Collin Klein: Why Kansas State QB's Lead in the Heisman Race Is Slipping

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2012

MANHATTAN, KS - NOVEMBER 03:  Quarterback Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats passes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on November 3, 2012 in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Kansas State's Collin Klein may still be the front-runner in the Heisman Trophy hunt, but he's hardly a sure bet at this point. 

Especially if he misses any significant time due to the undisclosed injury he suffered against Oklahoma State on Saturday that cost him the final 25 minutes of that game.

Sure, there might not be a more important player to his team than Klein.

He has accounted for 2,573 yards from scrimmage and 29 total touchdowns. He has thrown just two interceptions and has a completion percentage of 71.1. His Wildcats are 9-0 and No. 2 in the BCS rankings.

But Klein can't afford to miss time in this Heisman race.

He doesn't have a big enough lead to hold off several top contenders for the award. And if Kansas State loses a game and drops down the rankings, several other Heisman hopefuls on top BCS teams will likely leapfrog him.

If Oregon continues to blitzkrieg every team they play—including teams such as Stanford and Oregon State in key forthcoming games—it's going to be very hard to ignore the Heisman candidacy of Kenjon Barner, who has 1,479 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns. 

Oh, and his 7.2 yards per carry is pretty darn impressive too.

With three games left to play, those numbers could end up being very gaudy and hard for voters to ignore, especially if Oregon earns its way to the National Championship game. And Barner is fresh off of a 321-yard, five-touchdown performance against USC, so expect him to make noise down the stretch.

Manti Te'o would be an unorthodox choice, but if Notre Dame is able to stay undefeated an earn a berth in the National Championship game, he would stand a very good chance to win the award. He's not only the heart and soul of the Irish defense, but he's also a true playmaker for the unit and the best linebacker in the country.

On the year, he has 85 total tackles, two sacks and five interceptions, and has made more than his fair share of game-changing plays.

AJ McCarron may not have the stats of the other top candidates—on the year, McCarron has thrown for just 1,849 yards and 19 touchdowns—but he certainly had his Heisman moment in leading Alabama on a game-winning drive against LSU on Saturday night. 

Plus, he still hasn't thrown an interception, has led Alabama to a 9-0 record and now has a signature moment. He's in the running, especially if Alabama stays No. 1 and he doesn't throw a pick.

Braxton Miller deserves to at least be in this conversation as well, but Ohio State's cupcake schedule will probably keep him from serious consideration. Still, Miller has 2,919 yards from scrimmage and 27 total touchdowns on the year.

His poor completion percentage of 56.9 could hurt him, as could Ohio State's bowl ineligibility this year.

Out of sight, out of mind, you know?

I simply don't see Klein running away with the Heisman this year. It's his to lose, but if he misses time, plays poorly once or twice or—gasp!—Kansas State loses, the trophy will probably go elsewhere.

Klein built himself a lead in this race.

Now he has to prove he can hold off the other contenders down the stretch.


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