Heisman Trophy Watch 2010: Welcome Back, LaMichael James

EUGENE OR - OCTOBER 2: Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks heads for the end zone on a 76-yard touchdown run the fourth quarter of the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium on October 2 2010 in Eugene Oregon. James had 257 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Ducks won the game 52-31. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Examining the 2010 Heisman Trophy race, ordering the potential candidates by threat level. This week: An actual running back reenters the conversation, but spread quarterbacks still hold sway.

RED

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
Resumes the top spot thanks to his first 300-yard passing game. Still on pace to throw well over 2500 this season. The Buckeyes' stiffest Big Ten competition is all still ahead of them, but their first conference game against a ranked team is Week 7's road trip to Camp Randall. Good at football Wisconsin may be, but good at defending the pass they most assuredly are not.

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

Your 2010 national rushing leader is an actual running back for the first time all season, thanks to James piling up 136 ground yards against Wazzu. Order is restored. The other two of the Pac-10's bottom-dwelling run defenses await in the Ducks' next three games, so tune in if you're fond of fireworks.

Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
Oh, you know. Just another day for Kellen Moore. 16/22 for 267 yards and three touchdowns against Toledo. Just a light workout. How was your weekend?

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
The conventional wisdom knock on Robinson (apart from his age, the time he almost wasn't even tabbed for the starting job, and the shoelace thing) was always the widely-accepted prediction that Michigan was in for a backbreaking 2010 season. How he'll react on the field following the Wolverines' first loss (and his first multi-interception game) will settle many Heisman voters' minds. Danger, young Robinson: Iowa's No. 4 defense won't be a picnic.

ORANGE

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

So much for that No.12 pass defense from Texas A&M. Arkansas' lumbering Ent of a gunslinger completed over 70% of his passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. At his current pace, Mallett will rack up just over 4,000 aerial yards in 2010. Next week's GIANT QUARTERBACKS DUEL vs. Cam Newton is going to be breathtaking in spectacle.

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
An angry Luck is great for viewing audiences; not so for hapless opposing defenses. Fresh off a nasty loss to Oregon, Luck completed 20 of 24 passes against USC for 285 yards and three scores. And then he went and did this:

Cam "Cameron" Newton, QB, Auburn

Newton's transition from crooked Gator punchline to legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate has been at times bewildering to watch. He kept the Tigers in a bizarrely close game with Kentucky all on his own, ringing up over 400 all-purpose yards and four rushing touchdowns.

YELLOW

Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada.
As we near the midpoint of the season, it's of course clear that the Angry Ostrich has no shot at the hardware barring several acts of an extremely vengeful god, but Nevada's increasing prominence in the polls should earn Kaepernick some extra attention. He recorded over 350 all-purpose yards in Week 6 against San Jose State.

Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
Watching Andy Dalton sail bombs into a scrambling secondary is as soothing as it is exhilarating. He attempted just 17 passes against Wyoming, completed 14 of them, and totaled up 270 yards with three touchdowns, plus four carries for 42 rushing yards. What was to be a statement game against BYU next week has been rescheduled for the following Saturday against Air Force. Look for Dalton's stock to rise or fall as two of the four ranked mid-major teams clash in primetime.

GREEN

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Lots of things went wrong for the Tide Saturday in Columbia, but defending Heisman winner Ingram and Trent Richardson being outstripped in their combined rushing efforts by a South Carolina freshman hovers near the top of that list. At this rate, Ingram may not even sniff a 1,000-yard season.

Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Time to bring this kid back into the conversation after his five-touchdown performance against K-State. 

BLUE

Jacory Harris, QB, Miami

An utterly dismal outing against Florida State has scuttled Harris' 2010 Heisman hopes for good. But watching him beat up on the Duke secondary in Week 7 should be great fun.

Matt Barkley, QB, USC
He lost, sure, but 390 passing yards is nothing to sneeze at.

Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
The rest of the SEC is quaking in their boat shoes at the thought of having to defend against this kid for at least two more years.

Stephen Garcia, QB, South Carolina
Threw for over 200 yards against that vaunted Alabama defense -- and also threw for a field goal!

HOVERING BEYOND OUR RADAR

Jake Locker, Jacquizz Rodgers, Patrick Peterson, DeMarco Murray, Trent Richardson, John Clay, Daniel Thomas,  Kendall Hunter, Christian Ponder.

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