Shakeups in the BCS have turned the Watch List on its head
The Heisman Trophy Watch List has been turned upside down, very much in the same manner Baylor literally turned Collin Klein on his head.
Kansas State's quarterback had put up huge numbers both running and passing the football en route to leading his Wildcats to a perfect record. A national title was set squarely in the 'Cats' sights.
That is, of course, all over now following an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Bears, as are the undefeated hopes of Oregon, who had been No. 2 before they fell to Stanford in overtime on Saturday night.
It is not much, but Klein and Ducks running back Kenjon Barner are still on the List; again, it is not the BCS National Championship, but at least try to enjoy this small consolation, alright?
As for the rest of the nation's ballers, enjoy.
Disappeared: De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
Thomas is in all likelihood the nation's purest, most athletically gifted football player, simple as that.
However, his Heisman hopes all season long have been buoyed by that fact, as opposed to stellar numbers, and now that his Ducks have been beaten - Thomas was yet again a minor player in the team's offensive scheme - the lack of numbers are simply weighing too heavily on Thomas' Trophy hopes.
After rushing for a mere 13 yards against Cal, but posting his first 100-yard receiving game of the season, Thomas ran for 43 yards on only seven carries and caught three passes for a measly three yards against the Cardinal.
The biggest names play their best in the nation's biggest games, and Thomas has not done so at all this season.
Slipping: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Lee's status amongst the nation's elite is not at all what is coming into question here. Rather his team's ability to play at an elite level as a unit is.
It is already extremely difficult for a player who doesn't line up at quarterback or running back to earn the invite to the Trophy presentation, and if that player's team continues to lose games, his case becomes all the more difficult to make.
Even for someone who has piled up at least 150 receiving yards in four straight games and has gone over the century mark in eight of 11 games on the season.
There is no question this true sophomore can ball, but the Trophy generally goes to the best player on the nation's best team, not the best player on the nation's most underachieving one.
Blame coach Lane Kiffin, not us, we're just the messengers.
Making a push: EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
All EJ Manuel has done is dismantle the entire ACC since brain-farting and losing to NC State, 17-16. Again, everything is back up in the air with the losses of both Oregon and Kansas State.
If Manuel can be the quarterback to keep his team at a mere one loss, as opposed to blinking and missing his chance against Florida or in the ACC Championship game, his 2,785 passing yards and 21 touchdowns might be enough to push him to the Trophy presentation.
If that does indeed happen, there will be some rowdy Seminole Chopping in the Big Apple.
Making a push: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Talk about playing big in the nation's biggest games.
One of the most talked-about games on Saturday was easily the biggest game in the nation's second-largest city when USC traveled across Los Angeles to take on intra-city rival UCLA.
The Bruins stomped on the big brother Trojans after Franklin stomped all over the USC defensive front seven. UCLA's all-time leading rusher is due for some praise outside of his campus and city, especially after amassing 171 yards and two scores on 29 carries.
If the Bruins can stay hot and win the Pac-12, Franklin may just earn some recognition across the country, in the nation's largest city, the Big Apple.
Making a push: Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
It is time to give the leader of 10-1 Northern Illinois, and the Mid-American Conference in general, some real love.
Not only has Lynch tossed for a studly 2,582 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air, but he currently ranks third in the entire nation with 1,504 rushing yards.
MAC teams have been making big moves all year, and it might just be time to move the face of the conference this season in the bright lights of NYC.
Huge numbers in the conference championship game and whatever bowl game the Huskies earn an invite to (BCS at-large big anyone?) could give this small-time school a big-time Trophy, even if your friends still have not heard of him.
Making a (massive) push: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
The Clemson Tigers have been called 'The Oregon of the South', and their leader and signal-caller is a very large reason why.
Both Oregon and Clemson are both sitting pretty now at 10-1 overall, but Clemson has been on the uptick, thanks to Boyd, who has already matched his career high in touchdowns, having thrown 33 on the season. Don't just assume that this dude is chucking around deep balls willy-nilly, however, as he is currently ranked second in the nation in quarterback rating, with a 172.7 mark.
