2012 College Football Rankings: Updated Heisman Rankings

9/17/12 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Nearly everybody's preseason Heisman favorite was knocked out of the race — at least for now — as Matt Barkley fell to Stanford last weekend.

There are a handful of names to choose from that could be considered a legitimate candidate by season's end. It's wide open right now, and there's no true No. 1.

As conference play is set to begin within the next two weeks, we'll begin to see how this race will shape out as true contenders flourish.

But for now, here's an updated list of those currently in the battle for the Heisman Trophy.

1. Geno Smith, QB, West VirginiaSep 1, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) reacts after a touchdown in the first quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Milan Puskar Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Passing: 66-of-75 (82.0 percent), 734 yards, 9 TDs, 0 INTs

Rushing: 10 carries, 82 yards (8.3 ypc), TD

Why: Smith is the nation's top candidate right now simply because of his ability to put points on the scoreboard. He's the perfect player for Holgorsen's system offense and is on pace to find the end zone 60 times this season. Sure, Smith hasn't played the greatest of competition so far, but he has more touchdowns (10) than incompletions (nine) and will continue to look great against Big 12 defenses.

2. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

13 carries, 228 yards (17.5 ypc), 4 TDs

Receiving: 11 receptions, 154 yards (14.0 ypr), 3 TDs

Why: It's insane the way Thomas has kept this nutty streak going of making big plays every time he touches the ball. He's averaged at least 14 yards per carry in five straight games and has scored for every 6.8 touches throughout his collegiate career (including special teams). He'll need to be more involved moving forward to win this thing, but Oregon may need him to in order to win the Pac-12 anyways.

3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

48-of-78 (61.5 percent), 611 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs

Rushing: 56 carries, 377 yards (6.7 ypc), 5 TDs

Why: The Buckeyes are 3-0 largely in thanks to the dynamic play of Miller under center. He's thrived in Urban Meyer's spread-option system, compiling 988 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Miller will need to continue improving his passer efficiency, especially against Big Ten defenses, but if he keeps this up, he'll be in New York this December.

4. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

Passing: 43-of-59 (72.9 percent), 609 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs

Rushing: 46 carries, 210 yards (4.6 ypc), 4 TDs

Why: A very underrated player and candidate, Klein has slowly progressed as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. He has a knack for the end zone and leads a team that has already scored 138 points (46.0 ppg). The real test will be this weekend when the Wildcats travel to No. 6 Oklahoma.

5. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

51-of-80 (63.4 percent), 842 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs

Rushing: 15 carries, -4 yards (-.3 ypc), 2 TDs

Why: It seems as if Murray has improved his accuracy inside and outside the pocket since last year, which has proved to make a huge difference in the Dawgs' passing success so far. He may not be a top candidate right now, but if he can make some noise against South Carolina and Florida in the upcoming weeks, he'll get there sooner than later.

Others to watch (in order)

6. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

7. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State

8. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama

9. David Ash, QB, Texas

10. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

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