the redzone) and Michigan was given its first loss of the year. Robinson has still rushed for more yards than any player in the nation (991) — and its really not even close. But his passing has improved dramatically as well, as D-Rob is now the nation's 12th rated passer (164.11).
What's Next: If Robinson thought Michigan State played tough defense, just wait until the Iowa Hawkeyes show up in Ann Arbor. Against what could be the nation's best defense, Shoelace has a chance to redeem himself.
3. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn (20 pts, 2 FPV)
Few players have ever led their conference in passing efficiency AND rushing yards, but that is what Newton is doing in the SEC right now. The former Florida Gator has led his team on valiant second half comebacks (Clemson, South Carolina) and a slow, steady, demoralizing, 19-play, game-winning drive (Kentucky).
What's Next: Newton has a great match-up with another Heisman candidate when he goes head-to-head with Arkansas' Ryan Mallett this weekend. Both defenses have struggled, so both passers should be effective, but one has to wonder how many times Auburn can allow teams to take double-digit leads before it costs them.
4. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (13 pts, 1 FPV)
The numbers don't lie. Sure, the 223-yard, 3 TD show he put on for Washington State was nice. And the 227 yards and 2 TDs he dropped on poor Portland State was okay. But in the biggest moments of this season, James has come up huge. First — in a game that was still very much in doubt at halftime — James delivered a 134-yard performance in Knoxville against Tennessee that included a 72-yard game-changing scamper to begin the second half. But the real reason Ducks' fans are smelling roses was his showing against Pac-10 counterpart Stanford two weeks ago. He put on a sick 257-yard, 3 TD show against what was supposed to be a pretty good defense.
What's Next: The Ducks are on bye this week. The nation's leading rushing (169.6 ypg) should rest up as the path back to Pasadena is treacherous: UCLA, at USC, Washington, at Cal, Arizona, and finally, a Civil War in Corvallis, Ore.
5. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska (9 pts, 0 FPV)
No freshman has ever won the Heisman Trophy. Yet, someone will eventually knock that door down as college football has seen the first two sophomores to win the trophy (Tebow, Bradford) recently. It might as well be Martinez. The dynamic athlete has rambled his way into the top-5 on most ballots. The freshman is leading the running back heavy Big 12 in rushing at nearly 150 ypg. In his first taste of Big 12 action, on national TV nonetheless, Martinez rushed for 241 yards and 4 TDs against Kansas State.
What's Next: Voters will learn a lot about the young quarterback this weekend when Texas comes to town. Certainly, this is not your normal Longhorns defense, but they still have loads of quality athletes to run out there against Big Red. Martinez could have a chance to make a big statement should this one turn out to be closer than the point spread indicates.
Others receiving votes:
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (6 pts)
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (5 pts)
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (3 pts)
DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma (1 pt)
Owen Marecic, FB/LB, Stanford (1 pt)