I'm a little short on time, which means this week's MaxwellPundit ballot will be a little more brief than I'd like. We want our vote to be submitted, though, so the abbreviated version will have to suffice this time. Once again, in case you aren't familiar, a dozen of us are voting each week in a poll to select the best player in college football. Position and age are of no consequence. The balloting is tabulated and hosted by our esteemed colleagues at the Rakes of Mallow. (Which y'all should be reading regularly anyway. CW does a great job.)
Our top five, with last week's rank in parentheses.
1. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State (1)
He's really good. I saw him live in Austin. I've seen him tear up others on television. He's just in one of those zones where he knows he can make those big plays. He's a very different passer than Vince Young, but he's performing at a similar dominating level right now. I don't know that he can win games all by himself like Vince could, but he's the next best thing.
2. LaMarr Woodley, DE, Michigan (2)
Same comment as last week. It's Michigan's defensive line versus Troy Smith. Winner gets all sorts of fun prizes. Loser has to face the BCS nightmare. Michigan's defensive line is the only thing between "Texas" and "best in the country." And Woodley's the face of the monster.
3. Tim Crowder, DE, Texas (NR)
It wasn't until after I'd submitted last week's ballot that I noticed Crowder's numbers: 41 tackles, 16(!) tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 3 passes broken up, 13 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery, and 3 forced fumbles. The numbers are better than Woodley's in every category but sacks (Woodley has 11). I'll give the slight edge to Woodley since Michigan's line is just a teensy bit ahead of Texas', but Crowder definitely gets some very due recognition this week. Aaron Ross gets bumped off the ballot, though he's worthy of Thorpe consideration in the FWAA postseason gala. For now, Crowder gets our vote as the face of Texas' unbelievable run defense.
4. Ian Johnson, RB, Boise State (4)
He's really impressive. Off week for Boise State means a short comment. Shrug.
5. The Field
For voting purposes, we'll let CW cast our vote for Calvin Johnson, but consider this our nod to "everyone else." Among the national players that you stop to watch when you get a chance: DeSean Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Steve Smith, Gaines Adams, Patrick Willis, Steve Slaton, Colt McCoy, Brady Quinn, Aaron Ross, Erik Ainge, etc. Long live college football.