The Kercheval Files: week eight Heisman power rankings


Oh, how things change.

College football is a game where you’re only as good as what you did the week before and perhaps no one had a better week seven than Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, whose Vince Young-esque performance helped the Tigers hang 65 on Arkansas. Initially, I didn’t even have Newton on my list (shows how much I know), but now it’s hard to imagine anyone’s Heisman rankings without him.

On the contrary, no one’s Heisman stock has taken a bigger hit than Michigan’s Denard Robinson. A front runner just weeks ago, a series of injuries and losses have hampered Robinson’s status. Ironically, it was the great play of backup QB Tate Forcier that’s hurt Robinson the most, showing that maybe, just maybe, ‘Shoelace’ isn’t as necessary to Michigan’s success as was previously thought.

Here’s how Newton and the rest of college football’s best stack up.

1) Cam Newton, QB Auburn (last week — #5)

Okay, I’m buying into the hype. Newton has been a beast through the first half of the season and leads his team in passing (obviously) an rushing. He provides tremendous value to his team and, for a first-year starter at the D1 level, has adapted to Gus Malzahn‘s offense tremendously.

Now that I’ve jumped on his bandwagon, all that remains is for Newton to completely tank this weekend against LSU.

2) LaMichael James, RB Oregon (last week — #1)

James has been a workhorse for Oregon’s rushing attack, totaling over 800 yards rushing and 10 total touchdowns. Had it not been for Newton’s ridiculous performance against Arkansas, James would probably still be No. 1. Oregon was idle this week, but James has another opportunity to rack up big numbers against UCLA, who has allowed over 180 rush yards per game.

3) Kellen Moore, QB Boise State (last week –#2)

It was another solid, yet quiet, week for Moore, who tallied another 200-plus-yard game through the air against  San Jose State. It’s not that Moore hasn’t been great, but with Boise State rarely playing on television and late at night, it’s impossible to see how good he is.

4) Andrew Luck, QB Stanford (last week — #4)

Like James, the Stanford QB had a bye week, but takes the field this weekend against Washington State. The Cougars are 118th in the country in points allowed at 40 ppg, so Luck should have a field day chucking the ball down the field.

5) Tim Tebow, QB Florida (last week — NR)

At 4-3, the Gators sure could use another promise from Tebow. By the way, didn’t Urban Meyer have another big, mobile quarterback at Florida who was supposed to be Tebow’s successor?

Just missed the cut, but keep your eye on ’em: Denard Robinson, QB Michigan, Randall Cobb, WR Kentucky, Matt Barkley, QB USC

Three days after concussion, Mallett returns to practice


On Sunday, head coach Bobby Petrino was hoping Ryan Mallett would be able to return to practice Tuesday.

Today, that hope turned into a nice little reality for Arkansas.

Declaring himself 100 percent, the Razorbacks quarterback was indeed on the field for practice Tuesday, three days after suffering a first-half concussion against Auburn.

Not only did the junior say that he expects to play Saturday against Ole Miss, but he also attempted to shoot down speculation that he injured his shoulder on the same play he was concussed.

“My left shoulder is not bad,” Mallett said according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “I hit my head pretty good off the ground. That’s what happened. There can be all this speculation, whatever. It happens here and it’s always going to be like that.”

Video: Dantonio wants Spartans to maintain perspective

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Thus far this season, it’s been a magical ride for the Michigan State Spartans — well, except for that whole head coach-having-a-heart-attack thing.

The Spartans sit at 7-0, the first time since 1966 they’ve hit that mark.  They are ranked No. 8 in the USA Today and Associated Press polls, but, more importantly, they were No. 7 in the initial BcS rankings.

Coach Mark Dantonio, however, is hoping his players don’t get ahead of themselves and spoil what could be the first BcS bowl bid in the school’s history.


FSU's Ponder still nursing an elbow injury

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If Florida State had a game this weekend, there’s a fairly decent chance that their starting quarterback would be unavailable.  Fortunately for the surging Seminoles, they have a most fortuitous bye week scheduled.

Christian Ponder suffered an injury to the bursa sac in his right (throwing) elbow during the first half of FSU’s close-call win over Boston College.  He visited a specialist on Monday, and was deemed to have not suffered any more extensive damage to the elbow than what was already known.

For the time being, Ponder will be held of practice, with the player pointing toward Saturday as the goal for an attempted return.

And what of FSU’s next game a week from Thursday against North Carolina State?

“I’m going,” the senior said.

That would certainly qualify as good news for the ‘Noles as a win against the Wolfpack would put them in complete control of the ACC’s Atlantic Division; FSU currently stands atop the division at 4-0, while NC State is alone in second place at 2-1.

Rose Bowl finds a new title sponsor


Nearly four months after losing their title sponsor, the Rose Bowl has reached an agreement with a new company to take over the prestigious “presented by…” slot.

According to the Associated Press, Vizio will become the new presenting sponsor for The Granddaddy of Them All beginning with the 2011 game and running through 2014.  An official announcement will be made Wednesday.

Vizio, an HDTV and consumer electronics company based in Irvine, Calif., will replace Citi, which ended its seven-year relationship with the game back in June.

For the next three years, the game will officially be known as the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, while the 2014 game will be referred to as the Vizio BcS National Championship Game.

“The Rose Bowl game by itself is an incredible pull,” said Randy Waynick, Vizio’s chief sales officer. “The fact that it’s going to be the BCS game is icing on the cake.”

The 2014 game will mark the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl.