Heisman Watch Week 9: AJ McCarron has an opportunity to steal this thing

Collin Klein has grabbed hold of the Heisman Race and isn't eager to let go. He had another stellar performance against Texas Tech last week and continues to be the clear frontrunner for everybody's favorite bronze statue.

But that could change this weekend.

Lurking in the shadows is Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the country. And if he has a great game against LSU in Death Valley this weekend, he could put some major pressure on Klein.

And let's not rule out West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. He had a bye this week, which dropped him in Dr. Saturday's Heisman Watch, but he's still one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Perhaps the week off gave him a chance to find the quarterback that led the Heisman race for the first month of the season. If that's the case, this will be a fun final month.

Here's what Dr. Saturday's Heisman Watch looks like for Week 9:

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas St.

Every week, Collin Klein does a little more to assert himself as the best player in college football. He had four touchdowns — two rushing, two passing — in a 55-24 win against Texas Tech. During the past few weeks, Klein has become a well-rounded quarterback. His rushing numbers were dominating the stat sheet early in the season, but now his passing numbers are making people take notice. He's completing 70.9 percent of his passes this year, which, on this list, only trails Geno Smith's 74.3 percent.

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

It seemed like Te'o was involved in every defensive play against Oklahoma and the stats prove that. Te'o had 11 tackles against the Sooners, six solo, and had a key interception where he dove to steal the ball out of the air. We could say his play was spectacular, but really it's the same guy who's been wowing us every week. Unfortunately for Te'o, the Irish schedule lightens up while several other Heisman contenders start playing tougher opponents.

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

One could say McCarron is a lot like Geno Smith without all the flash and fanfare. McCarron has been perfect all season and against Mississippi State — the Tide's toughest opponent to-date — he completed 16 of 23 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception this season. But Saturday's game against LSU in Death Valley will be a whole new challenge for the junior. If he can put up similar numbers in a hostile environment against the Tigers, McCarron might have a case to win the bronze statue.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio St.

After suffering an injury against Purdue and missing out on a game-winning situation, Miller needed a big game against Penn State to put himself back in the Heisman race. And he did. Miller passed for 143 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 134 yards and two scores to help keep the Buckeyes undefeated. This week's game against Illinois should be another opportunity to put up big numbers, but it might not be enough to move up unless one of the players above him tanks.

Geno Smith, QB, West Va.

In the wonderful world of the Heisman, it's all about what a player has done lately and poor Smith happened to have a bye week when the other four competitors in the Heisman race all had stellar games. But Smith needed a week off. The two weeks prior has not only damaged his Heisman campaign, but also his team's chances at a BCS bowl. We'll see if Smith can return to his old self against TCU this weekend.

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