I'm not just writing this because SI's college football editor is a Missouri grad, but Chase Daniel should be getting serious consideration for the stiff-armed statuette. He's the ringmaster of one of the nation's most prolific offenses, his numbers rival those of any other candidate and he has the 9-1 Tigers in national title contention.
It has been a big year for Big 12 quarterbacks (Daniel, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell and Todd Reesing), but Daniel has been the best. And with potentially two high-profile games remaining (Kansas and a Big 12 championship contest), he just might pull this off.
The ballot if the season ended today:
1. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB, Soph.
Last week: 22-of-32 passing, 304 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 26 rushes, 120 yards, 5 TDs in a 51-31 victory at South Carolina
Season: 173-of-255 passing, 2,532 yards, 23 TDs, 5 INTs; 170 rushes, 718 yards, 19 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Wow. I guess that right shoulder is feeling OK. After two weeks in which it seemed that the bum shoulder would affect Tebow's running, the quarterback/fullback had arguably the best effort of his season, accounting for seven touchdowns and always looking in control of the game. My favorite play was when he destroyed linebackers Melvin Ingram and Cody Wells at the goal line for his fifth rushing touchdown. The performance was even more remarkable considering Tebow had two easily catchable touchdown passes dropped in the end zone. After the game coach Urban Meyer called it "a Heisman performance." He'll get no argument here.
Up next: Saturday vs. Florida Atlantic
2. Dennis Dixon, Oregon, QB, Sr.
Last week: Idle
Season: 167-of-246 passing, 2,074 yards, 20 TDs, 3 INTs; 103 rushes, 549 yards, 8 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Tebow's effort on Saturday raised the bar for Dixon, who seems to be the public's frontrunner but was second on this list by a nose going into last week. It'll be interesting to see if the sprained left knee from the Arizona State game will affect him and how he will respond playing in front of a national audience with the Heisman Trophy possibly at stake.
Up next: Thursday at Arizona
3. Chase Daniel, Missouri, QB, Jr.
Last week: 27-of-35 passing, 352 yards, 3 TDs; 10 rushes, 15 yards in a 40-26 victory over Texas A&M
Season: 281-of-405 passing, 3,306 yards, 26 TDs, 9 INTs; 79 rushes, 248 yards, 3 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Texas A&M predominantly rushed just three and dropped eight all day, and while that scheme somehow kept this dual threat quarterback from breaking long runs, it did not slow down Daniel through the air. (Granted, 82 of his passing yards came on speedy Jeremy Maclin's catch-and-run that was more the product of Maclin and a poor A&M defense than Daniel.) He keeps moving up the Watch because he keeps producing and winning while others keep stumbling and losing, and after this performance the school has decided to start a Heisman campaign for him.
Up next: Saturday at Kansas State
4. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB, Jr.
Last week: 22 rushes, 117 yards; 0-of-1 passing; 3 receptions, 17 yards; 2 kickoff returns, 39 yards in a 34-13 loss at No. 22 Tennessee
Season: 244 rushes, 1,431 yards, 12 TDs; 2-of-4 passing, 65 yards, 2 TDs; 17 receptions, 114 yards; 11 kickoff returns, 210 yards
Heisman-o-meter: That stuff last week about McFadden being back in the Heisman hunt, maybe even leading the race? Well, Tennessee's (that's not a misprint) defense pretty much stuffed McFadden and maybe even his chances to win the trophy. Ninety-eight of McFadden's 117 yards came in the second half when the outcome of the game was not in question. And, unlike in previous weeks, he did not have to share the ball with Felix Jones, who missed three quarters of the game with a deep thigh bruise. In this opinion, McFadden would need to hit the statistical lottery the next two games to earn this vote.
Up next: Saturday vs. Mississippi State
1 of 2