A wild weekend that caused chaos just before the first BCS rankings were released also did a number on the race for the Heisman Trophy.
Stocks plummeted as Arkansas' Ryan Mallett suffered a concussion, Michigan's Denard Robinson was knocked out with a shoulder injury and Nebraska's Taylor Martinez was benched. Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor made it through the whole game intact, but he also took a hit as he fizzled in a comeback attempt at Wisconsin.
It all results in a new face atop the Heisman Watch for the first time since Robinson captured the nation with his one-man Wolverines revival in the opening week. But this latest dual-threat quarterback to take over the lead did much more than survive a weekend that saw contender after contender stumble -- he dominated.
Take a bow, Cam Newton.
Auburn's quarterback is built like a defensive end, has a fullback's mentality and a Howitzer of an arm. In Saturday's SEC West shootout, Newton accounted for 328 yards and four TDs in leading the Tigers to 65-43 win over the Razorbacks.
Newton has taken over the top spot, but given that this year is seemingly headed toward a 2007-like chaotic finish, there's no guarantee he'll stay there. For those fans of irony, as well as those with short memories, that year the trophy went to Florida's Tim Tebow, the player that Newton was recruited to succeed in Gainesville before he transferred.
Before the Watchman unveils this week's top 10 Heisman candidates, here's a look back at the rankings after Week 6.
Last Week: 10-of-14 passing for 140 yards and one TD; 25 rushes for 188 yards and three TDs in 65-43 win over Arkansas.Season: 80-of-122 passing for 1,278 yards, 13 TDs and five INTs; 129 rushes for 860 yards and 12 TDs.
Like Robinson, Newton has built his campaign by shouldering the offensive load, producing 63 percent of Auburn's yardage. But unlike Robinson, there's no question about whether the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder can handle the punishment. Just look at his TD runs of 5, 1 and 3 yards against Arkansas. Newton, who is the first Tiger with four 170-yard rushing games in one season since 1985 Heisman winner Bo Jackson, will now face the best defense he's seen in LSU's third-ranked unit.
Up Next: Saturday vs. No. 6 LSU
Last Week: Idle Season: 114 rushes for 848 yards and nine TDs; three receptions for 96 yards and one TD.
How did the leader in rushing yards per game spend his off week? Your guess is as good as mine. Chip Kelly closed practices this week and kept his players away from reporters, saying it was what they needed. There will be no keeping James out of the spotlight this week. A Thursday night matchup with UCLA could turn into a showcase for James, considering the Bruins gave up 235 yards vs. Kansas State's Daniel Thomas and 151 vs. Cal's Shane Vereen.
Up Next: Thursday vs. UCLA
Last Week: 14-of-16 passing for 231 yards and two TDs; one rush for four yards in 48-0 win over San Jose State.Season: 105-of-151 passing for 1,567 yards, 16 TDs and one INT; eight rushes for minus-11 yards.
It was another early day at the office for Moore. He was wearing a headset by halftime as he led the Broncos to touchdowns on five of their first six possessions and only faced third down three times. He leads the nation in passing efficiency with a 190.3 rating, which puts him well on pace to break Colt Brennan's single-season record of 186.0, and if these blowouts continue, barely a sweat.
Up Next: Tuesday, Oct. 26 vs. Louisiana Tech
Last Week: 13-of-18 passing for 96 yards, one TD and one INT; 18 rushes for 105 yards in 38-28 loss to Iowa.Season: 97-of-143 passing for 1,319 yards, nine TDs and five INTs; 137 rushes for 1096 yards and nine TDs.
Robinson got his his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, impressive against the Hawkeyes, who came in allowing 63.2 yards per game on the ground. But outside of that he produced one play of 20 yards -- after totaling 37 in the first six games -- before he was knocked out with a shoulder injury. And it didn't help that starter-turned-backup Tate Forcier had more success in leading a rally that fell flat.
