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McCoy, Bradford making the Heisman hunt a two-man race

We're eight weeks into the season, and the Heisman race has come down to Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and a lot of candidates with flawed résumés. McCoy and Bradford have separated themselves from the other candidates so much so that The Watch considered not ranking anyone No. 3. That's not to say someone other than McCoy or Bradford can't reach No. 1 on this list by the end of the year, but at this point, that seems unlikely.

Last week: 29-of-32 passing, 337 yards, 2 TDs; 11 rushes, 23 yards, 2 TDs in a 56-31 victory over No. 11 Missouri.

Season: 160-of-197 passing, 1,894 yards, 19 TDs, 3 INTs; 70 rushes, 371 yards, 6 TDs; 1 punt, 44 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: One week after surgically dissecting the Sooners' defense (and thus earning The Watch's Halfway Heisman), McCoy was somehow even better against the Tigers. The SI coverboy had just three incompletions in the beatdown (two were batted balls and one was a drop of a McCoy fastball) and produced a play that will go on his Heisman highlight reel.

While running right in the second quarter, he calmly picked up his own fumble and, instead of just taking off downfield, had the wherewithal to look up and fire a pass, which he completed for 23 yards and a first down.

"Colt was phenomenal," Longhorns coach Mack Brown said after the game. It's way too early to start engraving the trophy, but McCoy is playing like an eventual Heisman winner.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 7 Oklahoma State.

Last week: 36-of-53 passing, 468 yards, 3 TDs; 4 rushes, 14 yards in a 45-31 victory over No. 16 Kansas.

Season: 170-of-238 passing, 2,520 yards, 26 TDs, 5 INTs; 22 rushes, minus-14 yards, 2 TDs.

Heisman-o-meter: Another game, another passing record for Bradford, who set a school mark for passing yards in a contest. He could've had one more touchdown pass, but overthrew a wide-open Jermaine Gresham (how do defenses lose this 6-foot-6, 261-pound beast so often?) down the left sideline.

That's nitpicking, though. Bradford doesn't do as much with his feet as McCoy, and, don't forget, Texas beat Oklahoma. The Sooner quarterback needs to catch some breaks to win, but he still can.

Up next: Saturday at Kansas State.

Last week: 18-of-31 passing, 171 yards, 1 TD; 9 rushes, 45 yards, 2 TDs in a 46-17 victory over Michigan.

Season: 114-of-180 passing, 1,531 yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs; 47 rushes, 190 yards, 8 TDs.

Heisman-o-meter: The PSU running game rolled against Michigan, so running back Evan Royster (174 yards, 1 TD), not Clark, was the star once again, helping rally the Nittany Lions from a 17-7 deficit. Clark lost a fumble on the team's second series, but he did hit Jordan Norwood for a big three-yard touchdown pass on third down right before the half to give Penn State momentum going into the locker room. He's this high on the list because he has been consistently good this season and because there's a knock on everyone below him, but if The Watch were to start a team, he would not be among the first 10 quarterbacks considered. He has an enormous opportunity to change that opinion this weekend in Columbus.

Up next: Saturday at No. 10 Ohio State.

Last week: 44-of-56 passing, 450 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs; 3 rushes, 4 yards, 2 TDs in a 43-25 victory at Texas A&M.

Season: 222-of-318 passing, 2,761 yards, 23 TDs, 5 INTs; 13 rushes, 0 yards, 5 TDs.

Heisman-o-meter: One of Harrell's rushing touchdowns came with 24 seconds remaining in the game, as coach Mike Leach tacked on a late score that drew much scorn in Aggieland. Harrell also threw a bad interception falling off his back leg and missed an open Michael Crabtree at the back of the end zone for a would-be touchdown. So why does Harrell move up? Many who were ahead of him last week (Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, Max Hall and Donald Brown) flopped. Plus, with the exception of two performances to start the season, which even Leach graded poorly, Harrell has played well all year even though Tech hasn't beaten any stiff competition. This weekend, he and the Red Raiders finally meet a ranked opponent, though one that Bradford and OU just blitzed.

Up next: Saturday at No. 19 Kansas.

Last week: 25 rushes, 217 yards, 4 TDs in a 38-16 victory over Wisconsin.

