Pac-12 Heisman Watch: Week 7

Look who's back in the top 5. On the strength of his performance against Utah, USC quarterback Matt Barkley is back in the top 5 of the ESPN.com Heisman poll. Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas is still hanging out at No. 4, while UCLA's Johnathan Franklin dropped out completely. Marqise Lee is still getting votes and Kenjon Barner picked up another voter besides yours truly. Here's how it breaks down from a Pac-12 perspective:

De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon, WR/RB

  • Week 6 numbers: 10 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. 1 catch for 12 yards.

  • Season numbers: 41 carries for 377 yards (9.2 average) with six touchdowns. 20 catches for 205 yards and three touchdowns.

  • What went well: He got touches, which is a good thing. It's just the second time in six games this year he had double-digit carries and he made the most of it with 7.5 yards per carry and a touchdown. Plus, Oregon won big over a ranked team -- and other teams behind them in the rankings stumbled, bringing plenty of national attention to the Ducks.

  • Any questions? Thomas' draw is that he's a versatile player -- a do-it-all-guy who gets yards on the ground and in the air. One catch for 12 yards is nice, but he's going to make his biggest impact as a hybrid player, not just a runner. Plus, another 100-yard game from Barner diverts some of the attention away from Thomas.

Matt Barkley, USC, QB

  • Week 6 numbers: Completed 23 of 30 passes for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.

  • Season numbers: Has completed 111 of 173 passes for 1,308 yards and 15 touchdowns with 5 interceptions.

  • What went well: For starters, he broke his streak of three straight games with an interception. He matched his highest completion percentage of the season (76.7) and showed a great deal of poise after a couple of early center-quarterback exchange snafus put the Trojans in a 14-0 hole. The fact that voters recognized that and brought him back into the top 5 is a positive sign.

  • Any questions? It's going to take more than just one game against an unranked team on the road for Barkley to once again be a serious contender. So while last week was a positive first step, he'll need to be near flawless the rest of the way because he's playing catch-up to unanimous favorite Geno Smith. A good showing on Nov. 3 couldn't hurt, either.

Others receiving votes

Kenjon Barner, Oregon, RB

  • Week 6 numbers: Rushed for 122 yards on 20 carries (6.1 average) with no touchdowns. No receptions, either.

  • Season numbers: Has 727 yards on 116 attempts (6.3 average) with 9 rushing touchdowns. Has also caught 11 balls for 111 yards and a score.

  • Thoughts: As long as Oregon keeps winning and Barner keeps grinding out 100-yard games, he'll stay in the conversation. He has narrowed the gap for the rushing title with Franklin and his nine touchdowns are second only to Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey in the conference.

Marqise Lee, USC, WR

  • Week 6 numbers: Caught a season-high 12 balls for 192 yards and a touchdown. Also had one rush for 11 yards.

  • Season numbers: Has 52 catches for 649 yards with 7 touchdowns.

  • Thoughts: As Barkley goes, so goes Lee. That's the issue with wide receivers. When he catches one touchdown, Barkley is throwing three. He trails the West Virginia duo and Baylor's Terrance Williams in receiving yards per game nationally and is behind Tavon Austin for receptions per game. A big boost from Barkley will help his already stellar numbers. But as we saw this week, voters are more likely to lend their weighted votes to Barkley than Lee.