Gene Menez
Monday November 3rd, 2008

One play could determine who walks up to the podium to accept the Heisman Trophy in New York City on Dec. 13. Graham Harrell's 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree against Texas with one second remaining not only put both Texas Tech stars in the thick of the race, but it also prevented Texas quarterback Colt McCoy from holding onto his spot as the Heisman clubhouse leader.

Much football remains, but that pass (possibly college football's play of the year) has made the race for the stiff armed statuette more interesting.

Last week: 36-of-53 passing, 474 yards, 2 TDs; 3 rushes, minus-17 yards in a 39-33 victory over No. 1 Texas.

Season: 292-of-413 passing, 3,621 yards, 30 TDs, 5 INTs; 23 rushes, minus-3 yards, 6 TDs.

Heisman-o-meter: With Tech up 19 on Saturday night, a friend turned to The Watch and said, "I still think Texas wins because I don't think Harrell is a big-game quarterback." He was wrong on both counts. Standing behind an offensive line that gave him forever to throw, Harrell picked apart the Horns' defense with a lot of vertical passes. And when the pressure was highest and Tech needed a score to win the game, Harrell drove the Red Raiders down the field and put his final throw in the perfect spot. He's No. 1 for now, but he's nowhere close to the finish line.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 8 Oklahoma State.

Last week: 20-of-34 passing, 294 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 13 rushes, 16 yards; 1 punt, 25 yards in a 39-33 loss at No. 6 Texas Tech.

Season: 218-of-276 passing, 2,579 yards, 23 TDs, 5 INTs; 93 rushes, 428 yards, 7 TDs.

Heisman-o-meter: McCoy would've been very difficult to beat for the Heisman had he played well against Texas Tech and pulled out a victory, but Harrell and the Red Raiders had other ideas, and now it is anyone's trophy. Tech pounded and harassed McCoy all night (causing him to bleed from the mouth at one point) and when he did have time to throw, he was uncharacteristically off target or his receivers dropped the ball. A case can easily be made for McCoy still being No. 1 (he has beaten three ranked teams, more than Harrell) or for McCoy being behind both Harrell and Sam Bradford (from a purely statistical perspective). Though he's dropping one spot here, we'll still say he may end up the winner on Dec. 13.

Up next: Saturday against Baylor.

Last week: 19-of-27 passing, 311 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 2 rushes, 14 yards in a 62-28 victory over Nebraska.

Season: 202-of-297 passing, 3,086 yards, 34 TDs, 6 INTs; 25 rushes, 1 yard, 3 TDs.

Heisman-o-meter: Bradford zipped a nice 48-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Chaney running the seam, but he had an even better scoring strike on an 11-yarder to Jermaine Gresham, who caught a Sunday-caliber Bradford fastball. With high-profile games remaining against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, Bradford still has a legitimate chance to pull this off.

Up next: Saturday at Texas A&M.

Last week: 10 receptions, 127 yards, 1 TD in a 39-33 victory over No. 1 Texas.

Season: 70 receptions, 921 yards, 15 TDs; 1 rush, 3 yards; 1 kickoff return, 50 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: The Watch enjoys Crabtree's game. He attacks defenses and plays with an attitude. While this list has been high on Missouri's Jeremy Maclin and Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant for much of the season, neither Maclin nor Bryant went off on Texas the way Crabtree did on Saturday. The game-winning catch on which he set up cornerback Curtis Brown and then fought him off on his way to the end zone could end up winning him the Biletnikoff Award.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 8 Oklahoma State.

Last week: 21 rushes, 103 yards, 1 TD; 1 reception, 23 yards in a 27-24 loss at Illinois.

Season: 198 rushes, 1,257 yards, 11 TDs; 7 receptions, 43 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: Greene, who was stuffed on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line at one point, did his best running in the fourth quarter (five rushes, 35 yards, including a five-yard touchdown run on which he went untouched). He said of the Illini's defense: "They had a lot of guys in the box, and they were able to slow me down." Greene could make a great case for the Doak Walker Award with a big performance against Penn State on Saturday.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 3 Penn State.

Last week: 13 rushes, 104 yards, 1 TD in a 59-17 victory over Iowa State.

Season: 182 rushes, 1,220 yards, 11 TDs; 8 receptions, 103 yards; 1 kickoff return, 13 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: Teammate Dez Bryant (nine receptions, 171 yards, 4 TDs) was the standout on this day, but Hunter still had a good game, which included a 36-yard touchdown run at the start of the second half. However, Hunter's problems holding onto the ball continued; he lost a fumble for the third straight game. On Saturday he meets a Tech defense that ranks 10th in the country against the run and allowed just 80 rushing yards to Texas.

Up next: Saturday at No. 2 Texas Tech.

Last week: 30 rushes, 133 yards; 5 receptions, 55 yards in a 27-25 victory over Arizona State.

Season: 197 rushes, 945 yards, 9 TDs; 24 receptions, 231 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: If you don't think a 5-foot-7 true freshman running back is one of the best players in the country, then checkout Rodgers' game against the Sun Devils. The Quizz had a 133-yard day that felt more like 233. The 193-pound back carried safety Rodney Cox one play and bowled over Terell Carr on another. But the best of them all came with a little more than five minutes left in the game, when Rodgers seemed to be stopped but broke three Arizona State tackles and then destroyed cornerback Omar Bolden. Refs ended up incorrectly ruling Rodgers' forward progress had been stopped, but it did not take away from the jaw-dropping quality of the play.

Up next: Saturday at UCLA.

Last week: 30-of-38 passing, 318 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs; 5 rushes, 13 yards in a 31-28 victory at Baylor.

Season: 250-of-324 passing, 2,993 yards, 26 TDs, 8 INTs; 36 rushes, 159 yards, 1 TD.

Heisman-o-meter: The Tigers' triggerman threw an uncharacteristic two interceptions and easily could've had a third had Baylor's Jordan Lake held onto the pigskin late in the game. Instead Lake dropped the ball, and Missouri kicked the game-winning field goal on the next play. The Watch finds it interesting that Daniel has not run as much this season as he has in the past (147 rushes in 2006 and 109 last year), when it was the combination of his passing and running abilities that set him apart from other quarterbacks.

Up next: Saturday against Kansas State.

Last week: 32 rushes, 169 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 23 yards in a 36-33 quadruple overtime victory at Notre Dame.

Season: 193 rushes, 1,004 yards, 15 TDs; 19 rushes, 229 yards.

Heisman-o-meter: Ability wise, The Watch would take Shady over any running back on the list, and that Sunday-level skill was on display Saturday. He threw his patented shifty moves to shake would-be tacklers for extra yards, but The Watch's favorite run of the day was the start-stop-restart run for a first down that set up Pitt's last touchdown. Not many backs could've done that.

Up next: Saturday vs. Louisville.

Last week: 10-of-13 passing, 154 yards, 2 TDs; 12 rushes, 39 yards, 3 TDs in a 49-10 victory against No. 8 Georgia in Jacksonville.

Season: 114-of-177 passing, 94 rushes, 266 yards, 8 TDs.

Heisman-o-meter: A lot of players not named Javon Ringer (his 4.45 yards per carry average is the worst of the top 49 rushers in the country, for those of you who have been asking) were considered for the final spot, including Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant and Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark, but last year's Heisman winner slides into the 10 spot. While the Gators' defense clearly set the tone against Georgia, Tebow was his efficient self (except for the interception he threw, which was nullified because of a Bulldogs penalty). Though he should give some credit to receiver/jersey-puller Louis Murphy for that 44-yard touchdown pass.

Up next: Saturday at Vanderbilt.

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