Stanford's Andrew Luck has moved up the Heisman charts.
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 editor votes 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).
by Braden Gall
1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn (35 pts, 7 first place votes)
Gary Danielson said during the second quarter of the Iron Bowl (and I am paraphrasing here) that if Newton could bring the Tigers back from a 24-0 deficit and win, there wouldn't even be a reason to vote. Just give him the award. And GD might be right. Newton, with a lot of help from his defense, led his team to three straight scoring drives wrapped around halftime to bring Auburn back to within three. He then threw the game-winner with around 12 minutes to go in the fourth. It wasn't just that he was able to bring his team back from the dead, but how he was able to do it — with his arm, not his legs. The big signal-caller finished the game with 39 yards rushing on 22 carries, but was 13-of-20 for 216 yards and three scores through the air. I am pretty sure GD nailed it.
What's Next: A trip to Atlanta to take on South Carolina in the SEC title game. A loss on Saturday would probably eliminate the Tigers from national title contention, but nothing could take this trophy away from Newton — except maybe the NCAA in 2012 after a 22-month investigation.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (20 pts)
The Stanford passer was by far the biggest mover in this week's voting. The Pac-10's most efficient passer (seventh nationally) jumped from fourth to second in our balloting as Luck turned in arguably his best performance of the season. In his final game of the year, he connected on 21 of his 31 pass attempts for 305 yards and four TDs — without a turnover. The rout of Oregon State pushed the Cardinal to fourth in the BCS standings.
What's Next: A trip to Tempe to battle with the winner of the Big 12 title game in the Fiesta Bowl is the most likely scenario. Luck is likely to leave school early and should be the first overall pick in the draft. He is the best amatuer football player on the planet, but did he do enough to earn the trophy, a conference title or national title berth? Most likely not, but he will take the paycheck, rest assured.
3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (20 pts)
On a per-game basis, James still leads the nation in rushing at 154.8 ypg. After a sub-par showing against Cal, the Duck running back was back to normal in the big win over Arizona. James carried 28 times for 126 yards and a pair of scores in the Pac-10 Championship-clinching game for Oregon.
What's Next: The Civil War in Corvallis, Ore. This has been one of the top rivarlies in the nation due to the importance of the game of late. While the Beavers limp into the game (can a Beaver limp?), the Ducks still have a chance at a national title, and Mike Riley would love nothing more than to spoil the party.
4. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (11 pts)
It is unfortunate that Moore's Heisman chances were likely destroyed by a pair of missed field goals. While Boise nation is stil licking the wounds it sustained against the Wolfpack, Moore is still on pace for the most efficient season in history. The passer rating of 187.97 would top Colt Brennan's NCAA-record 186.0 mark. Moore was great in the first half but was stymied in the second half before connecting on the deep pass that gave BSU a chance to win at the end of regulation. Moore finished with 348 yards and a pair of scores.
What's Next: The Broncos wrap up the 2010 regular season with a home game against Utah State. Let's just say, I wouldn't want to be on that defense this weekend.
5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (6 pts)
The Clemson Tigers clearly gameplanned to stop the talented runner, and largely, it worked. Lattimore finished with 89 yards from scrimmage but only 48 yards rushing on 23 carries. He caught five passes for 41 yards through the air. The defense and passing game put the game out of reach with relative ease, so Lattimore became a decoy early on.
What's Next: Hopefully most voters will wait until after the actual season is over before they vote, because it would be a shame to see Lattimore go nuts against Auburn after having omitted him from a Heisman ballot. If he can carry his team to an SEC crown and topple the mighty Tigers, he would certainly deserve an invite to the Big Apple if nothing else. Roughly 12-15 percent of the vote has already been counted, however, so those idiots won't be influenced by a little thing like the SEC championship game.
6. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (6 pts)
The nation's top receiver was hampered by the ankle injury in the Bedlam game and was clearly not 100 percent. But the gutty wideout still managed to top the 100-yard mark on eight catches including a second half TD. The 105 yards were his season low and the loss cost the Pokes a chance at the Big 12 title.
What's Next: The Alamo, Insight or Holliday bowl will be the site of Blackmon's next game.
7. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (3 pts)
Only one player in NCAA history has ever rushed and passed for 1,500 yards in a season and Robinson is the guy. In fact, he finished the regular season as the only member of the 2,300-1,600 club. His 1,643 rushing yards are actually second only to Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey (1,649) for the year — and Robinson missed most of the Bowling Green game and large chunks of the Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State games. Robinson had 105 yards rushing at halftime last weekend, but dislocated fingers kept him out for all but one series against the Bucks in the second half. With all the minor injuries to Robinson, one might begin to wonder about his toughness.
What's Next: The first bowl game in three years for the Maize and Blue. If RichRod is back next year, Robinson might enter 2011 as the Heisman favorite.