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Posted: Monday September 15, 2008 2:40PM; Updated: Monday September 15, 2008 3:34PM
Gene Menez Gene Menez >
HEISMAN WATCH

Daniel takes over the top spot

Story Highlights
  • Two Big 12 quarterbacks are setting the pace in the Heisman race
  • Chase Daniels' favorite weapon, Jeremy Maclin, stands at No. 5
  • Two Big Ten tailbacks are among the players in the bottom half of the top 10
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Missouri QB Chase Daniel has more TD passes (seven) than incompletions (six) in the Tigers' last two games.
Missouri QB Chase Daniel has more TD passes (seven) than incompletions (six) in the Tigers' last two games.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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It's Heisman Upheaval Week. The preseason favorite, Beanie Wells, is out of the top 10. So is Knowshon Moreno. Meanwhile, four players make their debuts on the Watch. But the big news? Two Big 12 quarterbacks lead the way, and everyone is chasing Chase.

1. Chase Daniel, Missouri, QB, Sr.

Last week: 23-of-28 passing, 405 yards, 4 TDs; 1 rush, 12 yards in a 69-17 victory over Nevada.
Season: 65-of-90 passing, 973 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT; 10 rushes, 58 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: Daniel has been a regular on this list for three years, but he has never been No. 1 -- until now. The Tigers' triggerman has been mind-boggingly productive in his first three games as the Missouri offense has rolled. (In the last two he has played just four quarters total and has seven touchdowns against six incompletions.) How he plays in the Tigers' tough October stretch (at Nebraska, Oklahoma State, at Texas, Colorado) will go a long way in determining if he stays at No. 1.
Up next: Saturday vs. Buffalo.

2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, QB, Soph.

Last week: 18-of-21 passing, 304 yards, 5 TDs; 1 rush, 1 yard, 1 TD in a 55-14 victory at Washington.
Season: 64-of-81 passing, 882 yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs; 4 rushes, 4 yards, 1 TD.
Heisman-o-meter: In other Big 12 news, the Sooners have the conference's -- and country's -- No. 2 candidate for the stiff-armed statuette. Bradford plays so smoothly when he's rolling out of the pocket and hitting receivers on the run, and he has Oklahoma's offense humming. The task of separating Daniel and Bradford (Does Daniel benefit from having better receivers? Does Bradford have a better offensive line, running game and defense to get him the ball?) could go into early December when the Big 12 title game is played.
Up next: Sept. 27 vs. TCU.

3. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB, Jr.

Last week: Idle.
Season: 30-of-49 passing, 393 yards, 3 TDs; 22 rushes, 92 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: As Daniel, Bradford and others have made early-season cases for the Heisman, the incumbent has yet to be the Tebow we know. For Saturday's game at Tennessee, it will be interesting to see if the Gators' rushing attack has improved since the Miami contest and who's doing the heavy lifting. None of Florida's tailbacks were effective against the Hurricanes, forcing the running load onto Tebow's legs, which could prove great for a Heisman repeat but not so good for the Gators' long term goals.
Up next: Saturday at Tennessee.

4. Mark Sanchez, USC, QB, Jr.

Last week: 17-of-28 passing, 172 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 2 rushes, minus-10 yards in a 35-3 victory over No. 5 Ohio State.
Season: 43-of-63 passing, 510 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs; 3 rushes, minus-4 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Entering last weekend's games, the Watch was expecting to elevate Sanchez to No. 1 this week. But the Trojans' destruction of the No. 5 team in the country was such a complete effort that it's hard to make him the marked man. USC's defense controlled the game, running back Joe McKnight was the early offensive catalyst and the offensive line gave Sanchez time to throw. Of course, good quarterbacks still must take advantage of good protection, which he did. He'll need to do more of it.
Up next: Sept. 25 at Oregon State.

