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2009 Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 31, 2009


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 puts his finger on the pulse of the chase in the 2009 Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown.

2009 Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown

Preseason

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. Remember, Tulane's Matt Forte and UCF's Kevin Smith each ran for over 2,000 yards two years and weren't within 5,000 yards of winning the Heisman. (They had to settle for becoming great NFL players and the money that comes with it.)

This isn't a ranking of the best players or the 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 categories).

No Current Chance To Win It, But Has Finalist Potential

QB Matt Barkley, Fr. USC

This Week:
At home vs. San Jose State.

The starting quarterback for USC is always on the preseason short list, but John David Booty and Mark Sanchez weren't close to getting to New York. However, Barkley is a better talent and he has a loaded team around him. He'll throw too many interceptions, but he'll have a spotlight game against Ohio State on September 12th and will be in the hunt for a finalist spot if he can keep the Trojans unbeaten and in the national title chase.

WR Dez Bryant, Jr. Oklahoma State

This Week:
At home vs. Georgia.
Last Year: 87 catches, 1,480 yards, 19 touchdowns, 17 punt returns, 305 yards, two touchdowns, four kickoff returns, 100 yards.

Michael Crabtree wasn't in the Heisman hunt even with all of his big numbers, so what chance does Dez Bryant have? The Cowboy star should be the nation's best wide receiver and he'll have plenty of chances to shine on national TV with battles against Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma to highlight an interesting schedule. If Bryant is the difference maker in wins over the top teams, and if he can come up with some big kick and punt returns, he could shoehorn his way into the top four in New York.

QB Todd Reesing, Sr. Kansas

This Week:
At home vs. Northern Colorado.
Last Year: 329-of-495, 3,888 yards, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 126 carries, 224 yards, four touchdowns

Reesing didn't get much Heisman love two years ago when he threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in KU's breakthrough season, and while he threw for 32 scores last year, his season was seen as a bit of a disappointment. With Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier back, Reesing has a great pair of receivers to throw to and he could flirt with the 40-touchdown pass mark.

QB Zac Robinson, Sr. Oklahoma State

This Week:
At home vs. Georgia.
Last Year: 204-of-314, 3,064 yards, 25 touchdowns, ten interceptions. 146 carries for 562 yards and eight touchdowns

The ringleader for one of the nation's top offenses, he'll have his chance to make a huge statement right away against Georgia and he could start to be talked about in the same breath as Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy. He'll have the stats, he'll run for plenty of yards, and he'll have some monster games, but it'll all come down to wins. If he's the star among the OSU stars, and if the Cowboys get to the Big 12 championship, he'll be a finalist.
 

QB Tyrod Taylor, Jr. Virginia Tech

This Week:
 Alabama in Atlanta
Last Year: 99-of-173, 1,036 yards, two touchdowns, seven interceptions, 147 carries, 738 yards, seven touchdowns

He threw two, count them, two touchdown passes last season and he's a Heisman candidate?! Maybe. A tremendous runner who had to split time over his first few years, Taylor showed he could lead the way to big wins with a scintillating performance against Boston College in the ACC title game, even though his stats weren't all that great, and if the Hokies can beat Alabama to start the season, he'll be the reason. If Tech is in the national title hunt, there might be a grass roots movement for Taylor as a finalist.

QB Juice Williams, Sr. Illinois

This Week:
Missouri in St. Louis
Last Year: 219-of-381, 3,173 yards, 22 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 175 carries, 719 yards, five touchdowns

Everyone knows Juice can run, he has 2,050 career yards with 14 touchdowns, but he has improved his passing by leaps and bounds after struggling through his freshman season. He might have the best receiving corps in the country to work with, led by future NFL millionaire Arrelious Benn, and he should put up huge numbers. He'll have to cut down on the interceptions and he'll have to prove he can be a consistent winner, but he has the talent and the team around him to lead the Illini to a second Rose Bowl in three seasons.

On The Radar, But The World Is Looking For More

RB Jahvid Best, Jr. California

This Week:
At home vs. Maryland.
Last Year: 194 carries, 1,580 yards, 15 touchdowns, 27 catches, 246 yards, one score

Marshawn Lynch and J.J. Arrington never came close to the Heisman despite putting up huge numbers, but Best might finally be able to bring the attention to Berkeley. He got a little bit of national attention with a 311-yard, four touchdown day against Washington and he should have several big games for a Cal team good enough to win the Pac 10 title. There are two big questions: Can he stay healthy, and can he produce against the top teams? He was held to 37 yards by USC last year and will have to come up big in a win over the Trojans to have any shot at Heisman consideration.

