Senior QB, Kansas State
Last Week: 19-for-21 (91 percent) passing for 323 yards and three touchdowns, 12 rushes for 41 yards (3.4 yards per carry) and four TDS
Season: 98-for-139 (70.5 percent) passing for 1,397 yards for 10 touchdowns and two interceptions, 110 rushes for 551 yards (5 yards per carry) and 14 TDS
Klein passed another test this weekend against former Heisman frontrunner Geno Smith. Following West Virginia’s win over Baylor, people were ready to hand the award to Smith, but Klein has taken over the top spot with his physical brand of football. He has made a name for himself as a runner, but it was his arm that beat the Mountaineers. He had a career day last week in one of the defining moments of the season for Kansas State.
Senior LB, Notre Dame
Last Week: 10 tackles.
Season: 69 tackles and
Te’o recorded his third consecutive ten-tackle game in the win over BYU. His tackle numbers may not be as high as some other players in the country, but his impact on the game is much more significant than some others who get tackles in bulk. His 69 tackles are good for 23rd in the nation, but he leads a Notre Dame defensive unit that is second in the nation in scoring defense. He leads the way in run defense and will have another major opportunity this weekend. Notre Dame travels to Norman, Okla. to play a confident Oklahoma team that is firing on all cylinders since its bye week after the Kansas State loss. If he can shut down the Oklahoma rushing attack and force the Sooners into difficult situations, Te’o has a chance to make plays against Landry Jones, who will be leading the best offense the Irish has seen this season. Te’o cannot afford a loss if his goal is to take home the Heisman. Unfortunately, the Irish offense is nowhere near as effective as the Sooners’, which may cost him this weekend.
Senior RB, Oregon
Last Week: 16 rushes for 143 yards (8.9 yards per carry)
Season: 132 rushes for 870 yards (6.6 yards per carry) and 12 TDs
Barner has picked up some momentum in recent weeks after a slow start to the season. He is coming off his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game, complete with a 71-yard touchdown run against Arizona State. Barner may not quite have the raw explosiveness as teammate De’Anthony Thomas, but he is a much more complete back and has the ability to run between the tackles. As Oregon continues to spread the field, lots of running lanes open for Barner in the middle of the field, which he can hit as fast as anyone in the country. He’ll face Colorado team that is allowing over 170 yards on the ground this season.
Senior QB, USC
Last Week: 19-for-20 (95 percent) for 298 yards and six TDs
Season: 140-for-213 (65 percent) for 1773 yards, 22 TDs and six interceptions
Barkley has put himself back in contention with a stellar performance against Colorado. He became the all-time leader for touchdown passes in the Pac 12 conference, passing Matt Leinart. Now USC is getting back to business. The Trojans are in the Top 10 and a win over Oregon would vault them right back in the national title discussion as the leader of the one-loss group. He has had a strong run over the past few weeks with 10 touchdown passes to just one interception. Barkley may have lost some momentum, but as USC gets back into spotlight games, he will start to get more attention. Wins over Oregon and Notre Dame would put Barkley right up near the top of the Heisman ranks. Fortunately for him, he likely gets two shots at Oregon. Even if USC doesn’t win both of the matchups, if Barkley performs well enough he will be back among the favorites to take home the Heisman.
Junior QB, Alabama
Last Week: 17-for-22 (77 percent) for 306 yards and four TDs
Season: 106-for-154 (69 percent) for 1,476 yards and 16 TDs
McCarron wasn’t used as the playmaker last season, but he is leading a very efficient offense this time around. He has yet to throw an interception through seven games which is unheard of, especially in the land of vaunted SEC defenses. Actually, Alabama hasn’t really played anyone who is particularly good. It crushed Michigan in the first game of the season, but hasn’t played anyone with a pulse since. But the Tide does begin a three game stretch against ranked teams this week with Mississippi State traveling to Tuscaloosa, but that isn’t the game that will give him Heisman credit. That game comes next week against LSU. That is where McCarron needs to make a name for himself.
Printed on Friday, October 26, 2012 as: Heisman watch