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Shakeup at the top

New No. 1 candidate emerges, lots of options abound

Posted: Monday September 24, 2007 1:34PM; Updated: Monday September 24, 2007 2:20PM
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Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow put up more than 400 total yards of offense to lead Florida past Ole Miss.
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Every week I receive e-mails from readers asking how I could have left off so-and-so, the quarterback/running back/receiver from their beloved State U. And every week there's one player who garners landslide write-in support.

Last week that player was Kentucky's Andre' Woodson, and this week I expect that player to again be Woodson, who just missed the cut again. He is without question a terrific player. He has been clutch this season, with key touchdown passes against both Louisville and Arkansas. And his team wins. He could very well be on the Watch, even near the top of it, in weeks to come. But he hasn't been nearly as productive as many on this list. (In the Wildcats' balanced offense he doesn't need to be.) And how good does Woodson's signature performance of the season -- a 275-yard, four-touchdown effort against Louisville -- look now after the Cardinals just gave up 423 yards and four touchdowns passing to Syracuse?

So that's why Woodson has been left off. Michigan's Mike Hart and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford could make a case for being on the Watch too. Maybe I should expand the list to 13.

The ballot if the season ended today:

1. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB, Soph.

Last week: 20-of-34 passing, 261 yards, 2 TDs; 27 rushes, 166 yards, 2 TDs in a 30-24 victory at Mississippi
Season: 65-of-95 passing, 1,096 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT; 70 rushes, 358 yards, 7 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: He's versatile. He's tough. And now he's No. 1. Think about this: On Saturday he almost matched the rushing yardage of Arkansas' Darren McFadden (173) and the passing yardage of Kentucky's Andre' Woodson (265). Most impressively though, when the Gators needed to run out the clock against the Rebels, it was Tebow pounding the line with 12 carries in Florida's final two possessions.
Up next: Saturday vs. Auburn

2. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB, Jr.

Last week: 29 rushes, 173 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 10 yards; 1 kickoff return, 25 yards in a 42-29 loss to No. 21 Kentucky
Season: 86 rushes, 519 yards, 4 TDs; 1-of-2 passing, 42 yards, 1 TD; 7 receptions, 56 yards; 4 kickoff returns, 93 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Last week's No. 1 did not fall from the top spot because of his team's loss. Tebow, to these eyes at least, has just been more impressive so far. And, yes, I did see McFadden's zig-zagging 56-yard touchdown run. (By the way, does anyone know what hand sign he flashed after that play?) But for the second straight week Arkansas was burned when McFadden had to come out of the game. And when the Razorbacks really needed him to stop the Wildcats' comeback with 7:59 left, D-Mac managed just nine yards on three straight carries.
Up next: Saturday vs. North Texas

3. Pat White, West Virginia, QB, Jr.

Last week: 18-of-20 passing, 181 yards, 2 TDs; 9 rushes, 42 yards, 2 TDs in a 48-7 victory over East Carolina
Season: 49-of-69 passing, 617 yards, 6 TDs; 46 rushes, 286 yards, 6 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Don't fall in love with that 90 percent completion rate. A good chunk of those throws, including the two touchdown passes, were easy tosses to receivers in the flat to get them one-on-one in the open field against East Carolina's overmatched defensive backs. Still, there's not a college quarterback I like seeing run the ball more than White.
Up next: Friday at No. 18 South Florida

4. Ray Rice, Rutgers, RB, Jr.

Last week: Idle
Season: 74 rushes, 431 yards, 8 TDs; 5 receptions, 61 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: Last week we learned that Rice's backup, sophomore Kordell Young, will miss the rest of the season with a left knee injury. I'm not sure how much that will help Rice's Heisman hopes considering he already plays deeper into blowouts than Steve Slaton, Mike Hart, et al. (To be fair, Rice was pulled from the last game at halftime.) This will help assuming it continues: Rice has already more receptions this season (5) than all of last year (4).
Up next: Saturday vs. Maryland

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