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Heisman Race 2012: Power Ranking Contenders After Week 10

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJune 14, 2016

Heisman Race 2012: Power Ranking Contenders After Week 10

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    The wild race for the 2012 Heisman trophy just got tighter, and what a ride it has already been.  

    At the start of the season, USC quarterback Matt Barkley seemed like a lock. Then West Virginia's Geno Smith exploded to a huge early lead. 

    Both fell off, and Kansas State QB Collin Klein took over the top spot. Klein then had to leave his game against Oklahoma State early this past weekend. 

    Did it cost him his No. 1 spot in my Heisman power rankings? Read on to find out. 

No. 5: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

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    Look, it was going to be nearly impossible for Te'o—an exclusive defensive player—to ever win the Heisman, but since he is the leader of an undefeated Notre Dame team, he has a shot. 

    He was also playing brilliantly, but cooled off a bit this past week. It's not that he is playing poorly. It's just that he is having a hard time making the huge game-changing plays it would take for him to pull this off. 

    Tackles and sacks are unofficial, but ESPN credited him with seven tackles and a half-sack in the Irish's overtime win over Pitt. 

No. 4: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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    Braxton Miller continues to put up solid stat lines as his Ohio State Buckeyes continue to do nothing but win. 

    He has now rushed for 1,166 yards on the season and run for 13 scores, and he is still getting it done through the air with 1,753 yards, with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. 

    Miller boosted his case this week with a two touchdown, no interception passing performance while adding another score on the ground. 

    He is going to need a stat line that jumps off the sheet in the coming weeks if he wants to climb the rankings. 

No. 3: A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama

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    A.J. McCarron's Heisman hopes were moments away from falling off a cliff. Alabama was trailing and he was playing a poor second half against LSU. 

    Then he got the ball for one final drive, and he made it count. He hit on 4-of-5 passes and that included the 28-yard game-winning touchdown on a screen pass. McCarron was just 1-of-7 in the second half leading up to that drive. 

    While McCarron's performance isn't going to blow anyone away, he made the plays he needed to in the clutch, and that will keep him near the top of these rankings. 

No. 2: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

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    No one boosted their stock like Kenjon Barner this past week. 

    In a showcase game against USC, Barner went off. He amassed 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns, and this wasn't just Barner running through gaping holes to pick up big yards. 

    The senior RB was making defenders miss and picking up nice yards after contact. 

    Barner's stats have been limited this season because the Ducks have not needed him late in games. He showed in this one that he can not only flip the stat book on its ear, but he can carry a team when they need him most. 

    He has definitely closed the gap on our current front-runner. 

No. 1: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

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    Collin Klein left the Wildcats' triumph over Oklahoma State in the third quarter with an injury, but he had already done his damage and his team had a comfortable lead.

    He finished the game with 245-passing yards by going 16-of-22 passing. He didn't pick up a score through the air, but added one on the ground while picking up 64 yards on 17 carries. 

    His stats are not overwhelming, but they are certainly impressive, and he is doing everything needed to keep his No. 2 Wildcats rolling. 

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