Tuesday Question - Who's the Heisman No. 2?

Posted Nov 28, 2006

The Heisman race has been over for weeks, but the battle for second is heating up. Should Colt Brennan's numbers be enough to get him to New York? Did Brady Quinn do enough to overcome two high-profile losses? Has Mike Hart been overtaken, and has Darren McFadden made enough of a splash? Who should (not will) be No. 2, in the latest Tuesday Question.

Past TQs
- Michigan-OSU rematch?
- Michigan or Ohio State?
- Should Louisville be No. 3?
- The nat'l title game will be ...
- The best one-loss team
- Rule changes to help the flow
- The Midseason Stuff
- The real top five ranking
- The early coach of the year is ...?
- These three teams are for real, these three aren't
- After 2 weeks, who's better, who's worse?
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners
- 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team
- All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak       
Q: Who should (not will) finish second in the Heisman race?

A: I'm really struggling with this.

I haven't turned in my ballot, and I won't until after all the regular season games are over, but something wacky has to happen to make anyone other than Troy Smith the Most Outstanding College Football Player in the United States in 2006.

Michigan's Mike Hart has been my number two all season long, and he did nothing to diminish my belief that he was the underappreciated workhorse who not only made the Michigan offense go, but set the tempo for games for the defense. However, he's out of my top three, as is Brady Quinn, who was better than he might get credit for when all is said and done, but he lost his two big games in blowout.

There are only three spots on the ballot, and it's killing me not to put BYU's John Beck on there. He threw for 3,416 yards, 30 touchdowns, six interceptions and ran for five scores despite missing the Utah State game that would've fattened up the stats big time. His game-winner at Utah last week was a pure Heisman moment.

Going into the final weekend, my number three is Hawaii QB Colt Brennan. I know he has yet to beat a team with any sort of a defense, and he's fattening up in the WAC, but anyone who's dogging his season isn't watching him play. 51 touchdowns. 51 TOUCHDOWNS and 4,589 passing yards. He has thrown for over 400 in his last four games, and that's just because he was pulled early against New Mexico State and Idaho or he would've gone over 400 in nine straight.

I love Troy Smith, but if Arkansas RB Darren McFadden lights up Florida like a Christmas tree, I'm going to have to do some big-time thinking. He's the ultimate home-run threat, while he has proven to be amazing when lining up as a receiver, kick returner, or quarterback going five of five on the year for 70 yards and two touchdowns. This is Smith's year, and for that I'll give him my vote, but McFadden might turn out to be the best player.

Richard Cirminiello      
Q: Who should (not will) finish second in the Heisman race?

A: That’s really what this Heisman race has come down to, right?  ESPN will try to tell you otherwise during its promos and broadcast of the ceremony, but this competition is over.  Troy Smith took a commanding lead following the Michigan game and then put the trophy in a scarlet and gray Brinks truck after his closest competition failed to close the gap during this last pivotal weekend.  The only drama left centers on the margin of victory and the names of the finalists that’ll get a free trip to New York City.

There can only be one winner a week from Saturday, but don’t kid yourself—there’s still a lot of mileage to be had for the player and the school that has a student-athlete at the gala event.  That said, the first runner-up ought to be Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, who’s No. 5 nationally in all-purpose running while showing an uncanny ability to play big in big games and spark the Hogs when they’ve needed it most.  In key SEC games against Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and LSU, he accounted for nine touchdowns and averaged 168 yards rushing, numbers befitting a serious Heisman contender.  When Mississippi State pulled even two weeks ago, it was McFadden that put the Bulldog fans back in their seats with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.  Number three is a whole lot tougher.  One or two games don’t make a season, but Brady Quinn and Steve Slaton had their worst efforts in losses, which is too hard to overlook.  It’s tempting to go with Boise State’s Ian Johnson or Hawaii’s Colt Brennan for his numbers and importance to a winning program, but there is a serious question of competition.  It’s close, but I’d give the nod to Michigan RB Michael Hart, who possessed the numbers and the enormous value to a team that’s still in the national championship hunt.  He might not have the sex appeal of other candidates, but he is seventh in the country in rushing and without his consistency—no games under 91 yards rushing—the Wolverines probably wouldn’t have gotten to Columbus with a perfect record.     

John Harris         
Q: Who should (not will) finish second in the Heisman race?

A. Considering that Troy Smith losing the Heisman would be the biggest upset since Chaminade beat Ralph Sampson and Virginia in 1982…it’s time to move on to #2 and #3.

I haven’t had strong convictions throughout the season about anyone beyond Smith until this weekend.  For some reason, like the Back to the Future trilogy, it all came into view at the end.

At number two, I have Arkansas running back/multi-threat talent Darren McFadden.  I wish that he had been healthy enough to be at top speed against USC in the team’s opener, but he’s made up for missed time with a season that has been, well, wow – what can he do next?  Run, pass, returns, receptions, sell popcorn – the man has done it all against the best the SEC and the nation has to offer.  LSU’s #2 defense in the country?  He lit them up for 182 yards rushing, 33 passing and 7 receiving along with two rushing touchdowns.

At number three, I have Mike Hart from Michigan.  I didn’t have Hart in my top five much of the season, but after the Ohio State game, I moved him up the list.  Consistency and production are the buzzwords for Hart’s candidacy.  He didn’t run for less than 91 yards in a game, and had nine 100 yard games this season.  In the Big Ten, as a marked man, running for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns is worthy of the number three spot this year.  His performance against Ohio State (142 yards and three TDs) made me a firm believer in Hart and the fact that he deserves a chair next to Smith and McFadden in New York.

Matthew Zemek       
Q: Who should (not will) finish second in the Heisman race?

A: Darren McFadden should be second. He did everything against LSU but figure out a cure for cancer. That he can excel without a strong quarterback is testament to the fullness of his quality.

Pat White should be third. As said in a November 6 commentary, White breaks all the rules at the quarterback position. He can throw well in games, even though he only throws sparingly. He can carry an offense when Steve Slaton is out (though not when his line stinks up the joint, as was the case on Saturday against South Florida).