For all the depth and excellence we saw at the running back position in the first half of the season, it’s been the quarterbacks who have taken center stage down the stretch.

Spoiler: Nobody has dislodged Alabama RB Derrick Henry from the top spot on our list, but a trio of quarterbacks have made a legitimate push, and along the way made the action in the SEC West incredibly entertaining to follow.

We’ve seen Chad Kelly vs. Brandon Allen and Brandon Allen vs. Dak Prescott, and those matchups resulted in two of the best games of the year. Now we’ve got one more on tap, with all the hallmarks of a potential classic. High stakes, high-level talent and no love lost on either side as Ole Miss and Mississippi State meet this weekend.

Will any performance be enough to vault past Henry? Let’s just say that’s about as likely as an Auburn upset in this year’s Iron Bowl.

For first-timers, here’s our mission statement:

We’re endeavoring to sort out the conference’s best players by taking into account all the things the Heisman Trophy voters tend to leave out. To top our list, you don’t need to be a household name playing for a national title contender — though, if we’re being honest, it doesn’t hurt. We aim to find the best player in the conference who is also his team’s most indispensable piece.

We consider a player’s track record because past results tend to be a pretty good predictor of future performance, but as we move deeper into the season, the reputation a player has developed over the course of a career will fade in the equation, replaced proportionately by what they’ve done for their teams lately.

On to top 10:


Last week: 5
The skinny: Hargreaves was forced to leave last week’s game early due to illness and the defense continued to function at a high level, with Jalen Tabor raising his game to finish with an interception and five pass breakups. Tabor, by the way, has nearly forced his way on to this list; he’s tied with Hargreaves with four interceptions — two of which he’s returned for touchdowns — and now leads the conference in passes broken up.


Last week: No. 9
The skinny: In his senior season, Bullard had become one of the conference’s best interior linemen, ranking fourth in the SEC in tackles for loss with 13.5 and posting 5.5 sacks. The stability Bullard provides on defense is a major reason the Gators are headed back to Atlanta this season despite their epic struggles on offense. Bullard injured a knee Saturday against Florida Atlantic and may be out for this week’s Florida State game, which will be a big loss for the Gators.


Last week: 7
The skinny: The 56-6 blowout of Charleston Southern amounted to a glorified bye week for most Tide starters other than punt returner Cyrus Jones. No member of the defense had more than four tackles in the game, but Allen’s season numbers remain impressive. He ranks second in the conference with nine sacks and leads the team in both sacks and tackles for loss (11.5).


Last week: 8
The skinny: Treadwell had four receptions for 58 yards in Saturday’s win over LSU, ending a five-game run with at least 100 receiving yards. But he’s still scored touchdowns in six straight and leads the conference in both receptions (72) and yards (1,060).


Last week: 6
The skinny: The cold truth is that if his field goal unit didn’t let him down at the end of last week’s game against Mississippi State, Allen might be higher. He was practically flawless against the Bulldogs, throwing for a school-record seven touchdowns as he continues to play like one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in the last half of the season.


Last week: 3
The skinny: Fournette has no chance right now. Behind a patchwork LSU offensive front, he’s often dodging defenders before he makes it to the line of scrimmage. Despite the Tigers’ substantial struggles, he rushed for more than 100 yards against the Rebels — even with a 59-yarder called back on the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage — and he still leads the nation in rushing by a slim margin.


Last week: Not ranked
The skinny: The only knock on Kelly in his first season as a starter at the FBS level is a tendency to get careless with the football. He threw seven interceptions in a three-week stretch in the middle of the season, but hasn’t thrown any during the last two weeks as the Rebels’ offense has found its second wind. Hugh Freeze is also turning his junior QB loose on the ground more often, leading to 191 rushing yards and five rushing scores in the past two weeks.


Last week: 2
The skinny: As mentioned, the Tide’s destruction of Charleston Southern didn’t lend itself to noteworthy individual performances, but Ragland’s worth to the SEC’s best defense is well-established by now. The Butkus Award finalist leads the team in tackles and contributes across the board with 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups and two forced fumbles.


Last week: 4
The skinny: Prescott’s development as a passer was never more evident than it was Saturday, when he threw for a career-high 508 yards and led the Bulldogs to a 51-50 win at Arkansas. The senior has already rewritten the school record book and heads into his final regular season game leading the SEC in completion percentage and ranked second in the conference in passing yards while throwing 23 touchdowns and just three interceptions.


Last week: 1
The skinny: Alabama, you might know, has had some pretty good running backs come through. In the past few years alone, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon have set a high bar for success in Tuscaloosa — and Henry’s on the verge of blowing past all of them. He’s already tied the single-season record at Alabama with 21 rushing touchdowns and he needs just 154 more rushing yards to set the single-season mark in that category, too.