Heisman Watch: Flip a coin


Heisman Watch: Flip a coin

Out of 120 FBS teams (formerly known as Division 1-A) only 44 will be in action this week. The remaining 76 are either waiting to see what Bowl they will be playing in, or preparing for next season already.

Three of our top five Heisman candidates are "in the clubhouse" and have submitted their resumes. There are no more games left to improve, or hurt, their Heisman stock.

Rank Player, Position, School Recent Game Stats Season Stats Next Game 1a Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 27 rush, 203 yards, rec. TD in 42-14 win over No. 24 Auburn 263 rush, 1583 yards (6.0 YPC), 20 TD, 327 rec. yards, 3 rec. TD Bowl Game 1b Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford 20-30, 233 yards, 4 TD, INT in 28-14 win over No. 22 Notre Dame 261-373 (70), 3170 yards, 35 TD, 9 INT, 2 rush TD Bowl Game 3 Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor 7-11, 106 yards, TD, 62 rush yards, 2 rush TD in 66-42 win over Texas Tech (didn't play in 2nd half) 252-347 (73), 3678 yards, 34 TD, 5 INT, 612 rush yards, 7 rush TD No. 22 Texas 4 Matt Barkley, QB, USC 35-42, 423 yards, 6 TD in 50-0 win over UCLA 306-446 (69), 3528 yards 39 TD, 7 INT, 2 rush TD Season Over 5 Case Keenum, QB, Houston 33-46, 457 yards, 5 TD in 48-16 win at Tulsa 342-467 (73), 4726 yards, 43 TD, 3 INT, 3 rush TD No. 24 Southen Mississippi
On the bubble: Montee BallRBWisconsin, Kellen MooreQBBoise State


1a) Trent Richardson: There is no doubt that Trent Richardson is the best running back in college football. Although Wisconsin's Montee Ball has more rushing yards and 11 more total touchdowns, the Heisman Trophy isn't awarded to the player with the best stats. Richardson rushed for a career-high 203 yards against Auburn on Saturday, a mark that may have won him the trophy (regardless of the fact Auburn entered the game with the 99th worst rushing defense).

1b) Andrew Luck: In the week leading up to Stanford's meeting with Notre Dame, media outlets everywhere were saying, "Andrew Luck needs a monster performance vs. the Irish to cement himself at the top of the Heisman list." Well, 233 yards and four touchdowns later, and it still doesn't seem as if Luck has done enough to win. At this point, I have him in a virtual tie with Richardson. Check back next week to see the final verdict.

3) Robert Griffin III: It's too bad that Griffin suffered a concussion late in the second quarter, because prior to the injury, he was having himself quite the game vs. the Red Raiders (Griffin left the game for one play, came back in and rushed for a 3-yard TD with 1:36 to play in the first half, and the Baylor medical staff had to take away Griffin's helmet at halftime to keep him off the field in the second half). The only way Griffin isn't invited to New York is if he has an awful performance against No. 22 Texas this weekend, to the tune of three or four interceptions -- don't count on it.

4) Matt Barkley: Despite the fact that Barkley threw for more yards and touchdowns than Andrew Luck, and threw less interceptions than Stanford's signal-caller, it was Luck who took home the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year honors on Monday. It will also be Luck who finishes ahead of Barkley in the Heisman voting, and will most likely be selected ahead of Barkley in the 2012 NFL Draft -- if Barkley elects to forego his senior year of eligibility (It's scary to think about it, but both Barkley and Luck could come back to college for another year in 2012). However, if Luck doesn't win the Heisman, it may be because of Barkley stealing away some votes from No. 12. These two will forever be linked because of the 2011 season.

5) Case Keenum: His year has been one for the record books, and the Cougars are sixty minutes away from a BCS appearance, and Keenum is sixty minutes away from receiving an invite to New York. Houston dismantled Tulsa on the road last Saturday, 48-16, and for those who don't believe in the Cougars, let's look at how other top-ranked teams fared against Tulsa...
- Oklahoma 47, Tulsa 14 -- Week 1
- Oklahoma State 59, Tulsa 33 -- Week 3
- Boise State 41, Tulsa 21 -- Week 4
Houston is legit and so is Case Keenum. However, a loss to No. 24 Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA title game and Houston's BCS dreams are dashed, and Kellen Moore will most likely replace Keenum in New York.

Check back next Monday for the final installment of Heisman Watch, before the winner is announced Saturday, December 10.

