2008 Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown
Forget about that Sun Belt running back who's putting up monster numbers. The star dual threat MAC quarterback doesn't have a shot. The Heisman goes to the best quarterback or running back from a top BCS team. Pete Fiutak gives the first look at the chase in the 2008 Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown.
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.
Remember, Tulane's Matt Forte and UCF's Kevin Smith each ran for over
2,000 yards last year and weren't within 5,000 yards of winning the
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 change week after week with players moving in and out of the
No Current Chance To Win It, But Has Finalist
RB Donald Brown, Jr. Connecticut
Last Week: Brown ran 33 times for 161 yards and a touchdown in the
38-13 loss to North Carolina.
The nation's leading rusher hasn't made a blip on the national
scene, but that could quickly change if he's able to lead the team to
some big Big East wins over the next several weeks. If he continues to
averaged 178 yards per game and if UConn bounces back from the loss to
North Carolina and starts winning, he could be a sleeper for a finalists
QB David Johnson, Sr. Tulsa
Johnson completed 13-of-25 passes for 177 yards and four touchdowns with
an interception in the 63-28 win over Rice.
Give the sports world about a month, after Tulsa obliterates SMU,
UTEP and UCF to go 8-0, and then the hype will kick in for the nation's
No. 1 offense. Fine, so the coaching and the system have a lot to do
with it, Paul Smith led the nation's best offense last year and no one
had any clue who he was, but Johnson has been special so far. The
nation's leader in passing efficiency needs a big win over Arkansas on
November 1st, he has finalist potential in a Colt Brennan sort of way.
RB LeSean McCoy, Soph. Pitt
Last Week: McCoy ran 28 times for 142 yards and
two touchdowns, and caught three passes for 23 yards in the 26-21 win over South
Pitt's starting to get really hot just at the right time. McCoy falls
under the pro prospect category. As long as Pitt keeps winning, McCoy
will get more and more press as he should be a top 20 selection if he
comes out in next year's draft. If he carries the Panthers to a Big East
title, he'll be a fringe finalist candidate.
QB Zac Robinson, Jr. Oklahoma State
Last Week: Robinson completed 10-of-13 passes for 186 yards and
three touchdowns, and ran 15 times for 66 yards and two scores in the
56-28 win over Texas A&M
Call this a one-week trial period. Someone from the Oklahoma State
offense has to be represented, and Dez Bryant is still too much of an
unknown. If Robinson blows up and beats Chase Daniel and Missouri in
Columbus this week, he'll suddenly be in the thick of the chase. He's
currently third in the nation in passing efficiency.
RB Charles Scott, Jr. LSU
Scott ran 27 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the 34-24 win
over Mississippi State two weeks ago.
If Scott has a big day against Florida this week and LSU wins, he'll
go from being one of the SEC's better kept national secrets to a major
factor in the Heisman chase. The nation's seventh-leading rusher, and
the SEC's leader, has been consistent, but he needs a blow up game to be
seen as the face of a national title contender.
On The Radar, But The World Is Looking For
QB Max Hall, Jr. BYU
23-of-37 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions
in the 34-14 win over Utah State.
Ultra-efficient and a fantastic leader for the high-octane Cougar
attack, Hall will have a shot to be a Heisman finalist if he can shine
on national television against TCU in two weeks and against Utah at the
end of the year. However, he has to lead the team to a BCS game and his
numbers have to keep going up to be a finalist.
WR Jeremy Maclin, Soph. Missouri
five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, and ran three times for 15
returned two kickoffs for 56 yards in the 52-17 win over Nebraska.
It takes something extra special to be a wide receiver/kick returner
and be in the hunt for the Heisman. Florida's Percy Harvin will be on
this list before the season is over, and Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant
deserves to be in the Heisman hunt, as well. But it's Maclin who has the
buzz at the moment and will have the spotlight on over the next few
weeks. He won't win the Heisman considering he's on the same team as
Chase Daniel, but he could end up in New York if Mizzou stays in the
national title hunt.
RB Knowshon Moreno, Soph. Georgia
Last Week: Moreno ran nine times for 41 yards and a touchdown in the
41-30 loss to Alabama two weeks ago.
Moreno's campaign took a huge hit with the loss to Alabama, but a
few big games, including back-to-back dates against LSU and Florida,
could make him this year's Darren McFadden (if it's not Beanie Wells)
and give him the honor of being the nation's best and most respected
football player. That doesn't necessarily translate into winning the
Heisman, but if Georgia gets back in the national title chase, Moreno
can make a strong run.
