Senior QB, West Virginia
Last Week: 25-for-35 (71percent) for 268 yards and four TDs.
Season: 166-for-204 (81 percent) for 1996 yards and 24 TDs.
Smith put himself in the Heisman lead early and he sealed his spot last week. Against a Texas defense that was trying to hit him and get to him the entire game, Smith still coordinated the West Virginia offense flawlessly. He was always able to make a big play when the Mountaineers needed it and had big passes that had to be on target. There were times when the Texas coverage was good, but his throws were just better. Barring a miracle from another source, Smith should not be passed as long as West Virginia keeps winning. It will take a loss to dethrone Smith — that might not even be enough.
Senior QB, Kansas State
Last Week: 7-for-14 (50 percent) for 129 yards and two TDs, 10 rushes for 116 yards (11.6 yards per carry) and two TDs.
Season: 63-for-94 (67 percent) for 887 yards for seven TDs and two interceptions, 73 rushes for 405 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and seven TDs.
Klein continues be as solid and consistent as any player in the country. His numbers cannot compare to Smith’s, and 20 years ago, he would not have had a chance to win the Heisman. But with all of Kansas State’s games on television, voters all over the country get to watch him and see him play. He’s not flashy, and he doesn’t make the precision throws that Smith does, but Klein gets it done unlike anyone else in the game right now. He is tough as nails and will physically wear down any defense. Klein and running back John Hubert make up the most physical backfield in the country and Klein may have the best chance at passing Smith when they square off in two weeks.
Senior LB, Notre Dame
Last Week: 10 tackles.
Season: 46 tackles, three interceptions.
Notre Dame played Miami in a thriller — in 1988. Last week’s game, a 41-3 Fighting Irish win, was not a thriller. Te’o recorded his third double-digit tackle game of the season against the Hurricanes. With Florida State and Georgia both falling last week, the field in front of Te’o continues to shrink. As long as Notre Dame keeps winning, he will continue to receive Heisman consideration. With games against Stanford, Oklahoma, and Southern California still to come, Notre Dame will continue to be in high profile games. . Working in Te’o’s favor is that as long as he and the defense continue to play well his Heisman campaign can survive a loss or two.
Sophomore QB, Ohio State
Last Week: 7-for-14 (50 percent) for 127 yards and one TD, 16 rushes for 186 yards (11.6 yards per carry) and one TD.
Season: 83-for-135 (61 percent) for 1060 yards, nine TDs and three interceptions, 106 rushes for 763 yards (7.2 yards per carry) and eight TDs.
Miller is having a breakout season and is the primary reason that Ohio State is already bowl eligible. Or, it would be, were it not on probation with a bowl ban. But he’s still playing well and the Buckeyes are undefeated at this point and a Top 10 team in the AP poll (still ineligible in the Coaches’ poll). However, Miller’s passing stats leave something to be desired. In order for him to become a real Heisman threat, he will have to get a lot sharper on his passes, which he may need another offseason to tighten up. But his ground game has made him one of the most dangerous players in the Big Ten. The queston still remains that with Ohio State unable to play in any postseason games, how much consideration will he get?
Senior QB, USC
Last Week: 23-for-30 (76 percent) for 303 yards and three TDs.
Season: 111-for-173 (64 percent) for 1308 yards, 15 TDs and five interceptions.
Ever since the one-possession loss at Stanford in mid-September, people have fallen asleep on USC. Are the Trojans National Championship contenders? That remains to be seen. After USC lines up against Oregon in early November, we will know how good both teams are, as well as how good Barkley is. But he is still in the Heisman race. His October schedule is fairly pedestrian and USC should be hot heading into the titanic matchup against Oregon. The Trojans dashed Oregon’s National Title hopes in Eugene last season and they could do the same this season at home.
Senior RB, Florida
Last Week: 34 rushes for 148 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and two TDs.
Season: 103 rushes for 548 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and seven TDs.
Fresh off the huge win over LSU, Florida is now one of the leaders for the National Title discussion. Gillislee is the main reason why. He is averaging 110 rushing yards per game, just a few behind the pace set by Mark Ingram when he won the Heisman in 2009. For the Gators to keep winning, they will need to rely on the legs of Gillislee, so he will have plenty of opportunities to add to his resume.