One Great Season
As you know, I've become a big Oregon fan since I spent a week in Eugene last year. I like Chip Kelly a lot and I love watching LaMichael James. So it pains me to write the following.
Cam Newton is the best football player in the country and deserves to win the Heisman Trophy. I've been critical in recent weeks of the presumptuousness shown by analysts, speaking as though it's been a given for the last month that the trophy is Newton's to lose. I kind of thought James, despite his gaudy numbers, was being wrongfully ignored.
It took me a minute, but now I'm a believer. Newton is definitely a one-man wrecking crew, and he showed his Heisman worth once again on the national stage in Auburn's defeat of Georgia on Saturday. Here is my list of top five candidates:
- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn — The junior threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, totaling 299 yards in the Tigers' SEC West-clinching win over Georgia. The Nov. 26 game at Alabama will be a huge opportunity for Newton to punctuate his Heisman campaign.
- LaMichael James, RB, Oregon — The Ducks' normally electric offense ran into a surprisingly feisty Cal defense and barely escaped with the win. James was held below 121 yards rushing for only the second time this year, and failed to find the end zone for the first time. The effort probably cost him whatever few first-place votes he still had.
- Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — Another ho-hum performance (3 TDs passing, 180 QB rating) kept Moore's season totals in another galaxy as Boise State crushed Idaho last week. With three games left, the junior still has plenty of chances to turn heads, but the weak schedule — compared to Auburn's — keeps some voters understandably skeptical.
- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State — In the preseason, three running backs (James, Dion Lewis, Ryan Williams) looked to be the best bets to make it a fourth straight year in which a sophomore wins the award. But Blackmon, a second-year wideout, is making fans in Stillwater forget all about Dez Bryant. He's got 84 catches for 1,430 yards and 16 touchdowns for the 9-1 Cowboys.
- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — If Cal brings its defense this Saturday like it did last, don't expect Luck to make any advances in the Heisman race. The Cardinal quarterback had a decent game in a closer-than-expected win over Arizona State last week, and unless he puts up career-best numbers against the rival Bears, Luck shouldn't get a New York invite.