QB Mark Sanchez, Jr. USC
Last Week: Sanchez completed 19-of-28 passes for 332 yards and three
touchdowns in the 44-10 win over Oregon.
He's the starting quarterback for USC. By default that makes him one of
the favorites for the Heisman. Even though he threw a bad pick, he
didn't get too much, if any of the blame for the loss to Oregon State.
Instead, he was seen as the guy who tried to kick-start his punchless
team. If he has more Oregon-like games the rest of the way, especially
against Cal and Notre Dame, he'll be in New York.
QB Tim Tebow, Jr. Florida
Last Week: Tebow completed 17-26 passes for 217 yards and two
touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 12 times for 32 yards, in
the 38-7 win over Arkansas.
Still in the hunt only because he won it last year, Tebow hasn't
been anywhere near the same statistical dynamo. His rushing yardage is
down, but he leads the SEC in passing efficiency and hasn't been bad by
any means. However, he needs a big performance against LSU this week, he
needs to rock against Georgia on November 1st, and he needs to take the
Gators to the SEC title game.
RB Beanie Wells, Jr. Ohio State
Wells ran 22 times for 168 yards and a touchdown in the 20-17 win over
Heisman campaigns usually take a sweeping left turn around the
midseason. Last year, Tim Tebow was an interesting curiosity, but he
didn't start to kick in the campaign until November. Beanie already had
one jaw-dropping nationally televised performance in the win over
Wisconsin, and he'll have more than his share of chances to get even
more publicity over the final six games.
QB Pat White, Sr. West Virginia
White completed 12-of-17 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and
ran 11 times for 59 yards in three quarters of play in the 24-17 win
This is a nod out of pure and utter respect. White should've been a
finalist last year, and he likely would've won it had the voting been
done after the bowls. Unfortunately, he can't seem to stay healthy this
year and the Mountaineers are merely average. A great game in a win over
Auburn in two weeks would get the Heisman campaign going, but if he
doesn't take his team to the BCS, he's not going to New York.
The True Favorites
QB Graham Harrell, Sr. Texas Tech
Last Week: Harrell completed 38-of-51 passes for 454 yards and six
touchdowns, and he ran for a score, in the 58-28 win over Kansas State.
It's Colt Brennan against a real schedule. The offense is just
starting to heat up, and the ring-leader of the nation's best passing
attack will start to be seen more as a real, live Heisman contender if
he can pull off wins at Kansas and against Texas over the next month.
The stats will get him in the door, but he's not closing without the
QB Colt McCoy, Jr. Texas
McCoy completed 23-of-30 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns with
two interceptions, and ran 11 times for 39 yards, in the 38-14 win over
McCoy would deserve the Heisman if the season ended right now. He's
fourth in the nation in passing efficiency, 10th in total offense leads
the team in rushing, and has completed a ridiculous 79% of his passes
with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions. Of course, the Heisman goes
bye-bye if he can't beat Oklahoma.
QB Sam Bradford, Soph. Oklahoma
Last Week: Bradford completed 23-of-31 passes for 372 yards and two touchdowns
with an interception. He also ran for a touchdown in the 49-14 win over
Bradford holds the honor being the guy everyone kind of wanted to vote
for as a finalist last year, but got pushed out because there were so
many other choices. No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency and
seventh in total offense, he has been flawless outside of the two
interceptions he threw against Cincinnati. On the year he has completed
73% of his passes for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns with three picks.
RB Javon Ringer, Sr. Michigan State
25 times for 91 yards in
the win over Iowa.
His workhorse ability has led the way to big numbers, but the
nation's second leading rusher is being beaten on. Iowa threw everyone
by Nile Kinnick at Ringer last week and held him in check. Now the
Spartan star has to come up with big performances against Northwestern,
Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin to go from being on everyone's radar
screen to the finalist forefront.
And The Current Leader In The Clubhouse Is ...
QB Chase Daniel, Sr. Missouri
completed 18-of-23 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns in the
52-17 win over Nebraska.
But it's close. Colt McCoy deserves it right now and it would likely
be a coin flip between Daniel and Sam Bradford for this spot, but Daniel
is the 2007 finalist who's having an even better year. Fourth in the
nation in total offense and fifth in passing efficiency, he's been
razor-sharp as the conductor of the nation's No. 3 offense. He threw an
interception against Illinois in the season opener and hasn't thrown a
pick since. His number are only telling part of the story. If he leads
the Tigers to a spot in the BCS title game, he'll be the odds-on
favorite to win the prize.