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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

The 2010 Heisman

P.S.R. 2010 Heisman Watch: Week 5

The statuette remains the same, as does the first name on the P.S.R. Heisman watch list.

Here we are, four weeks into the year, and little has changed on the Pre-Snap Read Heisman list: Kellen Moore still stands leads all comers, though there are several contenders with sterling resumes making a claim to the top spot. There’s that quarterback in Columbus, he of the touchdowns in three different fashions on Saturday afternoon. The past winner back to his old tricks in Tuscaloosa. Two stars from the Big Ten put together solid performances despite yielding the spotlight to their understudies for much of Saturday afternoon. There’s even a new face on the list, as you’ll see below.

1. QB Kellen Moore, Boise State (Last week: No. 1)

Week 4 W 37-24 vs. Oregon State (19 of 27 for 288 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT)
Year to date 62 of 95 for 873 yards, 8 TD, 1 INT

Boise State’s second test: passed with flying colors. Likewise with Moore, who was terrific in the win over Oregon State. We’ve seen this show before: pinpoint accuracy, tremendous success off of play-action and the rare questionable decision. This has become old hat for Moore, of course, but it remains one of the great pleasures in college football. Now that Boise has taken down Virginia Tech and Oregon State, the onus will be on Moore to put together the type of numbers necessary to maintain the top spot on this list; it’s unfortunate, but his team’s lack of premier competition will hurt his chances.

Week 5 at New Mexico State, Saturday

2. QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State (Last week: No. 2)

Week 4 W 73-20 vs. Eastern Michigan (20 of 26 for 224 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT; 7 carries for 104 yards, 1 TD; 1 receiving TD)
Year to date 71 of 107 for 939 yards, 10 TD, 2 INT; 43 carries for 269 yards, 3 TD

How do you like your Terrelle Pryor? Passing? Check — four times. Running? Check. Receiving? Well, if that floats your boat — check. So this do-everything performance came against Eastern Michigan; doesn’t matter. Pryor put together a memorable Ohio State performance, which should count for something. After feasting on questionable opposition over the last two weeks, Pryor and the Buckeyes begin Big Ten play this Saturday: at Illinois, followed by a home date with Indiana. Yeah, look for Pryor to keep it up, at least for another two weeks.

Week 5 at Illinois, Saturday

3. RB Mark Ingram, Alabama (Last week: –)

Week 4 W 24-20 at Arkansas (24 carries for 157 yards, 2 TD; 2 catches for 27 yards)
Year to date 33 carries for 308 yards, 4 TD; 2 catches for 27 yards

There’s a reason he’s the defending Heisman winner, as if there was any doubt. There’s no better running back in college football — one could make the case there’s no better player, regardless of position. If you were still unsure, if you wondered if Ingram was fully recovered from his knee surgery, take note of his performance on Saturday: bruising, battering, physical, dominant, vintage Ingram. Look out: Ingram is quickly moving his way back to the top of the Heisman list.

Week 5 vs. Florida, Saturday

4. QB Denard Robinson, Michigan (Last week: No. 5)

Week 4 W 65-21 vs. Bowling Green (4 of 4 for 60 yards; 5 carries for 129 yards, 2 TD)
Year to date 57 of 80 for 731 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT; 79 carries for 688 yards, 6 TD

Let’s do the math: if Robinson had not hurt his knee in the second quarter, had played every snap the rest of the way, he would have rushed for about 300 yards, give or take, with another 225 yards through the air. Just another day at the office for the sophomore, right? I’m not sure if we can hold Robinson’s limited performance against him; he was due for a second half breather regardless, having taken a pounding in each of Michigan’s first three games. Don’t be surprised if Robinson again takes a seat for the fourth quarter against Indiana, though Saturday’s game might be too tight for Michigan to rest its sophomore star.

Week 5 at Indiana, Saturday

5. RB John Clay, Wisconsin (Last week: No. 4)

Week 4 W 70-3 vs. Austin Peay (15 carries for 117 yards, 1 TD)
Year to date 77 carries for 501 yards, 6 TD

Shame on Wisconsin for scheduling little Austin Peay, though we can’t hold that against Clay: the junior still rushed for his typical haul — 117 yards and a score — albeit against severely inferior opposition. His Heisman campaign kicks into high gear come Saturday, when the Badgers enter Big Ten play; I feel like I’ve been making this point for several weeks. My biggest worry with Clay is his lack of flash: it comes in handy when leading this offense, but it hurts when held against the type of performances we’ve seen from Terrelle Pryor or Denard Robinson, for instance.

