Arkansas fans, you can calm down now. Darren McFadden is No. 1 on the list again after that gutty performance Saturday night. His stay at No. 4 was brief and he was only there because others on the list outplayed him in the first two weeks. But the 'Backs' back is back on top. Though he should be looking over his shoulder at one hard-charging Florida Gator.
A side note: I was in Ann Arbor, Mich., covering the Michigan-Notre Dame Clash of the Titanics on Saturday and caught the WTKA-AM pregame show. And to the boys at the station, I love your work. But if you're going to steal my material for your Heisman Watch, steal the whole thing and not just a selection of the stuff! Still, I'm glad to know someone out there is reading.
The ballot if the season ended today:
1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB, Jr.
Last week: 33 rushes, 195 yards, 2 TDs; 0-for-1 passing; 3 receptions, 16 yards; 2 kickoff returns, 49 yards in a 41-38 loss at Alabama
Season: 57 rushes, 346 yards, 3 TDs; 1-of-2 passing, 42 yards, 1 TD; 5 receptions, 46 yards; 3 kickoff returns, 68 yards
Heisman-o-meter: The Watch's preseason No. 1 returns to the top after a courageous effort in which he led the Hogs' second-half rally, scoring twice in the fourth quarter. A slight concussion knocked him out of the game for the last nine minutes, otherwise the Razorbacks may have been able to run out the clock on their final drive. A Heisman-worthy performance.
Up next: Saturday vs. No. 21 Kentucky
2. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB, Soph.
Last week: 14-of-19 passing, 299 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 18 rushes, 61 yards, 2 TDs in a 59-20 victory over No. 22 Tennessee
Season: 45-of-61 passing, 835 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT; 43 rushes, 192 yards, 5 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Oh, my. Tebow dismantled Tennessee with an array of deep balls, short routes, QB runs, you name it. But what was most impressive was the way he burned the Vols deep, one week after hitting nothing but short crossing patterns against Troy. He easily could be No. 1.
Up next: Saturday vs. Mississippi
3. Brian Brohm, Louisville, QB, Sr.
Last week: 28-of-43 passing, 366 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 6 rushes, minus-7 yards; 1 reception, minus-7 yards in a 40-34 loss at Kentucky
Season: 69-of-103 passing, 1,142 yards, 11 TDs, 1 INT; 13 rushes, 19 yards, 1 TD; 1 reception, minus-7 yards
Heisman-o-meter: This was not the sharpest performance from Brohm who regularly threw low, high and wide when his receivers were open. And did anyone else notice his Hail Mary pass at the end of the game traveled just 52 yards? (Ryan Mallett's high school coach last week told me Mallett once threw the ball 87 yards.) Anyhow, Brohm was so precise the first two weeks, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.
Up next: Saturday vs. Syracuse
4. Colt Brennan, Hawaii, QB, Sr.
Last week: 26-of-32 passing, 298 yards, 2 TDs; 9 rushes, 19 yards, 3 TDs in a 49-14 victory at UNLV
Season: 103-of-133 passing, 1,262 yards, 12 TDs, 1 INT; 23 rushes, 34 yards, 4 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: He won't be confused with Tommie Frazier running the option, but Brennan added three short touchdown plunges to raise his touchdown total on the season to 16. Due to a sore right ankle, he played just three quarters, ending his string of 300-yard passing games at 14. One of my beefs with Brennan is that he doesn't throw the ball downfield as much as the other quarterbacks on this list.
Up next: Saturday vs. Charleston Southern
5. Pat White, West Virginia, QB, Jr.
Last week: 8-of-13 passing, 95 yards; 11 rushes, 22 yards, 1 TD in a 31-14 victory at Maryland
Season: 31-of-49 passing, 436 yards, 4 TDs; 37 rushes, 244 yards, 4 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: He made a statement early, dashing for a 22-yard touchdown on the team's second play from scrimmage, but otherwise played a supporting role to Steve Slaton and Noel Devine. Now he faces an East Carolina team that picked him off three times last season.
Up next: Saturday vs. East Carolina
6. Ray Rice, Rutgers, RB, Jr.
Last week: 12 rushes, 72 yards, 3 TDs in a 59-0 victory over Norfolk State
Season: 74 rushes, 431 yards, 8 TDs; 5 receptions, 61 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: A lethal passing attack dominated the Spartans (what's Norfolk State doing on the schedule anyway?) and turned the game into a rout by halftime so Rice only played two quarters. His touchdown runs were still impressive. He showed vision, cutback ability and speed on his first score and a filthy stiff arm on his second.
Up next: Sept. 29 vs. Maryland
7. Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB, Jr.
Last week: 26 rushes, 137 yards, 3 TDs; 1 reception, 10 yards in a 31-14 victory at Maryland
Season: 66 rushes, 392 yards, 8 TDs; 4 receptions, 73 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: He had a very Slatonesque 22-yard score around the left edge and punched in two vulture touchdowns that were set up by freshman phenom Noel Devine, who, if he keeps playing like this, may make an appearance on this list sooner rather than later. Has there ever been a backfield with more speed than the Mountaineers' trio of White-Slaton-Devine?
Up next: Saturday vs. East Carolina
8. Matt Ryan, Boston College, QB, Sr.
Last week: 30-of-44 passing, 435 yards, 1 TD; 3 rushes, minus-9 yards in a 24-10 victory at No. 15 Georgia Tech
Season: 77-of-130 passing, 985 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs; 8 rushes, minus-15 yards; 1 reception, 1 yard
Heisman-o-meter: If I could have any quarterback on this list to start for an NFL team, Ryan would be my choice. Great size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds), arm strength, mechanics, pocket poise, touch on the ball. Did you see how he dissected the secondary of defensive genius Jon Tenuta? His perfectly placed touchdown pass to Brandon Robinson was Heisman-caliber.
Up next: Saturday vs. Army
9. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, QB, Fr.
Last week: 19-of-26 passing, 255 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 2 rushes, 0 yards in a 54-3 victory over Utah State
Season: 59-of-74 passing, 823 yards, 11 TDs, 1 INT; 6 rushes, 5 yards
Heisman-o-meter: The surprise of the season so far, this redshirt freshman has come out of nowhere with three coolly efficient performances. The highly accurate Bradford has already had consecutive completion streaks this season of 22 and 21. Granted, Bradford has not faced much pressure in the pocket, and it sure helps to have a stud receiver like Malcolm Kelly.
Up next: Friday at Tulsa
10. Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Sr.
Last week: 35 rushes, 187 yards, 2 TDs; 2 receptions, 14 yards in a 38-0 victory over Notre Dame
Season: 83 rushes, 502 yards, 5 TDs; 2 receptions, 14 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Sure his team is 1-2, but he put the Wolverines in position to avoid the upset against Appalachian State in Week 1. And on Saturday against Notre Dame, the Wolverines rode him to the victory he guaranteed one week earlier. Injuries have always been a concern, but he showed no sign of the thigh problem that has bothered him all season. Chase Daniel, P.J. Hill and Andre Woodson all would have been worthy of this final spot as well.
Up next: Saturday vs. No. 10 Penn State