Tuesday Question: The Vote For The Heisman

Posted Nov 6, 2012

Tuesday Question: Who are the top five Heisman candidates?

By Richard Cirminiello

5. AJ McCarron, Alabama – McCarron authored his Heisman moment in Baton Rouge late Saturday night, but he won't have the numbers to win. He's a championship quarterback who's not ideally suited for individual honors. He'll have to "settle" for different hardware.

4. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State – If the Buckeyes weren't ineligible for the postseason, Miller would be getting a lot more attention as the linchpin for a 10-0 team. He'll win a Heisman Trophy, but just not in 2012.

3. RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon – It's impossible to ignore what Barner has done this season, especially in The Coliseum last Saturday. Still, no disrespect to the nation's No. 2 rusher, but wouldn't a ton of backs put up gaudy numbers in Chip Kelly's system?

2. LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame – If we're talking about the best player in college football, Te'o has to be at the forefront of the conversation. Had he turned pro in January, the unbeaten Irish are 6-3 right now.

1. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State – There are four weeks left in the season, and we're discussing Kansas State as a national championship contender. That alone is reason enough to hand Klein the hardware. He's got the numbers, but he's also the most valuable player in college football since Tim Tebow was in the Swamp.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

5) Marqise Lee, USC – His team is not having a great year, but Lee has been productive on a large scale, carrying USC for most of the season. Remember that Lee is doing what he's doing even though teammate Robert Woods has been poor and quarterback Matt Barkley has been decidedly mediocre in 2012. Lee should be in New York.

4) Manti Te'o, Notre Dame – Jarvis Jones might make a better NFL prospect, but Te'o has accomplished more than any other defensive player in the sport this season. Yes, Pittsburgh was able to run on Notre Dame at times this past Saturday, but the whole of Te'o's season still stacks up favorably compared to most.

3) Barrett Jones, Alabama – If we're talking about the most outstanding player in college football, really, why don't superior offensive linemen gain consideration? If Te'o, Ndamukong Suh, and a few other defensive players receive attention in the modern-day life of the Heisman award, why can't an elite center be given a ticket to New York? THIS man is the backbone of Alabama's offense, and quite possibly, the Tide's full roster of players.

2) Kenjon Barner, Oregon – There's a reason why Barner is ringing up huge numbers instead of De'Anthony Thomas. Oregon's system certainly puts running backs in position to succeed, but you have to be great in order to become that next great Oregon running back. Do keep that point in mind.

1) Collin Klein, Kansas State – The Heisman isn't an MVP award. We know that. However, Klein is the centerpiece of Kansas State's offense in much the same way that Robert Griffin III was the heart of Baylor's offense last year. Everything flows through and depends on Klein. Defenses still can't stop him. Barner needs Marcus Mariota to be good. Klein needs Klein to be good. There's a difference, a Heisman-winning difference, found in those realities.

Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

Top Five Heisman Candidates

It's election day and there will be many candidates for public office wearing a spot in the floorboards, grinding their nails to stubs, and twiddling nervous thumbs awaiting a lifetime turn at the fork in the road. Likewise, in honor of election day, here are some public candidates of another cloth. Your top five Heisman candidates are:

5. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State- The Buckeyes talent level is good, but it's not an undefeated 10-0 good. Miller is the engine that drives this car, and without him OSU has a couple losses, maybe more. He's got plenty of highlight moves and is averaging just shy of 300 yard per game, but this year is likely a set up campaign for next year.

4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame- Yes, he's that good of a defender that can change a game, and belongs in the team picture. The reality however, is that he doesn't get any love on the offensive side of the ball to be taken too seriously.

3. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama- The numbers aren't going to reach the level of past Heisman winners, but he's the guy on the best team that always seems to get the de-facto push. Zero interceptions to go against 19 TDs doesn't hurt. Neither does bringing his team back against LSU on Saturday in front of a national audience in prime-time.

2. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon- Barner interjected himself big-time into the front of race with a 321 yard, 5 TD performance against USC on Saturday. He'll need the same type of numbers in other showcase games to reel in the leader......

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State- He's everyone's leader in the clubhouse right now and for good reason. The numbers are there (1st in passing efficiency, 6th in scoring), the wins are there, and he is the heart and soul of K-State's dream season. Without him, the Wildcats would likely be looking up in the standings rather than being dead center in the sweet spot of the national title race.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

With the Heisman Trophy announcement less than six weeks away, what would the voting look like if the season ended after Saturday's games?

