By Gene Menez
September 14, 2009

After having one player's name atop The Heisman Watch for almost a year, the list has a new No. 1. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow returns to the top after torching Troy, but readers shouldn't take too much stock in these early season rankings. They will change drastically as candidates build up their Heisman résumés.

Last week: 15-of-24 passing, 237 yards, 4 TDs; 13 rushes, 71 yards, 1 TD in a 56-6 victory over Troy

Season: 25-of-39 passing, 425 yards, 5 TDs; 15 rushes, 72 yards, 2 TDs

Heisman-o-meter: Well, well, look who's back at No. 1. It took one quarter for him to really get going against the Trojans (he lost a fumble after being slapped in the back of the head), but once he did, he was deadly efficient. With three scoring passes of at least 32 yards apiece, the Heisman winner as a sophomore saved the best for last: Tebow took a hit but managed to place the ball in prime position for a diving catch by Brandon James. The only big Tebow miscue in two and a half quarters of work was poor clock management at the end of the half, which cost the Gators at least three points. On Saturday, it'll be interesting to see how long Tebow plays against the talkative Lane Kiffin and his Vols.

Up next: Saturday vs. Tennessee

Last week: 17 rushes, 144 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 19 yards, 1 TD in a 59-7 victory over Eastern Washington

Season: 27 rushes, 281 yards, 3 TDs; 4 receptions, 42 yards, 1 TD; 1 kickoff return, 18 yards

Heisman-o-meter: The Bears' game-breaker was at his "Best" on Saturday, scoring on a 22-yard pass and a one-yard run. He proved he's got the smarts to match the athleticism when he grabbed a bouncing ball that quarterback Kevin Riley had thrown his way. Instead of assuming it was an incomplete pass, Best snatched the ball (good thing, because it was a lateral) and ran for a 15-yard gain. Despite his stellar play, though, this game against an FCS foe will have very little impact on Best's Heisman chances as the season ends.

Up next: Saturday at Minnesota

Last week: 26 rushes, 166 yards, 1 TD; 10 receptions, 65 yards in a 23-21 victory at UNLV

Season: 42 rushes, 269 yards, 4 TDs; 14 receptions, 97 yards

Heisman-o-meter: It was another big night for the Quizz Show. At the start of the second half, Rodgers took off for a 45-yard run, spun to avoid a tackler and finished off the Oregon State drive with a short touchdown run. Minutes later, he added another 45-yard run. Rodgers was also big out of the backfield, making two huge catches on the game-winning drive -- the first to convert a third down and the second, a 13-yarder, to set the Beavers up at UNLV's 16-yard line for the winning field goal. On Saturday, Quizz has a shot at greater recognition as the Beavers take on a tough Cincinnati team, which features a run defense that is ranked 15th in the country and a pair of Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback Tony Pike and receiver Mardy Gilyard.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 17 Cincinnati

Last week: 24-of-32 passing, 309 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 3 rushes, 15 yards in a 54-3 victory at Tulane

Season: 50-of-70 passing, 638 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs; 9 rushes, 7 yards

Heisman-o-meter: This was a complete victory by Hall and the Cougars, who passed, rushed and defended well. Hall's first touchdown pass came on a screen play that was nicely disguised by the offense. Credit for the QB's second scoring throw should go to receiver McKay Jacobson, who prevented an interception by wrestling the ball away from a defender. Hall also threw a pick on the first drive of the second half, and though he didn't come away with any Heisman highlights in three and a half quarters of work, he's definitely in this race.

Up next: Saturday vs. Florida State

Last week: 30-of-47 passing, 337 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 9 rushes, 44 yards, 1 TD in a 41-10 victory at Wyoming

Season: 51-of-76 passing, 654 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs; 16 rushes, 41 yards, 1 TD

Heisman-o-meter: The player who had been No. 1 on this list since the middle of last season takes a Texas-sized tumble after having his worst game since 2007. For the first half against the Cowboys, McCoy found every target except his receivers. Much of his yardage can be credited to the legs of his receivers, particularly James Kirkendoll. Despite his erratic first-half play, McCoy did have a highlight-reel moment in the third quarter when, under pressure, he spun 360 degrees to prevent a sack, kept his eyes looking downfield and found receiver Dan Buckner, who ran to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown. McCoy fans shouldn't overreact; even though he dropped on The Watch, he's very much in this race. He just doesn't deserve to be near the top at this point.

