Heisman Watch: Make room for Tajh Boyd

540386.jpg

Heisman Watch: Make room for Tajh Boyd

Week 8 of the college football season dramatically altered both the BCS standings and the race for the Heisman Trophy.

The No. 6 ranked Wisconsin Badgers blew a 14-0 lead, came back from a 31-17 4th quarter deficit to tie it at 31, only to lose on an improbable Hail Mary as time expired.

The loss not only dropped Wisconsin to No. 15 in the BCS, but Russell Wilson's Heisman bid is practically a thing of the past.

The biggest shock of the weekend, however, was unquestionably Texas Tech's upset victory on the road at No. 3 Oklahoma. Landry Jones had a monster game (30-55, 412 yards, 5 TD, INT) but when you're team loses, you feel the effects in the Heisman Watch.

Fortunately for the Sooners, they only dropped to No. 9 in the BCS and still have three ranked opponents on the schedule to make up ground.

Does it make sense that Wisconsin fell nine spots after losing on a Hail Mary on the road against the No. 16 team, and Oklahoma only dropped six spots after losing to an unranked team at home? Of course not, but that's the world of the BCS.

The Heisman is also an imperfect science but it doesn't mean we don't try to get it right. Without further ado...

Rank Player, Position, School Recent Game Stats Season Stats Next Game 1 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford 16-21, 169 yards, 2 TD in 65-21 win over 25 Washington 145-202 (72), 1888 yards, 20 TD, 3 INT, rush TD At USC (No. 20 AP Poll) 2 Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 17 rush, 77 yards, 2 TD in 37-6 win over Tennessee 149 rush, 989 yards (6.6 YPC), 17 TD, 212 rec. yards, rec. TD Bye, No. 1 LSU 3 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson 27-46, 367 yards, 5 TD, rush TD in 59-38 win over North Carolina 172-278 (62), 2379 yards, 24 TD, 3 INT, 165 rush yards, 4 rush TD At Georgia Tech 4 Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State 23-29, 281 yards, 3 TD, INT in 37-26 win over Air Force 174-228 (76), 2010 yards, 24 TD, 5 INT Bye, At UNLV 5 Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State 33-49, 338 yards, 3 TD, INT in 45-24 win at Missouri 222-309 (72), 2436 yards, 19 TD, 7 INT Baylor
On the bubble: Robert Griffin IIIQBBaylor, Landry JonesQBOklahoma, Case KeenumQBHouston, Russell WilsonQBWisconsin

Analysis:

1) Andrew Luck: How was he supposed to put up big numbers when the Cardinal rushed for a school single-game record 446 yards? That surely won't be the case when Stanford travels to USC this weekend, as the Cardinal will need Luck's arm to get by the Trojans. But don't let anybody fool you, Stanford's season, and Luck's Heisman candidacy rides on the showdown November 12 with Oregon.

2) Trent Richardson: Had he not scored two touchdowns he probably would have slipped a spot in the rankings after registering just 77 yards rushing against Tennessee. Nonetheless, Richardson has a chance to steal in the show (and possibly the Heisman) when the Crimson Tide host No. 1 LSU on November 5 in the undisputed Game of the Year.

3) Tajh Boyd: Before the season, or before this week, or before one minute ago when you starting reading this blog, did you know who Tajh Boyd was? The redshirt sophomore has put himself, and No. 5 Clemson on the map and has the Tigers dreaming of a BCS tile game appearance (it's not a dream anymore, it's a reality). WARNING: Don't look past Georgia Tech this week -- yes, the Yellow Jackets have lost two in a row and have gone from No. 12 in the AP Poll to unranked, but they would like nothing more than to ruin your perfect season and then hope to meet you again in the ACC Championship Game. Consider yourself warned...
4) Kellen Moore: He had a solid game against Air Force but the Broncos shouldn't have struggled like they did against the Falcons. I said last week that Kellen Moore has smallest margin of error if he wants to remain in the Heisman hunt, and the same goes for Boise State's BCS quest. In reality, Boise has .00000009 chance of making the BCS National Championship Game but will surely earn a spot in a BCS game if they simply win out. Let's use this analogy for Moore's Heisman bid: He doesn't have a great shot at winning it (BCS Title Game) but if Boise wins out, he will be invited to New York (a BCS game).

5) Brandon Weeden: His 19 touchdowns to 7 interceptions doesn't scream "Heisman" but he is completing 72 of his passes and has thrown for 2436 yards for the No. 3 ranked team in the land. With a daunting schedule ahead (Baylor, No. 8 Kansas State, at No. 20 Texas Tech, at Iowa State, No. 9 Oklahoma) it's simple: If the Cowboys win out, they will be facing either LSU or Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, and Brandon Weeden will be in New York for the Heisman presentation.

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

SAN FRANCISCO — At this point Bruce Bochy has had plenty of experience working young infielders into his everyday lineup, so he knew exactly which move to turn to when Christian Arroyo dropped into a wicked slump.

With Arroyo hitless in his last 21 at-bats, Bochy sat him Saturday night against the Braves. His plans could always change, of course, but Bochy said he planned to sit Arroyo at least one more game. It’s a move he used most notably in 2013 to help Brandon Belt get back on track.

Belt was in a 1-for-19 rut when Bochy kept him out of the starting lineup for an entire series in Philadelphia. He had just one pinch-hit appearance, but he returned for the opener of the next series in Tampa Bay, notching three hits and a homer. Belt batted .346 the rest of the way.

Asked about that experience and Arroyo's current one, Belt at first made a different point.

“Arroyo has actually been really good for us,” he said. “That road trip we just had, we faced a lot of really good pitchers. There’s nothing for him to hang his head about.”

Belt has actually had several “clear your head” breaks over the years.

“It allows you to reset a little, and with the pressure, you can release that a little bit,” he said. “For me (in 2013) it forced me to make (mechanical) changes and when you have time off you see everything more clearly. You can make changes or go back to something that was working for you before. He shouldn’t look at this as a timeout. It doesn’t need to be a bad thing. You can make adjustments and it can be a good thing.”

Bochy originally planned to rest Arroyo on Thursday in Chicago, but Eduardo Nuñez’s hamstring needed a day. Arroyo started at second Friday against a lefty but got the full night off Saturday. With Conor Gillaspie sidelined for several more days by a tight back and Hunter Pence out the rest of the homestand, there's time for the Giants to contemplate what they want to do going forward.

“We’ll get this sorted out,” Bochy said. “We’ve (worked) him pretty hard. This is to give him a chance to catch his breath, get his mind right, and work on some things.”

A's lineup: Alonso returns, batting fifth vs Yankees

A's lineup: Alonso returns, batting fifth vs Yankees

The A's get a big back back in the lineup Sunday in New York as they look to win a series against the Yankees.

Oakland A's (22-26)

1. Mark Canha (R) CF
2. Stephen Vogt (L) DH
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Josh Phegley (R) C
8. Matt Joyce (L) RF
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Andrew Triggs -- RHP

New York Yankees (28-18)

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Gary Sanchez (R) C
3. Matt Holliday (R) DH
4. Starlin Castro (R) 2B
5. Aaron Judge (R) RF
6. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
7. Aaron Hicks (S) CF
8. Chris Carter (R) 1B
9. Ronald Torreyes (R) 3B
Michael Pineda -- RHP