2010 Heisman Trophy Rankings: LaMichael James Cuts Into Cameron Newton's Lead

Chris HustonContributor INovember 2, 2010

2010 Heisman Trophy Rankings: LaMichael James Cuts Into Cameron Newton's Lead

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    We're nine weeks into the season, and it's time for the latest edition of Bleacher Report's 2010 Heisman Trophy Rankings, presented by Heismanpundit.com.

    The Heismanpundit.com Heisman poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for three players each week. Tabulations are made on a 3-2-1 basis, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

    In the past two years, the Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote in 2008 and the top four in 2009.

    Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN The Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.

    Chris Huston, owner of Heismanpundit.com and a Bleacher Report contributor, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.

    The poll is featured here on Bleacher Report each Tuesday during the college football season.

    Here are the top players in the poll heading into Week 10...

No. 4: Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor -- 1 Point

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    Griffin has led Baylor to new heightsBrian Bahr/Getty Images

    While the Heisman race is centering around the fates of three main candidates, the periphery of the campaign remains up for grabs.

    This week, Baylor sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin is in fourth with one point from the panel.

    Griffin is fresh off a fine performance in the Bears' upset of Texas.  He went 16-of-24 for 219 yards and two touchdowns as Baylor won its third straight to move to 6-2 on the year.

    So far this season, Griffin has 2,592 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while rushing for 401 yards and another seven scores.

    It would take a lot for Griffin to make it to New York.  For one, he'd probably have to lead Baylor to the Big 12 title.  As it is, the Bears are just happy to be bowl-eligible.

    Maybe next year.

No. 3: Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State -- 13 Points

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    Kellen Moore is a distant third in the Heisman raceOtto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    Once again, Boise State's Kellen Moore checks in at No. 3 in the weekly survey.

    Moore played well in a Tuesday night game against Louisiana Tech this past week but given the opponent, I don’t think he made much of an impression with Heisman voters, especially when you compare his performance with what Newton and James did a few days later. 

    Yes, he did catch a touchdown pass and continued his torrid passing streak, but he is a slave to the circumstances of his schedule.  

    Moore is heading to New York, but he’s a distant third in this race and will need both Newton AND James to either drop off statistically, lose, or get injured for him to have a shot at winning.   

    When it is all said and done, maybe 2011 is his best chance at the Heisman.

No. 2: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon -- 28 Points

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    James had a monster game against USCHarry How/Getty Images

    Oregon running back LaMichael James totaled 28 points and received two first-place votes from this week's survey.

    By having a monster game against USC (239 yards, 3 TDs), James not only held his own in the race, he gained some ground on Newton. 

    Whereas before Week 9, he was battling with Moore for second, he is now in sole possession of the No. 2 spot and growing stronger.  If all goes according to form, James will be right there with Newton going into the weekend before the final vote is due. 

    He’s currently on pace for 1,900 yards, but it’d improve his chances even more if he can crack the magical 2,000-yard mark. 

    The best situation for the Ducks is for Arizona to beat Stanford this weekend to set up a possible top 10 showdown with the Wildcats in three weeks, which would give James another stage on which to shine. 

    I think that, barring injury, James is on his way to New York and, if a few things fall right, he could yet steal the Heisman away from Newton.

No. 1: Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn -- 36 Points

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    Newton still leads the Heisman raceKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton accumulated 36 points and 11 first-place votes in this week's poll.

    Newton maintained his status as the Heisman front runner thanks to a versatile showing against Mississippi. 

    The Auburn quarterback not only threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, he also rushed for 45 and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass. 

    While it wasn’t the usual overwhelming performance we are used to seeing from Newton, it was more than enough to impress voters who might’ve been looking for chinks in his armor.  

    He now has games left against Chattanooga and Georgia in which to pile up stats before taking on Alabama in a game that could determine not only the Heisman, but one-half of the national title matchup.   

    As it stands, Newton is on pace for over 2,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards (something never before done) and reaching those marks while leading the Tigers to an undefeated season should easily assure him the Heisman. 

     

    This Week's Poll, 11-2-2010

    (with first-place votes in parentheses)

    1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn -- 36 points (11)

    2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon -- 28 points (2)

    3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State -- 13

    4. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor -- 1