1. Matt Barkley, Senior QB, USC
Last Week: 23-38 (60.5 percent), 372 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
The Trojans may have lost the top spot in the polls, but Barkley retains the top spot in the Heisman watch. USC had an easy time with Hawaii, and Barkley kicked off the season well with his first pass going 75 yards for a touchdown. As long as USC wins big, and Barkley’s game doesn’t tank, then he should remain at the top. Next week’s game in Syracuse will see Barkley have another shot at shredding a pedestrian team before getting an actual test on the road against Stanford in week three.
2. Le’Von Bell, Junior RB, Michigan State
Last Week: 44 carries, 210 yards (4.8 avg), 2 touchdowns
Bell may not have wowed with the kind of explosive plays that others on this list will have, but as the best player in one of only two games between ranked teams last weekend, his performance was the most noteworthy of anyone in the country. In a tight game against Boise State, Bell proved the importance of a workhorse back. His touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave Michigan State the lead, and with his team nursing a four point lead, he bled out the clock to secure the win. A cupcake game against Central Michigan is next for Bell before Michigan State faces Notre Dame in one of the most important games on the Spartans schedule.
3. Geno Smith, Senior QB, West Virginia
Last Week: 32-36 (89 percent), 323 yards, 4 touchdowns 0 interceptions
From a numbers standpoint Smith had the most impressive start of all the Heisman hopefuls. West Virginia’s offense was firing on all cylinders as it ran right over Marshall. West Virginia only had eight third downs in the game, and had a 60 percent conversion rate. Both those stats indicate how dangerous and multiple the West Virginia offense is in the hands of Smith. Next on the chopping block is James Madison.
4. Marcus Lattimore, Junior RB, South Carolina
Last week: 23 carries, 110 yards (4.8 avg.), 2 touchdowns
The second workhorse back on this list, Lattimore had a solid showing in his first game back from injury. Unlike several others here, Lattimore had to take his talents on the road in week one. Worse yet, South Carolina had to start the season with a conference game against a scrappy Vanderbilt team looking to make a statement. He showed a glimpse of what he was capable of with a 29 yard touchdown run to give the Gamecocks the lead, but didn’t look as dynamic as he was before last season’s knee surgery. Considering the lack of explosiveness for South Carolina, expect Lattimore to get more and more work. And as he gets more comfortable coming back from his injury, Lattimore will start making more big plays.
5. Montee Ball, Senior RB, Wisconsin
Last week: 32 carries, 120 yards (3.8 avg.), 1 touchdown
If Ball wants to hang in the Heisman race, then he will have to perform better than he did last week. His yardage total is respectable if taken out of the game early, but Ball was in the entire time, and Wisconsin got all it could handle late from Northern Iowa. The touchdown factory that was Ball last season was not on display as he only crossed the goal line once. The biggest knock on that game was that, with Northern Iowa taking all the momentum, Ball could not bleed the clock out until the final possession of the game. With a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter, ball ran for six yards on three possessions until finally managing 24 in the last two minutes.