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1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Last Week: 366 total yards, 4 TDs (1 rushing), & 1 INT in win at USC.
Outlook: Most QBs, who throw a crushing fourth quarter INT, get down on themselves. They let their head hang in disgust and many of them blame their WRs or OL. Yeah I said it. QBs can be divas too.
Luck didn’t, though. I hate this cliché as much as the next person, but he held his head high, and took responsibility for a bad decision. He then proceeds to lead Stanford on a 76-yard game tying drive to force OT. Stanford then did what they’ve done all season -- finish the game, though perhaps outlasting USC is a better way of putting it.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a defining moment in Luck’s collegiate career, this was it. He literally threw the game away and opened himself up to criticism for the first time as a football player. Some players take weeks to answer their critics. Others take months. Most players catch Tony Romo syndrome and take years. Luck took 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Last Week: Idle
Outlook: Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time. The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie and the SEC is where you‘ll find the best college football in the country. These are currently facts of life, which makes the LSU and Alabama showdown all the more impressive. They'll play in arguably the biggest regular-season game in SEC history. That’s saying something, considering the conference's prestige.
These teams won’t combine for 104 points as we saw from Stanford and USC. This is a game that your father or grandfather will watch with a smile. We’re about to travel back in time. It’ll be low scoring, with the offenses lining up and running the ball down their opponent’s throat. That’s where Richardson enters the picture. I can’t remember the last time a non-QB was as important to a pivotal football game as Richardson is to this one. It’s simple, really. LSU wins if it stops him. Bama wins if the Tigers don’t.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
Last Week: Idle
Outlook: Moore and Boise State are just waiting for the dominos to fall into place. The Broncos don’t control their own destiny. They’ll need help if they want to break barriers and play for a national championship. The same applies to Moore’s Heisman aspirations. He’s apart of the pack, but he’s not the leader.
4. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
Last Week: 274 yards and 3 TDs in win vs. Baylor.
Outlook: Nobody made a bigger statement than OSU against Baylor. The Cowboys blew them off the field. Despite the win, Weeden’s Heisman stock goes unchanged. In fact, you can argue his stock should drop because of this game. The biggest thing to take from this matchup is that Justin Blackmon was the best player on the field, though that was apparent long ago. Weeden deserves the benefit of the doubt for now, but don’t fall out of your seat if it’s Justin Blackmon, who emerges as OSU’s Heisman contender.
5. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Last Week: 505 yards, 5 TDs, and 2 INTs in win at No. 8 Kansas State.
Outlook: After spending a week on the bubble, Jones roars back with authority. He became the first Oklahoma QB to throw for 500-plus yards in a single game. More importantly, he did it on the road against an unbeaten team. This was a real nice win for OU and Jones. Don’t discount it because Kansas State’s record was misleading.
On the Bubble
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor