Things are set up nicely for BYU’s Max Hall to make a dark horse Heisman run.
Keep in mind that BYU is really the only school from a non-major/non-BCS conference to produce a Heisman winner (remembering also that Ivy League schools and the service academies were major players back in the old days). And besides Ty Detmer’s 1990 win, Cougar quarterbacks have also finished third in 1979 (Marc Wilson) and 1981 (Jim McMahon), second in 1983 (Steve Young), a third in 1985 (Robbie Bosco) and 3rd in 1991 (Detmer).
So the tradition of BYU quarterbacks challenging for the Heisman is quite rich.
Hall’s got his work cut out for him, that is for sure. Especially with names like Tebow, McCoy and Bradford coming back. But if there is to be any sort of non-BCS presence in the Heisman race this year, Hall has the best shot at getting it done.
The big reason for this: BYU’s schedule.
It’s a high-risk/high-reward opportunity for Hall. He’ll get a chance to go up against the reigning Heisman winner, Sam Bradford, and Oklahoma in the opener on Sept. 5 in Dallas. If BYU somehow pulls off the upset, Hall will be instantly vaulted into the Heisman conversation. Of course, if the Cougars lose, he’ll be instantly relagated to the Heisman ash heap.
Beat the Sooners, however, and two weeks later Hall again has a chance to shine against Florida State. The Seminoles may not be the elite team they once were, but they are still a ‘name’ opponent. If BYU wins again, then Hall would have to be considered a serious Heisman contender.
He’ll have two more legitimate chances the rest of the way to make his case against respected teams (TCU and Utah). It would obviously help if BYU won all its games and if some of the other top contenders stumbled a bit.
I don’t see all this as likely, but stranger things have happened. One thing is for sure: Hall will put up big passing numbers and since he plays for a team that has some cache among the Heisman electorate, he can’t be completely discounted as a candidate.