Quarterbacks have won eight of the last nine Heismans, reflecting the dominance of the position in this age of spread offenses.
But in 2009, running backs are resurgent–at least when it comes to the Heisman race.
Alabama’s Mark Ingram is on top of the race right now, while Stanford’s Toby Gerhart is moving up fast (I expect he’ll be in the top three of every poll this week). Clemson’s C.J. Spiller is making some noise, too. These three backs have been more consistent and compelling than the assortment of quarterbacks vying for the award, with Ingram shining against some tough SEC defenses, Gerhart grinding out huge numbers against ranked foes and Spiller doing it all in leading his team back to ACC prominence.
Neither Ingram nor Gerhart are especially flashy. Players like Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy are stars on and off the field, with their private lives well documented. But I’m not sure Ingram or Gerhart would be recognized in a crowd outside of Tuscaloosa or Palo Alto.
Still, I have a feeling their blue-collar styles stick out like a sore thumb compared to their high-flying counterparts under center–and that’s a good thing when it comes to their Heisman campaigns. If 100 are red, it’s better to be blue.
All the preseason talk was of Tebow, Bradford and McCoy. Spread quarterbacks dominated the Heisman conversation. Only one running back cracked the top 10 of the HeismanPundit Heisman Poll on October 6.
It’s five weeks later now. Though a quarterback or two might still have a shot, it looks like the running backs have taken over. They have brought some coherency to a race that has been murky to this point. I think it could all come down to Ingram and Gerhart, with Spiller possibly sneaking into the top five if he keeps doing what he’s doing.
Given the unpredictability of this year’s race, that would be appropriate.