Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Who will win this year's Heisman Trophy?

Let the Heisman hype begin! I watched College Football Live last week and they had The Bachelor, Jesse Palmer, give his top 5 Heisman trophy candidates. I think Palmer is generally a pompous windbag and he only has his gig because he was on a "reality" television show, but it got me on the Heisman bandwagon. People always complain about Heisman hype beginning too early, but I'm going to call BS on that. It can never begin too early (watch out for Jake Heaps in 2012). So here is how I see the final standings of the Heisman trophy for the upcoming season - this is not a list of the ten best players in college football, but a list of where they will finish in the Heisman balloting. Let me know if you think I'm off base, and I know many of you will...

The elite:
1. Chris Wells, RB, The Ohio State
2007 Stats: 1609 rush. yds, 15 TD, 5.9 ypc.
Wells could be the best player in college football. As you can see, he put up some seriously impressive numbers last year while playing with a nagging ankle injury. He is healthy and will likely carry more of the load this season, so his numbers should jump. Wells is powerful and very decisive. He hits the hole quickly and has the power to make people miss. The important thing about Wells (and this hurt Darren McFadden last year) is that he plays big in big games. Look at his stats from The Ohio State's biggest games last year: vs. Wisconsin (173 yds, 3 TDs), Michigan (230 yds, 2 TDs), and vs. LSU (149 yds, 1 TD). It may hurt Wells that he doesn't really do much other than run the ball - he won't put up all-purpose yards like Maclin or Harvin, but he also doesn't have an offensive teammate to take some of the spotlight. That said, Beanie Wells will put up monstrous numbers this year and bring The Ohio State University another Heisman.

2. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
2007 Stats: 3286 pass. yds, 32 TD, 6 Int, 66.9 comp%; 895 rush. yds, 23 TD.
Anyone who says Tebow is underrated should be diagnosed with DSM-IV-TR code 318.1 for having severe mental retardation. I've actually heard people say that Tebow is overhyped and isn't a great passer. How does a 66.9 completion percentage sound to you? How about 3,286 yards and 32 passing TDs? Tebow was #2 in the country in passing efficiency last season. He's not just a running QB. Tebow is a stud, but he won't win back-to-back Heisman's for a few reasons: Wells will have a huge year, Tebow will not run the ball as much this year, Percy Harvin will get some of Tebow's votes, and Urban Meyer plans to platoon Tebow with another quarterback at times in order to keep Tebow fresh. Tebow will be just as good this year, but his stats won't be. (I know, please use the word Tebow less. Thank you.)

3. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech
2007 Stats: 5705 pass. yds, 48 TD, 14 Int, 71.8 comp%.
Harrell is a stud quarterback. He averaged 438 yards passing per game. Texas Tech always has quarterbacks who put up huge numbers, and yes, it is the system, but Harrell is really good. His stat line last year is probably better than I could do on NCAA 09. Harrell has a similar problem/benefit to that of Daniel and Tebow - Michael Crabtree is the best player on the Texas Tech team and he will certainly get some of the votes that would otherwise go to Harrell. Crabtree is ridiculous, and if Harrell is smart, which he is, he'll look his way constantly. Harrell will put up huge numbers this year with most of his offense returning and an o-line that is underrated. Harrell will lose votes because of Crabtree and the perception that he is a system quarterback, a la Colt Brennan.

4. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
2007 Stats: 1334 rush. yds, 14 TD, 5.4 ypc; 253 rec. yds.
Moreno seems to be the sexy pick this year. I like Moreno, but I don't see him winning the Heisman. Georgia goes up against some awesome defenses this year and Mike Bobo has said that he plans to open up the offense and allow Matthew Stafford to throw the ball more this season. Bobo has also installed some new packages for Caleb King, Moreno's backup, so that Moreno will not have to carry too heavy a load. All these factors lead me to believe that Moreno will not win the Heisman, but will finish near the top. Moreno put up impressive numbers last year, and he didn't start until game four (but he did get plenty of carries in the first three games). Moreno will put up big numbers and get some Heisman love, but it won't help that Chris Wells will put up huge numbers for another high-profile team.

5. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
2007 Stats: 4306 pass yds, 33 TD, 11 Int, 68.2 comp%; 218 rush. yds, 4 TD.
It still feels weird to see Missouri football as relevant. Daniel is a stud. He is similar to Wells in that he usually plays big in big games. Look at these numbers: vs. Illinois (359 yds, 3 TD), vs. Oklahoma (361 yds 1TD), and vs. Kansas (361 yds, 3 TD). Daniel plays in an offense that will allow him to put up huge numbers, but his running-mate Jeremy Maclin might take some of his votes. Daniel is impressive, but I'm even questioning putting him here over Crabtree.

Five who could end up in New York City
6. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
2007 Stats: 134 rec., 1962 rec. yds, 22 TD.
I think Crabtree is probably the best player in college football. His stats last season were ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that he was a freshman. Wow. Crabtree has everything - great hands, good speed, and ideal size. Watch a Crabtree highlight reel and see how many times he just goes up and pulls the ball down away from the defender. If he puts up similar numbers to last year, watch out.

7. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
2007 Stats: 858 rec. yds, 4 TD; 764 rush yds, 6 TD.
If Florida gets Harvin the ball more, he'll put up bigger numbers. Urban Meyer uses Harvin in a lot of ways, but he should be getting more touches in the passing game. I don't know that there is a more dynamic receiver in college football.

8. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri -
2007 Stats: 1055 rec. yds, 9 TD; 375 rush. yds, 4 TD; 24.1 yd ave on kick returns, 1 TD.
Maclin is amazingly fast and has great all-purpose numbers, but now teams know who he is and will be keying on him. He will still put up big numbers and could creep up this list.

9. Pat White, QB, West Virginia -
2007 Stats: 1724 pass. yds, 14 TD, 4 Int, 66.7 comp%; 1335 rush. yds, 14 TD.
If it weren't for Tebow, White would get more hype as a dual-threat QB. White needs to improve a lot as a passer (or at least throw the ball more) to end up higher on this list.

10. James Laurinaitis, LB, The Ohio State -
2007 Stats: 121 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 2 Int.
Defensive players don't win the Heisman unless they return punts or kickoffs, so Animal's son won't win the award, but he should be in the discussion.

Six guys who could make some noise but probably won't finish in the top 5:
Joe McKnight, RB, USC
Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State
Max Hall, QB, BYU
Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
George Selvie, DE, South Florida
Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan


Anonymous said...

I agree that TT won't repeat, but I think Moreno will win it, especially if Georgia gets to the BCS title game, which they will.