Gene Menez
Monday September 21st, 2009

Cal's score-from-anywhere running back Jahvid Best rushed for five touchdowns against Minnesota on Saturday, meaning an onslaught of puns will surely consume headlines if he makes it to New York in December: Best of the Best; Best is Best; Good (picture of Colt McCoy), Better (shot of Tim Tebow), Best (photo of you-know-who). For your sake, The Watch will try to avoid them, but after Best's performance on Saturday, my guess is that they're only going to proliferate.

Last week: 26 rushes, 131 yards, 5 TDs; 3 receptions, 17 yards in a 35-21 victory at Minnesota

Season: 53 rushes, 412 yards, 8 TDs; 7 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD; 1 kickoff return, 18 yards

Heisman-o-meter: For the second straight week, The Watch has a new No. 1. Cal's electric gamebreaker squeezes into the top spot after scoring and scoring and scoring against Minnesota. His first touchdown was capped by a flying finish, and will probably be replayed a time or three if he makes it to New York. And he wasn't even touched on his last three scoring runs. Best, however, was stuffed a bit in the second half (he had just 17 yards on 13 carries), and quarterback Kevin Riley was able to come up with some big plays through the air. I'm sure Best moving to the top spot will generate much debate, but his ability combined with his production in just eight quarters warrant the move -- for now. Over the next two weeks, Best will play in two games that will have the biggest impact on his Heisman candidacy: at Oregon and at home against USC.

Up next: Saturday at Oregon

Last week: 14-of-19 passing, 115 yards, 1 INT; 24 rushes 76 yards, 1 TD in a 23-13 victory over Tennessee

Season: 39-of-58 passing, 540 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 39 rushes, 148 yards, 3 TDs

Heisman-o-meter: Before all you Tebow backers ask, "How can you drop Tebow behind Best? Best hasn't played anybody!" let me ask you, Who has Tebow played? And before you cite Tennessee, let me remind you that the Vols lost to UCLA in Knoxville last week. Tennessee does have a very good defense, one that ended Tebow's streak of games with a touchdown pass at 30, that intercepted Tebow and that forced him to fumble the ball deep in Vols territory. After Best's performance, Tebow needed to be clean against the Vols to stay on top, and he wasn't. If forced to choose today between Tebow and Best in December, The Watch would pick Tebow. But through three games, Best has been the better of the two.

Up next: Saturday at Kentucky

Last week: 20-of-25 passing, 270 yards, 3 TDs; 1 rush, 0 yards in a 33-17 victory over No. 14 Georgia Tech

Season: 41-of-59 passing, 656 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs; 4 rushes, minus-3 yards, 1 TD

Heisman-o-meter: Harris said in the offseason that if he made it to the Heisman ceremony, he would attend wearing a pink suit, "pimp cup and all." Well, if the first two games are any indication, then it's time to think pink. At this point, there's no player who can claim the scalps that he can (victories over No. 18 Florida State and, last week, No. 14 Georgia Tech), he was sensational in both games, and that's why he's this high. In the blowout of Georgia Tech, he showed poise in the pocket and set the tone with his passing on first down. This weekend he faces his third consecutive tough test, with the Hokies in Blacksburg.

Up next: Saturday at No. 11 Virginia Tech

Last week: 22-of-31 passing, 300 yards, 2 TDs; 7 rushes, minus-1 yard in a 33-30 victory over Michigan State

Season: 62-of-91 passing, 951 yards, 9 TDs; 11 rushes, 0 yards

Heisman-o-meter: Clausen was not on the list last week, and that was a mistake. A deeper look at the Michigan-Notre Dame game, revealed that Clausen played well. The Watch was just too quick to drop him after his team had lost. (Although he did have a chance to seal the game with one or two more first downs on that drive before the Wolverines' last score, and you would think that Heisman candidates would make those crucial plays.) So his ranking this week has been calibrated with The Watch's error in mind. On Saturday, Clausen was crisp and clean for the third straight game, and perhaps his most impressive throw was when he hit Golden Tate perfectly in stride for a touchdown that also struck up the Michigan State band. Now, with star receiver Michael Floyd likely out for the rest of the season, it'll be interesting to see how that affects Clausen's performance.

