First, a stop in New York.
Both were named finalists for the Heisman Trophy on Monday, and they will be joined by Stanford's Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore of Boise State for Saturday's announcement in Times Square.
Newton overcame a pay-to-play scandal with a superb season on the field, piling up nearly 4,000 combined yards and 49 touchdowns in leading the top-ranked Tigers into the Jan. 10 national championship game.
James piled up more yards and touchdowns on the ground than anyone else in the Football Bowl Subdivision, helping the second-ranked Ducks into their first national title game.
Newton is the front-runner, but the big question is whether voters will look past the scandal.
Newton was unparalleled on the field. He threw for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns while running for 1,409 yards and 20 more scores -- adding another on a reception -- to join Florida quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick (this season) as the only FBS players to have 20 touchdowns rushing and passing in a season.
James was the main cog in Oregon's nearly point-a-minute offense, forcing teams to key on him while the rest of his talented teammates ran all over the field.
He led the nation with 1,682 yards and 21 touchdowns, and his 152 yards per game was nearly 10 more than Connecticut's Jordan Todman in second.
Luck quickly established himself as the Pac-10's best quarterback, guiding the fifth-ranked Cardinal to one of the best seasons in school history.
A projected top NFL pick, Luck threw for more than 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns with just seven interceptions while completing 70 percent of his passes for an 11-1 team that earned an Orange Bowl berth.
Boise State's Moore wasn't much of a Heisman hopeful early in the season, but he quickly played his way into the picture. The junior was second in the nation in passer efficiency, throwing for more than 3,500 yards with 33 TDs and five interceptions, but his Heisman chances took a hit with a loss to Nevada that knocked Boise State out of BCS contention.