…come out of nowhere to become a Heisman candidate
LeGarrette Blount, Oregon. Am I the only one that thinks Blount is set to have a blowout season? According to my data recovery, he had 1,002 yards and 17 touchdowns last year while splitting time with Jeremiah Johnson. He’ll get the lion’s share of the carries this season and should be aided by the continued improvement of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. If he can handle the load, I think Blount, a senior, has a chance to lead the nation in rushing.
…see his Heisman campaign crumble by October
C.J. Spiller. Clemson faces Georgia Tech, Boston College and TCU in consecutive weeks in September. Unless the Tigers get good early production from the quarterback spot, it might be tough going for Spiller, who will be the main focus of these defenses.
…put up Heisman-like numbers while getting scant Heisman attention
Case Keenum, Houston. He already has a 5,000-yard, 44-touchdown season under his belt. If he has an encore performance in 2009, he’ll be well on his way to becoming the NCAA’s all-time passing yardage leader. Will anyone notice?
…be incorrectly labeled a Heisman candidate
Taylor Mays, USC. Great player, great talent, could be the first pick in the next NFL draft and the first three-time All-American at USC since Richard Wood in 1974. But he doesn’t return kicks, doesn’t play offense and didn’t have an interception, sack, forced fumble, recovered fumble or blocked kick last season. He’ll have enough trouble beating out Eric Berry for the Thorpe Award, but someone will still call him a Heisman candidate at some point.
…get Lou Holtz’s Heisman vote
Jimmy Clausen, of course! Seriously, though, I expect the Irish quarterback to have a big year, which should result in some Heisman buzz here and there (I’m not even sure Holtz has a vote, actually).
…emerge as the front runner for 2010
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State. It’s scary to think how good Pryor is going to be. He’ll have the hang of this college football thing by midseason and could sneak into the top five of the Heisman vote if the Buckeyes can get to the Rose Bowl.
…have his Heisman campaign hurt by his team’s performance
Eric Berry, Tennessee. No matter how good he is, Berry won’t be able to stop that beatdown that is coming when the Vols head to the Swamp in week three. To win the Heisman, you’ve got to play for a good team and Tennessee will be lucky to make it to a bowl.
…win the Heisman
Colt McCoy, Texas. The last player to return for another season after accumulating a higher Heisman point total than McCoy (without winning) was O.J. Simpson, who was the runner up in 1967. Of course, Simpson won his own Heisman in 1968 and now McCoy is the odds-on favorite in 2009.