Midweek Musings

I don’t blame Auburn for playing Cam Newton.  To me, it’s an educated gamble.  If Newton is later found to be ineligible, then the Tigers’ season is shot regardless.  Holding him out of the last couple games wouldn’t change that fact.  If the allegations produce nothing conclusive, then they’re in the clear.  If a few months from now he is declared ineligible, then Auburn may have to vacate a BCS title.  But it’d still have the AP title–just like the 2004 USC team does–and they’d still be able to claim they were the real champs–a notion many people would accept.  Without Cam Newton, it wouldn’t be possible for Auburn to be in the title conversation anyway, so there’s really not much to lose, unless the NCAA decides to punish Auburn with heavy sanctions in the future.  Even then, some might feel this to be worth a brief, shining moment of glory.

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If I had to guess what’s going to happen, I’d say that there will be no action on the Cam Newton allegations before the Heisman ceremony.  And if that’s the case, he’ll win the Heisman.  But the presence of the allegations will probably delay my traditional ‘call’ on the winner until the end of the voting period.  Otherwise, I’d have already called the race for Newton. 

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Could Alabama give Heisman voters a way out?  I reckon that the allegations of pay for play have caused about 20 percent of Newton’s support to wither away.  Not enough to sink his Heisman hopes, but not insignificant either.  There’s another solid chunk of voters who are a bit nervous about the situation, but are inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt if nothing else pops up.  But if the Tide completely shuts Newton down and the Tigers lose, some of these voters might feel more inclined to vote for someone else who doesn’t have the same perceived baggage.  Of course, Newton has an ace-in-the-hole (the SEC title game) which could enable him to bring those voters back in the fold.

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Could Justin Blackmon make it to New York?  I don’t think so, unless the Newton allegations end up creating a need for more finalists.  We know he’ll have the Biletnikoff Trophy in tow if he does make it.  He’s having one of the best seasons ever by a receiver, as evidenced by his leading the nation in big plays.  He has a remarkable eight plays of 40 yards or more and 54 of 10 yards or more.

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I know Marcus Lattimore is a very good player, but can we hold off on anointing him the next big thing until he at least manages to break the five yards per carry mark on the season?  That’s pretty much a standard requirement in these days of spread offenses.  He’s not in the top 100 rushers in this category.

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One thing is for sure:  It’s been a great Heisman race, controversy or no.  Each of the three finalists are having excellent statistical seasons.  In any other year, players like Blackmon, Terrelle Pryor or Denard Robinson might be finalists as well, but they are well back in the pack.  The depth of this year’s campaign bodes well for 2011’s race, with Moore, Pryor and Robinson all back for sure, not to mention emerging stars like Lattimore,  Robert Griffin, Brandon Weeden, Darron Thomas, Aaron Murray and Matt Barkley.

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Why is TCU my No. 1 team?  Simple.  I think the Horned Frog defense could at least slow down the Auburn and Oregon attacks.  And the TCU offense would probably move the ball against the Duck and Tiger defenses.  I’m not sure any other defense out there can do that, while still having enough offense to get involved in a shootout.

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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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2 Responses to Midweek Musings

  1. Jack November 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    I don’t really get the beef with Lattimore about yards per carry. He’s got a load more carries than the majority of those backs on that list. It also has to do with the style of back and offense he is in. He’s not going to break off dozens of 20+ yard runs. He’s approaching the 1000 yard mark in the SEC as a true freshman, that is an accomplishment that doesn’t happen too often. He may not be the next big thing, but I think he’s set himself up to have a heck of a college career.

  2. Ed Newman November 18, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    I’m not sure if it’s going to be next year, but Lattimore is going to be a huge factor in a Heisman race one day. I see a Heisman impact similar to Beanie and McFadden, two guys who came close but didn’t win. It’s just so hard to give front runner status to a RB in today’s QB centric systems.

    But I’m not so worried about his YPC because 1) I think it’ll improve without Spurrier’s help as he matures both physically and as a runner 2) nevertheless I see Spurrier adapting the offense more to his skills, especially in 2012 when Garcia is gone and 3) as a workhorse back he will be judged as much for overall counting stats as for YPC anyway.