Up Next: Saturday Oct. 30 at Penn State
Last Week: 14-of-28 passing for 156 yards and one INT; 18 rushes for 56 yards in 31-18 loss to Wisconsin.Season: 118-of-181 passing for 1,505 yards, 15 TDs and four INTs; 75 rushes for 526 yards and three TDs; two receptions for 19 yards and one TD.
Ah, the rollercoaster ride that is Pryor on the road. He went from bad (4-of-12 passing for 25 yards in the first half) to good (7-of-7 in the third quarter) to bad again as a late pick sealed the Buckeyes' loss. He has a history of forcing things and will have to wait until a Nov. 20 trip to Iowa to redeem himself after his candidacy took a serious hit.
Up Next: Saturday vs. Purdue
Last Week: Idle Season: 113-of-172 passing for 1,538 yards, 16 TDs and four INTs; 31 rushes for 242 yards and two TDs; one reception for 11 yards.
It's no secret what Luck can do with his arm. He's the Pac-10's leader in passing efficiency and touchdown passes and former Cardinal quarterback Guy Benjamin has said he "could be the best Stanford ever had." But it may be time Jim Harbaugh expanded Luck's role. While Owen Marecic gets plenty of attention for playing both was as a linebacker and fullback, Luck flashed some skills against USC that could help the nation's 61st-ranked defense.
Up Next: Saturday vs. Washington State
Last Week: 10-of-15 passing for 96 yards and one TD in 65-43 loss to Auburn.Season: 132-of-191 for 1,844 yards, 13 TDs and six INTs; 19 rushes for minus-24 yards and two TDs; one punt for 43 yards.
When he was in, he was great and looked poised to duel Newton for the title of the SEC's leading contender. But a concussion ended Mallett's day and his backup, Tyler Wilson, wound up having a very Mallett-ish afternoon (25-of-34 for 332 yards and four TDs). It's hard to knock a guy for sitting after a blow to the head, but it's even harder to keep him too high after standing on the sideline.
Up Next: Saturday vs. Ole Miss
Last Week: 4-of-12 passing for 63 yards; 13 rushes for 21 yards in 20-13 loss to Texas. Season: 43-of-76 passing for 723 yards, three TDs and three INTs; 81 rushes for 758 yards and 12 TDs.
As far as magic acts go, the Longhorns clearly saw right through T-Magic's illusions. After running for 241 yards on 15 carries vs. Kansas State, Texas held Martinez 126 yards below his average. He wasn't much better in the passing game and was replaced by Zac Lee two possessions into the second half. Word is he's still the man in Lincoln, so there's no quarterback controversy, but this certainly hurt his stock.
Up Next: Saturday at No. 17 Oklahoma State
Last Week: 24-of-36 passing for 273 yards and four TDs; seven rushes for 16 yards in 31-3 win over BYU.Season: 116-of-174 for 1,450 yards, 13 TDs and four INTs; 52 rushes for 281 yards and three TDs; one reception for 27 yards; one punt for 21 yards.
Dalton's third career four-TD game wasn't without controversy. He hit Jeremy Kerley on fourth-and-three with 4:35 left in the game and the Horned Frogs leading by 21, causing the inevitable question as to whether TCU was playing for style points. All I know is it looks good in the stat line as Dalton has completed 71 percent of his passes for 543 yards and seven TDs the last two weeks and is 38-8 as a starter.
Up Next: Saturday vs. Air Force
Last Week: 10 receptions for 207 yards and one TD in 34-17 win over Texas Tech. Season: 57 receptions for 955 yards 12 TDs; three rushes for eight yards.
It's time we all get wise to Blackmon. When offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen brought the Air Raid offense with him to Stillwater, he had Blackmon watch clips of Michael Crabtree, who ran the offense under Holgorsen at Texas Tech. Blackmon has picked up on something, as he's topped 125 receiving yards in every game. He may be the best wideout in the nation, but we'll know more after he faces Nebraska's Prince Amukamara.
Up Next: Saturday vs. No. 14 Nebraska