Week 5 at Michigan State, Saturday

6. QB Andrew Luck, Stanford (Last week: No. 6)

Week 4 W 37-14 at Notre Dame (19 of 32 for 238 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 4 carries for 23 yards)
Year to date 64 of 102 for 912 yards, 11 TD, 2 INT; 17 carries for 163 yards, 1 TD

Luck tossed his first two interceptions of the season, completed less than 60 percent of his attempts and rushed for only 23 yards. So why is he still a Heisman contender? Because of the final score: Stanford 37, Notre Dame 14. The Cardinal had not won in South Bend since 1992, which stands for something. Luck made a few errors, was not quite as accurate as is typically the case, but the Stanford offense rolled nonetheless. A big game — not the Big Game, but important — awaits on Saturday, when the Cardinal head to Eugene to take on the Ducks. The Pac-10 title might be on the line.

Week 5 at Oregon, Saturday

7. CB Patrick Peterson, L.S.U.  (Last week: No. –)

Week 4 W 20-14 vs. West Virginia (1 tackle; 1 blocked kick; 2 punt returns for 86 yards, 1 TD)
Year to date 11 tackles, 2 INT, 2 pass breakups; 9 punt returns for 253 yards, 2 TD

For the first time this year, a defensive player cracks the list. Well, it’s not quite about what Peterson does on defense; he’s a wonderful cornerback, but no true defensive player is ever going to win the Heisman — if Ndamukong Suh didn’t, Peterson sure isn’t either. What makes Peterson special is his impact as a punt returner, where he’s already returned two punts for scores on the young season. Perhaps the most integral factor behind Peterson’s candidacy is his importance to L.S.U.’s 4-0 start: the Tigers are woeful offensively, leaving Peterson as likely the team’s most dangerous play-maker — and he’s a cornerback.

Week 5 vs. Tennessee, Saturday

8. QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (Last week: No. 3)

Week 4 L 20-24 vs. Alabama (25 of 38 for 357 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT)
Year to date 95 of 138 for 1438 yards, 10 TD, 5 INT

Well, that’s unfortunate. Through three quarters, the Heisman was lining up favorably in Mallett’s corner. In the final frame, Mallett’s chances took a significant hit. Now, I don’t believe Mallett’s out of the running; he remains a viable candidate based solely on his numbers, which remain staggering. In addition, Arkansas showed enough on Saturday to remain a threat to win 10 games in the regular season, further boosting Mallett’s chances. As noted, it’s unfortunate: through three quarters, it didn’t look like Mallett was going to need any excuses. The big key for the junior will be forgetting the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game and moving onto Saturday: undefeated Texas A&M on a neutral field.

Week 5 bye

9. RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma (Last week: No. 7)

Week 4 W 31-29 vs. Cincinnati (28 carries for 67 yards, 1 TD; 7 catches for 21 yards)
Year to date 105 carries for 436 yards, 7 TD; 16 catches for 111 yards, 1 TD

Murray has a problem: he’s beginning to be largely overshadowed by his teammates, Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles. And for very good reason — Murray is doing the dirty work, but the quarterback-receiver duo are making the big plays. Take note of Saturday’s win over Cincinnati, when Murray ground out 67 yards on 28 carries, adding 21 yards receiving; Jones threw for 351 yards and 2 scores, with Broyles making 10 catches for 100 yards. Yes, Murray has a problem: he needs a big game against Texas to remain in the Heisman mix. While 67-yard rushing performances help O.U. win football games, they don’t win national hardware.

Week 5 vs. Texas (in Dallas), Saturday

10. QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada (Last week: No. 9)

Week 4 W 27-14 at B.Y.U. (16 of 25 for 196 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 17 carries for 82 yards, 1 TD)
Year to date 73 of 106 for 924 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT; 56 carries for 451 yards, 8 TD

Another roadblock taken down by the Wolf Pack, who won by 13 points in Provo. The game looked far better in August, when both teams were just on the verge of being nationally ranked. B.Y.U. has taken a steep slide, of course — the quarterback issues haven’t helped — though Nevada has been terrific. Kaepernick, as always, has been the engine behind this dynamic offense, both as a runner and a passer. His throwing, in fact, has been terrific: Kaepernick is completing 68.9 percent of his attempts, a full 10 percent more than his previous career high. He’s on pace for more than 3,000 yards passing, a new career high. On the ground, Kaepernick is averaging a career-best 8.1 yards per carry; his eight touchdowns is almost half of his previous career high of 17, set in 2008.

Week 5 at U.N.L.V., Saturday

Dropped out

RB Marcus Lattimore (No. 10) 

Week 4 list Kellen Moore, No. 1
Week 3 list Kellen Moore, No. 1
Week 2 list Kellen Moore, No. 1
Preseason list Kellen Moore, No. 1

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  1. Nizerdone says:

    confused why TP is not in the driver’s seat here. his numbers are more impressive than Moore’s. any clafication?

  2. Nizerdone says:

    clarification = clafication

  3. Duck Fan says:

    To me they are dead even but I guess you could say that Pryor can sometimes be overshadowed by tOSUs Awesome defense

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