In a wild week in which we saw four guys drop from the rankings and two preseason favorites return, it’s hard to believe the Heisman race could get anymore exciting, but it has. On top of all of that we finally have a new #1, ending Geno Smith’s impressive five week reign of the top spot. It’s eight weeks in and nobody is a run away favorite, which is causing dramatic changes in the rankings every single week. As we get closer to the end of the season it will be interesting to see who will rise to the occasion and who will fold under the intense pressure of producing in conference games.
Here are the top 10 Heisman candidates after week 8:
1. Collin Klein, Kansas State, QB, Last week: 2, Previous High: 2
You’ve earned it man. I’m a big numbers guy, and I know that his statistics aren’t as impressive as other guys, but Klein is Kansas State Football. He’s a tremendous leader and had an unfathomable 266.8 QB rating this past weekend in a romping of West Virginia.
2. Braxton Miller, Ohio St., QB, Last week: 3, Previous High: 2
Miller had a concussion scare this weekend, but his team prevailed against Purdue and he’ll be back on the field next weekend against Penn State. Miller has better numbers on the ground, but to overcome Klein he’ll need to improve his passing game.
3. Kenjon Barner, Oregon, RB, Last week: 4, Previous High: 4
To anyone who still has Barner’s backup, De’Anthony Thomas, in front of him in their Heisman rankings, please stop writing about college football. This guy deserves the top 5 spot. Let’s compare the two through four Pac-12 games.
- Barner: 546 rushing yards, 6 TD’s, 66 receiving yards, 1 TD
- Thomas: 174 rushing yards, 2 TD’s, 55 receiving yards, 0 TD’s
4. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, LB, Last week: 5, Previous High: 5
Te’o and his Notre Dame defense are 2nd in the nation in points allowed per game (9.4) behind only Alabama. Notre Dame’s numbers are more impressive, however, because they have had a much tougher schedule than the Crimson Tide. Te’o is an incredible leader and isn’t just representing himself on this list, but an entire defensive unit.
5. Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB, Last week: 1, Previous High: 1
Smith might not have not lost his number one spot had he played well in a West Virginia loss to Kansas State this past weekend, but he had his worst game of the season. Smith’s season is still very impressive with 26 TD’s and only 2 Int’s, but he has a tough fight ahead of him to get back to the top.
6. Seth Doege, Texas Tech, QB, Last week: 10, Previous High: 10
Last week everyone was talking about another Texas QB, Johnny Manziel, but this week it’s all Doege. After tough games against Oklahoma and Iowa State, Doege has posted 817 yards and 13 TD’s the past two weeks against West Virginia and TCU. He gets Collin Klein and the Wildcats this weekend, and with a win, Doege will be moving up the rankings.
7. A.J McCarron, Alabama, QB, Last week: n/a, Previous High: n/a
Alabama is the best team in the country and is known for their defense, but McCarron is quietly having a fantastic season. He has the nations best passer rating at 183.6 to go along with a 69% completion rate, 16 TD’s, and a very impressive goose egg in the interception column.
8. EJ Manuel, Florida St., QB, Last week: Player to watch, Previous High: 2
Since a terrible loss to NC State, Manuel has shown resilience, coming back with two very strong performance the past two weeks. I don’t think he can boost himself into real contention, but if the Seminoles keep winning and end the season with an upset of Florida, then Manuel could possibly snag the last seat in the ceremony.
9. Montee Ball, Wisconsin, RB, Last week: n/a, Previous High: 1
Oh, hey there Montee…Thanks for finally returning to the party…no, seriously. My preseason pick to win the Heisman let me down at the beginning of the season, but is now finally playing Heisman worthy football. It just took him a little bit to get started I guess.
- First 4 games (non-conference): 260 yards, 3 TD’s
- Last 4 games (conference): 622 yards, 10 TD’s
10. Matt Barkley, USC, QB, Last week: n/a, Previous High: 1
It’s good to see Barkley and Ball back in the top 10. Barkley has been playing up to his potential the past few weeks and he’s finally got a chance to shoot back to the top of the rankings. It starts this week with Arizona, then #4 Oregon, Arizona St., UCLA, and end with #5 Notre Dame. If USC and Barkley go undefeated in this dangerous five-game stretch, they could both be in contention for titles.
Dropped from rankings: Johnny Manziel, Stedman Bailey, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Gillislee
Players to watch:
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M- Manziel was horrible against LSU, but he’s still having an incredible season, and could be back in the top 10 with a good week against Auburn.
Stedman Bailey, West Virginia- He has great stats for a receiver, but his last two weeks have been terrible. Bailey can’t afford another off-week, otherwise he won’t be seeing his name here anymore.
Terrance Williams, Baylor- Williams has 150 more yards than any other receiver in the nation and has a respectable 9 touchdowns to boot. He only has one week with less than 130 yards, and if he continues that he definitely deserves a spot in the top 10.