Up next: Saturday at Purdue

Last week: 24-of-34 passing, 205 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; 8 rushes, minus-5 yards in a 34-24 victory over Texas Tech

Season: 75-of-110 passing, 859 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs; 24 rushes, 46 yards, 1 TD

Heisman-o-meter: For the second straight game, McCoy was strangely off. He was high on many of his throws, including both interceptions, which deflected off his receivers' hands. (To be fair, on the second pick, Malcolm Williams should've caught the pass.) After the game, it was revealed that McCoy had battled the flu last week, possibly as early as the Wyoming game, and missed practice on Tuesday. But there's no way to know how much that affected his performance on Saturday. (He played better in the second half.) But with or without the flu, he has mysteriously gotten off to slow starts in the first halves this season. After dropping him from first to fifth last week, The Watch is tempted to move him down again, but the reality is this: He's just too good for this malaise to continue, and, come Oct. 17 against Oklahoma in Dallas, what he did or didn't do against Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming and Texas Tech will have little bearing on his Heisman hopes.

Up next: Saturday vs. UTEP

Last week: 9 receptions, 161 yards, 2 TDs in a 41-24 victory over Rice

Season: 17 receptions, 323 yards 4 TDs; 3 punt returns, 111 yards, 1 TD; 2 kickoff returns, 43 yards

Heisman-o-meter: Saturday's contest seemed to be another typical Bryant effort. On both of his touchdowns, Bryant used his tremendous leaping ability to snag the ball. He had eight catches for 123 yards in the first half before leaving in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. With Notre Dame wideout Michael Floyd now likely out for the rest of the year, Bryant has the inside track for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's best receiver. Minnesota's Eric Decker, Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, Georgia's A.J. Green and Texas' Jordan Shipley are some others who have joined that mix.

Up next: Saturday vs. Grambling

Last week: 31-of-49 passing, 332 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 6 rushes, 15 yards, 1 TD in a 28-18 victory at Oregon State

Season: 75-of-106 passing, 923 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 9 rushes, 23 yards, 2 TDs

Heisman-o-meter: Pike makes his Watch debut after his third straight solid performance this season, the last one coming against a good Oregon State team. The 6-foot-6 Pike has an arm primed for the pros, but he displayed other key traits as well: mobility (on his 7-yard TD run), patience (on the long scoring toss to D.J. Woods) and the ability to throw on the move (on the last TD pass to Mardy Gilyard). He also came up big on the clinching touchdown drive with two impressive throws. He'd be a long shot to win the Heisman, but he deserves inclusion in the discussion so far.

Up next: Saturday vs. Fresno State

Last week: Idle

Season: 55-of-76 passing, 725 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 7 rushes, 16 yards, 2 TDs; 1 punt, 15 yards

Heisman-o-meter: Keenum, who didn't play last week, slid a couple spots due to players behind him playing well. He returns to the field this week with a chance to give voters a bit of a measuring stick; the Tech team he will face just allowed 205 passing yards and 34 points to fellow Heisman candidate Colt McCoy.

Up next: Saturday vs. Texas Tech

Last week: 20 rushes, 73 yards, 1 TD; 5 receptions, 19 yards in a 28-18 loss to No. 17 Cincinnati

Season: 62 rushes, 342 yards, 5 TDs; 19 receptions, 116 yards

Heisman-o-meter: Playing with a tender left ankle that bothered him in the previous game against UNLV, The Quizz had a tough day against a stingy Bearcats defense. Aside from the first drive of the second half (which he capped with a nice TD run around the right side), Rodgers didn't have any holes to run through. And he was stuffed twice on consecutive plays at the start of the fourth quarter with his team deep in Cincinnati territory. (The Beavers had to settle for a field goal.) The Watch almost dropped Rodgers from the list, but because we're high on the Bearcats' D and Rodgers' ability, we'll give him at least one more week to prove that he belongs here.

Up next: Saturday vs. Arizona

Last week: 21-of-35 passing, 237 yards; 8 rushes, minus-15 yards, 1 TD in a 23-16 victory over No. 3 USC

Season: 63-of-105 passing, 811 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 26 rushes, 54 yards, 2 TDs

Heisman-o-meter: The Watch struggled with the 10 spot again, but after much debate Locker was given the nod over Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark, primarily because the Husky has played LSU and USC (and beaten USC), while Clark has faced Akron, Syracuse and Temple. Not to mention, Locker oozes ability, which he displayed in the upset over the Trojans, first running it in on the draw play and then showing a powerful arm with two keys throws to Jermaine Kearse on the game-winning drive. Locker will have to continue playing well, though, if he wants to stay on this list.

Up next: Saturday at Stanford

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