We're 10 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 11.
Blackmon had a huge game on Saturday
Oklahoma State sophomore wide receiver Justin Blackmon is tied for fifth with one point this week.
Blackmon came back from a one-game suspension as the result of a DUI arrest to have a monster game against Baylor. He had 13 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown and also took a reverse 69 yards for a score.
On the season, Blackmon leads the nation with 75 catches for 1,285 yards and 15 touchdowns.
At this point, he's a lock for the Biletnikoff Award. His impact on the Heisman race will be much smaller, but there's a chance that he can finish in the top six or seven if he can close out the season strong.
Michigan's Denard Robinson checks in this week in a tie for fifth with one point.
One has to wonder what might've been with Robinson. He's clearly as explosive a player as there is in college football, whether it's through the air or on the ground.
The problem is that he keeps getting hurt.
Last Saturday against Illinois was a case in point. Through three quarters, Robinson threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns and added another 62 yards on the ground. But he started feeling dizzy and was removed in favor of Tate Forcier.
As gaudy as his stats remain, they'd be pretty amazing if he hadn't missed significant portions of various games. He might even still be the Heisman frontrunner.
On the year, he has 1,349 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and 1,814 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. If he keeps it up, he'll be the first player ever to pass for 2,000 and rush for 1,500 in the same season.
Stats like those might set him up nicely for a Heisman run in 2011.
Stanford sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck is fourth this week with two points from the panel.
When Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart graduated, many thought that Stanford would take a dive.
But the Cardinal are a much better team this year thanks to the development of Luck. He's turned into perhaps the premier pro-style quarterback in the country.
He had one of his better games of the season against top 15-ranked Arizona last Saturday. He threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns as Stanford easily handled the Wildcats to move into the top six of the BCS rankings.
On the year, Luck has 2,213 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating leads the Pac-10 at 163.38. He has also rushed for 370 yards and three scores.
Unfortunately for the Cardinal, this might be Luck's last year at Stanford. The NFL is drooling over this young talent, who might be a top five pick in the next draft. So these next few games might be the last we see of Mr. Luck.
Kellen Moore is third this week with 17 points, including one first-place vote.
Some players know exactly when to turn it on and Moore is one of them. He threw for a career-high 507 yards against Hawaii, while adding three touchdowns on 30-of-37 passing. Surprisingly, he also threw two interceptions and he now has three in the last two games after having just four in his previous 20. He still leads the nation in passing efficiency at 192.38 and is on pace to break the NCAA record in that category.
Overall, he has 2,372 passing yards with 21 TDs and four interceptions.
Moore has four games left, but only one of them—a Friday night tilt against Nevada—stands to garner much attention. It will take a lot for Moore to break out of his third-place position, though it certainly helps him that Newton is under investigation. It could be that some voters who drop Newton will lean toward a quarterback rather than a running back. It also might help that, unlike both his competitors, he doesn’t have an arrest record, though this seems unlikely to be highlighted much in the media.
His Heisman hopes parallel his team’s BCS title game hopes. Both are long shots at this point, but not out of the question.
LaMichael James is once again second, with 22 points and one first-place vote.
It was the second good week in a row for James, who continues to chip away at Newton’s lead, though this time due more to the fallout from the ongoing NCAA investigation than anything that happened on the field.
It only stands to reason that James might benefit if Newton gets hit hard by the scandal, though how much exactly is unclear at the moment. It’s not like James hasn’t proven to be a worthy alternative in this race. He had another strong outing against Washington, rushing for 121 yards and three touchdowns while catching another three balls for 19 yards.
James leads the nation in rushing yards per game by a healthy 17 yards over his nearest competitor—only Donald Brown (2008) and LaDanian Tomlinson (2000) achieved larger gaps since 2000, with both gaining an average of 18 yards more than the No. 2 player nationally.
Overall, he has 1,331 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Obviously, James still has a chance to move toward the magical 2,000-yard mark and three more games to close the remaining gap between him and Newton.
If he finishes strong, he’s got a shot.
Cameron Newton tops the survey for the fourth week in a row, tallying 35 points and 11 first-place votes.
It was an interesting week, to say the least, for Newton. As we all know, he’s currently under investigation for an alleged pay-for-play scheme that occurred during his recruitment. At this point, no one outside of the people involved really know how it is going to turn out. A few days ago, I did a random sampling of Heisman voters and, of the six voters surveyed, one has decided not to vote for Newton due to the investigation, another is showing some wobbliness over it and the other four appear to want to give him the benefit of the doubt until the facts emerge.
While this is not the most scientific survey, it may well reflect a weakening of his position relative to the field. The real question remains: If the investigation continues through the voting period, how many ballots will this affect? It’s hard to tell right now, but I think it’s going to have some impact on the vote if it’s not resolved quickly. If more detrimental facts emerge without a final resolution, his candidacy may incur considerable damage.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that’s he continues to light it up on the field. Against hapless foe Chattanooga this past Saturday, Newton threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns in just one half of play. He also added 24 rushing yards and a score. His ground game has slowed down in recent weeks and he now projects to fall just short of the magical 1,500-yard rushing mark which would make him college football’s first 2,000/1,500 man.
But he plays for an undefeated team vying for the national title and he’s got a mega matchup with Alabama on the horizon and, possibly, the SEC title game as well. So, despite his NCAA troubles, Newton still is a solid bet to come through it all and win the Heisman, though the race is looking a LOT closer than it did a week ago.
This Week's Poll, 11/9/2010
(Total points with first place votes in parentheses)
1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn—35 (11)
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon—22 (1)
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State—17 (1)
4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford—2
5 (tie). Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan—1
5 (tie). Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State—1