Heisman Watch: Week 10 Review
It's hard to truly crown a "best player" in college football. There are too many different variables that come into play, including strength of schedule, consistency, and overall quality (and record) of the player's team. Yet each year, a group of voters casts their ballots to decide who the best player in college football is, and it must be pretty tough. There's an excess of worthy candidates each year, and every voter has their own opinion about each one.
While there seems to be a clear-cut favorite this year (to most), there's always room for debate. Here's my current top five with an update on their statistics and performance through Week 10.
5.) Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State Cowboys
While some experts seem to think a more highly of Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles (out for the season with an ACL injury) and Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, I think Blackmon might be the more important to his team than either of those players. In Saturday's game with Kansas State, Blackmon caught 13 passes for 205 yards with two touchdowns. One of those TDs was a crucial score with less than five minutes remaining in the game. He also caught a two-point conversion after that TD to put the Cowboys up by 7 points. It's worth noting that Oklahoma State has 29 total receiving touchdowns - and 12 were to Blackmon. He's also scored nine more times than any other receiver on the team's roster. While Blackmon might be a long shot to win the Heisman, I think he deserves a place on this list.
(2011 statistics: 87 receptions for 1079yds, 12TD, 11.9 yards per reception)
4.) Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State Broncos
When examining Moore and Houston QB Case Keenum, it's tough to decide who the better player is. Both have played fairly easy schedules up to this point and both play in weak conferences. Their stats are also slightly similar, and both teams are undefeated. So why Moore first? Like Blackmon, I think Keenum is a little more important to his team. The entire offense runs through him, and while that increases his stats it also increases his chances to make mistakes. However, Moore is also a definite Heisman contender. He had a predictably outstanding showing against UNLV in week 10 (18/31, 218yds, 5TD, 0INT) and shows no signs of slowing down. TCU is Boise's opponent next week (and their toughest opponent) and if Moore performs well, he will surely move up in these rankings.
(2011 statistics: 178.5 rating, 2229yds, 29TD, 5INT, 74.1%)
3.) Case Keenum, QB, Houston Cougars
Keenum became the most prolific passer in NCAA history during Houston's win over UAB last week with a four touchdown performance (39/44, 407yds, 2 passing TD, 2 rushing TD), and in Houston's Air Raid style offense he will continue producing at unbelievable rates. If he plays up to the same level he has been, he could potentially have 4500 yards this season with 45-50 touchdowns. Even though Houston's schedule is very easy compared to bigger teams, Keenum passes the ball 40-60 times a game and rarely makes mistakes. The fact that he has only three interceptions in over 300 attempts is unbelievable. His team is also 9-0 and should end the season undefeated. Keenum has been doing things that have never been done before in the NCAA, and that's definitely worth something.
(2011 statistics: 192.4 rating, 3626yds, 34TD, 3INT, 74.1%, 2 rushing TD)
2.) Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
With his outstanding play this season, Andrew Luck has shown why he deserves to be a top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Like Moore and Keenum, Luck suffers from playing a fairly weak overall schedule. However, the Pac-12 is definitely a tougher than the Mountain West Conference or Conference-USA, and Stanford is undefeated thus far. Luck also has the benefit of a signature win - the 56-48 overtime victory over USC at the Coliseum in which he threw for three touchdowns. Moore and Keenum haven't really had a game of that magnitude yet this season. In Week 10, Luck had a fairly forgettable game against Oregon State (20/30, 206yds, 3TD, 1INT) but Week 11 should be more exciting. The Oregon Ducks travel to Palo Alto next Saturday for the Cardinal's toughest test yet. If Luck performs well and gets a win, he could potentially clinch the award.
(2011 statistics: 174.1 rating, 2424yds, 26TD, 5INT, 71.3, 147yds rushing, 2 rushing TD)
1.) Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
This might not be a conventional pick, but Richardson put up 170 total yards (89 rushing, 80 receiving) on an LSU defense that is arguably the best in the nation. While he may not have scored in the game, he proved that he can essentially produce against any team in the country. When an opposing defense knows a player is going to be the main focus of an offense and they still can't stop that player, it proves how great the player really is. Trent Richardson essentially was Bama's offense during the game, yet LSU struggled to contain him at times. If Richardson finishes off the season with a few 100-200 yard rushing performances, he should at the very least be heavily considered for the Heisman.
(2011 statistics: 1078yds rushing, 17TD, 6.3ypc, 23 receptions, 292yds receiving, 1TD)