It is not getting any easier to project legitimate Heisman candidates, as so many players are having incredible seasons. But team success--whether it should or not--does seem to weigh on the minds of voters. So I am finally ready to admit that Stanford quarterback stands alone as the front runner for the prestigious award. A match-up against a hot USC team with nothing to lose looms, but the trophy seems to be Luck's to lose at this point.
1. Andrew Luck
Just the usual against a ranked Washington team last weekend: 16 for 21 passing, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions. Oh, by the way, the Cardinals also won the game 65-21. Did anyone really think Stanford would be this good after the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh? Apparently, Luck knew something we didn't when he elected to return for his senior season. He will have to be at his best tomorrow night against a USC team that won on the road last weekend against Notre Dame, 31-17. If USC somehow manages a way to beat Stanford, don't be surprised if their own quarterback, Matt Barkley, pops into this column next week.
The lone running back in my top five--from Alabama--is climbing. With 989 rushing yards on the season, he will almost certainly top 1,000 yards in his next contest. He has also scored 17 touchdowns. His team, the Crimson Tide, have looked unbeatable all season, and Richardson is one of the big reasons why. Sure, he benefits from a stellar offensive line, but we're going to find out just how good he is on November 5 when Alabama hosts the other SEC leader, LSU. The Crimson Tide are idle this weekend.
In a shoot-out loss to Michigan State, which ended on a controversial, final-play hailmary, Wilson did not exactly play poorly, and he even helped engineer a bit of a fourth-quarter comeback. But his two interceptions did hurt Wisconsin's cause. The Badgers play several more quality opponents (read: opportunities for Wilson to shine), and it will start this weekend at Ohio State.
4. Kellen Moore
How does a proven leader of an unbeaten team with a quarterback rating of 180.7 place so low? It's a good question. I suppose I am guilty--like everyone else--of falling in line with the bias against Boise State. It's unfair, and I admit it. As long as Boise State wins out, Moore will almost certainly be invited to New York, but there is almost no chance he'll be handed the trophy. Last week, against a pesky Air Force team, Moore completed 23 of 29 passes for 281 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. This week, the Broncos are off. They line up next against a lowly UNLV squad on November 5.
5. Case Keenum
This week's new entry charged in with a Thursday night effort of--get this--nine touchdown passes en route to a 73-34 win over Rice. That number broke an FBS record. Keenum has thrown for 32 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. He leads an offense that ranks first in the nation in passing yards and points scored. Oh, and did I mention that his Houston Cougars are undefeated and currently sit at #17--almost certain to rise--in the BCS standings? Like Moore, Keenum will be hurt by his school's weak schedule, but we do well to remember that Houston did knock off UCLA to start the season. If you are thinking Keenum has been around for ever and didn't he graduate? That's probably because he's back for a fifth season after his true senior year was shortened by an injury. The Cougars take on UAB on November 5.
Honorable Mentions: Robert Griffin III (Baylor quarterback), Matt Barkley (USC quarterback), Landry Jones (Oklahoma quarterback), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State quarterback), Tajh Boyd (Clemson quarterback)