The Top 5 Heisman Candidates
27. The 14th SEC Team Should Be?.
Oct. 4. Overranked and Underranked teams
Oct. 11 Midseason Surprises and Duds
Oct. 26 Who'll finish No. 2 in the BCS?
Nov. 8 What should Penn State do now?
A: 5. QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor – Despite falling off the radar somewhat in October losses to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, Griffin remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in America. He’s No. 2 nationally in total offense and No. 3 in passing efficiency, while guiding Baylor to consecutive bowl games for the first time in two decades.
4. QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma – With three auditions left, Jones is within striking distance of New York City. In a race that’s suddenly become uncongested at the top, he can take top honors by staying potent without injured WR Ryan Broyles, and engineering a win over unbeaten Oklahoma State on Dec. 3.
3. RB Trent Richardson, Alabama – Richardson is sort of in Heisman purgatory at this time. While most recognize that he’s one of the two or three best backs in the country, he was just okay against the two toughest defenses on the schedule, Penn State and LSU.
2. QB Andrew Luck, Stanford – Luck is the best all-around quarterback in the country, and the likely top overall NFL Draft choice whenever he decides to come out. Saturday’s effort against Oregon, though, was not the kind of performance of which Heisman winners are made. Admittedly, he got marginal help from his receivers, but in losing to the Ducks, and throwing two picks, he opened up the gates for …
1. QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State – System schmystem. It’s not as if Weeden is piling up huge numbers against Case Keenum’s schedule, for instance. In homage to former Florida State QB Chris Weinke, Weeden has been the veteran leader of the nation’s second-ranked team, throwing 23 touchdown passes and just three picks in seven conference games.
By: Barrett Sallee
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5. LaMichael James - Oregon
James missed two games, but there’s no doubt that he deserves another invitation to New York City. He leads the nation with 150.8 yards per game, and is on a team that, all of the sudden is smack dab in the middle of national title contention for the second straight year. If James can lead his team to the Pac-12 title and in the discussion for the title at the end of the year, he has a chance.
4. David Wilson - Virginia Tech
Hello McFly, anybody home? David Wilson is the least talked about beast in college football. The world saw a little bit of what he’s capable of last Thursday against Georgia Tech. If Wilson was on a legitimate national title contender, he’d be getting ALL the Heisman love. As it is, he’ll have to settle for “in the conversation,” which is still a pretty nice place to be. Wilson is third in the nation in rushing and has rushed for more than 120 yards in seven straight games. Solid.
3. Andrew Luck - Stanford
The loss to Oregon will certainly hurt Luck, especially since it will probably prevent the Cardinal from being in the national title mix. Luck is still solid, with a 70.6 completion percentage and 271 yards per game average. He failed on his biggest stage, which will prevent him from winning. But Luck will still get his share of votes.
2. Trent Richardson - Alabama
On paper, Trent Richardson only looks like a solid running back. But considering how Alabama’s offense operates, which essentially puts every game on Richardson’s shoulders, his stats should be magnified. Simply put: 120.5 yards per game in that offense is the equivalent to about 170 in one that has weapons in other spots. It’s no secret what Alabama is going to do, but they still manage to do it very successfully.
1. Brandon Weeden - Oklahoma State
Believe it, embrace it and accept it - Brandon Weeden is going to win the Heisman. Weeden is No. 3 in yards per game (363.5), No. 2 in passing yards (3,653) and No. 8 in passing efficiency (155.14); and plays for a team that, in my opinion, will be playing for the crystal football in New Orleans in early January. Those are all of the ingredients you need to make a Heisman Trophy winner, and that winner will be Weeden.
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This year’s Heisman race seems to be getting more and more wide open with a couple of losses of some of the big names in recent weeks. With that in mind, we can do this one of two ways--put a list together of the probable winners, or put a list together of the most deserving winners. Let’s go for the former since that’s the discussion on the latter will only be just that--a discussion not rooted in reality.
No. 5--Case Keenum; QB, Houston-
You know it, I know it, the voters know it, and more than likely Case Keenum knows it too. It’s been twenty years since a strapping lad from a current day non-BCS school has won the Heisman (remember Ty Detmer?). Keenum’s numbers are somewhere in orbit currently (3,951 yards, 37 TDs, 3 INTs), but the perception is there that he’s doing it in a system against inferior competition. The test case was already proven in the lab with a couple of Hawaii QBs. He’ll likely get invited to the dance, but the music won’t get played for him.
No. 4--Kellen Moore; QB, Boise State-
Ditto the above. If Moore was going to win, he’d have done it already. Any shot he had to win the thing went out the window with the loss at home last week to TCU, which is ironic because it was actually one of his better games. Had the Broncos been able to run the table, and somehow get into the BCS Championship game, Moore would have had a realistic audition. Instead, it’ll be-”don’t call us, we’ll call you.” The numbers aren’t as astronomical as Keenum’s, but they’re strong enough (2,945 yards, 31 TDs, 5 INTs). Sadly, the blue turf may be to blame.
No. 3--Brandon Weeden; QB, Oklahoma State-
Now we’re getting into the real contenders. Many have been clamoring for the 6,4”, 214 lb. senior to be considered, and with what he has done over the last few weeks, he’s elbowed his way into some serious conversation. Again, it all starts with the stats (3,635 yards, 31 TDs, 9 INTs), which aren’t that far off from Keenum’s, yet he’s doing it on an undefeated team, against BCS level talent. It’s hard for a guy to come out of nowhere and win the thing, but it isn’t unprecedented (Cam Newton). He is closing the gap, but is it too late? Not if the Cowboys win the whole ball of yarn--or get close and he continues to be the reason why.
No. 2--Trent Richardson; RB, Alabama-
The only running back in the top five, Richardson is more a product of circumstances than a sure-fire deserving candidate. As is often the case, the best players on the best teams who were already on the mythical pre-season watch list have an advantage.
The 5’11”, 224 lb. junior is one talented athlete to be sure, and the numbers being put up against SEC talent is more than enough (204 attempts for 1,205 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and 18 TDs) to be considered, but he’s only the seventh ranked running back in terms of yardage behind no. 1 LaMichael James, and isn’t piling up the points like Montee Ball of Wisconsin. Still, if Alabama can cruise on into a BCS game and showcase him the rest of the way, he has a legitimate chance. After all, the stats only go so far, sometimes the eye ball test counts for more.
No. 1--Andrew Luck; QB, Stanford-
Let’s be honest with ourselves shall we? Luck was the favorite going into the season, plays for a very good BCS level team, shows well on game film, and has NFL scouts drooling all over him (napkin please).
The 2,695 yards, 29 TDs, and 7 INTs don’t scream Heisman, but they’re also not that bad (no. 5 in passing efficiency, and 18th in total offense).
The country (aka voters) has fallen in love with Luck because, right or wrong, the perception is there’s just not much surrounding the golden-armed senior. You take Luck off this Cardinal team and the prevailing thought is that it struggles mightily. The bottom line--Luck hasn’t done anything to really distance himself, but he hasn’t done anything to knock him from the perch either. He still has the lead in the clubhouse and has the best shot to win it, barring a calamity of his own accord, or an unbelievable performance on a big stage for one of the others on this list.