Commentary

It's Cam Newton vs. LaMichael James

The Heisman is down to two possible winners -- but Oregon's RB has work to do

Originally Published: November 29, 2010
By Ryan McCrystal | Special to ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesNewton is squarely in the driver's seat for the Dec. 11 Heisman ceremony in New York.

At this point even the casual college football fan knows who is running away with the Heisman Trophy.

By leading the Auburn Tigers to a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday afternoon, Cameron Newton all but secured his spot in the college football history books. In that game alone, Newton tallied 11 points in the Heisman Predictor, opening up a commanding lead over Oregon's LaMichael James.

But it certainly wasn't easy.

If the Predictor had been calculated at halftime of Auburn's game on Friday, with the Tigers trailing 24-7, Newton would have actually lost 9.5 points from the previous week. That loss would have been enough for James, who stands in second place with 139 points, to pass Newton for the lead.

So when Newton took the field in the third quarter on Friday afternoon, he was fighting for his Heisman life as well as Auburn's championship hopes. With his brilliant second-half performance, Newton boosted his Predictor score a remarkable 20.5 points from where he stood at halftime, and he held on to his commanding lead.

Despite Newton's performance, however, it is still too early to declare him the winner. The odds are certainly in his favor, but James remains in the mix.

To prepare for the last round of games before the Heisman ceremony, let's run through a few scenarios and attempt to determine who would come out on top in each.