This strange Heisman season took another twist last week when Florida quarterback Tim Tebow took the hit seen 'round the world and suffered a concussion on the play. The Watch would like to wish Tebow a speedy recovery, but what does this mean for Gator's Heisman hopes? Well, we'd rather not worry about until, and if, he actually misses a game.
In other news, running back Jahvid Best and quarterback Jacory Harris joined BYU's Max Hall as former top Heisman contenders, and their teams' meltdowns on Saturday have shaken up this week's Watch.
Last week: 5-of-10 passing, 103 yards, 1 TD; 16 rushes, 123 yards, 2 TDs in a 41-7 victory at Kentucky
Season: 44-of-68 passing, 643 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT; 55 rushes, 271 yards, 5 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: The Watch will go out on a limb and say that Tebow reclaiming the top spot is not the main concern of Gators fans right now. He suffered a concussion after getting pummeled by Kentucky's Taylor Wyndham and hitting his head on the knee of lineman Marcus Gilbert as he fell to the ground. But before his injury, Tebow returned to his dominant running self, even taking one carry for 30 yards, a career best. And, with the run game established, he took advantage of the Wildcats' defense with a perfectly executed play fake on his long touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez, closing out a near-perfect first quarter. On Sunday, coach Urban Meyer said Tebow had been released from the hospital and that the QB would be monitored to determine how much rest he needs. But, with the Gators fortuitously idle this week, The Watch will be shocked if he does not play in Baton Rouge.
Up next: Oct. 10 at LSU
Last week: 15-of-26 passing, 171 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 4 rushes, minus-13 yards in a 24-21 victory at Purdue
Season: 77-of-117 passing, 1,122 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT; 15 rushes, minus-13 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Last week, I mentioned how Clausen failed to make the important plays -- the plays a Heisman winner is expected to make -- in the loss to Michigan. Well, he made those plays against Purdue. Visibly bothered by a turf toe injury that forced him to split time with Dayne Crist, Clausen had some signature moments in rallying the Irish to victory, capped off by the clutch, game-winning TD pass on fourth down to Kyle Rudolph. (By the way, expect Rudolph to win a Mackey Award some day.) Clausen, who had been almost flawless in the first three games, was a bit erratic against the Boilermakers, but the injury had much to do with that. And he got a bit greedy late in the first half by trying to throw to the end zone, which resulted in an interception, costing his team three points. But this gutty effort puts him in the thick of the race.
Up next: Saturday vs. Washington
Last week: 28-of-35 passing, 286 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 4 rushes, 15 yards in a 64-7 victory against UTEP
Season: 103-of-145 passing, 1,145 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs; 28 rushes, 61 yards 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: After throwing an ugly interception on his third pass, which resulted in a pick-six (and the Miners' only points of the game), McCoy seemed on the way to repeat his 2009 m.o.: slow-starting first halves. But he quickly got back on track and, with some athletic plays from the emerging Dan Buckner and very little resistance from UTEP, the Texas triggerman looked very much like the McCoy of 2008 (except for the lack of running, which he hasn't unleashed yet). He racked up those numbers in a little more than two quarters of play and, had James Kirkendoll held on to a pass, McCoy would've had four TD scores. Perhaps now the real McCoy is back.
Up next: Oct. 10 against Colorado
Last week: Did not play in a 56-6 victory against Grambling
Season: 17 receptions, 323 yards 4 TDs; 3 punt returns, 111 yards, 1 TD; 2 kickoff returns, 43 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Because of the failures of Best and Harris, Bryant moves up without even playing. Nursing a strained hamstring, Bryant sat out on Saturday, choosing not to risk further injury against an overmatched Grambling team. His replacement, freshman Dameron Fooks, had four catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant now gets two weeks to rest that hamstring before the Cowboys' Big 12 opener in Aggieland.
Up next: Oct. 10 at Texas A&M
Last week: 18-of-26 passing, 300 yards, 3 TDs; 4 rushes, 15 yards in a 28-20 victory against Fresno State
Season: 93-of-132 passing, 1,223 yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs; 13 rushes, 38 yards, 2 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: It was another near-flawless game for Pike, who keeps moving up the list. On his first touchdown, he made a linebacker bite with a great play fake. And on the Bearcats' last two scores, Pike showed nice touch getting the ball to Mardy Gilyard, who is making a strong case to be included on The Watch, as well. Pike could've had a fourth TD pass, but sailed a ball to Gilyard when trying to throw on the run. The strong-armed Cincy quarterback may be flying under-the-radar nationally, but there are not many others playing on his level.