Drew Shiller is a Web Producer at CSNBayArea.com. You can follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Cal’s Sonny Dykes: Quick turnaround ‘not ideal’ for Bears


Cal’s Sonny Dykes: Quick turnaround ‘not ideal’ for Bears

BERKELEY  — Two days before California plays its second game in less than a week against a well-rested USC team, coach Sonny Dykes was still trying to figure out why the Golden Bears were put in this position.

The quick turnaround and short week following Friday's double-overtime win against Oregon forced Cal to condense its normal schedule, something that wouldn't bother Dykes so much if there weren't so many other factors involved.

The Bears already had to trim a day off their regular routine because Thursday night's game is on the road. On top of that, several Cal players are in the middle of midterm exams, reducing their availability for practice even more.

It's a topic that Dykes has been simmering over for a few weeks now and one he wasn't ready to back off of Tuesday.

"When you sit down and look at the schedule, clearly it's not ideal," Dykes said "It's one of those deals where you just go, 'How in the world did this ever happen? How could somebody let this happen?'"

Cal (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12) was coming off a 12-day break when it beat Oregon in Berkeley on Friday night in a game that lasted nearly 4 ½ hours and didn't end until almost midnight local time. The Bears ran 118 plays offensively against the Ducks, which Dykes said was the equivalent of playing two games.

On the other hand, USC (4-3, 3-2) hasn't played since thumping Arizona 48-14 on Oct. 15.

While some team would have had to play the Trojans coming off a bye, Dykes can't understand why the Bears were selected to do it on short rest — and on the road.

"We've had to make a lot of schedule changes and do a lot of different things out of the norm," Dykes said. "It's one thing to do it on six days' notice. It's another to do it on the road. But our guys have handled it well."

The Bears shortened their work week to try to get everything in.

Players were given Saturday off but were back on the field Sunday afternoon. Cal practiced on its normal day off, Monday, but several players were unable to attend due to academic responsibilities.

"The challenge you always face is making sure that you balance keeping them fresh with getting enough reps and developing your young players," Dykes said. "Just teaching them all the things you need to teach them about your opponent in a limited amount of time. We've got to balance getting some work done but at the same time making sure we're fresh."

Cal's players don't seem bothered by the quick turnaround.

Defensive back Cameron Walker and left tackle Aaron Cochran said the short week means more emphasis on studying USC and doing extra film work.

Quarterback Davis Webb, on the other hand, doesn't think it will be much of an issue at all.

"It's a challenge but I think it's a mindset at the same time," Webb said. "We understand that's how the schedule rolled for us this year and there are no excuses. We have to play a tough team on Thursday night and we look forward to the challenge. If you don't know the game plan and what they're going to do by Thursday then you're in trouble."

Chryst to make his first career start for Stanford


Chryst to make his first career start for Stanford

STANFORD  — Stanford junior Keller Chryst will make his first collegiate start at quarterback at Arizona on Saturday, coach David Shaw said Tuesday.

He'll replace senior Ryan Burns, who went 4-3 (2-3 Pac-12) in his seven starts. Burns completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 1,058 yards and five touchdowns. He's also thrown seven interceptions.

"I hate to get to this point," Shaw said. "But it's the best thing for this offense. We need more production at that position. It's our challenge to support Keller."

Burns led the Cardinal to wins over Kansas State, Southern California and UCLA to open the season but has struggled ever since, averaging 11 points in Stanford's last four games, punctuated by Saturday's 10-5 loss to Colorado.

"It can't just be about the quarterback," Shaw said. "We need to help Keller be more effective. We need to be able to score points with this personnel."

Chryst, the son of former 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, has appeared in 10 games over the past two years, throwing for 122 yards on 12-of-27 passing. He's thrown for one touchdown and one interception.

"I've been working with both all year and they're both great people," Cardinal receiver Trent Irwin said. "Sometimes you just need a change. We'll see where it goes and have fun with it."

Stanford ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.0) and total offense (299.1). The offense has scored just 10 touchdowns all year, fewer than Washington's John Ross and Arizona State's Kalen Ballage, the conference co-leaders with 11 touchdowns.

"Both quarterbacks are good," Stanford safety Zach Hoffpauir said. "Maybe it does stimulate the offense a little bit."

NOTES: CB Elijah Holder will miss the rest of the season due to an unspecified injury. ... OL David Bright and Johnny Caspers are questionable. ... FB Daniel Marx is out