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September 9, 2008? VOTE: Who took the early lead in the Heisman race?
Spectacular performances demand attention, but consistency is a major key to winning the Heisman Trophy.
A few new names emerged this week. Consistency will determine if they can stay in contention over the long haul.
Of course, a poor showing doesn't yet eliminate anyone. Several Heisman recipients received a mulligan the year they won.
1. Mark Sanchez, USC, QB: The Trojans were idle last week, so there was no reason to drop him. His first-week performance of 338 yards and three touchdowns against Virginia was impressive. He has a great opportunity to reinforce his status as the early leader against Ohio State this week. Yeah, the Buckeyes struggled against Ohio, but their defense is excellent.
2. Chase Daniel, Missouri, QB: He followed up a strong season-opening performance against Illinois (323 passing yards, three touchdowns) with 245 passing yards and three touchdowns against I-AA Southeast Missouri. True, that's not a formidable opponent, but dominating inferior opponents is required for Heisman contention.
3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, QB: When he threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening victory over I-AA Chattanooga, hardly an eyebrow was raised. But throwing for a career-best 395 yards and five touchdowns against Cincinnati is an entirely different matter. Eyebrows have been raised. So has his national profile.
4. Jahvid Best, California, RB: He averaged 14.3 yards per carry while gaining 200 yards in a 66-3 pasting of Washington State. That included touchdown runs of 80 and 86 yards. Sure, dismiss it as a big game against a poor Cougars defense, but he also had 111 rushing yards against Michigan State in the season-opener.
5. Patrick Pinkney, East Carolina, QB: Not only has his team posted consecutive stunning upsets of Virginia Tech and West Virginia, but Pinkney was exceptional in both games. He completed 79 percent of his passes against West Virginia and more than 80 percent against Virginia Tech. Thus far, he has passed for 447 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Olin Buchanan is a Heisman voter and a senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.