Up next: Saturday at Miami (Ohio)
Last week: 38-of-58 passing, 435 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 8 rushes, 27 yards, 1 TD in a 29-28 victory against Texas Tech
Season: 93-of-134 passing, 1,160 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 15 rushes, 43 yards, 3 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Are you a Keenum believer yet? The Watch is. Like Clausen, Keenum engineered a clutch, game-winning drive in the final moments of the win over Texas Tech and put his name squarely in the discussion for the stiff-armed statuette. Keenum reminds The Watch of former Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel: He throws short passes in rhythm (see Keenum's first touchdown to James Cleveland) and has some surprising wheels (on the game-winning drive, Keenum converted a third-and-10 and scored the go-ahead touchdown on draw plays). He does a couple things better than Daniel though, like throwing on the run and passing from a variety of arm angles. Keenum did throw a fourth-quarter interception, which at the time looked huge, when Tech's Will Ford cut in front of a receiver, but the Cougars' quarterback definitely made a Case for himself Saturday night.
Up next: Saturday at UTEP
Last week: 16 rushes, 55 yards; 2 receptions, 14 yards in a 42-3 loss at Oregon
Season: 69 rushes, 467 yards, 8 TDs; 9 receptions, 73 yards, 1 TD; 1 kickoff return, 18 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Well, that was a short-lived stay at the top. After ascending to No. 1 last week, Best drops after a game in which he (and the rest of the Cal's offense) was completely neutralized. He didn't find any holes in the first half, and, with his team down big, the Bears abandoned the running game and gave Best only one carry (for no gain) in the second half. Not to mention, he and quarterback Kevin Riley had a failed exchange, which led to a fumble and an Oregon touchdown in the second quarter. After that performance, some may count out Best from the race, but I'm not so sure. With no one candidate standing out, he still has a chance. But he absolutely must have a big game on Saturday against a Trojans team that last season held him to 30 yards.
Up next: Saturday against No. 7 USC
Last week: 9-of-25 passing, 150 yards, 1 INT; 4 rushes, minus-28 yards in a 31-7 loss at No. 11 Virginia Tech
Season: 50-of-84 passing, 806 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs; 8 rushes, minus-31 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: Put the order for that pink suit on hold, Jacory. With any more performances like the one against the Hokies, there will be no Heisman Trophy ceremony for Harris. Saturday's game was forgettable on many levels for Canes backers, not the least of which was the crashing of Harris' Heisman stock. The Miami quarterback looked nothing like the player who was sensational in big wins against Florida State and Georgia Tech, and much of that can be credited to Tech's pressure, which sacked him three times and hurried him countless more. Harris also lost one fumble and threw an interception, which led to two Hokies touchdowns. One can make a case for dropping Harris off the list, but I'll keep him on here because of his two wins over ranked teams (though that victory over Florida State is not looking so great right now). He must play well this Saturday to get back into the hunt.
Up next: Saturday against No. 8 Oklahoma
Last week: 26 rushes, 112 yards 1 TD; 3 receptions, 79 yards; 2 kickoff returns, 36 yards
Season: 67 rushes, 288 yards, 1 TD; 8 receptions, 150 yards, 1 TD; 5 punt returns, 182 yards 1 TD; 7 kickoff returns, 237 yards, 1 TD; 0-of-1 passing
Heisman-o-meter: Don't let the Tigers' 2-2 record fool you; Spiller has been an all-purpose demon so far this season. Every game he seems to come up with a big gainer, and he did it again on Saturday with a 60-yard pass reception against a strong TCU defense. On that play, Spiller joined Reggie Bush as the only players in D-I history with more than 2,500 yards in rushing, 1,500 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 yards in receiving and 500 yards in punt returns. Amazingly, Spiller has already scored four different ways this season.
Up next: Saturday at Maryland
Last week: 21-of-35 passing, 322 yards, 4 TDs; 10 rushes, 91 yards in a 38-31 victory against Pittsburgh
Season: 74-of-115 passing, 969 yards, 12 TDs; 32 rushes, 115 yards
Heisman-o-meter: After considering a slew of guys for this last (there were too many to list), The Watch finally landed on someone we've been eyeing for awhile. Wilson rallied the Wolfpack against an underrated Pitt defense, using his arm and his legs (he converted a fourth-and-14 with a 21-yard run) and has now thrown 364 passes without an interception, an NCAA record.
Up next: Saturday at Wake Forest