Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown
Boise State RB Ian Johnson
Boise State RB Ian Johnson
Posted Sep 5, 2007

There's no need for the deep sleepers or the top defensive players here. When it comes to the Heisman chase, it's mostly up to quarterbacks and running backs from the top teams, and the statistical monsters, like Boise State RB Ian Johnson. Welcome to week one of the Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown.

2007 Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown

Week One

By Pete Fiutak   

Let's cut through the garbage, the pomp, the circumstance, the PR BS, and the hype surrounding the greatest individual award in all of sports. The Heisman Trophy goes to the most celebrated quarterback or running back from a top BCS team or a top 25 non-BCS program, and while others will be acknowledged here if they have any prayer of potentially finishing in the top five, it'll take something extraordinary to get on this list. Let's not pretend the hot Sun Belt back or the dual threat MAC quarterback has an honest chance.

This isn't a ranking of the best players or top NFL prospects. This is an attempt to put the finger on the pulse of the Heisman chase. So without further ado, here are the current favorites AT THE MOMENT (and this will changed week after week with players moving in and out of categories).

No Current Chance To Win It, But Has Finalist Potential

RB Yvenson Bernard, Sr. Oregon State

Last Week: 29 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns, with four catches for 23 yards, in the 24-7 win over Utah
Bernard barely makes the cut, and that's not right. He's one of the nation's most complete backs, able the run inside or out, catch, and block, and he'll get several high profile games in the near future to stay on this list. In the meantime, his stats have to consistently stay high.

QB Chase Daniel, Jr. Missouri

Last Week: 37 of 54 for 359 yards and three touchdowns in the 40-34 win over Illinois
Currently second in the nation in passing behind Martin Hankins of Memphis, the Tiger star has the targets and the offensive system to put up huge numbers. His big test will come in a few weeks against Nebraska. If you're looking for a comparison, think of him as the poor man's version of former Purdue QB Drew Brees.

RB Justin Forsett, Sr. California

Last Week: 26 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown, along with a catch for 49 yards, in the 45-31 win over Tennessee
While Forsett's not flashy like past Cal stars J.J. Arrington or Marshawn Lynch, he'll put up big numbers in one of the nation's most prolific offenses. Consider him the West Coast version of Mike Hart; more of a most valuable player than a most outstanding player.

RB Mike Hart, Sr. Michigan

Last Week: 23 carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-32 loss to Appalachian State
While his Heisman hopes went bu-bye with the loss to ASU, he still has a shot to get to New York if Michigan gets back on track and he becomes the catalyst of a Big Ten title season. Before the Ohio State game last year, Michigan won 17 of 18 games when Hart ran for 100 yards or more, and now has lost two in a row when he's gone over the century mark.

QB Tim Tebow, Soph. Florida

Last Week: 13 of 17 for 300 yards and three touchdowns, along with eight carries for 38 yards and a touchdown, in the 49-3 win over Western Kentucky
As long as Florida is unbeaten and as long as it's in the national title hunt, Tebow will creep up into Heisman consideration. He's currently second in the nation in passing efficiency behind Louisville's Brian Brohm.

QB Andre Woodson, Sr. Kentucky

Last Week: 20 of 29 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in the 50-10 win over Eastern Kentucky
Only getting consideration because he's become the hot quarterback (think a smaller, more accurate, less powerful passer than JaMarcus Russell) among the NFL types, he'll need to come up with big stats and bigger wins to be considered a true Heisman contender. Playing in the SEC, and with a date against Louisville looming in a few weeks, he'll get his chances to shine.

On The Radar, But The World Is Looking For More

RB P.J. Hill, Jr. Wisconsin

Last Week: 21 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the 42-21 win over Washington State
As everyone looks to find someone from Wisconsin to be in the Heisman hunt, Hill fits the bill after rushing for 1,569 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman. This year, the numbers might not quite be there with the emergence of Lance Smith to take some work away, and a running quarterback in Tyler Donovan to snare some short rushing touchdowns. However, if Hill rumbles against the top teams later in the year, and if he gets into the top five statistical backs, he'll be in the finalist mix.

WR/PR DeSean Jackson, Jr. California
Last Week: Four catches for 45 yards, one carry for 21 yards, and one punt return for 77 yards and a score in the 45-31 win over Tennessee
He's likely to be out of the mix in a hurry unless he starts to light it up as a receiver; no one with a brain is going to kick the ball his way. To be in the Heisman race, he needs to come up with a highlight play every week to make up for the lack of statistics.

RB Marlon Lucky, Jr. Nebraska

Last Week: 30 carries for 233 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Nevada
If you're the nation's leading rusher, you get noticed. If you're the nation's leading rusher and you play for Nebraska, you're a major player in the race. Lucky has never been a workhorse of any sort, and has been a disappointment after all the prep hype, but his opening day performance against Nevada perked up national interest.

