Heisman Watch 9-14

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Jonathan Franklin, Senior RB, UCLA

Last Week: 26 carries for 217 yards (8.3 avg.) and no touchdowns.
Season: 41 carries for 431 yards (10.5 avg.) and three touchdowns.

Franklin makes his debut to the Heisman rankings with big performance in last week’s upset over Nebraska. He is averaging an obscene 10.5 yards per carry. He has run for at least 200 yards in each of his games so far this season, and has a run of 50 yards or more in each game. He is a major part of the Bruins’ resurgence this season, and certainly has big play capability. He’ll pad his stats more this weekend as a dreadful Houston teams trudges into the Rose Bowl. The Bruins’ biggest games all fall in November, guaranteeing Franklin the opportunity to finish the season strong.


Le'Veon Bell, Junior RB, Michigan State

Last Week: 18 carries for 70 yards (3.9 avg.) and two touchdowns.
Season: 62 carries for 280 yards (4.5 avg.) and four touchdowns.

Bell didn’t a have a stellar game against Central Michigan, but it wasn’t necessary. This week should be different. Notre Dame will be in East Lansing this Saturday for one of the biggest games of the weekend. This is a huge opportunity for Bell to cement his spot near the top of the Heisman rankings. This game is also the first chance for someone to supplant Barkley. If Bell runs all over a talented Notre Dame team in a win-or even a close loss- then he can basically book himself a ticket to New York in December.


Matt Barkley, Senior QB, USC

Last Week: 23-30 (76.7 percent) for 187 yards and six touchdowns; one interception.
Season: 46-68 (67.7 percent) for 559 yards and 10 touchdowns; one interception.

Barkley continues to put up solid numbers this season with six more touchdowns added to his total. The negative from his last game is that it took so long for the Trojans to get going. Their first three drives resulted in 71 yards of offense, a punt, and two failed fourth-down attempts. But he gets a marquee matchup this week with a trip to Stanford. With a lack of depth, and a possible weakness at defense, USC will be relying on its offense to carry more weight, which means that Barkley will continue to put up big numbers by necessity.


Geno Smith, Senior QB, West Virginia

Last Week: N/A
Season: 32-36 (89 percent) for 323 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Smith got to rest last week, and returns to the campaign trail with a cake walk against James Madison. Next week’s game against Maryland should also prove to be easy for West Virginia before the real tests start for the Mountaineers and Smith. Baylor will bring a high powered offense into Morgantown for a shootout before West Virginia has to travel to Austin to play against what may be the Big 12’s best defense against Texas. If Smith can continue to put up big numbers over the next four weeks, then he has a definite chance to become the favorite for the Heisman midway through the season. who was counting him out.


De’Anthony Thomas, Sophomore RB, Oregon

Last Week: seven carries for 102 yards (14.6 avg.) and two touchdowns; four receptions for 26 yards(6.5 avg.)
Season: 10 carries for 166 yards (16.6 avg.) and three touchdowns; eight receptions for 81 yards (10.1 avg.) and two touchdowns.

Thomas may be hands down the most explosive player in the nation. He has only run the ball 10 times this season, but he is averaging over 16 yards per carry. And in Oregon’s offensive system he will have ample opportunities to provide big plays this season. The Ducks will also put Thomas anywhere on the field playing him as a receiver, a back, and he will even be a primary kick and punt returner. He gets a marquee game in two weeks against Arizona and will need to make the most of it. His problem, as with the other two West Coast players here, is he won’t always be on the national scene, being three hours behind the East Coast. So when Thomas does get the national spotlight, he has to take full advantage of it.