Election Day - The True Heisman Candidates
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Posted Nov 6, 2012

Cavalcade, Part 2 - The Pros & Cons of Each Heisman Candidate

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Part 2, Nov. 6, 2012

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- Nov. 6, Part 1 - What more do you want from Oregon? 

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
On Election Day, the top ten candidates for the Heisman with the case to be made for and against each one …

10. QB Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech
The Case For: He has been nearly perfect. After throwing 13 picks in the last six games of 2011, he has yet to throw an interception in 358 attempts. Fourth in the nation in passing, he has completed 71% of his passes for 2,946 yards and 24 scores, and he has rushed for 142 yards and two more scores. The only loss on the year came to Texas A&M, which turned out to be his best game of the season throwing for 450 yards and five touchdowns in the wild loss.
The Case Against: Fine, so he's not really a Heisman candidate and this might be the first time you have ever heard of him. Blowing away the awful teams in the WAC won't get any name recognition, and rolling up big numbers in wins over Illinois and Virginia didn't register. Yes, he came up with a huge day against Texas A&M, but everyone came away talking about Johnny Manziel.

9. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
The Case For: How many other teams are unbeaten because of their starting quarterback? Kansas State, maybe Alabama, but that's it. Bridgewater started off the season 19-of-21 against Kentucky, and he hasn't slowed down since completing 70% of his passes for 2,434 yards and 18 scores with four picks. When he has been needed the most down the stretch, he's coming through with 416 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Cincinnati and five scores last week against Temple.
The Case Against: Beating Cincinnati and Temple aren't going to move the needed. He's rising in the eyes of the pro scouts – he won't be eligible until next season – but he has yet to come up with any sort of a true Heisman moment to get on the radar. He'll be the hot name for 2013.

8. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
The Case For: Completing 68% of his passes – many of them downfield – for 2,688 yards and 25 touchdowns is impressive. He might be getting plenty of help from one of the nation's better receiving corps, but he's also making the targets shine. While he's not the best runner, he has come up with 350 yards and five scores with two against Virginia Tech. Very quietly, he has the Tigers 8-1 and in the thick of the hunt for an at-large BCS bid.
The Case Against: Nine picks. The stats are nice, but they don't measure up to the other top options mainly because of the interceptions. In the one game Clemson had to win, he threw for 237 yards and three scores with a pick in the loss to Florida State.

7. WR Marqise Lee, USC
The Case For: No. 2 in the nation in receiving yards behind Baylor's Terrence Williams, Lee has been unstoppable, turning on the production at the perfect time with 28 catches for 402 yards and four scores over the last two weeks. They big performances might have come in losses, but he did his part. On the year he has six double-digit catch games, and he has been a fantastic kickoff returner averaging 29 yards per try with a score against Hawaii.
The Case Against: He's a wide receiver and wide receivers don't win the Heisman. While he has been a game-changer, he's dragged down by the Trojans' disappointing season. Had USC beaten Arizona after his 16-catch, 345-yard, two-score day, he'd be on the radar.

6. QB A.J. McCarron, Alabama
The Case For: First in the nation in passing efficiency up until a week ago, his bad performance against LSU was offset by his legendary last-minute drive to pull out the win. While he hasn't thrown for a ton of yards, he has thrown 19 touchdown passes and has yet to give away a pick. Above all else, he's the signature player on the nation's top team.
The Case Against: The first 58 minutes against LSU is a problem. Not only was he bad, but he was badly outplayed by Zach Mettenberger. He might have come through, but has he been truly Heisman worthy? The Tennessee game was brilliant, but Alabama is winning, for the most part, on defense and the running game.

5. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
The Case For: Welcome to one of the 2013 front-runners. Second in the nation in total offense behind Baylor's Nick Florence, he has set several records while doing a little of everything completing 67% of his throws for 2,527 yards and 16 scores. As great as his passing has been, the running ability has made him a star taking off for 922 yards and 15 touchdowns. With eight touchdown runs in the last four games and a 311-yard day last week against Mississippi State, he's one of college football's most electrifying players. If he comes up with a win over Alabama, he'll have a shot to pull this off.
The Case Against: The six interceptions on the season aren't that bad, but they all came in a three-game stretch with three of them coming in the loss to LSU. While he was terrific against Florida, A&M lost, meaning he hasn't been able to lead the team to wins in the two biggest games of the season so far.

4. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
The Case For: The argument for Miller around the midseason hasn't been able to develop further. Even though he was brilliant against Nebraska with 186 rushing yards, and he ran for 149 against Indiana and 134 against Penn State. Electrifying, he has already rushed for 1,166 yards and 13 scores as the main offensive star on a team that's nobly battling for a 12-0 season. When a big play has needed to be made, he has come up with it.
The Case Against: The Big Ten. It has been hard to generate any sort of a buzz in a conference that's been a laughing stock all year. While he should get credit for his performances against good teams like Michigan State and Nebraska, there isn't a truly big win to hang his campaign on. However, if he's great in wins over Wisconsin and Michigan, he could finish in the top three.

3. RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon
The Case For: Half the sports world might have been watching Alabama vs. LSU, but there was plenty of channel-flipping going on once word go out that Oregon was putting on an offensive show against USC. He had an hour to himself before the huge SEC matchup started up, and he didn't disappoint on the way to an epic 321 yards and five scores. The speedster is now the major favorite for the Doak Walker ranking second in the nation with 1,295 yards and 19 scores. Remember, in most games he hasn't played for more than a half.
The Case Against: Outside of the USC game, the huge yardage stats might not be there. As good as he has been, some Heisman voters will give some of the Duck offensive credit to Marcus Mariota or De'Anthony Thomas, while others might think of him as a system back.

2. LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
The Case For: Being the star at Notre Dame has its perks, but Te'o has earned the respect. The tone-setter for one of the nation's top defenses, Te'o has been everywhere with 87 tackles with seven tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and five interceptions. His two picks against Michigan set the tone, and his diving grab against Oklahoma put the game away.
The Case Against: The huge tackling numbers aren't there. He made a quiet seven stops against Pitt, and being 25th in the nation in stops isn't necessarily Heisman-worthy. He'll be everyone's No. 3 pick, but will he get any No. 1s?

1. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State
The Case For: There was a big question coming into the season whether or not the Kansas State passing game could work. Klein leads the nation in passing efficiency, bombing away without a problem and with no picks in the last six games. It's his running skills that make him a standout, taking off for 698 yards and 17 scores with four touchdowns against West Virginia and a tone-setting three against Miami. While he hasn't come up with a big performance against an elite defense, he was great against Oklahoma and has been ultra-steady throughout.
The Case Against: Is he really going to be rewarded for being above-average? He has been great overall, but beating West Virginia in his signature moment wasn't really that big a deal – everyone is getting fat against the Mountaineers.

Random Acts of Nutty … Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you (or vice versa) a.k.a. things I didn't feel like writing bigger blurbs for.

- The Virginia game got all the attention, but Sam Ficken and Penn State's kicking game has been a constant issue hitting 7-of-14 shots. However, Nittany Lion opponents have come up with just 5-of-11 field goals.

- Would Texas A&M roll through the Big 12 this season? Johnny Manziel, a tighter defense, and an improved coaching staff would've at least gotten the Aggies to the doorstep and a top three finish. Call it a toss-up if A&M and Kansas State played.

- Florida, at Georgia, at Mississippi State, Alabama and at South Carolina. Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley might be on a hot seat, but at least 100 teams would probably lose to all five of those SEC killers.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Winning Toledo on Tuesday … Underrated: Ball State vs. Toledo on Tuesday night
2) Overrated: Indiana's two-game winning streak … Underrated: Purdue's five-game losing streak
3) Overrated: Taylor Martinez's passing skills ... Underrated: Taylor Martinez's running skills
4) Overrated: Boise State as a possible BCS buster ... Underrated: Louisiana Tech as a possible BCS buster
5) Overrated: Arizona vs. USC ... Underrated: Arizona vs. UCLA

"If it were me, I'd bet everything. But that's me. I'm an aggressive gambler. Mr. Vegas. Come on. Go for it. Go for it. Yes, yes, there we go. I'm in." … YEEEESH. The double-digit late-season conference-game home dog theory was a disastrous 0-5 last week, sticking with it even though I knew Clemson was going to destroy Duke and Stanford was going to obliterate Colorado. I'm 25-18 ATS, and as much I want to bail on the DDHD, I'll give it one more shot for this year, while sprinkling in a few other picks.

- Virginia Tech +14 over Florida State
- Northwester +11 over Michigan (not a DDHD)
- Minnesota -3 over Illinois
- Alabama +13.5 over Alabama (not a DDHD)
- Boston College +19 over Notre Dame
- Temple +11 over Cincinnati
- Boise State -29 over Hawaii (enough is enough … this is a dog of a double-digit home dog)
- Texas State +20 over Louisiana Tech

Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … it couldn't hold up after the officials gave Nebraska a late pass interference call  

- Nov. 6, Part 1 - What more do you want from Oregon?