NCAA

Heisman Watch: Flip a coin

540386.jpg

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

Analysis:

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

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

pitino-sad-ap.jpg
AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

cal-usc-ap.jpg
AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.