QB Colt McCoy, Soph. Texas

Last Week: 22 of 33 for 223 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions, with 11 rushing yards, in the 21-13 win over Arkansas State
McCoy should've entered the Heisman discussion late last year before getting hurt against Kansas State, and now his only shot of getting considered is if Texas beats Oklahoma and gets into the national title chase. For whatever reason, deserving Texas players (Vince Young and Cedric Benson being the prime examples) tend to be overlooked in the Heisman race.

RB DeMarco Murray, RFr. Oklahoma

Last Week: 17 carries for 87 yards and five touchdowns, along with two catches for 13 yards, in the 79-10 win over North Texas
Think of him as a smoother, faster (much faster) Maurice Clarett without the baggage. The star of the Oklahoma off-season scored at will when given the chance against the hapless Mean Green of North Texas, and while OU has too many backs for him to get the overall stats needed to be in the Heisman race, he's serving notice for the next few years.

QB Matt Ryan, Sr. Boston College

Last Week: 32 of 52 for 408 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions in the 38-28 win over Wake Forest
Currently second in the nation in total offense behind Hawaii's Colt Brennan, Ryan will put up big numbers as the triggerman for a solid BC offense. Acknowledged as the ACC's best quarterback, he'll likely move up the NFL draft charts faster than the Heisman rankings.

The True Favorites

QB John David Booty, Sr. USC

Last Week: 21 of 32 for 206 yards and three touchdowns with an interception in the 38-10 win over Idaho.
Booty's worth will be as a "game manager" for the nation's top team. His numbers won't even come remotely close to other top statistical quarterbacks, but if he can navigate the Trojans to the BCS Championship game, he'll be in New York as the representative of the program.

QB Brian Brohm, Sr. Louisville
Last Week: 16 of 21 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns, and one rush for a one-yard touchdown, in the 73-10 win over Murray State
He should be an Oakland Raider right now. Brohm currently leads the nation in passing efficiency, but to jump-start his campaign, he has to be great against Kentucky in two weeks.

RB Ian Johnson, Jr. Boise State
Last Week: 18 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns in the 56-7 win over Weber State
Basically, Johnson showed up for the first half against Weber State, ripped off a few scores, and took a seat. He'll be among the nation's leading scorers all season long, and he should blow up yardage-wise behind an incredible offensive line. To have any hope of being in the Heisman chase, he needs to go nuts against Washington this week.

RB Darren McFadden, Jr. Arkansas

Last Week: 24 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for 30 yards and one pass for a 42-yard touchdown in the 46-26 win over Troy
Arkansas has to be in the SEC title race again for McFadden to get the love he received last year. While that might not happen, his overall numbers, and importance to the team, could get him back to New York if Felix Jones doesn't take away too many yards and touchdowns. He'll make several highlight shows when he lines up under center in the Wildcat package. In the end, he'll have to settle for being a top five draft pick in 2008 and a multi-millionaire.

RB Ray Rice, Jr. Rutgers

Last Week: 25 carries for 184 yards and three touchdowns in the 38-3 win over Buffalo
There's no questioning his production, and being in the New York media market will certainly help, but his only shot will be if he's among the top five statistical runners. He'll have to go nuts in the nationally televised big games, but until then, he'll be a 100-yard machine against teams like Navy and Norfolk State.

RB Steve Slaton, Jr. West Virginia

Last Week: 16 carries for 109 yards and three touchdowns, along with two catches for 61 yards and a score
Ho hum. All Slaton did was average over nine yards every time he touched the ball against Western Michigan with three touchdowns. As voters try to figure out if he's the better choice over teammate Pat White, he'll keep cranking out huge runs, highlight reel performances, and lots and lots of touchdowns. The junior has scored 40 times in his last 21 games.

QB Pat White, Jr. West Virginia

Last Week: 10 of 18 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, with 97 rushing yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, in the 62-24 win over Western Michigan.
That there's even a debate over who's the better player between White and Steve Slaton shows why neither can win, but make no mistake about it; White's the one who makes the offense go. His passing appears to have gotten better, while he remains the slipperiest-running quarterback in America.

And The Current Leader In The Clubhouse Is ...

QB Colt Brennan, Sr. Hawaii

Last Week: 34 of 40 for 416 yards and six touchdowns, and 23 rushing yards, in just over a half in the 63-6 win over Northern Colorado
Think of it this way; who wins the 2006 Heisman if the voting was done after the bowls (like it should be)? Troy Smith probably doesn't win it after the way he played against Florida. Darren McFadden is out after the loss to Wisconsin. Mike Hart doesn't win after losing to USC. Brady Quinn is out after the LSU loss. John David Booty and JaMarcus Russell would be in the discussion, but Brennan, after throwing for 559 yards and five scores in a bowl win over Arizona State, would've probably gotten it.

After bombing away last year for 5,549 yards and 58 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions (and adding 366 rushing yards and five scores), while completing 73% of his passes, the buzz is there that'll make everyone pay attention to him all year. His numbers will be too astronomical to ignore.