Up next: Saturday against Texas Tech

Last week: 32-of-46 passing, 366 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 5 rushes, 16 yards, 1 TD; 1 punt, 15 yards in a 45-35 victory at No. 5 Oklahoma State

Season: 55-of-76 passing, 725 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 7 rushes, 16 yards, 2 TDs; 1 punt, 15 yards

Heisman-o-meter: Keenum has been on The Watch's radar for some time, but after engineering an upset of the fifth-ranked Cowboys, he has officially crashed the list. He started off slow, overthrowing his receiver on the team's first possession for his only interception, but he quickly rebounded for a 16-yard scoring run on the next possession. He continually burned Oklahoma State with his quick release, including on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Edwards. Plus, the Houston QB got a little lucky, too: The fourth-down, six-yard scoring pass to Bryce Beall, which put the Cougars up for good, was first tipped high in the air by linebacker Donald Booker. Keenum's Heisman chances appear to be a long shot now, but he certainly deserves inclusion on the list.

Up next: Sept. 26 vs. Texas Tech

Last week: 18 rushes, 66 yards in a 30-27 victory over Clemson

Season: 25 rushes, 161 yards, 2 TDs

Heisman-o-meter: Clemson seemed to always have two tacklers on Dwyer whenever he tested the middle of the line, and perhaps that attention is why Dwyer's teammates had more success running the ball. On one play, Dwyer had an opening, but went down at the line on a shoestring tackle and pounded the ball in frustration, knowing he had missed an opportunity. Of course, Dwyer ranks 52nd in nation in rushing, and C.J. Spiller, who had a better all-around game, may deserve this spot on the list instead, but The Watch will stick with the Ramblin' Wrecker for at least one more week. He's just too good.

Up next: Thursday at No. 20 Miami

Last week: 16 rushes, 60 yards; 2 receptions, 45 yards in an 18-15 victory at No. 8 Ohio State

Season: 30 rushes, 205 yards, 2 TDs; 3 receptions, 66 yards; 1 punt return, 18 yards

Heisman-o-meter: With USC's stacked running back corps, McKnight doesn't receive the ball enough to put up big numbers. But when USC was in trouble late in the fourth quarter, McKnight (and a great offensive line) saved the Trojans. On the go-ahead drive, McKnight had an 11-yard run followed by a crucial 21-yard catch-and-run on third down. He added 21 yards on four more carries later in the possession. There are many backs who have posted more impressive stats, but few could have done what McKnight did on Saturday.

Up next: Saturday at Washington

Last week: 5 receptions, 85 yards; 1 punt return, 82 yards, 1 TD; 2 kickoff returns, 43 yards in a 45-35 loss to Houston

Season: 8 receptions, 162 yards, 2 TDs; 3 punt returns, 111 yards, 1 TD; 2 kickoff returns, 43 yards

Heisman-o-meter: After moving up to No. 2 last week, Bryant drops with an uneven performance in the shocking loss to Houston. Though he dropped two passes that could have been big gainers, he made amends in the third quarter with an electrifying 82-yard punt return for a touchdown that cut the Cowboys' deficit to three. Then, with Oklahoma State still trailing by three late in the game, Bryant fell as Zac Robinson's pass hurled toward him. Bryant managed to get a hand on the ball, but only to pop it in the air for an interception, which was returned for the game-clinching score. (After the loss, Bryant said he fell on that play because of cramps.) Bryant has very little margin for error if he is to have any chance in this race.

Up next: Saturday vs. Rice

Last week: 20-of-31 passing, 240 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 2 rushes, minus-1 yard in a 28-7 victory over Syracuse

Season: 49-of-71 passing, 593 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs; 5 rushes, 4 yards

Heisman-o-meter: There are a number of players who could've landed in this spot. Along with the aforementioned Gilyard, Pike and Spiller, Purdue's RalphBolden, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, Alabama's Mark Ingram (who battled the flu last week) and even Michigan's Tate Forcier are among the multiple contenders. But for the second straight week, Clark gets the 10 spot. He didn't have as good a game as he had in the opener, but he has the Penn State passing game moving even after the losses of Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood. And he just may end up being the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year when the season's complete.

Up next: Saturday vs. Temple

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