After half a season of WAC this and Pac-10 that, the SEC thrusts forth a leading candidate for the 2010 Heisman Trophy. Would you have believed us in August if we told you who it was going to be?
Cam "Cameron" Newton, QB, Auburn
So much for LSU's ballyhooed defense. The visiting Tigers' ever-so-slightly squidgy early schedule betrayed them to Auburn's offensive war machine, and Newton's paltry pass completions (his longest covered 17 yards) didn't so much matter when he was running through the defensive line at will. Responsible for over 300 yards of offense and two of Auburn's touchdowns, Newton on top of the world and atop the standings in the 2010 Heisman Trophy race.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
There's nothing for Heisman voters not to love about this pure-passing junior except that he plays in the WAC. Moore has thrown 16 touchdown passes and one interception in 2010, and his projected aerial output of roughly 3100 yards would actually be a few hundred shy of his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Still very much in the thick of the expected invitees thanks to yet another triple-digit rushing performance against UCLA. His 123-yard total is his second-lowest of the season, but James' talent and suitability for the trophy cannot be argued.
Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
And so much for the much-touted showdown between TCU and Air Force. With the Horned Frogs' stout defense playing lights-out, Dalton passed for 185 yards and rushed for 93, a personal season high.
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
The presumed 2010 Heisman Trophy frontrunner had another unfortunate outing against Purdue, where the Buckeyes won 49-0 but Pryor threw two interceptions and failed to gain any positive rushing yardage. Minnesota in Week 9 should provide easier pickings (pun unfortunate but inevitable).
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
A week off should do wonders both to heal Robinson's sprained shoulder and to make Heisman voters forget about that nasty business with Iowa. We'll see how much he can make out of Penn State's 52nd-ranked rushing defense in Week 9.
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Not a great turn of events for Treebeard-The-Quarterback. After getting concussed up against Auburn, Mallett sustained a shoulder injury against Ole Miss, managing "only" 196 yards before heading to the locker room.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Slightly inauspicious outing for Luck this week, whose 190 yards mark his second-lowest output of the season against the absolute worst team in the Pac-10. Luck has nearly every advantage in terms of position, team and body type, but this needed to be a blowout on his part.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Off in Week 8, Barkley faces an uphill battle of keeping the Trojans in pace with Oregon's offense in Week 9.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
Another brave, even spectacular performance put on en route to a Big 12 shootout loss. Thomas rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another (67 yards, according to the stat sheet, which we can hardly believe ourselves).
John Clay, RB, Wisconsin
Clay was held to double digits for just the second time all season, but did manage 91 yards and two touchdowns against a nearly-seamless Iowa defense.
Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
Acquitted himself very well in a high-scoring loss to Nebraska. Who are we to think more changed -- the Blackshirts for allowing one running back to gash them for over 200 yards, or Hunter for doing it?
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Like his teammate, Blackmon carved up the allegedly-uncarvable Nebraska D for 157 receiving yards and two scores.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Ingram couldn't take advantage of a laughably shallow Tennessee defense Saturday night, accounting for just 88 yards on 14 carries.
Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Texas may have been a blip for the entire Nebraska team (to say nothing of Texas). Martinez is back to what passes for normal, but Week 8's output was dazzling even for him -- 323 yards passing, 112 rushing, and five touchdowns.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
Probably suffered the most of any candidate with a Week 8 bye that allows the ignominy of his performance at Hawaii to linger. Utah State and Idaho will serve well for rebound numbers.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
It's a bit late to add anyone to the Heisman conversation at this date, but 308 yards passing against the Oklahoma defense is something to be noted.
HOVERING BEYOND OUR RADAR
Jacquizz Rodgers, Jake Locker, DeMarco Murray, Marcus Lattimore, Jacory Harris, Patrick Peterson, Trent Richardson, Christian Ponder.