Even the littlest peeps want a piece
What was supposed to have been a straightforward weekend around the college football landscape got turned on its head with the fall of a giant.
The Seismic waves of the defeat of the Goliath that is Alabama resonated from coast to coast, from Southern Cal up to Oregon, across the Midwest in South Bend, and all the way down south to Georgia and of course back around to Texas.
The BCS picture has changed drastically, and so has the Heisman Trophy race.
No disrespect to Collin Klein, but there is a new king of the mountain in Week 12's rankings.
There are some big bodies up and down the List, but if Saturday proved anything, it is that even the littlest peeps want a piece of that Trophy.
Disappeared: AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
All season long, McCarron’s mention in the Heisman conversation was seen as more or less as a potential vote for the dominance of a team of a slow, inevitable march towards a second-straight national championship.
However, this is no longer the case, and with three undefeated teams now ahead of the Tide after Bama lost – at home – to Texas A&M.
You’ll be fed plenty of stats the rest of the way through this watchlist, but just take our word for it on this one: McCarron was seen primarily as the leader of the nation’s premier squad.
This is no longer the perception.
Just like the Tide’s national championship aspirations, McCarron’s chances at handling the Hardware are now slim-to-none.
Tumbling: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
If Johnny Manziel gets to be Johnny Football, can Teddy Bridgewater be Teddy Ballgame?
Not after his undefeated Cardinals squandered an unbelievable chance to run their record to 10-0 against a struggling Syracuse Orange team.
Brigewater put up spectacular numbers, completing 36-of-49 passes for 424 yards and three scores, but did he pull out the victory? Not even close, losing 45-26 to an Orange team that is now 5-5 overall.
Ted Williams, the original Teddy Ballgame, is not impressed.
Making a push: De’Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
Thomas is a threat to score in street clothes from the team bus. Better known as the Black Mamba, the true sophomore averages 7.9 yards every time he rushes the ball and 10.2 yards per reception.
On Saturday, Cal did a nice job shutting down the run game overall, but he and his quarterback, Marcus Mariota (more on him later) showed the Golden Bears that the Ducks’ passing game was pure gold as well. Thomas only rushed five times for 13 yards, but he caught eight passes for 101 more.
It was his first time going over 100 yards receiving this season, and it is the first time his team is ranked No. 1-overall in the AP Polls.
Coincidence? Well, here at Gamedayr we don’t believe in consequences.
Making a push: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Redshirt freshman Mariota stepped out from under the shadows of his two superstar playmaking running backs, Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas, in dominating Cal on Saturday.
After his 377 yard, six touchdown performance and the struggles of several others around the nation (mostly you, AJ McCarron), this redshirt freshman is now the nation’s leader in passing efficiency, with a 177.0 mark. Yes, that is higher than Collin Klein, Tajh Boyd, Johnny Manziel, everybody.
Not saying he’s going to get the invite to NYC, but just saying.
Making a push: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
After losing to Florida State earlier in the season, Boyd and his teammates have quietly taken care of business against six straight conference opponents to run the Tigers’ record to 9-1 overall.
A lot of the credit goes to Boyd, who has, like his team, a Heisman darling until the loss to the ‘Noles.
He is not a dual threat weapon like a few others, but he is mobile, able to keep plays alive while moving around the pocket. His 363 rushing yards can attest to that fact, but 2,941 yards throwing and 28 touchdown passes tell the real story.
Tajh Boyd is a true leader, passer and a winner. Will the numbers and the wins be enough to push him into the spotlight and under the bright lights of Broadway? A BCS Bowl berth certainly won’t hurt.
Making a push: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
If the SEC is the nation’s most intense defensive conference, that makes Jones the nation’s most intense defensive player.
It is not easy to earn the invite to the Big Apple as a defensive player. However, and we’re totally serious on this one, Jones’ dreads have made more tackles than most other defenders in the nation.
Alright, so that may not have been quite a serious statement, but 56 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks and five forced fumbles are serious numbers.
Making a push: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
In joining the SEC, most media experts claimed to be worried that the Aggies were not tough enough defensively to compete in the smash-mouth conference.
However, the transition has been made far easier the emergence of Moore, the nation’s sacks leader with 12.5 on the year.
The 6-foot-4, 250 pound junior has tallied at least one sack in every game against a blowout victory against a hapless Arkansas squad, including bring down Alabama’s signal caller behind what is supposed to be an NFL-ready offensive line.
Moore also leads the nation with 20.0 tackles for a loss.
