Comparing Le'Veon Bell's Heisman Chances vs. Top Big Ten Contenders
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A college football season is an epic poem and the first stanza was marked by Le'Veon Bell's heroic performance against Boise State on Friday night. Bell rushed 44 times and caught six passes while scoring two touchdowns, including the game-winner midway through the fourth quarter of the Spartans' 17-13 victory.
So where does Bell fit in among the Big Ten's best? Let's find out.
Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell: 44 rushes, 210 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 55 yards
The good stuff: From the looks of things, the title of the Big Ten's best power rushing attack has moved from Madison to East Lansing. Behind that offensive line, Bell's big numbers should keep coming.
The knock: Bell isn't a big play kind of back. While he shook off 50 touches like it was nothing in Week 1, there's a good chance he starts slowing down with a workload close to that come November.
The odds: Not so bad, but not so great, since Bell's ceiling doesn't seem remarkably high. Let's say "decent."
Wiscosin RB Montee Ball: 32 rushes, 120 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 31 yards
The good stuff: Ball looked physically ready to put together a big year after that concussion from a month ago in his season debut. 35 touches is legit and Ball's capable of doing that week in and week out.
The knock: We want to see better production from Ball, especially since we know what heights he's capable of. That offensive line doesn't look like it's doing him many favors yet.
The odds: Ball is still the conference's leader, but so far on reputation only. Unfortunately, that reputation carries expectations. If Ball's too far off his 2011 pace, voters probably won't care how he's doing relative to other 2012 contenders.
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez: 26-34 passing, 354 yards, 5 TD; 6 rushes, 10 yards
The good stuff: That stat line from the arm means Martinez has this offense and his receivers down cold. Bo Pelini's extremely high on his quarterback and it was easy to see why in Week 1.
The knock: Southern Mississippi's defense looked hapless, which is good for Martinez but not for those who want to see how well Martinez can do against a team like, say, Michigan State. Plus, those mechanics are still frightening at times.
The odds: Martinez is behind only Ball in the list of Big Ten Heisman contenders, and Bell comes in third. It'll be fascinating to watch Martinez's passing productivity against the Big Ten's secondaries, though. If he can keep this up, voters will notice.
Michigan QB Denard Robinson: 11-26 passing, 200 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 10 rushes, 27 yards, 1 TD
The good stuff: He's still Denard Robinson and he'll still make some insane plays this year.
The knock: Bad Denard was in full effect against Alabama. While you can't win the Heisman in Week 1, you sure can lose it that quickly.
The odds: It's going to take some huge games against the Big Ten's best defenses for Robinson to get back in this race. Perhaps he should have transferred to the Big 12, where defense is frowned upon. Call him a longshot for now.
Illinois WR Fritz Rock: 0 catches, 0 yards
The good stuff: His name is Fritz Rock, you guys.
The knock: He is not actually a starter or anything and he has no stats.
The odds: I just checked and they haven't given out a Heisman based solely on name alone since Billy Cannon took home the trophy in '59. So the odds are pretty slim. That's too bad, because his name is Fritz Rock.
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