The HP Heisman Watch

Now for my weekly Heisman Watch.  This is my list of the players with the best chance of actually winning the Heisman.  It is a projection of how the race is most likely to take shape based on current information.  From what I see, there are only four players out there who can still win the Heisman:

1. Colt McCoy, Texas–McCoy holds a slight edge after completing 16 of 21 for 171 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions against Oklahoma State.  He also rushed for 34 yards.  He’s on pace to complete 72 percent of his passes for 3,212 yards, 24 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions by the time of the Heisman vote.  While these aren’t spectacular numbers in the context of recent winners, it is probably good enough to win the trophy this season, especially given his status as the returning Heisman runner-up who is the senior quarterback for a (likely) undefeated team.  If he doesn’t win, it will be because one of the other candidates finishes the season in a markedly stronger fashion and has a clear-cut case for the trophy.  However, I do think McCoy is set up nicely to pick up strong support due to his being the top candidate West of the Mississippi.  He also benefits from the possibility that the two SEC candidates could sap each other’s strength in the voting.      

2. Mark Ingram, Alabama–Ingram sat out last week as Alabama had a bye.  He maintains his status as a strong Heisman contender, but this Saturday’s game versus LSU could make or break his chances.  He’s got 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, so he’s on pace to have 1,631 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns by the time of the Heisman vote.  A big game against LSU could put him in clear control of this race, but a poor game could end his run.

3. Tim Tebow, Florida–Tebow had maybe his best game of the season against Georgia, throwing for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 15 of 21 passing, while also rushing for 85 yards and two scores.  He’s now on pace to have the following numbers at Heisman voting time:  2,149 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions, plus 897 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.  The Gators don’t have any marquee games left on the regular season schedule, so he’ll need to accumulate more yardage away from the spotlight before the (likely) mega-matchup against Alabama in the SEC title game.  The best chance for Tebow to win the Heisman is for Ingram to be eliminated as a viable candidate before that title game and then for him to lead the Gators to the win against the Tide.  That will make Tebow the main SEC candidate and help give voters more reason to rally his way.    

4. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame–Clausen lurks in the background of this race, waiting for something to happen to the other candidates.  He’s the stat king of the bunch and is coming off a game against WSU where he went 22 of 27 for 268 yards with two touchdowns and no picks.  He is on pace to have 3,477 yards, 27 touchdown passes and just three interceptions by the time of the Heisman vote.  These numbers are superior to all the other top candidates in the race, but he’s still hampered by the perception that Notre Dame hasn’t beaten a good team yet.   His best chance of winning comes if he finishes the season strong–with the Irish going 10-2–and Alabama and Florida both lose (with Tebow and Ingram taking major hits to their candidacies).  In that scenario, he’d have a chance to steal the race from McCoy, whose numbers pale in comparison and whose schedule wasn’t exactly the toughest, either.

The race could come down to which school makes the best case for its candidate, which is why the campaigns need to start heating up.

If the vote were held today

1. Mark Ingram, Alabama

2. Tim Tebow, Florida

3. Colt McCoy, Texas

4. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame

5. Case Keenum, Houston

6. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska

7. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

8. C.J. Spiller, Clemson

9. Eric Berry, Tennessee

10. Golden Tate, Notre Dame

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, 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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9 Responses to The HP Heisman Watch

  1. sandymex November 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    According to Sagarin, Tebow has played the toughest schedule of the 4 major candidates. With the exception of Ingram (who will face the Gators), doesn’t Tebow have the toughest remaining schedule? Unless McCoy is spectacular against a lousy remaining schedule, the guy who wins the SEC championship will be the Heisman front-runner.

  2. F November 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    Touting Tebow’s remaining schedule doesn’t seem like the best way to promote his campaign…
    Tebow remaining schedule (Sagarin ranks)
    127 – Vandy
    44 – South Carolina
    132 – Florida International
    36 – Florida State

  3. F November 2, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Just for posterity’s sake…
    Alabama’s remaining Schedule
    11 – LSU
    42 – Miss St
    178 – Chattanooga St (I-AA)
    31 – Auburn

    Texas’ remaining Schedule
    81 – UCF
    90 – Baylor
    58 – Kansas
    57 – A&M

    Notre Dame’s remaining Schedule
    50 – Navy
    27 – Stanford
    17 – Pitt
    59 – Conn

  4. sandymex November 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    F –

    You forgot the SEC championship game. UF won the east on Saturday and if Bama holds serve:
    Ingram’s top 3: #1, #11, #31
    Tebow’s top 3: #2, #36, #44
    Clausen’s top 3: #17, #27, #50
    McCoy’s top 3: #57, #58, #68 (includes Kansas)

    Strength of schedules so far:
    #27 Tebow
    #28 Clausen (with two losses)
    #36 Ingram
    #42 McCoy

    Clausen also only has 4 more games, but Golden Tate has been absolutely incredible and could give Clausen yet another boost.

  5. Ken November 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    Clausen has an 8pm match-up with Pittsburgh on the horizon the week after this that most of the country will see on ABC. College Gameday could be in town for that.

  6. Dennis November 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    I’ll be honest I’m 100% biased, but can you please explain to me how Golden Tate is #10 on this list. Since Michael Floyd went down, the guy has been double covered all game long and is still putting up the best WR receiver numbers in the country, and he has more than the requisite number of highlights. I don’t he should win it, see below, but he deserves a lot more respect than he’s getting.

    When did the Heisman become a team award? You really need to wait for Clausen to beat a ranked team? He’s been nearly perfect with multiple fourth quarter comebacks, and he threw all over the field against USC, but fell short because of his defense. Would his performance really be better if he was putting up 170 yards against a ranked team with a terrible defense? Apparently so. I just don’t understand why. I’ve honestly never seen a more accurate quarterback in my life, and really don’t think Tebow and McCoy would be in this conversation if they had different names and uniforms.

  7. philnotfil November 2, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    As much as I want to see Tebow win again, you can’t really hold Notre Dame’s losses against Clausen, he has been phenomenal in every game. It’s their defense losing games, not their quarterback.

  8. Elroy Kona November 2, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    I’m flummoxed (bumfuzzled?) by the logic that supports a McCoy candidacy. His team wins games. So he must win the trophy? His numbers against Oklahoma were mediocre – 54% completion, 1 TD, 1 Int. But UT won. Fine – UT has a great defense and Bradford got injured in that game. Really, by your logic, both Tony Pike and Kellen Moore should be up there, too. So can I just call this for what it is? The pundits can’t let go of the pre-season favorites. You guys should have dropped McCoy and Tebow weeks ago, but you are addicted to this gang of QBs from last year. Clausen’s #s are excellent (as you admit), and he has played a decently tough schedule. Throw out Keenum, Moore and the rest of the guys whose schedules are soft. Your finalists should be Clausen, Ingram, Pike (if he returns and wins out), and McCoy (if his #s are spectacular the rest of the way). I do not believe Tebow’s level of play will be high enough to merit invite to NY.

  9. DannyAdelante November 3, 2009 at 9:34 am #

    I agree with Dennis.

    Tate has been unbelievable. McCoy has been alright. But apparently that’s enough to win Heismans these days.

    This is a joke of a list. If Bradford hadn’t announced that he was missing the rest of the season, I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised to see him on the list too.

    I used to love this site. I still come here out of habit, but Gene Menez’s list is far superior to this one.