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel would have finished in fifth place. One of the most pleasant surprises in college football this year, Manziel has sparked the Aggies to a 7-2 record. A dual threat under center, Manziel leads the SEC in both rushing and total offense. While he's still behind the rest of the pack because of his struggles against the elite defenses of Florida and LSU, he could vault himself to the top of the list with a big game against Alabama this weekend.

Finishing one spot in front of Manziel would be Georgia's Jarvis Jones, who's clearly the best defensive player in the country. A disruptive force in the Bulldogs 3-4 scheme, Jones leads the nation in tackles for a loss and forced fumbles. Despite his excellence in virtually all facets of the game, he doesn't have much a chance to win the award because he plays on the wrong side of the ball. However, after his 13-tackle, 3-sack performance against Florida placed Georgia in the drivers' seat to win the SEC East, it's hard to imagine that he won't end up in New York City as a finalist.

Kansas State's Collin Klein would have finished third had the voting concluded on Saturday night. Klein is the nation's most complete QB, capable of beating any defense with his arm or his legs. He ranks third in the Big 12 in rushing, and leads the nation in both passing efficiency and passing yards per attempt. Unfortunately, he had a so-so game against Oklahoma, which puts him just slightly behind the other top contenders. But with TCU and Texas still on the schedule, he has plenty of time to make his case.

Thanks to a 325-yard, 5 TD effort against USC, Oregon's Kenjon Barner would have jumped all the way to second on the final ballot. As the most lethal weapon of college football's most explosive offense, Barner averages 143 yards per game and has scored 19 TDs, which is the second highest total in the land. More impressively, he's compiled these numbers in limited playing time, as Chip Kelly always empties the benches when the game gets out of hand. With games against Stanford, Oregon State, and the Pac 12 South Champion remaining, don't be surprised to see Barner hoist the Trophy if he continues to put up his video game-like numbers.

Alabama's AJ McCarron would win the Heisman Trophy had the hardware been awarded after Saturday night's game. No longer just a game manager, McCarron has taken a more active role in the Crimson Tide offense this season. Despite throwing the ball downfield more often, he's third in the nation in both passing efficiency and yards per attempt, and has yet to throw an interception.

However, it's the intangibles that set McCarron apart from the rest of the field. With the eyes of the entire college football world watching, he had the daunting task of marching the Crimson Tide offense 72 yards with just 1:34 remaining. After struggling for most of the evening, McCarron went 4-of-5 the final drive against (arguably) the best defense in the country. Sure, the game-winning TD came on screen pass, but the fact that LSU was blitzing in that situation shows how much respect the Tigers have for McCarron's ability.

If overcoming such a Herculean obstacle doesn't earn the distinction of "the nation's most outstanding player", what does?

By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_cfn

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Right now the little bronze man is CK's to lose. The only thing that could derail the man who's basically been to KSU what Cam Newton was to Auburn a few years ago? Health, as his status for this weekend is a mystery. Aside from that, this CK's fragrance is Heisman. Sounds like a musty smell, right?

2. Manti T'eo, LB, Notre Dame: The heartbeat of the Notre Dame revolution, T'eo did what so few elite players can...improved in his one flaw area, which was playing with the ball in the air. Entering his senior season with 0 INT's, he now has four. There's something to be said for that improvement and still being an elite player working harder to be even better.

3. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama: I refuse to only include skill position players because other guys do just as much work for no credit. Jones anchors the best offensive line in college football on and off the field, and even reportedly suggested the winning Bama pass against LSU this past weekend. If the Heisman is about outstanding players, truly, then he needs to be there.

4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: I'm taking Urban Meyer's lead on this one, himself calling the rapidly improving Miller a Heisman candidate and noting that he's one of the most talented players he's ever coached. And Meyer has coached some good ones. Number one draft picks and Heisman winners included. That's some high praise for the leader of the still unbeaten Buckeyes. The NCAA will really need to expedite another investigation soon to keep him out of NYC.

5. Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California: Lee is visually stunning to watch play football, a hybrid between one of those car commercials where two stiffs are driving an SUV at warp speed around some winding Nevada cliff scene and a greased sow. He's second in the nation in both receiving yards and catches, and then 11th in kickoff return average with a touchdown. Just an incredible individual talent with rubber ligaments it seems.