Heisman Watch Week 8: Step into the spotlight, Collin Klein

Goodbye Geno; Hello Collin.

Kansas State's gritty quarterback, Collin Klein, has become a Heisman darling and with his tremendous performance against Geno Smith's Mountaineers, Klein has asserted himself as the man to beat for the bronze statue.

It's funny. Just a few weeks ago, Smith was unbeatable. His numbers were ridiculous and no one thought anyone would be able to touch him. But after two poor games, he's been supplanted and with less than half the season remaining, it's anyone's game.

Here's a look at Dr. Saturday's Week 8 Heisman Watch:

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas St.

Klein asserted himself as the nation's top quarterback after besting West Virginia's Geno Smith in a head-to-head duel — and he did it with his arm. The biggest knock on Klein was that he didn't have the arm strength to go with his running ability, but after throwing for 323 yards on 19-of-21 passing and three touchdowns, and rushing for 41 yards and four more scores, Klein proved that he's a pretty well-rounded quarterback.

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Te'o continues to quietly creep up the Heisman list with strong and consistent play. He had an interception in the 17-14 win over BYU and had yet another double-digit-tackle game. Te'o has posted 10 or more tackles in all but two games this season and has no games with fewer than eight tackles. Defensive players always have a mountain to climb when it comes to the Heisman, but Te'o has put himself in a good spot. A great game against the Sooners this weekend should solidify his trip to New York.

Geno Smith, QB, West Va.

It's been awhile since a Heisman Trophy lock has fallen out of favor so quickly, but Smith's season is in a freefall. To be fair, he still has 26 passing touchdowns to just two interceptions, and he still ranks No. 2 nationally in passing, but the last two games have been absolute disasters. This week's bye is both good and bad. Smith and the Mountaineers definitely need some time to regroup, but this also gives other Heisman contenders a chance to earn more favor with voters. Smith isn't out of it, but he'll need a surge to win.

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

McCarron's appearance on this list is probably long overdue. He's the nation's most efficient passer (183.6 rating) and has led Alabama to seven consecutive games with 33 or more points for the first time in school history. McCarron had his best game of the season last weekend against Tennessee, throwing for 306 yards and four touchdowns. He also hasn't thrown an interception this season. He'll have a tough test this week against Mississippi State, but if he plays well, he could give Klein a run for his money.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio St.

Miller suffered a nearly catastrophic injury against Purdue last week and consequently did not get an opportunity to lead his team to a come-from-behind victory. And that's too bad because Miller could have used the style points. Miller is back this week and will take on a Penn State team that is playing better, but unless he puts up ridiculous numbers, it might not be enough to overtake the players ahead of him.

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