The people have spoken.
Well, more to the point they've tweeted, e-mailed and voiced their votes over the radio waves for their pick for Halfway Heisman. Not surprisingly, America has thrown its votes behind the player who was the individual story of the first half of the season: Michigan's Denard Robinson, who was the overwhelming winner, beating out Nevada's Colin Kaepernick (second in the voting) and Oregon's LaMichael James (third).
The story would stop there had Robinson, who dominated the first five weeks of the season, continued his torrid pace against Michigan State. Instead, the Watchman is left playing public defender for Shoelace, the voters and my own rankings.
It's all too easy to get caught up in Robinson's lackluster performance against the first legitimate defense he's faced -- though 301 yards of total offense isn't exactly a dismal day -- but it was just one game. It's still well within his reach to become the first BCS conference quarterback since Brad Smith and Vince Young in 2005 to have 2,000 yards passing (he's on pace for 2,446) and 1,000 yards rushing (he's nine yards away) in the same season.
But even if Michigan does slip as the Big Ten season continues, it's not out of the realm of possibility for Shoelace to take the Heisman with multiple losses. Oklahoma's Steve Owens won with four losses in 1969 and Ernie Davis (1961), Jim Plunkett (1970), George Rogers (1980), Bo Jackson (1985), Tim Brown (1987) and Tim Tebow (2007) all played for teams with three regular-season losses.
Also, we bid adieu to defending Heisman winner Mark Ingram. The Alabama running back had his second straight game of less than 50 yards as the Tide fell at South Carolina. Coupled with already missing two games due to injury, Ingram bows out of the race.
Before the Watchman unveils this week's top 10 Heisman candidates, here's a look back at the rankings after Week 5.
Last Week: 17-of-29 passing for 215 yards, one TD and three INTs; 21 rushes for 86 yards and one TD in 34-17 loss to Michigan State
Season: 84-of-125 passing for 1,223 yards, eight TDs and four INTs; 119 rushes for 991 yards and nine TDs
Last season Tate Forcier got the Wolverines off to a 4-0 start before a loss to Michigan State started a free fall. A year later, it gets no easier for Robinson as he tries to avoid a similar script. This week he'll face Adrian Clayborn and an Iowa defense that's ranked second against the run, giving up only 63.2 yards per game, and has allowed just one runner to hit the century mark in the last 18 games.
Up Next: Saturday vs. No. 15 Iowa
Last Week: 25 rushes for 136 yards and two TDs; two receptions for 87 yards and one TD in 43-23 win over Washington State
Season: 114 rushes for 848 yards and nine TDs; three receptions for 96 yards and one TD
James admitted he was rattled after his friend and backfield mate Kenjon Barner was taken away in an ambulance after a scary hit. That may have been weighing on James' mind as he fumbled twice, but he still went over 100 yards for the fourth time in five games and scored on an 82-yard reception. He overtook Robinson for the national lead in rushing yards per game (169.6), and stands to benefit should Shoelace's candidacy face any further setbacks.
Up Next: Thursday, Oct. 21 vs. UCLA
Last Week: 13-of-21 passing for 210 yards and one INT; 28 rushes for 198 yards and four TDs in 37-34 win over Kentucky
Season: 70-of-108 passing for 1,138 yards, 12 TDs and five INTs; 104 rushes for 672 yards and nine TDs
Some call him the Denard Robinson of the South, though if last week was any indication, we may end up calling Robinson the Newton of the North before the season is up. The SEC's leader in rushing yards and total offense ran for four first-half touchdowns to help the Tigers reach 6-0 for the first time since '04. He's emerged as the conference's leading Heisman candidate and could further distance himself from Ryan Mallett in their showdown at Jordan-Hare Stadium this week.
Up Next: Saturday vs. No. 12 Arkansas
Last Week: 24-of-30 passing for 334 yards and three TDs; three rushes for minus-19 yards in 38-10 win over Indiana
Season: 104-of-153 passing for 15 TDs and three INTs; 57 rushes for 354 yards and three TDs; 2 receptions for 19 yards and one TD
Pryor did rebound from his worst passing game of the year by throwing for a career-high 334 yards, but then again it was against an Indiana defense that's giving up 413.4 yards per game. And while he didn't show any lingering effects from the quadriceps injury he suffered the week before, he also didn't take off on any designed runs. All in all though, it was a nice tune up to what will be the biggest test yet of Pryor's maturity.
