- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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 Heismanpundit.com, 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 Heismanpundit.com poll this week. Moore and Keenum were tied for third.

But this Heisman is Luck’s to lose.

The picks:

THURSDAY

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

Story Continues →