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MaxwellAward Pundit Ballot, Week 7

Time once more for our ballot in the MaxwellPundit Award, hosted by our esteemed colleagues at Rakes of Mallow. The idea for the MaxwellPundit Award came about from Rakes of Mallow's CW, who wanted an award that wasn't about hype or the media or rules about who could or couldn't win it.  He wanted an award, voted by a dozen or so bloggers, for the BEST player in the country. No matter the position, age, school... As CW puts it:

"Its sole goal is to the give Player of the Year to the most deserving player, whether he be a kicker, a freshman, a wide receiver, a defensive back, a stout left tackle....or the quarterback for the number one team in the nation."

So, our ballot, with last week's ranking in parentheses. SC=Receiving Serious Consideration last week

1. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State (1)
Last Week: 15-22, 234 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Season (7 games): 116-170, 1,495 yards, 17 TD, 2 INT

He looks like the best player in college football. He rockets the ball around, on a rope, with great accuracy, blah, blah, blah. Still atop our ballot. Not sexy, we know. It is what it is.

2. LaMarr Woodley, DE, Michigan (SC)
Last Week: 5 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2 sacks (-23 yards), 1 Forced Fumble
Season (7 games): 19 tackles, 10 TFL, 7 sacks (-85 yards), 2 Fumble Recoveries, 2 Forced Fumbles

He's a terror on the nation's most dominant defensive line. His teammates are eating up blockers while he beats his men and raises hell on the quarterbacks. You could put Branch in here, too, of course, but this is, like the rest of 'em, an individual award. Woodley's our guy.

3. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech (4)
Last Week: 10 catches, 133 yards, 1 TD DNP. Yeah, whoops.
Season (6 games): 35 catches, 559 yards, 8 TD

I might draft this man #1 in the NFL Draft. In fact, I'm pretty sure of it. I'm not sure he can have the same impact on the game that our two candidates above do, but that's his quarterback's fault. I could be persuaded to move him up, still.

4. Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia (5)
Last Week: 20 rushes, 163 yards, 1 TD
Season (6 games): 132 rushes, 931 yards, 8 TD

Lost in Pat White's Nintendo stat line was Slaton's outstanding performance as well. Eight yards per rush, another touchdown, and despite West Virginia not playing anyone of significance, he's working his way up our ballot. He and White look terrific running together.

5. Erik Ainge, QB, Tennessee (SC)
Last Week: DNP
Season (6 Games): 118-171, 1,657 yards, 14 TD, 5 INT

A DNP beneficiary of the Peterson injury and Wolfe disappearance, Ainge debuts in the top five this week by standing pat. The numbers really are there for Ainge. He bombed out against Florida, but so has every other quarterback to face the Gators. This is probably as high as he can go in our book.

Dropped Out: Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe

Peterson's done, and Wolfe had 25 yards on 18 carries. Wolfe needs some truly outrageous numbers to get back in the mix here.

Receiving Serious Consideration

Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Nelson, DeSean Jackson, Mike Hart