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It wasn't just the polls that received a major shakeup in recent weeks.
In the last two weeks, three of the top Heisman Trophy candidates saw their hopes for an invite to the New York presentation take a major hit. Two weeks ago, it was Alabama's Trent Richardson, who only needed to find the end zone once against LSU and might have been able to lead the Tide for a major victory as well as jump to the top of the Heisman list. Unfortunately for Richardson, that didn't happen.
This past weekend two of the nation's best quarterbacks experienced setbacks. For a second straight year, Boise State's bid for a perfect season was ended by a missed field goal as the Broncos fell 36-35 to TCU. This all but kills any Heisman hopes for Boise State QB Kellen Moore.
And then there's Andrew Luck. The Stanford QB has been the favorite to win the Heisman since the end of last season. Luck has the pedigree and the hype. He's been terrific this season and even had a Heisman moment against USC. But he wasn't efficient in Stanford's 53-30 loss to Oregon on Saturday, and might have moved down some voters' lists.
FFJ's own Matt Horkman ranks the Heisman contenders each week. Matt is actually keeping Luck at the top of the list because of his national perception. This is something Matt does well as he considers all the outlying factors outside of a QB's performance that might come into play with the Heisman voters.
But I'm not trying to get in the voters head. All I know is what I see. With all the college football I've watched this year, it's become apparent that two quarterbacks from the Big 12 need to be more heavily considered for an invite to New York for the Heisman ceremony.
Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden is actually beginning to receive some of the Heisman hype. In fact, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit was touting Weeden for the award Sunday. It's nice to see Herbstreit get off the Luck bandwagon.
Just look at Weeden's numbers. He's thrown 31 TDs with just nine interceptions. He's also tossed for a remarkable 3,635 yards this season. He's ranked fourth in the nation in total offense and he's the eighth best QB in passing efficiency. Oklahoma State's offense ranks third in total yards and second in scoring. Much of this is due to Weeden and should the Cowboys finish the regular season undefeated with a bid to the BCS Championship, it's hard not to at least invite him to New York and to say he's not worthy of winning college football's more illustrious award is ludicrous.
A team that won't be in the BCS picture is Kansas State, but that doesn't mean the Wildcats shouldn't be represented at the Heisman ceremony, either. I can't imagine a player being more important to his team than what QB Collin Klein has meant to the Wildcats. He's not the most graceful passer, but he just gets things done in a Tim Tebow style.
Klein is more like a running back playing QB. He's a powerful runner and is averaging more than 1,000 yards per game. Only eight quarterbacks have rushed for 1,000 yards and passed for 2,000 yards in a single season. Klein already has 1,009 rushing yards and needs 496 passing yards to reach the 2,000 mark. And while that number might seem unlikely for a run-first QB, Klein has thrown for more than 500 yards in the last two games combined.
Klein also has the “it” factor. There's something about him that keeps Kansas State in every game. It's hard to bet against the Wildcats when Klein is on the field. He just finds a way, and if the Heisman Trophy was decided by sheer guts, Klein would be the obvious winner.
Unfortunately, it's mostly decided by a slew of voters who lack extensive knowledge of the game and who are easily swayed by the bigger names. That doesn't bode well for Klein, the original Honey Badger.
Week 11's Top 10 Performances
10. Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
Receiving, 2-52, 1 TD; Returning, 1-60, 1 TD
If you didn't see Adams' 60-yard punt return TD in Arkansas' 49-7 victory against Tennessee, you can find it here. Holy Hog indeed. It's without a doubt one of the best plays of the season and earns Adams a spot on this week's list.
9. Alex Carder, QB, Western Michigan
Passing, 38-59-0, 548 yards, 7 TDs; Rushing, 8-16, 1 TD
Carder has been pretty impressive all season, but his eight total TDs in a 66-63 losing effort against Toledo was phenomenal. Carder was relentless in keeping the Broncos in the game, and it certainly doesn't hurt that he's working with the nation's most prolific receiver in Jordan White.
8. Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
11 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Usually I can't find a spot for an Alabama defender on this list, but it's only because the Tide are filled with great defenders, making it difficult for one to stand out. But Hightower did emerge as the top playmaker for the Tide in their 24-7 victory against Mississippi State. He's the leading tackler for Bama this season, and that certainly says something considering the cast of stellar players on that unit.
7. Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State
Passing, 27-36-0, 494 yards, 4 TDs
Halliday is Washington State's third-string QB. The Cougars started the year with Jeff Tuel at QB, but Tuel was injured in the first game of the season. In comes senior Marcus Lobbestael, who went down with injury early in the Cougars' 37-27 upset win against Arizona State. Halliday, a redshirt freshman, was asked to step in and did so admirably. The Cougars certainly can't be feeling too bad about their QB situation even with a couple injuries.
6. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Rushing, 20-146, 3 TDs
James has been somewhat forgotten in the Heisman picture since the Ducks lost to LSU to begin the season and after missing a couple games with injury. But he remains the top rusher in the nation, averaging 150 yards per game. He was key in the 53-30 win against Stanford as the Cardinal clearly lacked the speed to keep up with James.
5. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
Passing, 31-37-0, 423 yards, 5 TDs
Weeden as good as ever in the Cowboys' 66-6 torching of Texas Tech. Many consider OSU WR Justin Blackmon to be the real Heisman contender on this team, but I have an issue giving a receiver the Heisman if he isn't also a high-impact player as a returner, too. Nothing against Blackmon, who I consider the best WR in the nation, but someone has to get him the ball, right?
4. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
6 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 sacks
Short is one of the best defensive tackles in the nation. He was a mightily disruptive force in Purdue's 26-23 upset of Ohio State. The Boilermakers are now a win away from being bowl eligible with a home game against Iowa and a road matchup against Indiana left on the schedule. Short plays NG in the Purdue 4-3 scheme, but had production like a DE in this game. He'll be playing on Sundays soon.
3. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
5 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Jones was the standout of an impressive defensive effort by the Bulldogs in their 45-7 shellacking of rival Auburn on Saturday. Jones is just a sophomore, but has already established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the nation. Even the best offensive tackles in the SEC should be quivering when he lines up across from them.
2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Passing, 17-27-1, 281 yards, 1 TD; Rushing, 35-103, 5 TDs
This is just another day at the office for Klein, who led the Wildcats to a 53-50 victory against Exas A&M in quadruple overtime. Klein has scored at least one rushing TD in every game but one, and that was in the the opener against Eastern Kentucky. He's currently ranked second in the nation in scoring , having rushed for 24 TDs this season. Another Heisman-like figure.
1. Casey Pachall, QB, TCU
Passing, 24-37-1, 473 yards, 5 TDs
It's not everyday a QB is able to outperform Boise State's Kellen Moore. But that's what Pachall did in TCU's 36-35 upset win against the Broncos. Pachall has quietly had a strong year in his first season as a starter, ranking sixth in the nation in passing efficiency. This was weithout a doubt his best performance of the season, breaking the 400-yard mark for the first time this year. The sophomore QB gives TCU a bright future as it transitions into the Big 12 next year.
Hull's Week 11 Top 25