Heisman Hopefuls After Week 6: Ranking the Top 4 and 2 Dark Horse Candidates

Thomas Boniface@tboniface89Correspondent IOctober 10, 2012

Heisman Hopefuls After Week 6: Ranking the Top 4 and 2 Dark Horse Candidates

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    With the month of September gone and conference play starting to heat up, it is time to take a look at this year's Heisman Trophy candidates after Week 6.

    At this time last year, not many could have predicted that Robert Griffin III would go on to win college football's most coveted award.  Most pundits would have said that Andrew Luck was the perennial front-runner and had guys like Montee Ball, Trent Richardson and Landry Jones listed as finalists after Luck.

    This year's race could take a similar turn as teams start to get into the tougher parts of their schedules and players begin to get worn out as the season progresses.

    So without further adieu, I give you the Top Four Heisman hopefuls and two dark horse candidates after six weeks of the college football season.

Geno Smith

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    Smith has to be the clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman at this point in the season and his numbers back that up.

    Through five games, Smith has passed for nearly 2000 yards with 24 touchdowns, zero interceptions, a completion percentage of 81.4 and a passer rating of 202.4.

    Needless to say those numbers speak for themselves.

    More importantly for Smith is the fact that his team is 5-0 and ranked at No. 5 in the country.

    Look for Smith to continue to put up big numbers against porous Big 12 defenses for the rest of the season. The Mountaineers faced the conference's best defense last week at then No.11 Texas and still put 48 points on the scoreboard.

    A possible berth in the 2013 BCS National Title Game and possible a Heisman Trophy are definitely not out of sight for Smith this season.

De'Anthony Thomas

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    While Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers have been throwing their way through their schedule, De'Anthony Thomas and the Oregon Ducks have been running through theirs and scoring a ton of points along the way.

    While Thomas doesn't lead the Ducks in scoring or in rushing yards, he does play an integral role in their speedy attack. He runs the ball, catches passes and returns both kicks and punts.  The only thing he doesn't do is pass and play defense.

    Through six games, Thomas has rushed 41 times for 377 yards and six touchdowns and caught 20 balls for 205 yards and another three touchdowns.  He has also returned 10 punts for 150 yards and six kickoffs for another 88 yards. Thus, on average, Thomas gains 12.3 yards per touch and scores a touchdown every 8.5 times he touches the ball.

    That is some serious scoring ability.

    If Thomas can continue to make big plays for the Ducks and they keep winning games, he should get his invite to New York in December.

Braxton Miller

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    Braxton Miller could be this year's Robert Griffin III.

    Miller is a guy who was on everyone's radar at the beginning of the season but not considered to be a Heisman candidate for at least another year.

    That has since changed.

    In his first year under Urban Meyer at Ohio State, Miller has been the do-it-all guy for the Buckeyes. He has thrown for over 1000 yards and nine touchdowns and has rushed for another 763 yards and eight more touchdowns. At this point in the season he has already surpassed his rushing totals from last year and has nearly eclipsed his passing totals.

    Oh and the Buckeyes are also ranked at No. 8 in the country and Miller's success has been a huge part of that.

    While he does fall behind Geno Smith, and arguably De'Anthony Thomas, in the Heisman rankings right now, he would definitely get an invite to New York if the ceremony was this week.

    If either Smith or Thomas falters from here on out and Miller continues to put up the stats like he has, he could be Ohio State's seventh Heisman Trophy winner.

Collin Klein

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    I guess this is the year of the dual-threat quarterback.

    While Geno Smith, De'Anthony Thomas and Braxton Miller have been racking up huge statistics and leading their teams to undefeated records with constant highlights on Sportscenter, Collin Klein has been quietly making the Kansas State Wildcats one of the best teams in the country.

    Armed with arguably less talent than any other Top 10 team, Klein has put the Wildcats in a great position entering the second half of the season.

    While his stats are not ridiculously impressive (887 yards passing, seven touchdowns, 405 yards rushing and seven touchdowns), he has helped the Wildcats climb to the No. 6 ranking in the country after six weeks.

    Klein and the Wildcats have already beaten then ranked No. 6 Oklahoma in Norman, but still have to face Geno Smith and West Virginia in Morgantown and No. 15 Texas at home in the season-finale.

    We will have to wait and see if Klein and the Wildcats can finish the season undefeated. If Klein and the Wildcats can do so, he could be punching his tickets to the 2013 BCS National Title Game and to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York.

Dark Horses: Connor Shaw/Marcus Lattimore

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    I've combined these two into one slide because the success of either depends on where the offensive focus is for the Gamecocks.

    Shaw and Lattimore are the figureheads of the newly ranked No. 3 team in the country, the South Carolina Gamecocks.

    Fresh off of a 35-7 beatdown of then ranked No. 5 Georgia, Shaw and Lattimore have the Gamecocks rolling.

    Shaw has thrown for 733 yards and seven touchdowns to go with another 281 yards rushing and one more touchdown. Lattimore on the other hand has rushed for 549 yards and nine scores plus another 133 receiving yards.

    Both of these guys make the Gamecocks' offense go and as long as they continue to put up solid numbers and points on the scoreboard, their Heisman stocks will rise.

    The only issue here when it comes to Heisman talk is which one do you choose? There have not been two Heisman Trophy candidates on the same team since the Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart days at USC.

    Whichever one the Heisman voters see as more essential to the Gamecocks success this season will be the Heisman candidate they choose.

    And right now it's a toss up because the argument could be made for either one to be a Heisman candidate.

    If the Gamecocks run the table and continue to win big games over SEC opponents, you could be seeing one of these two guys in New York in December.