What looked like a two man race after last week, now may be five or six deep. The top two had average weeks, while their four toughest competitors all had fantastic weeks and certainly closed the gap. It’s looking like this race is going to come down to the final week of the season and still has plenty of movement yet to come. With the pressure rising both in the Heisman race and conference races, we will find out which of these guys have ice in their veins, and which will crumble in the end.
Here are the top 10 Heisman candidates after week 11:
1. Collin Klein, Kansas State, QB, Last week: 1, Previous High: 1
Klein had an average game against an average TCU defense, while almost every serious contender behind him had big games. The gap is getting much smaller and what seemed to be a Heisman winner with a KSU undefeated season a few weeks back, is on the verge of losing is #1 ranking. It’s crunch time for Klein and he must have a huge game vs. a terrible Baylor defense next weekend.
2. Kenjon Barner, RB, Last week: 2, Previous High: 2
In a week where Barner could have possibly jumped Klein with a dominant performance against Cal, Barner instead had his worst game of the season. Clashing with two ranked opponents to end the season, Barner will have to dominate Oregon State and Stanford’s defenses, like he did USC’s.
3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, QB, Last week: 5, Previous High: 5
Here’s Johnny!!! After looking like a scared, freshman quarterback against LSU three weeks ago, Johnny Manziel has put his name back in Heisman contention with an unbelievable performance in a shocking upset of the almighty Alabama. Not only did he lead Texas A&M to 29 points against the #1 defense in the country, but he did it in Tuscaloosa. It’s the most points an opponent has scored in Bryant-Denny Stadium since Nov. 3, 2007, when LSU defeated them 41-34. And let’s not forget that he’s in the top 30 of every major passing and rushing stat category.
4. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, LB, Last week: 6, Previous High: 2
Te’o got his sixth interception of the year, setting a new record for a Notre Dame linebacker, and again led his defense in holding their opponent under 10 points for the fourth time this year. Te’o is playing fantastic football, but he won’t be able to win the Heisman unless both Oregon and Kansas St. lose.
5. Braxton Miller, Ohio State, QB, Last week: 3, Previous High: 2
Miller dropped during his week off, but he has his chance to work his way back up the rankings over the next two weeks. With games against the 12th ranked defense, Wisconsin, and the 17th ranked defense, Michigan, Miller needs to have two of his best games of the season to work back to the top of the rankings.
6. Marqise Lee, USC, WR, Last week: 7, Previous High: 7
Lee is the best wide receiver in the nation, and leads the nation in both receptions and reception yards. In his last five games, Lee has produced at an unbelievable rate, with 44 receptions for 766 yards, and 6 touchdowns. If he continues at that pace against #18 UCLA, and #3 Notre Dame the next two weeks, he has a very good shot at getting a seat at the ceremony.
7. Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech, QB, Last week: 10, Previous High: 10
Say what you want about Cameron playing in the weak WAC, but he’s in the top 5 in completion percentage, and passing yards, and top 15 in QB rating and touchdowns. Oh, and he still hasn’t thrown an interception. Cameron threw for 5 touchdowns and 450 yards against a Texas A&M defense who ruined A.J. McCarron’s Heisman bid last weekend.
8. Tajh Boyd, Clemson, QB, Last week: Player to watch, Previous High: 10
Boyd has been working extremely hard to re-earn a spot on this list, and it’s safe to say that he’s here to stay as long as Clemson takes care of business this weekend against NC State and doesn’t blow up against #9 South Carolina the following weekend.
9. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona, RB, Last week: n/a, Previous High: n/a
Carey has almost identical statistics to #2 Kenjon Barner, against the same Pac-12 competition. His stats were a little inflated this weekend against an embarrassing Colorado team, rushing for 366 yards and 5 touchdowns, but 366 yards in one game is impressive no matter who it’s against. Three of his best games this year actually have come against top Pac-12 opponents, USC, Stanford, and Oregon State. Carey may have trouble moving up any farther, but if people start choking, he could make a late push.
10. Marcus Mariota, Oregon, QB, Last week: n/a, Previous High: 10
Mariota stole the show from his teammate Kenjon Barner this weekend, throwing for 377 yards and 6 touchdowns. If he didn’t have the best backfield in the nation, Mariota may actually be higher on this list, but he won’t get the same respect from the committee, as these other guys will, because he has two other Heisman hopefuls playing with him.
Dropped from rankings: A.J. McCarron, Teddy Bridgewater, DeAndre Hopkins
Players to watch:
EJ Manuel, Florida St.- Manuel is having a great season and could work his way into the top 10 by season’s end.
A.J. McCarron, Alabama – He threw his first two picks of the season and lost his undefeated season, and may not make it back to the list as a result.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin – Ball moved into 2nd place on the all-time rushing touchdown list this past weekend, and has a good chance of breaking the record by the end of the year.