1. Collin Klein
Senior QB, Kansas State
Last Week: 19-for-26 (73 percent) for 233 yards and two TDs, 12 rushes for 83 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and two TDs
Season: 117-for-165 (70.9 percent) for 1630 yards, 12 TDS and two
interceptions, 122 rushes for 634 yards(5.2 yards per carry) and 16 TDs
Klein has turned into the most consistent player in the country, on one of the most consistent teams in the country. And with Texas Tech out of the way, there are only a few obstacles standing in his way. Both of Kansas States’ remaining road games are against teams in the bottom half of the conference, and neither Texas or Oklahoma State can provide the kind of test that Oklahoma could. Now that the Wildcats are No. 2 in the BCS, they are in the driver’s seat for the national championship. If Kansas State wins out, then Klein is almost guaranteed the Heisman trophy, barring an other-worldly end to the season by another candidate.
2. Manti Te’o
Senior LB, Notre Dame
Last Week: 11 tackles and one interception
Season: 80 tackles and five interceptions
The Notre Dame star continues to add to his resume. His latest victim was one-time Heisman contender Landry Jones. He picked off Jones in the fourth quarter with the Irish nursing a one score lead. While Notre Dame did give up a rushing touchdown for the first time this season, it made up for the concession by limiting the Sooners to only 15 yards on the ground. Now Notre Dame is firmly in the National Title discussion, and its next three opponents have a combined 10-14 record. The Irish only have one more relevant game left: its season finale against USC. However, following the Trojan’s loss to Arizona, that game has lost some of its luster.
3. Kenjon Barner
Senior RB, Oregon
Last Week: 9 rushes for 104 yards (11.6 yards per carry)
Season: 141 rushes for 974 yards (6.9 yards per carry)
and 14 TDS
With his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game, Barner has become the fastest rising Heisman hopeful in the nation. After beginning the season in the shadow of teammate De’Anthony Thomas, Barner has become the leader of the Ducks’ offense. He is currently the No. 10 rusher in the country and he has ample opportunities to add to that total. Additionally, Oregon’s schedule finishes strong with games against USC, Stanford and Oregon State. Barner will have the spotlight often as the season closes as long as people on the East Coast stay up late enough to see him.
4. AJ McCarron
Junior QB, Alabama
Last Week:16-for-23 (69.9 percent) for 208 yards and two TDs
Season: 122-for-177 (69 percent) for 1684 yards and 18 TDs
No team has come close to beating the Crimson Tide this season. Alabama is winning by 33 points per game, and have six wins by 30 points or more. That could start to change this week. LSU will provide the biggest test yet for Alabama, so this is the time in which McCarron will start to make his campaign push. If he can guide his team past a road test against a hungry LSU team, and a potential upset game against Texas A&M, then McCarron will be in position to potentially take the top spot should Klein stumble.
5. Braxton Miller
Sophomore QB, Ohio State
Last Week: 7-for-19 (37 percent) for 143 yards and one TD and one
interception, 25 rushes for 134 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and two TDs
Season: 112-for-198 (57 percent) for 1572 yards, 12 TDs and six
interceptions, 156 rushes for 1093 yards (7 yards per carry) and 12 TDs
Miller is the primary reason for the Buckeyes’ resurgence this season under Urban Meyer. His play has sparked the Ohio State offense, while its defense has struggled at times. Most of his production has come through the use of his legs. Ohio State is averaging 248 yards per game on the ground and only trails Nebraska as the leading rushers in the Big Ten. Miller is an explosive player who is carrying his team right now, but his Heisman campaign is still very incomplete. He just isn’t a complete enough passer. While other quarterbacks are completing close to 70-percent of their passes, Miller has six games with under 60-percent completion percentage. If his passing numbers were better, he would be a very serious contender for the award, but as it stands, he would have to have absolutely terrific performances to end the season in order to have a shot.