Season: 177 rushes, 1,154 yards, 10 TDs; 6 receptions, 20 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: This 5-11, 235-pound hammer has been knocking on The Watch's door for some time, and this week he emphatically kicked in the sonofagun with a career-best performance against the Badgers. His 34-yard touchdown run off right tackle in which he showed speed, power and even a little wiggle was one of the best runs this season. In eight games this year, he has eight 100-yard efforts, and he is on this list over the much more heralded Javon Ringer because he's averaging two more yards a carry than the Michigan State workhorse (among other things).

Up next: Nov. 1 at Illinois.

Last week: 31-of-41 passing, 318 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 4 rushes, minus-8 yards, 1 TD in a 56-31 loss at No. 1 Texas.

Season: 189-of-249 passing, 2,373 yards, 18 TDs, 5 INTs; 26 rushes, 112 yards, 1 TD.

Heisman-o-meter: Goodbye, Heisman. Texas' defense dominated Daniel, who'd led The Watch for much of the season. Much of the production Daniel did manage came in the second half when the outcome of the game was already decided. Between this Missouri meltdown and his three-interception game against Oklahoma State, The Watch cannot envision any realistic scenario in which Daniel walks away with the stiff-armed statuette. The best he can hope for is a second straight all expenses paid trip to New York City in December to watch someone else win it.

Up next: Saturday vs. Colorado.

Last week: 20 rushes, 94 yards, 1 TD; 4 receptions, 25 yards in a 34-13 victory at Washington.

Season: 167 rushes, 812 yards, 9 TDs; 19 receptions, 176 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: This selection will lead to a slew of passionate e-mails, but here's the reason for putting Rodgers back on the list: In Oregon State's games this season against ranked foes Penn State, USC and Utah, the 5-foot-7, 193-pound Rodgers has rushed for a combined 386 yards and five touchdowns. No other back can match that production against ranked competition. And he hasn't been bad in the other four games, either.

Up next: Nov. 1 vs. Arizona State.

Last week: 26 rushes, 93 yards in a 34-6 victory over Baylor.

Season: 151 rushes, 955 yards, 9 TDs; 7 receptions, 72 yards; 1 kickoff return, 13 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: Hunter -- another pint-sized runner -- faced eight-man Baylor fronts for much of the game and as a result teammates Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant outshined him. But Hunter still ranks sixth in the nation in rushing (136.4 yards per game), and his 154-yard effort the week before in a victory at Missouri carries a lot of weight. He can make a big move up the list this weekend if he's able to gash a Longhorns defense that ranks second against the run (48.1 yards per game).

Up next: Saturday at No. 1 Texas.

Last week: 11 receptions, 212 yards, 2 TDs; 2 punt returns, 24 yards in a 34-6 victory over Baylor.

Season: 45 receptions, 809 yards, 11 TDs; 14 punt returns, 289 yards, 2 TDs; 3 kickoff returns, 83 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: Missouri's Jeremy Maclin was the all-purpose threat on this list for much of the season, but Bryant replaces him after burning Baylor for 212 yards and two scores. Against Baylor, he used his 6-2 frame to catch a nine-yard touchdown on a fade route, and he had a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown nullified because of a penalty. He doesn't return kickoffs like Maclin, but Bryant has been the more impressive receiver this season, making him The Watch's favorite for the Biletnikoff.

Up next: Saturday at No. 1 Texas.

Last week: 18 rushes 156 yards, 3 TDs; 2 receptions, 46 yards in a 41-21 victory at Navy.

Season: 135 rushes, 689 yards, 10 TDs; 14 receptions, 172 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: We started with a McCoy, and we end with a McCoy. LeSean McCoy was a member of the preseason list, but struggled at the beginning of the year as the Panthers' offensive line worked things out. In the last three games McCoy, who is as talented a college running back as any, has showed the ability he flashed last season, rushing for 447 yards and five touchdowns in three Panthers wins. Donald Brown, David Johnson, Jeremy Maclin, Knowshon Moreno, Evan Royster and Tim Tebow all could have landed in the 10 spot as well.

Up next: Saturday vs. Rutgers.

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