Maybe Bama’s offensive linemen are NFL-ready – but it just looks like Moore is ready for NFL stardom.
Making a push: EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
Manuel and his squad broke the hearts of Seminole Nation when they blew a 16-0 halftime lead to lose to North Carolina State, letting all hopes of a run at a national championship go down the toilet in the process.
However, since that game all Manuel and Co. have done is shred opposing defenses, and the senior has put up the numbers to show for it.
In a Thursday night showcase game on the road at a desperate Virginia Tech, Manuel had one of his best games of the year, passing for 326 yards on 25-for-42 passing and three touchdowns in the 28-22 win.
It was not the 51, 33, and 48 points the ‘Noles had put up in the three weeks prior to Thursday, but the last-minute, game winning drive – again, on the road – was far more impressive than piling up points and yardage, actually.
Making a push: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Before USC’s drubbing a skidding Arizona State, coach Lane Kiffin wasn’t even sure if his star receiver was going to be able to play.
An allergic reaction has swelled Lee’s cheeks and puffed his eyes nearly shut 45 minutes prior to kickoff.
However, Lee not only took the field, but dominated once again in a pressure-relieving victory both for his face and the Trojans, who had not lost three straight games since the 2001 season.
Let’s get on over to the stats: Lee caught 10 passes for 161 yards and a score. He took six rushing attempts for 66 yards. He has now caught 10 or more passes in seven of the Trojans’ 10 games and has put up at least 100 yards seven times as well.
He has broken 200 combined yards three times, and 300 yards once.
He does not know what causes his allergic reactions, but an IV at halftime helped. A trip to New York will probably get him feeling pretty good as well.
Headed to NYC? Braxton Miller, QB Ohio State
Juniors and seniors no longer dominate the Heisman Trophy conversation like in years’ past.
That is because young gunners like Miller dominate the college football landscape like never before.
Miller has bested the 100-yard rushing plateau in six of the Buckeyes’ ten wins on the season. In order to stay undefeated, Miller once again single-handedly carried his squad, this time against a fairly hapless bunch of Illini, in passing for 226 yards and two scores and rushing 73 yards and a touchdown.
Miller has already blown away his numbers from when he was a really good true freshman. A trip to Madtown to take on a hot Wisconsin team, however, will test him and Ohio State’s undefeated record. If he can continue to pile up the numbers and the wins, even though his team will be denied a postseason berth, Miller will not be denied a trip to New York.
Headed to NYC? Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Barner actually posted his worst statistical game of the season, but seeing as the final score against Cal on Saturday was 59-17, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Barner the Barn Burner wasn’t needed as desperately as he was or will be.
Against more elite talent, such as when the Ducks took on USC on Nov. 3, Barner busted out for 321 yards and five touchdowns.
He is still fifth in the nation with 1,360 yards, only 106 yards behind the nation’s leader, Stefphon Jefferson of Nevada. The difference is, of course, Jefferson’s the dude on the Wolf Pack that can ball, whereas Barner is the third member of his squad to make this list of the nation’s elite.
Headed to NYC? Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
After struggling to keep its record pristine in taking down Pitt in triple overtime, Te’o and Co. left no doubt against another lowly opponent in Boston College.
Not only did the Fighting Irish hold the Eagles to under 10 points in the 21-6 victory, the Golden Domers’ 10th of the season, but Te’o record yet another interception, his sixth of the year.
He’s not a cornerback, nor is he a safety. However, his sixth pick is now good for second in the entire nation. If that’s not reason to get this Hawaiian monster into the Trophy conversation, at list it’s cause for some celebratory ukulele, right?
Headed to NYC? Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
The fact that Mr. Klein no longer sits atop the Heisman rankings is no negative comment on the game play of the heart and soul of the undefeated Wildcats.
K-State would not be anywhere near the AP No. 2-ranking and on track to reach the BCS National Championship if it wasn’t for the 12 passing scores and 19 rushing touchdowns.
However, the dude has not engineered a spectacular road win against the nation’s No. 1 team, and thus he cannot be No. 1 on this list.
New king of the mountain: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Johnny Football simply could not be denied the type of win that turns great players into legends.
With the college football world watching, Manziel led his Aggies to an upset win against No. 1 Alabama, and in the home of the enemy, no less.
After going 24-for-31 for 253 yards and two scores, adding 92 rush yards on 18 carries, the Aggies’ redshirt freshman simply can no longer be denied his rightful place atop the Heisman pantheon.
Latest from around Gamedayr >> Check out how the big games affected the AP Polls