RB Jonathan Dwyer, Jr. Georgia Tech

This Week:
At home vs. Jacksonville State.
Last Year: 200 carries, 1,395 yards, 12 touchdowns, eight catches, 209 yards, one touchdown

The sky's the limit for a top back in the Paul Johnson rushing offense. Dwyer isn't just considered a good back in a quirky system; he's a first round draft pick talent who should be a threat for 2,000 yards now that everyone knows what they're doing. He ran for 100 yards in nine games, and while he was held in check by Virginia Tech, Virginia, and LSU, he was steady. He'll have a few jaw-dropping games with 200 yards or more and he should be among the nation's leaders in yards per carry.

RB Kendall Hunter, Jr. Oklahoma State

This Week:
At home vs. Georgia.
Last Year: 241 carries for 1,555 yards and 16 touchdowns, 22 catches for 198 yards and a score

Very fast, very productive, and very dangerous, Hunter is a threat to run for 2,000 yards if he gets enough work. Oklahoma State will spread the ball around and will be up early and often against most teams, but he'll be a lock for 100 yards per game and he'll be the centerpiece of the ground game whenever Dez Bryant isn't making big plays. 

QB Jevan Snead, Jr. Ole Miss

This Week:
At Memphis
Last Year: 184-of-327, 2,762 yards, 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 60 rushing yards, three touchdowns

Ole Miss is the hot program coming into the season after a breakthrough 2009, and Snead is getting more than just attention at the collegiate level. There's a groundswell of thought that he has the potential to become the best NFL quarterback prospect going into the 2010 Draft, but first he has to live up to the hype and make sure the Rebels play up to the high expectations.

The True Favorites

QB Sam Bradford, Jr. Oklahoma
This Week:
BYU in Arlington
Last Year: 328-of-483, 4,720 yards, 50 touchdowns, eight interceptions, five rushing scores

Bradford put up ridiculous numbers as he led Oklahoma to a record-setting season, but are voters going to be interested in making him a two-time Heisman winner? If he does what he did last year, then yes. At the very least, he should be a finalist and he'll be in the spotlight all season long as a possible No. 1 overall draft pick if he chooses to come out after his junior season. He might have a new line in front of him and several new receivers, and he might spend a lot of his time handing off to Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray, but he'll have OU in the national championship chase all season long.

QB Terrelle Pryor, Soph. Ohio State
This Week:
At home vs. Navy.
Last Year: 100-of-165, 1,311 yards, 12 touchdowns, four interceptions, 139 carries, 631 yards, six touchdowns

And now he can throw. Given the keys to the car as a true freshman, Pryor wasn't allowed to make too many risky throws and spent most of his time making big plays with his legs. He spent the off-season working on becoming a more polished passer, and while he won't be Sam Bradford right away, he'll be a far more dangerous all-around weapon. It's not a question of if, but when he becomes a superstar, and if he's able to lead the Buckeyes to a win over USC, he'll be on everyone's short list for the Heisman.

QB Tim Tebow, Sr. Florida

This Week:
At home vs. Charleston Southern.
Last Year: 192-of-298, 2,746 yards, 30 touchdowns, four interceptions, 176 carries, 673 yards, 12 touchdowns

Are voters going to want to make him a two-time winner? If he does what he's supposed to do and he leads the loaded Gators to the BCS Championship game, then yes. He has the legendary reputation, he has the résumé, and he'll have the numbers to get the hardware. No, he won't be a rushing star like he was two years ago, but he'll plow his way for yards when he has to. The big question will be whether or not the passing numbers stay as efficient without Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy to work with.

And The Current Leader In The Clubhouse Is ...

QB Colt McCoy, Sr. Texas

This Week:
At home vs. ULM.
Last Year: 332-of-433, 3,859 yards, 34 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 136 carries, 561 yards, 11 touchdowns

Going into the season, McCoy is the odds-on favorite mainly because it's his turn with Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford having already won the Award. Texas is also the benefit-of-the-doubt team going into the season after getting the short end of the stick in the Big 12 South and national title shakeout. He's a good guy who's a favorite of the media, he has carried the Longhorns with his legs as well as his arm, and he'll have every opportunity to be the leader in the race all season long if Texas keeps winning. Of course, if Sam Bradford and Oklahoma win the Red River Rivalry, the campaign will be over.