Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Wilson benefits from being on a bye week, and the only player ahead of him in these rankings (Tajh Boyd) getting hurt in his game against North Carolina State. Of note, it’s ironic that Boyd was injured against NC State… Wilson’s former school where he played four years.
Since Wilson was on a bye week, I should reiterate some of the points I made to put him this high in the rankings last week. Wilson and the Badgers ripped apart Nebraska, who this weekend beat Ohio State to prove they aren’t a fluke. That win for Nebraska adds more credibility to the Badgers’ win over the Huskers.
Wisconsin is still the No. 3 ranked offense in all of college football, averaging 48.4 points per game, 17 more than when Wisconsin was without Wilson. Now Wilson has given the Badgers starry eyes. It’s certainly plausible to see them in the BCS title game. LSU and Alabama will play each other Nov. 5, when at least for a while one will be knocked off the title-seeking stage.
Trent Richardson, Alabama
Alabama continues to win playing tough opponents, and the date Nov. 5 with LSU itches closer and closer to D-Day. That will be a great day, but for now, Richardson is full speed ahead on the Heisman trail.
Sports Illustrated has called Alabama’s defense one of the best ever, and we are all starting to wonder if Richardson is a better running back than Bama’s last Heisman Trophy-winning running back, Mark Ingram. Some say, “Yes.”
There’s a lot of reason for that. Against Vanderbilt this weekend, Richardson topped 100 yards again, scoring another touchdown for the Tide, adding to his conference-high total.
If Alabama would’ve played its starters for a longer time, in the shutout win, Richardson could’ve dialed up more yards than he ended the game with. That number, like the totals from past weeks, could’ve been ridiculous.
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
According to Boyd’s Twitter account, he’s healthy and will be back for this weekend’s match-up. So last time I checked, he’s still the focal point of the nation’s hottest team and I’m still not sure I’m convinced anyone in front of him on these rankings is worthy of being so. He’s down from No. 1 last week simply because he was injured and we’re just not sure yet what will happen with him next — although it appears he’s back and excited to play.
Even though he’s down two spots, he still impressed me in the time he did play Saturday. While he was in, Clemson took at 17-0 lead, he being responsible for two of those touchdowns (one rushing, one passing).
Boyd has still been a great surprise this season, and Clemson is still undefeated. Last time I checked that was a great mixture of traits to be a Heisman Trophy winner. I’ll look forward to seeing how he performs this weekend.
Kellen Moore, Boise State
As long as Moore continues to put up big numbers for the Broncos, and the team continues to stay undefeated, he’ll stay high up in these rankings. For another week, Moore and the Broncos beat up on another opponent.
Moore threw for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns in the game against Fresno State this weekend, in the team’s route of the ‘Dogs. Moore continues to be an efficient passer, only throwing 8 incompletions but zero interceptions.
Moore may not be one of the top NFL prospects in terms of quarterbacks, but he’s showing quite a lot at the college level. Still, he needs to be tested by a bigger named team to be at the tip-top of this list. Given the Broncos schedule, Moore might not have one until too late.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
In one of the higher profile game of the weekend, Jones and the Oklahoma Sooners murdered the Texas Longhorns and dashed any hopes they had at a return to national prominence.
Give it up for Jones, who threw for three touchdowns, all in the 2nd quarter, for 367 yards. Jones threw two touchdown to Kenny Stills, and one to premiere receiver Ryan Broyles this weekend in the Red River Shootout.
All season we’ve been waiting for Oklahoma to start playing the elite teams and in their first contest, they passed with flying colors. Now the Sooners have two weeks off of important opponents before the real grind comes back. In three consecutive weeks starting Oct. 29, they play Kansas State, Texas A&M, and Baylor — at Kansas State and at Baylor. Then after playing Iowa State, it’ll be Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, which could be a game featuring two unbeaten teams. That game alone could help Jones jump high enough to win the Heisman Trophy.
