College Football Heisman Race: Week Eight

Eric SamulskiCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2009

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 5:  The original cast of the 1935 Heisman trophy is displayed December 5, 2005 in New York City. The plaster cast sculpture for what became the Heisman trophy is estimated to sell for $200,000 to $300,000 at auction December 10.  (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

Each week, I'll break down who I think are the top 10 contenders for the Heisman and let you know who may have fallen out of contention.

I base my rankings on what the Heisman Committee tends to value when honoring their winner, so I'll be ranking based on what I think they are leaning towards. (See previous ranking in parentheses.)

1. (2) Mark Ingram- RB, Alabama-

Welcome to the top spot Mark Ingram. Admittedly, his ascension probably has more to do with Tebow's woeful passing performance, than his own. However, against a very stout Tennessee defense, he still was able to rattle off 99 yards on 18 carries, which is 5.5 per carry.

He's third in the nation in rushing yards and averaging 6.6 yards per carry on the season. His status as the main playmaker on, arguably, the best team in the nation adds a much needed extra boost to his stats.


2. (3) Jimmy Clausen- QB, Notre Dame

Notre Dame beat a very strong Boston College team and Jimmy Clausen was impressive in the victory. He notched 246 yards and two TDs while completing 26 of 39 passes. The Fighting Irish are sitting very comfortably at 5-2 and have one game remaining on their schedule (@ Pitt) where they will be an underdog.

Staring at a likely 9-3 record, Clausen might actually be able to sneak himself over favorites Tebow and McCoy if they keep up their sub-par performances.


3. (1) Tim Tebow- QB, Florida

I think if we're all honest with ourselves, we know that Tebow is going to get an invite almost regardless of what he does on the field. And part of that has to do with his ability to salvage even the worst of games.

His passing was terrible this week against Mississippi State, throwing for 127 yards and two very bad INTs. However, he was able to scrap out 88 yards and a TD on the ground, which makes it easy for people to still talk about him as a difference maker. Even if he's not doing it with his arm.


4. (5) Colt McCoy- QB, Texas

Colt is another player who is going to get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the Heisman Committee. His performance so far this season has been suspect, but Texas is sitting comfortably at third in the nation and he is without a doubt the face of that team.

His 269 yards and three TDs this week, showed that he is still capable of big numbers, and completing 26 of 31 passes was even more impressive. With Texas having lots of big games stil ahead of them, Colt is still very much in the picture.


5. (4) Tony Pike- QB, Cincinnati

This was a very bad week for Pike. So bad that I almost considered dropping him out of the rankings completely. Not only did he miss the week after surgery on his non-throwing arm, but his replacement, Zach Collaros, destroyed Louisville with his arm and legs.

People were already whispering that Pike was a system QB and this surely won't shut those whispers up. However, Pike is set to come back next game and Cincinnati is staring at a Big East championship and a BCS bowl. If Pike comes back without missing a beat, he still has a shot.


6. (6) Ryan Williams- RB, Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech had an off week, so Williams wasn't able to help them rebound from their loss last week. As I've said earlier, it's always tough for Freshman to get an invite to NYC, but there are two guys really pushing the committee this year.

If Virginia Tech is able to rebound and Williams can help lead them in some key games coming up, he could sneak in. After all, he is still eighth in the nation in rushing yards with 834, to go along with 10 TDs.


7. (10) Dion Lewis- RB, Pittsburgh

The other Freshman RB in the conversation. Lewis has really come on strong this year, and kept rolling against a strong South Florida defense. He racked up 111 yards and two TDs on 23 carries. It upped his season total to nine TDs and 1,131 yards, which slots him as the number two runner in the nation.

With Pitt getting some attention now, Lewis is thrusting his name into the Heisman talks. Another loss for the Panthers could all but squash his hopes.


8. (NR) Kellen Moore- QB, Boise State

Last week, I said it was likely I would mention Moore at some point soon. Well, he makes his debut on the list this week. Boise State is poised to crack the BCS bowls again, and the committee might be looking to reward somebody for that achievement. The super-accurate lefty would likely be that guy.

After throwing for 223 yards and five TDs this week, he added to his totals, giving him 1,627 yards and a nation-leading 21 TDs. The only knock against Moore is that College Football certainly is it's own little fraternity and he could possible be effected by the "system's" displeasure with Boise State ruining their cozy little BCS.


9. (NR) Noel Devine- RB, West Virginia

West Virginia keeps rising up the rankings, and Noel Devine is a major reason for it. Many people thought that after the departures of Slaton two years ago and then Pat White this season, West Virginia would fall back into the pack.

Devine is doing his best to prevent that. He racked up 178 yard and a TD this week, making him the nations ninth leading rusher with 912 yards and 10 TDs on the season.


10. (9) Case Keenum- QB, Houston

Houston is keeping themselves in the top 20, and thereby keeping Keenum in the race. A loss will send Keenum the way of Max Hall and drop his hopes for good, but right now his stats are keeping him afloat.

Keenum is the nations No. 1 passer with 2,734 yards and is second to Moore in passing TDs with 20. Anybody that has stats of that magnitude is going to stay in the conversation as long as his team keeps themselves among the ranks of the competitive.

Dropped Out: (7) Rodgers, (8) Hall


Dark Horses

Jacquizz Rodgers- RB, Oregon State

It was so tough for me to drop Quizz Show from the rankings that I had to mention him here. The tough loss to USC this week is going to drop Rodgers from any type of contention, but the kid deserves to be in any conversation about the most dynamic players in the country.

He rushed for 113 yards and a TD against the Trojans and added another TD in the air. He's so talented and exciting to watch.


Zach Robinson- QB, Oklahoma State

Robinson has been proving over the last few weeks that he's not only solid because of the presence of Dez Bryant. Oklahoma State has stayed competitive and Robinson has been the key. He threw for 250 yards and three TDs while only missing on four passes. With 1,547 yards and 12 TDs on the year, he's still on the outside looking in.


LaMichael James- RB, Oregon

The infamous punch in the first game may have been the best thing for James. It thrust him into the starting role and he has taken over. After a rough first game as a starter against Purdue, James has racked up over a hundred yards in every game. As Oregon has jumped back into the title picture, James has been the driving force. This week he rushed for 154 yards and two TDs and is 20th in the nation right now with 735 yards and 6 TDs.


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