Up Next: Saturday at No. 18 Wisconsin
Last Week: 16-of-22 passing for 267 yards and three TDs; one rush for six yards in 57-14 win over Toledo
Season: 91-of-135 passing for 1,336 yards, 14 TDs and one INT; seven rushes for minus-15 yards
As Nate from Athens, Ohio, writes: "Why bother with Kellen Moore?"
Yes, the BCS games are over and it's unlikely Moore will play into the fourth quarter of most games -- like versus Toledo when he went to the bench after his third TD pass -- but why should he stay in to pad his stats? No matter the opponent, you can't deny he's the nation's most efficient quarterback, tossing 14 TDs to one pick and winning 19 straight games.
Up Next: Saturday at San Jose State
Last Week: 27-of-38 passing for 310 yards, three TDs and one INT; five rushes for minus-14 yards in 24-17 win over Texas A&M
Season: 95-of-138 passing for 1,438 yards, 10 TDs and five INTs; 14 rushes for minus-10 yards and two TDs; one punt for 43 yards
Mallett continued his streak of 300-yards games this season, but the performance wasn't without its concerns. After throwing for three first-half touchdowns he directed the Razorbacks to just three second-half points for the second straight week and struggled with the Aggies pressure. He also tossed his sixth interception of the season, one less than he had in all of 2009. String of 300-yard games or not, he needs a big game versus Auburn to climb up the rankings.
Up Next: Saturday at No. 7 Auburn
Last Week: 5-of-7 passing for 128 yards and one TD; 15 rushes for 241 yards and four TDs in 48-13 win over Kansas State
Season: 39-of-64 passing for 660 yards, three TDs and three INTs; 68 rushes for 737 yards and 12 TDs
Eric Crouch. Tommie Frazier. Jammal Lord. It's an impressive group looking up at Martinez in the Cornhuskers record books as the freshman ran for a program-best 241 yards against Kansas State.
The running skills have never been questioned as Martinez leads the Big 12 in rushing, but he has yet to prove he can win with his arm, mainly because no one's been able to force him to. He could be tested against a Texas defense that's 19th against the run.
Up Next: Saturday vs. Texas
Last Week: 20-of-24 passing for 285 yards and three TDs; six rushes for 40 yards in 37-35 win over USC
Season: 113-of-172 for 1,538 yards, 16 TDs and four INTs; 31 rushes for 242 yards and two TDs
Matt Barkley had bigger numbers, but it was Luck that got the better of the duel as he coolly led a game-winning drive for the Cardinals' third win over USC in four years. It was the third time this season he's completed at least 73.9 percent of his passes, and he didn't throw an interception after tossing four in the last two games (though he did lose a fumble). He'll get a week off before facing Wazzu's 108th-ranked pass defense.
Up Next: Saturday, Oct. 23 vs. Washington State
Last Week: 20-of-27 passing for 273 yards and one INT; 17 rushes for 91 yards and two TDs in 35-13 win over San Jose State
Season: 106-of-150 passing for 1,321 yards, seven TDs and three INTs; 86 rushes for 639 yards and 11 TDs
Look out, Crouch. You too, Tim Tebow. Kaepernick ran for two first-half scores against the Spartans to move to third on the NCAA's alltime list for career rushing TDs by a QB with 50, trailing only Crouch (59) and Tebow (57). Considering that he has eight games to play, and that he's scored a rushing TD in 11 of the last 13 games, he has a pretty good chance of shattering the record.
Up Next: Saturday at Hawaii
Last Week: One tackle; one punt return for zero yards, four kick off returns for 106 yards in 33-29 win over Florida
Season: 16 tackles, two INTs, two passes defended, one blocked kick; 13 punt returns for 283 yards and two TDs, 13 kickoff returns for 360 yards
Florida's Chaz Henry kept Peterson in check in the return game, averaging 52.5 yards per punt as the SEC's best return man finished with zero yards. He also muffed a punt that gave way to a Gators TD. But he's still fourth nationally in punt returns with 21.7 yards per attempt and there's no arguing his ability to take out a top receiver, just ask Deonte Thompson, who had two catches for 20 yards.
Up Next: Saturday vs. McNeese State