Chase Daniel might show up in your mailbox today. Sports Illustrated cover boy. And, by all accounts, hard-charging Heisman Trophy contender on his way to what might be a defining candidacy moment: Saturday's Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma. The Missouri quarterback is hot. No, wait, he's sizzling; has been since the Tigers' season started with a win over an underappreciated-at-the-time Illinois squad. But has Daniel, flying under the radar for much of this season, done enough to warm himself to Heisman voters who face a Dec. 5 deadline for submitting their ballots? And how many will wait to watch him one more time, in that matchup with the Sooners, before casting a final decision? Those questions dictate Daniel's place in the race, whether alongside, in front of, or behind the other leading men: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, with West Virginia's Pat White holding an outside shot. One Heisman poll performed by Scripps Howard News Service shows a current order of Tebow, McFadden and Daniel. ESPN projects it as Tebow, Daniel and McFadden. "He can still wind up first on my ballot,” ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde said of Daniel. "I'll definitely be holding it through the weekend, and if he's heroic in victory over Oklahoma, I will take a hard look at putting him first.” Forde was at Arrowhead Stadium last Saturday night, when Daniel's glow carried nationwide as the Tigers' junior surgically dismantled Kansas in what might have been college football's game of the year. Daniel completed 40-of-49 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns, displaying accuracy and mobility and savvy. It was a Heisman-moment performance, played out for a national television audience and launching Mizzou to No. 1 for just the second time in school history. And Wednesday, Daniel was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. "You saw it. America saw it,” Tigers coach Gary Pinkel campaigned after the 36-28 win. "They saw this guy in adverse conditions in the fourth quarter, having to make plays. "He'll be the first one to tell you about his offensive line. He'll be the first one to tell you about wide receivers and tight ends. But I'll be the first one to tell you, this guy is special. "I've said this for a year and a half. America got to see today how special he is.” But what about America's Heisman voters? Do they consider him special? Daniel's season numbers are extraordinary: 3,951 yards and 33 touchdowns passing, with just nine interceptions. But Tebow and McFadden boast great numbers, too. And Heisman moments. On the same weekend Daniel dazzled KU, Tebow accounted for five touchdowns – three passing, two rushing – in the Gators' 45-12 rout of rival Florida State. McFadden made magic with 206 yards and three touchdowns rushing to go with a TD pass in a triple-overtime upset of then-No. 1 LSU. Still, while Tebow and McFadden are done until their bowl games, Daniel gets one final chance to impress – at least those voters still holding ballots – Saturday in San Antonio. And if there were ever a year to delay decisions, this is it. There's no clear deserving winner, just like there's no clear national title team. Just so happens, however, that Daniel and White are the only players among the leading candidates still maintaining a hand in each. White's Mountaineers can lock up a spot in the BCS title game by beating a struggling Pittsburgh team Saturday. Can you picture Missouri at 11-1 and No. 1 without Daniel? Isn't it easier to envision Florida and Arkansas managing 9-3 and 8-4 seasons, respectively, without Tebow and McFadden? "I think Tebow will win it, but there's a question whether some of the ‘old guard' Heisman voters will balk at putting Tebow first on their ballots because he's a sophomore,” said Wendell Barnhouse of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I think if Daniel plays against OU like he did against Kansas and that Missouri wins, he becomes a serious threat to win it. "My guess on the order of finish would be Tebow, Daniel and McFadden. As of today, that's how I would rank 'em on my Heisman ballot. I think it's going to be a very close race.” Daniel isn't the prototype Heisman candidate. By quarterback standards, he's short – 6-foot-even, maybe, with padded inserts in his black Nike cleats. And at 225 pounds, he's, well, a bit thick. During a teleconference this week to advance the Big 12 title game, Sooner linebacker Curtis Lofton sort of giggled when a reporter spoke of Daniel as "pudgy.” Not that Lofton meant any disrespect. "He's not your typical quarterback,” Lofton said. "Most quarterbacks you look for someone taller, a more rangier guy. But he has a real strong arm and he can run especially well for a guy his size.” Daniel definitely has the Sooners' attention. He threw for 361 yards and a touchdown in Missouri's 41-31 loss at OU back in October. And in Mizzou's past four games, when the Tigers kicked up their drive to the Big 12 North title, Daniel has been nothing short of spectacular, firing 15 touchdowns with but one interception. Thus, the Heisman buzz. "He's a great, great player,” said OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "He has our vote. Just a great competitor, a fearless attitude, very confident and very precise in what he's doing. "We recognize the talent and ability. Throwing off his back foot, his ability to improvise on the perimeter and how quick he is, strong he is. You watch him and it's like, ‘Holy cow, this guy is incredible.'” If Daniel can make Heisman voters utter such superlatives Saturday night, he might just have enough to sway sentiment his way. Late gains have happened like this before. Southern Cal's Carson Palmer finished hot in 2002, rallying to claim his Heisman. Can it happen again? "I'm down to four – Chase Daniel, Pat White, Darren McFadden and Tim Tebow,” said Tom Luicci of the Newark Star-Ledger. "Daniel elevated himself with his big game against Kansas. Now he and Pat White have the stage all to themselves on Saturday, though Daniel's is considerably bigger. "I'll wait until after Saturday's results to vote. I base mine on the body of work, not just one game. But when things are this close, one game can carry significant weight.” One game, for Daniel, that carries mighty stakes. One game for a BCS championship berth and, perhaps, the Heisman Trophy.