Heisman Watch: Fresh face


Heisman Watch: Fresh face

Rank PlayerPositionSchool Recent Game Stats Next game Comment 1 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford 26-33, 370 yards, 3 TD, INT in 48-7 win over Colorado At Washington State His INT was from a dropped pass that found a Buffalo, and could have had 5 TDs had receivers not been stopped at 1-yard line twice. 2 Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 19 rush, 107 yards, TD in 34-0 win over Vanderbilt At Ole Miss Didn't put up sexy numbers against the Commodores, but his body of work thus far can't be ignored. He's the most NFL ready RB in country 3 Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin Idle Indiana Spent the past week getting some serioius face time on various sports talk shows because he has made Wisconsin national title worthy 4 Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma 31-50, 367 yards, 3 TD in 55-10 win over 11 Texas at Kansas Breakout game on national TV against ranked team (if you consider Texas worthy of being ranked). He's salivating with the Jayhawks up next. 5 Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor 22-30, 212 yards, TD, 24 rush, 107 rush yards, rush TD in 49-26 win over Iowa State At 21 Texas A&M Iowa State dared him to show his running abilities and he made them pay. He won't win the award, but he should be the second QB taken in 2012 Draft. 6 Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State 24-28, 288 yards, 5 TD in 70-28 win over Kansas At 22 Texas Only played one half and still had those numbers! Did you know he was a 2nd round pick of the NY Yankees in '02, and turns 28 years old this week? 7 Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State 23-31, 254 yards, 3 TD in 57-7 win at Fresno State At Colorado State I had him tied with Luck two weeks ago, but I just don't see him winning it because of how weak the Broncos' schedule is. It's going to take a miracle. 8 Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan 17-26, 337 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 25 rush, 117 yards, 2 TD in 42-24 win at Northwestern At 23 Michigan State Over his last five games, he's amassed 1,706 yards and 18 TD but with 9 INT. Check back next week after he plays at the rival Spartans. 9 LaMichael James, RB, Oregon 30 rush, 239 yards, TD in 43-15 win over Cal 18 Arizona State His third straight 200 yard game, but did you see his gruesome elbow injury? Let's hope he is ready to play in the Ducks' showdown with the Sun Devils. 10 Case Keenum, QB, Houston 30-37, 304 yards, 3 TD in 56-3 win over East Carolina Idle, then Marshall The 6th-year senior moved into 2nd place on the NCAA all-time passing yards list, and is third on the all-time touchdown passes list. The Cougars are also ranked.

A look at the hot corner: As Arroyo is shut down, Sandoval's numbers nosedive


A look at the hot corner: As Arroyo is shut down, Sandoval's numbers nosedive

SAN FRANCISCO — There is a Houston Astros prospect named Dean Deetz, and in a way, Pablo Sandoval can thank him for his second shot with the Giants. 

Deetz drilled Christian Arroyo on July 1, halting the young third baseman’s bid to return to the Giants for the final two months. With Eduardo Nuñez traded to Boston and Arroyo recovering from minor hand surgery, the Giants turned to Sandoval, who has been a fixture in the middle of their lineup the last couple of weeks. Arroyo hoped to get some time at the hot corner in September, but on Thursday the Giants conceded that won’t happen. 

Arroyo will miss the rest of the regular season, team officials said. The hope is that he can get healthy in time for the Arizona Fall League and then potentially make up lost at-bats in a winter league.

Arroyo is either the organization’s best or second-best hitting prospect, depending on which list you look at. He hit .396 in Triple-A this season and then provided a momentary jolt after he forced his way into the big league lineup. Then the slump came, and overall Arroyo hit just .192 in 34 big league games. He was sent back to the minors and promptly was hit by a couple of pitches. 

It was a season with plenty of highs but a disappointing ending, but Arroyo is still just 22 and looks to be a big part of the future. Has he done enough to go into next spring with a firm grip on a job? 

“I’ll have to answer that later on and see where we’re at,” manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday. “It’s all going to be competitive, that’s the way I look at it. You look at where we’ll finish, and not in the postseason, and you have to stay open-minded on everything.”

This could be setting up for a pretty intriguing spring battle. Arroyo and 23-year-old Ryder Jones were the internal candidates set for a competition, but Sandoval likely will be the everyday third baseman down the stretch. He has shown flashes of his old pre-Boston self and the Giants have been generally pleased with his play. Still, the results aren’t really there. 

Sandoval is hitting .200 since returning, with a .220 on-base percentage and .325 slugging percentage. That's good for a .545 OPS, which is nearly 100 points below his OPS in Boston this season. The Red Sox, at some point, had seen enough.  

Bochy said he has taken positives away from Sandoval's energy and some of his bigger moments, particularly the upper-deck homer he hit off Max Scherzer over the weekend. That’s his only homer with the Giants so far, but it made an impression. 

“He’s got the bat speed,” Bochy said. “That’s one of the longest homers we’ve seen this year. That shows (the bat speed) is there.”

Jones has been a fixture as well, playing first base in place of Brandon Belt. He has looked much better the second time around, but his average is still below .200 and his OPS of .559 is just about equal to Sandoval's. The Giants have not seen enough from anyone to have a favorite to play third base next season, and Bochy said the same holds true at other positions. 

"We've got to stay open-minded about who is going to be where next year (and) playing time," he said. "It's up to us to adjust and get better."

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL


Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.