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Stanfords Luck clear-cut favorite for Heisman Trophy
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Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson drives down Kansas States John Hubert (33) during their Big 12 Conference game in Manhattan two weeks ago. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend Tribune

Andrew Luck came into this season as one of the most overwhelming Heisman Trophy favorites college football has had in years.
Luck has played well, albeit against Stanford’s relatively weak schedule so far, and according to the Web site, which conducts a weekly straw poll of voters, the junior quarterback is still the clear front-runner.
For better or worse, that can change Saturday when No. 3 Stanford plays No. 6 Oregon. It’s the biggest game on the Cardinal’s schedule and it’s the showcase game of the college football weekend — scandals aside.
If Luck helps avenge last year’s 52-31 loss in Eugene, and keeps the Cardinal in the national championship race, his Heisman stock should soar. If he and the Stanford stumble, the race would be wide open.
Luck’s statistics are excellent (2,424 yards, 26 touchdown passes and a 174.1 passer rating that is fifth in the country), but not much different than other Heisman contender quarterbacks.
Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson has 2,238 yards, 21 touchdowns and a 196.7 rating. Baylor’s Robert Griffin III has 2,781 yards, 26 touchdown passes and a 188.1. Boise State’s Kellen Moore has 2,229 yards, 29 touchdowns and a 179.5. Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden has 3,212 yards, 26 touchdowns and a 158.5 rating.
Then there is Houston’s Case Keenum, who has been setting NCAA career records weekly and putting up crazy stats for the Cougars. Keenum’s line: 3,626, 34 and 192.4.
Alabama’s loss last week against LSU was a setback for running back Trent Richardson, but he certainly shouldn’t be eliminated from the Heisman race. The Tide’s bruising tailback was the best offensive player on the field in a 9-6 game, with 89 yards rushing and 80 receiving.
He was second in the poll this week. Moore and Keenum were tied for third.
But this Heisman is Luck’s to lose.

The picks:

No. 10 Virginia Tech (minus 1) at No. 20 Georgia Tech —
The winner of this series gone on to win every Coastal Division title ... VIRGINIA TECH 28-21.
No. 11 Houston (minus 34) at Tulane — Another Case Keenum stat-padder ... HOUSTON 58-21.
Western Kentucky (plus 41 1-2) at No. 1 LSU —
Tigers should get a few touchdowns this week ... LSU 48-3.
No. 2 Oklahoma State (minus 17) at Texas Tech — Since beating Oklahoma, Red Raiders have been outscored 93-27 ... OKLAHOMA STATE 49-28.
No. 6 Oregon (plus 3 1-2) at No. 3 Stanford — Luck doesn’t disappoint, but Cardinal do ... OREGON 38-34.
No. 4 Alabama (minus 17 1-2) at Mississippi State — Tide won’t leave it to the kickers this week ... ALABAMA 35-14.
TCU (plus 15) at No. 5 Boise State — This Frogs defense playing nothing like recent stingy editions ... BOISE STATE 42-28.
Tennessee (plus 14) at No. 8 Arkansas — Maybe Razorbacks should have volunteered to move to SEC East ... ARKANSAS 31-14.
Wake Forest (plus 16 1-2) at No. 9 Clemson — Deacons can win Atlantic division by winning out ... CLEMSON 35-21.
No. 19 Nebraska (minus 3 1-2) at No. 12 Penn State — Impossible to know how Nittany Lions will respond ... NEBRASKA 21-14
No. 13 Michigan State (minus 2 1-2) at Iowa — Spartans can all but lock up Legends Division ... MICHIGAN STATE 27-21.
No. 24 Auburn (plus 13) at No. 14 Georgia — Bulldogs two wins from SEC East title, and next game is Kentucky ... GEORGIA 28-17.
Florida (no line) at No. 15 South Carolina — Gators trying to play spoiler to Gamecocks. Strange days for SEC East ... FLORIDA 17-16.
No. 16 Wisconsin (minus 27) at Minnesota —
Gophers have played much better recently, but Badgers might still be class of Big Ten ... WISCONSIN 55-17.
Texas A&M (minus 4 1-2) at No. 17 Kansas State — Each team is loss away from promising season getting away from it ... KANSAS STATE 35-31.
Washington (plus 12) at No. 18 Southern California — Huskies have won two straight decided on last play of game ... USC 42-28.
No. 21 Texas (minus 1) at Missouri — Big 12’s top two rushing teams ... TEXAS 28-24.
No. 22 Michigan (minus 1) at Illinois — Wolverines won 67-65 in triple OT last year ... MICHIGAN 27-21.
West Virginia (plus 3 1-2) at No. 23 Cincinnati — Bearcats can put the Big East race in a headlock ... WEST VIRGINIA 27-24.
UCF (plus 9) at No. 25 Southern Miss — Golden Eagles heading toward CUSA title game showdown against Houston ... SOUTHERN MISS 42-17.

Last week’s record: 10-7 (straight); 7-10 (vs. spread).
Season record: 156-38 (straight); 93-77-1 (vs. spread).
Best bets: 7-3.
Upset specials (vs. spread): 5-5.