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Meet Weeden, who along with Landry Jones, wasn’t even ranked or thought of last week in the Heat Index. However, this weekend Weeden threw 5 touchdowns — but easily could’ve thrown 10! Coach took Weeden out of the game with 4 minutes left in the second quarter as the team was dominating Kansas.
Of the 5 touchdowns, three different receivers caught at least one, which is impressive and speaks volumes of Weeden’s vision. Weeden has one of the best receivers in the nation, Justin Blackmon, but doesn’t just look for him. Blackmon had two touchdown catches, but so did one other player… and another receiver had the other touchdown.
Weeden has proven time and again that he is a legit quarterback, which is why Oklahoma State is undefeated. For as long as the OSU offense is exploding, the Cowboys will remain that way.
Robert Griffin, Baylor
RG3 had another big weekend, but he continues to slip 1) because Brandon Weeden and Landry Jones had stellar weekend, and 2) because his passing stats are slowly slipping. Griffin passed for 212 yards this weekend in Baylor’s win, including one touchdown. His best part of the game was on the ground, though. There Griffin ran for 107 yards, including at 17-yard long. He scored a touchdown on the ground too.
Griffin is definitely cooling off. At the early stages of this season, RG3 wasn’t throwing incompletions, but he had 8 this weekend. Since his shining stat to begin the season was his great completion percentage, we’re allowed to judge him based on how many incompletions he had in a game.
The loss to Kansas State last week is still hindering his Heisman hopes, so he has to compete brilliantly in his next big game.
Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
He is starting to get a lot of attention on the national stage now, so it was refreshing to see him come up with another interception this weekend against Florida. While he did not return the interception for any yards, a pick is a pick.
Also, Mathieu as the leader of the LSU defense helped hold a high powered Florida Gator offense to a shade over 200 yards on offense. Florida ended the game with only 9 first downs (20 LSU), 2-of-11 on 3rd downs, 100 passing yards, and 113 rushing yards. However, the 113 rushing yards came on 32 attempts, for only a little over 3 yards per carry.
LSU held superstar running back Chris Rainey to 52 yards running, and running back Mike Gillislee to 56 yards.
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Lattimore continues a free fall of sorts. Although he rushed for 102 yards against Kentucky this weekend, that’s not a “Lattimore number.” I expected him to run a train over Kentucky’s defense. Let me explain what a “Lattimore number” is.
A “LN” is a certain amount of rushing yards. If it’s against a weak SEC team, it should be no less thatn 150. If it’s against LSU, and it’s over 130, that’s a huge success and his name would sky rocket up the rankings. A “LN” includes includes at least 2 touchdowns against any team, no matter the talent they’re playing against. Against a cupcake like Kentucky, an “LN” is over 200 yards.
However, we keep Lattimore on this list because the Old Ball Coach took him out of the game, when a back-up running back shined. Still, Lattimore didn’t even score a touchdown.
AJ Jenkins, Illinois
Jenkins has gone from on my watch list, straight into the top 10. He did what he was supposed to do this weekend against Indiana. He had a huge game.
Against the Hoosiers, Jenkins had 182 yards and two touchdowns, on six catches. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is targeting AJ a lot and the results are showing. The Illini are undefeated and Jenkins is a big part of that.
And we can’t discount his huge highlight. Jenkins had a 77-yard touchdown catch, which basically deflated Indiana, who led 10-0 at that point in the first quarter.
Also, putting Jenkins on this list this week is a way to prime for next week. Depending how he does against Ohio State this weekend, he will either rise up even higher or fall back down onto the watch list. Big players have big numbers in the biggest games.
WATCH LIST: Denard Robinson (Michigan), Geno Smith (West Virginia), Andrew Luck (Stanford), LaMichael James (Oregon), Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Orwin Smith (Georgia Tech), Melvin Ingram (South Carolina), Kendall Wright (Baylor)