<
>

SEC Heisman watch

There's a familiar face in this week's Heisman Trophy update in the SEC.

If you counted out Alabama running back Mark Ingram because he missed the first two games, think again. He's back and back with a vengeance. Not only that, but he goes head-to-head against the top Heisman candidate in the conference this week -- Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

The storylines in the Alabama-Arkansas game are too many to count, but one of them is definitely the Heisman Trophy ramifications.

Here's a rundown of the SEC's top Heisman candidates entering Week 4:

1. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: He certainly has Heisman-like numbers with more than 1,000 yards passing and nine touchdown passes in three games. Now, he has to do it on a big stage, and it doesn't get much bigger than Saturday's top-10 matchup with Alabama. If Mallett puts up big numbers against the Alabama defense, especially if the Hogs should win, he's probably the front-runner nationally the rest of the way. He gets a lot of points for the way he led the Hogs down the field for the game-winner last week on the road against Georgia.

2. Alabama running back Mark Ingram: OK, he's only played in one game, but he had 119 yards on five carries by halftime. Another big game against the Hogs this weekend and Ingram will be right back in the thick of it nationally. He looked better than ever last week in the 62-13 rout of Duke and should be fresh for the these next three games against top-15 foes -- Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina. Despite his knee surgery, it looks like he's going to at least get a shot to repeat.

3. Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton: He's second only to Mallett in the SEC in total offense and has thrown for seven touchdowns and run for two more. His two touchdown passes in the second half to rally Auburn from a 17-0 deficit last week in the 24-21 overtime victory against Clemson is the kind of stuff Heisman voters are looking for. Newton also has that run-pass thing going on that makes him a little different. If the Tigers keep winning, don't count him out.

4. Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb: Mr. Do-it-all remains a long shot, but the guy is a touchdown machine. Sort of like you could count on former Florida star Percy Harvin to score at least one touchdown every time he was on the field for the Gators, the same holds true for Cobb. And he may do it rushing, receiving, passing or returning a kick.

5. LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson: He's not getting as many chances to return kicks. But did you see his two interceptions last week in the 29-7 win over Mississippi State? Enough said. He's easily one of the most explosive athletes in all of college football.