More to the point, Boyd became the first player in ACC history to account for a whopping eight touchdowns in one game, throwing for five and rushing for three more in the Tigers' 62-48 win over NC State. The Wolfpack is the only team to have beaten Clemson's biggest rival for top-dawg honors in the conference in Florida State.
If Boyd continues to pile up video game-esque numbers - while not losing another game this season - he might just push himself past the likes of Collin Klein. That is how big Saturday's game was for him.
Making a (massive) push: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Now that the playing field for quarterbacks has been leveled (read: everyone and their mother has one loss now) the nation's leader in quarterback rating deserves a fair mention in the conversation for the nation's most prestigious award.
In 2012, Murray has 2,986 yards and 28 scores, but what is most important is when he has gotten hot and where his play has gotten his team.
After dealing with underachieving squads for a generation, folks in Athens are on pins and needles as their Bulldogs head to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game for the second straight season.
Why is that so exciting? Because, again, now that everyone except Notre Dame has one loss, a win will almost guarantee a spot in the BCS National Championship game, and such an appearance might just be enough to push Murray to New York.
(Maybe) Heading to NYC? Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State Wildcats
Klein has been the nation's Heisman darling for over a month, and yes, he put up decent numbers, but unlike a few other super-studs on the Watch List, Klein failed to collect the type of signature win that puts the Trophy in a player's hands.
After throwing 28 passes in the Wildcats' Week 1 win over Missouri State, Klein had not surpassed that number until throwing 50 against Baylor. Obviously, he and his teammates were trying to score quickly, which also explains his season-low 39 rushing yards.
When push comes to shove, however, his rushing total doesn't matter; his passing attempts do not matter. All that does is the number '3' - as in, three interceptions in the loss, compared to three all season before Saturday's devastation.
Had Klein been better able to protect the football, he may just have been able to better preserve his team's perfect record.
(Maybe) Heading to NYC? Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Oregon's barn-burner leapt into the Heisman conversation on the strength of a 321 yard, five touchdown performance against heated Pac-12 rival USC.
However, since that spotlight weekend, Barner has shied away from the limelight.
At Cal, Barner was a non-factor, rushing for 65 yards on 20 carries, but it had seemed a mere blip on the radar as the Ducks blew away the Golden Bears, 59-17.
However, with ESPN's College GameDay in town and, more importantly, Stanford's stout defense trotting onto the field in Eugene, Barner once again failed to show up.
Nearly identical numbers to the Cal game, 21 rushes for 66 yards, did not result in an identical result, as the Ducks got out-quacked in overtime, 17-14.
Barner is no longer in the nation's top five in rushing yards. It is going to take a big push from Barner to assure a spot under the bright lights of Broadway.
Heading to NYC? Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Miller did not post a great game by his personal standards, but he did do just enough to win and preserve the Buckeyes' perfect 11-0 record. That is, of course, more than Klein or Barner can say for themselves.
Miller only finished with 97 passing yards, a season low, and 48 rushing yards, one yard above a season low in that category as well. The Wisconsin Badgers' oft-maligned defense proved very much up to the task, but in the end, it was this sophomore Buckeye who was laughing all the way to yet another win.
At this point, it is looking like he will be laughing all the way to New York City as well.
Heading to NYC? Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Te'o only recorded six tackles on Saturday, but he was not exactly needed in the Irish's 38-0 win over Wake Forest.
The win completed Notre Dame's perfect run at home, a first for the program in 14 years.
Te'o is still tied for second in the nation with six interceptions, Notre Dame record for linebackers and an overall barometer for "awesomeness."
The heart and soul of one of the nation's strongest defenses has Notre Dame on track to take on the mantle of the nation's No. 1-ranked team. If the Domers can keep it up and earn that prestigious invite to Miami for the BCS National Championship game, Te'o can expect a prestigious invite to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
Leader: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies
We here at Gamedayr no longer care how old folks are as long as they are dominating in every facet of the game.
A&M's Johnny Football has done exactly that, and he has the signature win Heisman voters drool over like a St. Bernard on a hot day.
Bizarre metaphor? Agreed, but there is nothing bizarre about giving this redshirt freshman the Trophy. Especially not after becoming the fifth player and first freshman in the history of college football to pass for more than 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 in the same season.
Have yourself a year, Mr. Manziel.