5. Jeremy Maclin, Missouri, WR, Soph.

Last week: 6 receptions, 172 yards, 3 TDs; 2 rushes, 5 yards; 4 punt returns, 23 yards; 2 kickoff returns, 39 yards in a 69-17 victory over Nevada.
Season: 12 receptions, 223 yards, 4 TDs; 6 rushes, 18 yards; 11 punt returns, 113 yards; 5 kickoff returns, 184 yards, 1 TD.
Heisman-o-meter: The Tigers' explosive, score-from-anywhere threat could be the most exciting player in college football, and he joins the list after a three-touchdown game. On all three scores, it could be argued that Maclin was more impressive than Daniel. The 80-yard catch-and-run was all Maclin. On the second touchdown, a 14-yarder, Daniel put the ball in a place where only Maclin could get it, but it took sublime athletic ability to bring it down. On the last score, from 49 yards, Maclin ran right by single coverage, making it easy on Daniel to throw the pass up there and let Maclin run under it. Daniel is without question the more valuable of the two Tigers because of the position he plays. But who's better at what he does, Daniel or Maclin? I'd love to hear what Tigers followers think.
Up next: Saturday vs. Buffalo.

6. Max Hall, BYU, QB, Jr.

Last week: 27-of-35 passing, 271 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 3 rushes, 12 yards in a 59-0 victory over UCLA.
Season: 91-of-117 passing, 1,095 yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs; 6 rushes, 16 yards, 1 TD.
Heisman-o-meter: Hall and his funky, Philip Rivers-like throwing motion join the contenders after a seven-touchdown day against the Bruins. He and the Cougars' offense may have been the beneficiaries of some great field position, but he also accomplished what he did in a little more than two quarters of play. If Colt Brennan, with his highly inflated stats, can reach the Heisman ceremony by beating a bunch of nobodies, Hall can definitely be in the Heisman conversation in early December.
Up next: Saturday vs. Wyoming.

7. Javon Ringer, Michigan State, RB, Sr.

Last week: 43 rushes, 282 yards, 2 TDs; 1 reception, 12 yards; 1 kickoff return, 14 yards in a 17-0 victory over Florida Atlantic.
Season: 104 rushes, 498 yards, 9 TDs; 3 receptions, 37 yards; 8 kickoff returns, 178 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: Another player who has flirted with this list in the past, Ringer finally makes it after a workhorse effort in the steady rain. He grinded for most of his yards but bounced four or five carries to the outside for some big runs. He also had a 51-yard touchdown catch on a screen play negated because of penalty. But what was his most impressive stat of the game? While everyone else had ball-handling issues, Ringer didn't fumble once in 45 touches.
Up next: Saturday vs. Notre Dame.

8. Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech, WR, Soph.

Last week: 8 receptions, 164 yards, 3 TDs; 1 rush, 3 yards in a 43-7 victory over SMU.
Season: 24 receptions, 395 yards, 5 TDs; 1 rush, 3 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: After beating the Mustangs, Red Raiders coach Mike Leach ripped the play of quarterback Graham Harrell (31-of-48, 418 yards, 5 TDs), and the Tech receivers, including Crabtree, for dropping balls and getting too easily bumped off their routes. (Crabtree dropped a touchdown at the end of the second quarter.) Imagine the possibilities if they get those issues corrected.
Up next: Saturday vs. UMass.

9. P.J. Hill, Wisconsin, RB, Jr.

Last week: 26 rushes, 112 yards in a 13-10 victory at Fresno State.
Season: 70 rushes, 379 yards, 4 TDs.
Heisman-o-meter: First on the list, then off, Hill returns to the Watch after a lot of tough yards against the Bulldogs. He was a beast between the tackles (except for a fourth-down stop on the Fresno State 1-yard line), and when the game was on the line it was Hill and not his heralded backups, John Clay and Zach Brown, toting the pigskin. (Clay and Brown had three carries each.) The Badgers' M.O. in moving the ball is pretty straightforward, which makes Hill's work even more impressive.
Up next: Sept. 27 vs. Michigan.

10. Matt Grothe, South Florida, QB, Jr.

Last week: 32-of-45 passing, 338 yards, 2 TDs; 11 rushes, 30 yards, 1 TD in a 37-34 victory over No. 13 Kansas.
Season: 61-of-93 passing, 780 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs; 35 rushes, 103 yards, 1 TD.
Heisman-o-meter: After leading the Bulls to a victory over a ranked team in the week's best game, Grothe replaces another dual-threat quarterback from the Big East, Pat White, in the No. 10 spot, just ahead of USC's Joe McKnight and Georgia's Moreno. Grothe has always had the ability to make plays with his feet, but this season he has become more efficient as a passer (entering the year he had thrown 29 career touchdowns against 28 interceptions) and, against Kansas, avoided the costly pick, something his counterpart and fellow Heisman candidate, Todd Reesing, couldn't do.
Up next: Saturday at Florida International.

 
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