Griffin is a fan favorite, but will it be enough to win the Heisman?
You tweeted. You emailed. One of you even sent a carrier pigeon ... OK, not really, but that would have really been something. But the point is you, the general public, made your voice heard in the Watch's vote for the Halfway Heisman and the verdict was clear: Robert Griffin III is the people's choice.
The Baylor quarterback dominated the polling, beating out Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson and Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Interestingly enough, Stanford's Andrew Luck, the presumptive favorite, didn't crack the top five in America's vote.
While RG3 may have the support of the fans, and the stats to keep him in the conversation as he ranks third nationally in total offense (371.4 yards per game), a loss to Texas A&M could spell trouble. Only two players have won the Heisman in the BCS era on teams with more than two regular-season losses, Ricky Williams in 1998 and Tim Tebow in 2007, both of whom were on three-loss squads. Griffin's Bears already have two losses and have a minimum of six games remaining, which includes No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 6 Oklahoma State.
Griffin wasn't the only one whose chances were struck a blow in Week 7. Oregon's LaMichael James didn't play against Arizona State due to injury, which likely takes him out of the race. In the SEC, South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore saw his season come to an unfortunate end when he suffered ligament and cartilage damage to his knee and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, already a long shot as a defender, falls after a subpar day.
Before the Watchman unveils this week's top 10, which includes the arrival of the Cowboys' Brandon Weeden and the return of Houston's Case Keenum, here's a look at how thing
He threw an interception on his first attempt and went a half without a touchdown pass. In all, it was an underwhelming opening two quarters for Luck against Washington State. But he looked much more Luck-like after halftime, finishing with his third 300-yard game of the season, and the second in as many weeks. He also tied a career high with four TDs. Luck could continue to pad his stats in Week 8 as the Cardinal take on Washington, which ranks 116th in pass defense and allowed 333 yards to Hawaii's Bryant Moniz and 349 to Cal's Zach Maynard.
Wilson has routinely burned opponents in the passing game in his short time as a Badger, but not like this. The senior hauled in a pass from RB Montee Ball for a 25-yard TD reception -- the second of his collegiate career -- as part of a drubbing of Indiana in which he accounted for 233 total yards and three scores. The FBS leader in pass efficiency should get a stiffer test next week as Wisconsin heads to East Lansing to face No. 15 Michigan State, whose second-ranked defense is yielding 186.1 yards per game.
It was Ryan Broyles, the other half of Oklahoma's prolific passing duo, that etched his name in the NCAA record book vs. Kansas, becoming the all-time leader in career receptions. But Jones, remains the Sooners' best chance at another Heisman -- for those debating it, you only need look at 2008 when Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell finished higher than Michael Crabtree in voting. Jones got off to a rocky start, missing on his first four throws and having one red-zone completion by halftime, but he wound up with his fourth straight game with at least three TD passes.
As expected, RG3 put up big numbers against a Texas A&M defense that had allowed an average of 446.3 passing yards the previous three games, setting a school record with 430 yards. He also tied his own Bears mark of 22 TD passes in a season, and he has a minimum of six games remaining. But his resume took a hit with Baylor's second Big 12 loss -- coincidentally, both of Griffin's picks have come in those losses -- as it dropped the first of two consecutive road matchups with ranked opponents. The pressure's on as the Bears head to Stillwater to take on No. 6 Oklahoma State.
So it came against the nation's 95th-ranked rush defense. Richardson has more than hit his groove, again breaking his career yardage mark vs. Ole Miss. The comparisons to Mark Ingram, Richardson's former backfield mate, are unavoidable and seven games into his first season as the lead back, Richardson is more than holding his own. He has more yards (912 to 905), more touchdowns (15 to eight) and more 100-yard games (six to four) on three less carries than Ingram at this point in his Heisman-winning season of '09, which was also his first year as Alabama's No. 1 runner.
Put Colt McCoy on alert. Moore moved within a win of equaling the former Texas QB for the all-time NCAA wins mark as he picked up the 42nd of his Broncos career. The senior hit on his first 18 passes, helping Boise State to a school-record 742 yards in a shellacking of Colorado State in the Bronco's MWC debut, which was its second straight win of 50 points. Moore also posted his third game this season with at least four TD passes -- he now has eight overall -- and did it in less than three quarters of work vs. the Rams' 93rd-ranked defense.
Weeden wasn't at his sharpest against the Longhorns. He finished with a career-low 218 yards and had his fewest completions (23) and lowest completion percentage (56.1) of the season. It was simply an off game as he failed to connect with Justin Blackmon on four deep balls. So why does he make his debut in the Watch this week? Weeden is making a push as a dark horse candidate for the Oklahoma State's first Heisman in 23 years as he pushed his TD to INT ratio to 16/6 and kept the Cowboys very much in the mix in the Big 12 and BCS races.
It's debatable whether the 21st-ranked Cougars have a schedule that can help them make a case for a BCS berth if they run the table -- it includes only one team, SMU, that is currently .500 or better -- but there's no debating Keenum's place on this list. The sixth-year senior is now 422 yards from breaking Timmy Chang's NCAA career record for total offense (16,910). Given that he has 11 games with at least 400 yards under his belt, he could set that record Saturday against Marshall, which is 80th in pass efficiency defense.
It was a quiet game by Mathieu standards, though he didn't exactly remain quiet. He jawed with Tennessee running back Tauren Poole, who threw the ball at Mathieu and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct flag. Overall, LSU's secondary was dominant, giving up 128 passing yards in the win, but Mathieu was beaten over the middle by Da'Rick Rogers and needed 16 yards to bring him down, resulting in a 44-yard completion. He was also called for a pass interference penalty that set up a Volunteers TD. The road to the Heisman is tough enough for a defender, and this game didn't help his cause.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Shoelace puts up monster numbers week after week, but then sees his Heisman chances dealt a major blow against the first ranked opponent he meets. Robinson, who came in averaging 341.2 yards per game of total offense, was held to 165 by the Spartans' stingy D, including a season-low 42 rushing. He also threw a costly pick late in the game which Isaiah Lewis returned 39 yards for a score, giving Robinson one more TD pass (11) than picks (10). Now the question is whether he and Michigan are in for another second-half slide?