Heisman Trophy Race Heats Up: Will Cam Newton Controversy Affect Heisman Hopes?

Jonathan FrayneContributor INovember 6, 2010

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 6:  Quarterback Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates a touchdown run against the Chattanooga Mocs November 6, 2010 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

It's been an eventful week for Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy favourite, Cam Newton.

Just days after leading Auburn to their ninth win of the season against Ole Miss and helping them remain unbeaten, Cam Newton was plunged into controversy with news of an NCAA investigation into the Auburn player.

Having allegedly charged schools for the services of Newton, agent Kenny Rodgers denied any wrongdoing saying that he has never asked for money for a player to sign and he's never contacted Auburn.

Despite there being no evidence to support these allegations yet, could they affect Cam Newton's chances of winning the Heisman Trophy?

Having put up some eye-popping numbers for Auburn this season, Cam Newton has firmly established him self as the Heisman favourite. At times it's been a one-man show for Auburn and Newton has had some memorable do-it-all performances, eclipsing 1,500 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing.

But the allegations against him could put his Heisman Trophy hopes in jeopardy.

The investigation could play on voters' minds, paving the way for other players stake a claim for the trophy.

Many people have said it's a two-man race between Cam Newton and Oregon running back LaMichael James.

With a huge game against USC last week, the Oregon running back asserted himself as the second favourite for the Heisman. The dynamic running back James has been the star of Oregon's high-powered offense this year, amassing over 1,500 rushing yards to go along with 15 touchdowns.

Expect another stellar performance from James this week.

Facing Washington's leaky rush defense, James can put the pressure on Cam Newton with an outstanding performance.

Another do-it-all quarterback, Kellen Moore and his Boise State team are once again making their case for a shot at the national championship.

Moore's play has added a huge boost to Boise State's national title bid. The junior quarterback has thrown for 18 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Moore is damaged by Boise State's lack of big opponents and exposure but he is still firmly in the race.

Andrew Luck is another quarterback in the race for the Heisman Trophy. Although his Stanford team have been beaten this year, Luck has wowed scouts with his performances. His outstanding play in the Pac-10 has put fellow Pac-10 quarterback Jake Locker in the shadow.

Luck has shown an impressive blend of throw power and accuracy, resulting in NFL scouts identifying him to be the No. 1 pro quarterback prospect in the nation.

Wild card Robert Griffin is a long shot to win the trophy, but the Baylor quarterback is making some noise, leading his team to an upset win over Texas and a top-25 ranking.

With the Reggie Bush situation and the former USC running back having to hand in his Heisman Trophy, Cam Newton's investigation hasn't come at the best of times. There will no doubt be voters who opt not to vote for Cam Newton even though his play so far merits the Heisman Trophy.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Newton performs in he wake of all the distractions. With an easy game against Chattanooga this week I don't know how much Newton will play, but he will have to show he is still the worthy winner of the Heisman Trophy in the coming weeks.

A poor performance or a loss against Alabama in one of the most anticipated Iron Bowls ever on the Nov. 26 could be a huge blow to Cam Newton and his Heisman hopes.

Cam Newton's close competition will be looking to capitalize, so expect some spectacular performances from the likes of LaMichael James and Kellen Moore as they bid to stay hot in the Heisman race which is very much heating up.