Rating The Pundits

Everybody loves to talk Heisman. It seems like every media pundit has an opinion. But who really knows what they are talking about?

Here’s a random sampling of what the mainstream–and not so mainstream–‘experts’ said during last year’s race. First, a few egregious offenders of sensibility:

While this is clearly not a mainstream list, we stumbled across this Heisman watch entry from Nov. 18 of last season on collegefootballwire.com.

Cute highlight:

3. Matt Leinhart, QB USC-Even though the Trojans have yet to lose a game this season, he never really took a firm lead in this race and now it seems as though it has slipped away from him. Big games against Notre Dame and UCLA to end the season could change that, however.

It’s clear that Matt Leinhart never really had a chance in this race.

CNN/SI’s Luke Winn completely mucked up his prediction on Dec. 5 of last year. With the Heisman ceremony just a week away, Winn picked a top five of Peterson, Smith, Bush, Arrington and White. The eventual winner? He was sixth on Winn’s list and, of course, that was after the Notre Dame game, a game in which Leinart didn’t win himself the Heisman. Of course, if Winn had gone with his original prediction, he might have looked a little better at the end.

We’re not holding our breath that Winn has learned anything from being so consistently wrong. Though his 2005 Heisman watch is conveniently conservative.

This one from CSTV is absolutely horrid.

Then there is the extrordinary Phil Steele, who puts together the finest college football preview magazine around. It’s a lovely publication with a writing style unlike anyone else’s. He loves to use the word ‘simply’ in front of his superlatives. As in: ‘Peterson came in as a true freshman and simply ran for 1,900 yards.’ Gotta love it.

And who doesn’t get a kick out of the PS#, the VHT, the HT, the LOS and all the other abbreviations he uses?

Alas, he doesn’t have much of a beat on the Heisman. Phil brags that he has the (to us dubious) distinction of picking the correct Heisman winner in ‘three of the past seven years’, which is a fine percentage for baseball, but not for quarterbacking. The funniest thing about Phil is that he includes as many candidates as possible on his list, enabling him to come back the next year and tout his prognosticating skills. This year’s shocking reach: West Virginia true freshman running back Jason Gwaltney is on his list of ‘long shots.’

Last year, Phil picked Hawaii’s Timmy Chang as his winner. That is perhaps the worst Heisman pick we have seen in our lifetime. But hey, we still love ya, Phil.

The best ones that we saw last year were Mike Woods of MSNBC, the ESPN Heisman Watch poll and collegefootballnews.com

It’s easier to make fun of the bad ones than the good ones, so we’ll let the good ones speak for themselves.

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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