The Heisman Trophy is college football’s most coveted individual award. Each week, Garnet Report’s Avery Wilks gives you the inside scoop on this year’s likely Heisman candidates.
Author’s Note: No one drops from the list this week. Though it’s primarily a three-player race right now, there’s a lot of season left to be played.
6. Matt Barkley, QB, Southern Cal (6-2)
Barkley’s Heisman chances took a major blow in Southern Cal’s loss to Arizona Saturday. Though he had great production in the passing game–nearly eclipsing 500 yard–Barkley wasn’t able to save his team from their second loss to an inferior opponent this year. At this point, his hopes of winning the Heisman are pretty dim, but it’s worth keeping him on this list due to the talent that surrounds him and the chances he’ll have to upset top teams in the season’s remaining games.
Last Game Stats: 39-36 Loss @ Arizona
Next Game: Southern Cal plays host to #4 Oregon next Saturday at 7 p.m. If the Trojans can pull the unlikely upset over the Ducks, Barkley could find himself back into some Heisman conversations.
5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (5-2)
Smith was the clear victim in the battle of the nation’s two top Heisman contenders, as Kansas State smothered him from the game’s beginning to its end. As much as Klein impressed against West Virginia, Smith played just as poorly against Kansas State’s stout defense. After back-to-back pitiful performances, it’s safe to say Smith’s Heisman buzz has quieted, and the senior quarterback won’t be favored to win college football’s most prestigious award. In fact, unless Smith makes a dramatic turnaround–and soon–the Mountaineer quarterback could find himself out of most Heisman conversations by the season’s end.
Last Game Stats: 55-14 Loss vs. Kansas State
|Comp||Att||Pass Yds||Comp %||TD||INT||Rushes||Rush Yds||Rush TD|
Next Game: Smith and WVU hope to finally redeem themselves with a win against TCU this Saturday. Coming off their third loss in four games, the Horned Toads are ripe for the picking against a Mountaineer offense hungry to prove their relevance in the Big 12.
4. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon (8-0)
Barner spearheaded an offensive attack that scored 56 points in just the first half of Oregon’s demolition of Colorado last Saturday afternoon. What’s more, Barner only played in the first quarter and in one drive at the start of the second quarter, meaning the senior running back was on pace to rack up just under 600 total yards had he stayed in for the entire game. Expect Oregon’s Heisman stock to improve as Oregon finishes their regular season undefeated with notable wins over Southern Cal, Stanford, and Oregon State.
|Rushes||Rush Yds||Yds/Carry||Rush TD||Receptions||Rec Yds||Rec TD|
Next Game: The Ducks travel to the Coliseum to face #17 USC at 7 p.m. Saturday. With a win, Oregon cements its position as a true great team, and Barner can launch himself further into the Heisman conversation.
3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (9-0)
Miller had one of his worst games passing against Penn State last Saturday, but did it all for Ohio State on the ground, accounting for 3 total touchdowns and leading the team in rushing with 134 of Ohio State’s 234 yards. The Buckeyes are undefeated in Urban Meyer’s first season in no small part due to Miller’s play at quarterback. This kid has been everything the team has needed to win this year, as he’s provided just enough in every game to jump-start the Buckeyes to victory. Quick side note: Miller had his potential “Heisman highlight” in a touchdown run late in the third quarter to increase Ohio State’s lead over the Nittany Lions.
Last Game Stats: 35-23 @ Penn State
|Comp||Att||Yds||Comp %||Pass TD||INT||Rushes||Rush Yds||Rush TD|
Next Game: Next Saturday vs. Illinois at 3:30 p.m. Illinois is 2-6. They’ve lost 5 straight, including their last one to Indiana.
2. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame (8-0)
What more is there left to say? This guy can do no wrong, as he’s stepped up game after game for the Irish no matter how tough the opponent. This week, Te’o was the driving force behind Notre Dame’s defensive success against Oklahoma, as he tallied double-digit tackles for the sixth game this season. It seems that everything is falling in place this year for Te’o. He’s the leader of the second best defense in the nation, plays on a team that will likely finish 12-0, and has been absolutely on fire the past few weeks, especially when his team has needed him the most.
Last Game Stats: 30-13 Win @ Oklahoma
|Tackles||Sacks||Tackles for Loss||Pass Deflections||INT|
Next Game: Next Saturday Notre Dame faces a less-than-impressive Pittsburgh team at 3:30 p.m. Don’t expect any surprises here, as Te’o and the Irish defense will dominate the nation’s 60th ranked offense.
1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (8-0)
Not the strongest first half for Klein and Kansas State as they only led Texas Tech 13-10 at the half, but the Wildcats put together a 52-7 run to put away the Red Raiders by 31 points on Saturday. Klein had yet another Heisman-worthy performance, finding the end zone four times and gaining well over 300 total yards. Though the Wildcat’s have an elite defense and plenty of talent all around, Klein is the primary reason why K-State is contending for a national title this year. If he continues at this pace, the senior quarterback is a shoo-in for the Heisman.
Last Game Stats: 55-24 Win vs. Texas Tech
|Comp||Att||Yds||Comp %||TD||INT||Rushes||Rush Yds||Rush TD|
Next Game: Klein leads Kansas State against #24 Oklahoma State next Saturday at 8 p.m. The (5-2) Cowboys are no pushover this year, but don’t expect them to seriously challenge Klein and the dominant K-State rushing game.