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Maxwell Pundit Award Ballot, Week 4

It's that time of the week again. Our balloting for the first annual MaxwellPundit Award, hosted by the good fellas at Rakes Of Mallow. The nominees, listed in order of rank, with last week's rank in parentheses.

1. Garrett Wolfe, RB, Northern Illinois (4) Last Week: 22 rushes, 198 yards, 9.0 avg, 4 TDs
Wolfe may get punished by Big Media for playing in a small conference, but look, he torched Big 10 foe Ohio State, too. He's on pace to surpass Barry Sanders' record season. Go, Garrett, Go!

2. Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan (NR) Last Week: 7 catches, 113 yards, 16.1 avg, 2 TDs.
 That would be 250 yards and 5 TDs in the last two weeks. He's single-handedly buried two secondaries to lead Michigan's march up the rankings. This is a huge development on so many levels. His deep threat opens up room for Hart, as well. Just as good a two-week stretch from a receiver as we've seen in a while.

3. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State (1) Last Week: 12-22 115 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Troy drops two spots for his subpar performance against Penn State... at home. That's the nature of the position, to some extent - it's tough to have a stellar game every time out. The body of work for the season remains excellent.

4. Chris Leak, QB, Florida (5) Last Week: 15-26, 267 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
No subpar weeks for Leak yet: another 250+ yards and 2 TDs. For the season, Leak's passer rating sits at 173.3 - simply outstanding. That some Florida fans are booing him is criminal.

5. Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma (2) Last Week: 27 carries, 128 yards, 4.74 avg, 3 TDs
"Only" 128 yards for Peterson this week, and with his 27 carries, the talented junior has already rushed the ball 117 times this season, most in the nation. To put that number in perspective, Texas' leading ball carrier is Jamaal Charles with 55 attempts, less than half AP's total. There's good news for Oklahoma: they'll have an off week to rest up for the Red River Rivalry. Peterson will be fresh for Texas, but one wonders whether he can sustain this workload over the entire season.

Receiving Serious Consideration:

*Ian Johnson, Boise State - Another monster week for Johnson, who torched Hawaii for 178 yards on 29 carries, including 2 touchdowns. He can move up this list if he waxes Utah, a team allowing less than 3 yards per rush on the season.

*Lamarr Woodley, Michigan - Watching him blow past right tackles is something to behold. I'm finding it hard to figure out how to value defensive players in all this, but I'll be watching closely when the Wolverines take on Iowa and Ohio State. If he's a decisive difference in those games, it'll be impossible to keep him off the list. He's that good.

*Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech - A 6 catch, 165 yard, 2 touchdown torching of Virginia for Johnson this week. He suffers from a lack of great options around him, but he's the real deal no less.

*Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh - He's very quietly having a monster season for the Panthers. He could creep into the mix for this award if he blazes through the season and then closes out the last two games of the year - against West Virginia and Louisville - in dramatic fashion. It's a longshot, but he's playing awfully well right now.

As always, your own thoughts, questions, criticisms, nominations, are welcome.

--PB--