Smith still leads way, but running backs dominate list
Posted: Monday October 23, 2006 12:17PM; Updated: Monday October 23, 2006 12:45PM
The most impressive part of Troy Smith's season so far may be the 21-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio.
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In compiling this week's list, one thought kept bothering me: Where did all the quarterbacks go? Aside from Troy Smith and Brady Quinn, who could both very well be in New York on Dec. 9, few passers are making a case to be included in the discussion. Some were lost to injury (Louisville's Brian Brohm), others to interceptionitis(Tennessee's Erik Ainge), but that alone can't explain why running backs have been the more impressive group this year. Maybe it's time to dust off Florida's Chris Leak again or look into Texas's Colt McCoy, Missouri's Chase Daniel or BYU's John Beck? Maybe next week.
1. Troy Smith, Ohio State, QB, Sr.
Last week: 15-of-23 passing, 220 yards, 4 TDs; 4 rushes, 38 yards in a 44-3 victory over Indiana Season: 131-of-193 passing, 1,715 yards, 21 TDs, 2 INTs; 36 rushes, 126 yards Heisman-o-meter: It seems like Smith adds a did-you-see-that highlight to the Heisman resume every week. This time it was a 31-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn during which he escaped a sack, rolled left and threw -- across his body -- a perfect pass to Ginn in the end zone. More impressive than his athleticism is his 21-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio. Up next: Saturday vs. Minnesota
2. Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB, Soph.
Last week: 19 rushes, 128 yards, 1 TD in a 37-11 victory at Connecticut Season: 151 rushes, 1,059 yards, 9 TDs Heisman-o-meter: For the second straight week Mountaineers quarterback Pat White controlled the game, but Slaton didn't leave without making an impact, breaking off a 56-yarder late in the fourth quarter. To this untrained eye, it looks as if defenses recently have been preoccupied keeping an eye on Slaton, allowing White to roam free. Good for White, bad for Slaton and his Heisman hopes. Up next: Nov. 2 at No. 6 Louisville
3. Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Jr.
Last week: 31 rushes, 126 yards, 2 TDs in a 20-6 victory over Iowa Season: 214 rushes, 1,032 yards, 8 TDs Heisman-o-meter: There's no way to prove this, but the Watchman is willing to bet that no running back gets more tough yards than this mighty mite. (See his 9-yard touchdown run against Iowa.) Unlike Slaton or Adrian Peterson (before the injury), Hart never seems to be running loose in the secondary, making the numbers he generates even more impressive. Up next: Saturday vs. Northwestern
4. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, QB, Sr.
Last week: 27-of-45 passing, 304 yards, 2 TDs in a 20-17 victory over UCLA Season: 175-of-278 passing, 1,938 yards, 18 TDs, 4 INTs Heisman-o-meter: After Quinn engineered the amazing comeback against the Bruins, my friend and all-around-good-guy John turned to me and said, "Quinn's back in the race!" I'll admit that I may have been a bit harsh on Quinn after his outings against Georgia Tech and Michigan -- two good defenses after all -- so I have moved him up considerably, but, regardless what the stats say, he still has been outperformed by Smith. Up next: Saturday at Navy (in Baltimore)
5. Marshawn Lynch, Cal, RB, Jr.
Last week: 21 rushes, 150 yards, 2 TDs; 4 receptions, 53 yards in a 31-24 victory over Washington Season: 132 rushes, 907 yards, 8 TDs; 19 receptions, 216 yards, 3 TDs Heisman-o-meter: A member of this list last month, Lynch had been flirting with making a return. He finally does so after an impressive effort against the Huskies. Though he didn't start because of two sprained ankles, he dominated in the second half, once turning an aborted halfback pass into an impromptu cross-country tour that ended just shy of the goal line. He's here to stay. Up next: Nov. 4 vs. UCLA