Barkley, Thomas lead 2012 Heisman list

The Heisman Pundit breaks down the 2012 Heisman Trophy race, and Pac-12 candidates come in at Nos. 1 and 5.

Here's what the Pundit had to say:

1. Matt Barkley, USC – Barkley returns for his senior year as the front runner for the 2012 Heisman. He’s got perhaps the best receiving corps in the history of college football catching his passes, so you know his numbers will be stellar. However, he must beat the expectations game or voters could eventually turn on him like they did Andrew Luck.

5. De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon – Thomas might’ve benefited from the best postseason spring-board of this whole bunch, as he rushed for 155 yards on two carries against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Thomas has the ability to win the Heisman based on the excitement factor alone. Voters love multi-purpose athletes.

Of course, this isn't unlike the 2011 offseason, when 2010 finalists Andrew Luck and LaMichael James gave the Pac-12 two top-five candidates, and eventual winner Robert Griffin the III was generally considered a darkhorse, at beast.

Still, both Barkley and Thomas seem like solid candidates, and it's a good bet that whoever wins their showdown in Los Angeles on Nov. 3 will earn a perch on the shortlist among voters.