Tebow pulling away

Monday November 19th, 2007

I have no idea if Tim Tebow clinched the Heisman last week. It's hard enough keeping track of this ballot, much less 924 others. However, Dennis Dixon's season-ending knee injury and another solid running-and-passing effort from Tebow has put him on the verge of earning this vote. Consider this: He has 3,619 yards of total offense and 46 touchdowns this season, meaning he has virtually matched the output of Oregon's dynamic Duck duo of Dixon and Jonathan Stewart (3,992 yards of total offense, 40 touchdowns).

Only two spectacular performances from Chase Daniel could, at this point, make me think twice of putting the Gator No. 1.

The ballot if the season ended today:

Last week: 25-of-34 passing, 338 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 11 rushes, 31 yards, 1 TD in a 59-20 victory over Florida Atlantic Season: 198-of-289 passing, 2,870 yards, 26 TDs, 6 INTs; 181 rushes, 749 yards, 20 TDs Heisman-o-meter: After Tebow became the only player in Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly I-A) history with 20 passing and rushing touchdowns in a season, coach Urban Meyer said, "Tim didn't play his best game." True, Tebow threw his sixth interception, the result of an overthrow, and got away with a risky touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez, who wrestled the ball away from a defender. But I'll cut Tebow a break for not being flawless. In a little more than three quarters of play he was still very good, as he has been all season. Saturday should be his coronation. Up next: Saturday against Florida State

Last week: 28-of-41 passing, 284 yards, 4 TDs; 7 rushes, 4 yards in a 49-32 victory at Kansas State Season: 309-of-446 passing, 3,590 yards, 30 TDs, 9 INTs; 86 rushes, 252 yards, 3 TDs Heisman-o-meter: Saturday was Jeremy Maclin's day, but lost in the Maclin love were several good plays from Daniel, including his first touchdown pass in which he fired a low and hard fastball while he drifting to his left and found Maclin for a score. (An aside: Does any team have better receivers than Mizzou's combo of Maclin, Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman?) Tebow has virtually locked up this vote, but Daniel could make a compelling case for himself with lotterylike numbers the next two weeks. Up next: Saturday vs. No. 2 Kansas in Kansas City.

Last week: 5-of-8 passing, 62 yards, 1 INT; 2 rushes, 34 yards, 1 TD in a 34-24 loss at Arizona Season: 172-of-254 passing, 2,136 yards, 20 TDs, 4 INTs; 105 rushes, 583 yards, 9 TDs Heisman-o-meter: Some will say that Dixon getting hurt against Arizona and being lost for the season should automatically eliminate him from consideration. Regular readers know that I don't subscribe to that theory. In fact, you can argue that Thursday's game is more evidence that Dixon should deserve the Heisman. The Ducks looked lost after he went down. In addition, even with the injury, Dixon has been splendid in nine games this season. Even Darren McFadden cannot say that. Up next: Out for the season

Last week: 28 rushes, 88 yards; 4 receptions, 50 yards, 1 TD; 1-of-1 passing, 24 yards, 1 TD; 1 kickoff return, 24 yards in a 45-31 victory over Mississippi State Season: 272 rushes, 1,519 yards, 12 TDs; 21 receptions, 164 yards, 1 TD; 3-of-5 passing, 89 yards, 3 TDs; 12 kickoff returns, 234 yards Heisman-o-meter: McFadden needed two big games to close the gap on this ballot, but he didn't get one on Saturday, averaging just 3.1 yards per rush. (He did score on a 57-yard catch-and-run, however.) This week, in what is widely expected to be his last regular-season game, the preseason favorite to win it all faces an LSU defense that ranks fourth against the run but just allowed 201 rushing yards to Mississippi with defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey nursing a knee injury. Up next: Friday at No. 1 LSU

Last week: 13-of-19 passing, 140 yards, 1 INT; 27 rushes, 155 yards, 2 TDs in a 28-23 victory at No. 21 Cincinnati Season: 120-of-174 passing, 1,391 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs; 147 rushes, 958 yards, 12 TDs Heisman-o-meter: On the surface White's numbers, particularly the 155 rushing yards, look pretty good. But he fumbled the ball twice in the fourth quarter (one on a bad exchange), making the game closer than it should have been. And the passing game remains very horizontal and, compared to the offenses of the other quarterbacks on this list, quite pedestrian. Up next: Saturday vs. No. 20 Connecticut

Last week: 18 rushes, 44 yards in a 14-3 loss to No. 7 Ohio State Season: 233 rushes, 1,232 yards, 12 TDs; 7 receptions, 43 yards Heisman-o-meter: It was difficult watching Hart, a favorite of this space for the last three years, limping around and not at 100 percent for his last game. However, I don't think it would have made much of a difference against the Buckeyes' defense. This mighty mite won't finish in the top three on this ballot, and I doubt he'll receive much consideration from voters since he missed a good chunk of the season. But few players in college football have squeezed as much production, heart and leadership out of their bodies as Hart did out of his. Up next: Regular season complete

Last week: 31-of-47 passing, 315 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 9 rushes, minus-29 yards in a 20-17 victory at No. 15 Clemson Season: 307-of-512 passing, 3,584 yards, 25 TDs, 14 INTs; 49 rushes, minus-6 yards, 1 TD; 1 reception, 1 yard Heisman-o-meter: Many have asked how I could have a quarterback who ranks 55th nationally in passing efficiency on the list. That last, game-winning touchdown pass against Clemson is why. Matty Ice came through in the clutch once again with a throw that no other quarterback on this list, and few in the NFL, could have made. Not to mention, it seemed to have come out of nowhere; the Tigers had limited Ryan to underneath throws all night. Now if he can just stay away from those interceptions. Up next: Saturday vs. Miami (Fla.)

Last week: 21-of-26 passing, 253 yards, 4 TDs; 4 rushes, 5 yards in a 45-7 victory over Iowa State Season: 228-of-360 passing, 2,910 yards, 30 TDs, 4 INTs; 76 rushes, 202 yards, 1 TD Heisman-o-meter: His balky left foot didn't seem to affect his passing all that much. (His fourth touchdown pass, a toss to Kerry Meier, was the best of them, and a potential fifth score was dropped by Marcus Henry.) But it will be interesting to see how the bum foot holds up in Saturday's showdown. With two potential games remaining, he and Daniel have the biggest opportunities to sway votes their way. Up next: Saturday vs. No. 3 Missouri in Kansas City, Mo.

Last week: 12 receptions, 154 yards, 1 TD in a 34-27 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma Season: 125 receptions, 1,861 yards, 21 TDs; 1 kickoff return, 16 yards Heisman-o-meter: Christian, my college football game-watching sidekick and mighty wingman extraordinaire, says Crabtree should be No. 2 on this list. I won't go that far, but there's no denying that this receiving beast is plain filthy. He attacks defenses after the catch, and unlike Graham Harrell, who is the catalyst of that offense, Crabtree has rarely had an off week. He should be the Biletnikoff Award winner. Up next: Regular season complete

Last week: 28 rushes, 131 yards; 4 receptions, 18 yards; 4 kickoff returns, 87 yards in a 34-24 loss at Arizona Season: 205 rushes, 1,273 yards, 10 TDs; 20 receptions, 116 yards, 1 TD; 23 kickoff returns, 614 yards Heisman-o-meter: Stewart didn't drop on this list because he played poorly. He didn't. He dropped because it was clear after Dixon left the game that he, not Stewart, was the straw that stirred Oregon's offense this season. Had Stewart been able to rally the Ducks to victory, he may have moved in the opposite direction. Alas, he couldn't. Up next: Saturday at UCLA

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