Posted: Monday October 16, 2006 12:15AM; Updated: Monday October 16, 2006 12:41PM
Troy Smith threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns as the top-ranked Buckeyes beat Michigan State 38-7.
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Now that the BCS has gotten its junior varsity unveiling out of the way, it's time to release the real list that college football fans have been awaiting. (That's a joke, folks. Please hold the e-mails.) And, just as with the BCS standings, Ohio State sits atop this list as well. Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith has a Schlage hold on the top spot, especially after Saturday, when his biggest challenger, Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson, was lost for the season with a broken collarbone and Smith's next closest challenger, Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe, was stuffed by Western Michigan. Considering the events of Saturday, Smith not only leads the chase for the stiff-arm statue at the halfway point, but he's also holding a two-touchdown advantage.
1. Troy Smith, Ohio State, QB, Sr.
Last week: 15 of 22 passing, 234 yards, 2 TDs; 3 rushes, 10 yards in a 38-7 victory at Michigan State Season: 116 of 170 passing, 1,495 yards, 17 TDs, 2 INTs; 32 rushes, 88 yards Heisman-o-meter: Smith coolly led the Buckeyes' offense once again, punctuated by the highlight-reel-worthy seven-yard touchdown pass to Brian Robiskie, during which Smith somehow saw his receiver downfield while bobbing and weaving for his life. Afterward receiver Anthony Gonzalez said of Smith: "He does some unbelievable things." Up next: Saturday vs. Indiana
2. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma, RB, Jr.
Last week: 26 rushes, 183 yards, 2 TDs; 3 receptions, 45 yards in a 34-9 victory against Iowa State Season: 168 rushes, 935 yards, 10 TDs; 8 receptions, 127 yards, 1 TD; 7 kickoff returns, 162 yards Heisman-o-meter: Entering Saturday, the Watchman had Peterson in Smith's area code (seriously, have you ever seen a more talented back run harder than Peterson?) and had not ruled out making AD No. 1 at some point this season, but his season-ending injury killed that. Some astute readers may even wonder why I still rank him. After all, I yanked Louisville's Michael Bush off the list after he was lost for the year. Honestly, I'm breaking my own rules here, because I want the readers to know where I would rank Peterson if the season ended today. Next week, though, it's adios, AD. Up next: Saturday vs. Colorado
3. Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB, Soph.
Last week: 20 rushes, 163 yards, 1 TD in a 41-17 victory against Syracuse Season: 132 rushes, 931 yards, 8 TDs Heisman-o-meter: Though quarterback Pat White had the more prolific day (247 rushing yards, 4 TDs), some of White's numbers could be credited to Slaton. On several option plays and two of White's touchdown runs, the threat alone of the ball going to Slaton opened gaping holes for White to turn upfield. With Peterson's injury, Slaton becomes Smith's biggest challenger. Up next: Friday at Connecticut
4. Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois, RB, Sr.
Last week: 18 rushes, 25 yards; 5 receptions, 31 yards in a 16-14 loss at Western Michigan Season: 174 rushes, 1,368 yards, 13 TDs; 18 receptions, 193 yards, 1 TD Heisman-o-meter: The Cinderella contender was swarmed by the nation's No. 23 rush defense every time he got the ball, and he didn't get it much. Western Michigan controlled the clock and allowed the Huskies only 14 first-half plays. When Wolfe did finally break one -- around left end early in the fourth quarter -- it was nullified by a holding penalty. He had little margin for error entering this game; he has absolutely none now. Up next: Saturday vs. Temple
5. Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Jr.
Last week: 26 rushes, 112 yards, 1 TD in a 17-10 victory at Penn State Season: 183 rushes, 906 yards, 6 TDs Heisman-o-meter: Is there a player more appropriately named than Hart? The undersized back showed off his trademark toughness in the second half against Penn State, grinding out 84 yards on 16 carries. (The Nittany Lions had allowed only one player to rush for more than 68 yards in a game this season.) His 20-yard rumble down to the Penn State one-yard line at the end of the third quarter was a thing of beauty. Up next: Saturday vs. Iowa