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There for the taking

Tebow is the top contender, but the race is wide open

Posted: Monday October 15, 2007 2:21PM; Updated: Monday October 15, 2007 4:54PM
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Mike Hart eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the season before leaving Saturday's game with an ankle injury.
Mike Hart eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the season before leaving Saturday's game with an ankle injury.
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Below is an excerpt from Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione's secret $1,200-a-year, VIP newsletter. It has the approval of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy ...

Seven weeks into the season, and the Heisman race is still wide open. Last year at this time, we were wondering who would finish second to Troy Smith in the balloting. This year, I'm not sure if the Watch's No. 1, Tim Tebow, would even get to New York on Dec. 8.

The ballot if the season ended today:

1. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB, Soph.

Last week: Idle
Season: 97-of-148 passing, 1,455 yards, 13 TDs, 3 INTs; 105 rushes, 500 yards, 9 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: With the Gators off on Saturday, the biggest news our Halfway Heisman winner made last week was revealing that he had received hundreds of crank voice mails and text messages, including some that were threatening and vulgar, from LSU fans in the week prior to the LSU game. And I thought I was the only one who got those messages. Whew. Anyhow, Tebow's A-plus efforts the last two games have masked the fact that his team lost, but I don't know how many more "brilliant in defeat" arguments his Heisman candidacy can absorb.
Up next: Saturday at No. 8 Kentucky

2. Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Sr.

Last week: 21 rushes, 102 yards, 2 TDs; 1 reception, 7 yards in a 48-21 victory over Purdue
Season: 200 rushes, 1,078 yards, 12 TDs; 7 receptions, 32 yards
Heisman-o-meter: The nation's leading rusher was on his way to another big stat line (you had to love that spinning, gravity-defying 11-yard touchdown run), but he went down with a right ankle injury in the first half and spent the rest of the game in street clothes. As of Monday, his availability for the Illinois game was uncertain. Injured or not, one thing is certain -- his status as a legitimate threat to take home the stiff-armed statuette.
Up next: Saturday at Illinois

3. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB, Jr.

Last week: 17 rushes, 43 yards; 1 reception, 5 yards; 1 kickoff return, 29 yards in a 9-7 loss to No. 22 Auburn
Season: 147 rushes, 822 yards, 7 TDs; 8 receptions, 61 yards; 5 kickoff returns, 122 yards; 1-of-2 passing, 42 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: There were some sings against Chattanooga that McFadden could be slowed, and on Saturday against Auburn, the preseason Heisman favorite was completely shut down by Will Muschamp's swarming defense. The Tigers' defensive line dominated up front, and McFadden's longest run went for 19 yards. He dropped a possible long gainer on a screen play and threw a bad pass into double coverage (and was bailed out by a questionable pass interference call). One must wonder how much those sore ribs are bothering him.
Up next: Saturday at Mississippi

4. Matt Ryan, Boston College, QB, Sr.

Last week: 32-of-49 passing, 291 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 3 rushes, 10 yards in a 27-14 victory at Notre Dame
Season: 192-of-304 passing, 2,148 yards, 17 TDs, 6 INTs; 20 rushes, 38 yards, 1 TD; 1 reception, 1 yard
Heisman-o-meter: This wasn't the lethal Eagle's best performance. He was limited almost exclusively to underneath throws and a third-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown and had the Irish thinking upset. But, like in the Georgia Tech game earlier in the season, Ryan stood tall in the pocket against oncoming pressure and delivered strong throws (see: both TD scores). Now he has 11 days to prepare for Virginia Tech, a game that will have more bearing on his Heisman hopes than any other this season.
Up next: Oct. 25 at Virginia Tech

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