Bowl games are often a dress rehearsal for the following year’s Heisman campaign. Which players this year have the most to gain from a big bowl performance? Which ones are the most ready to use their bowl game as a platform from which to dive into the 2011 Heisman race? Read on:
Geno Smith, West Virginia–Smith can cap a very successful sophomore season with a win over NC State in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Robert Griffin, Baylor–The Texas Bowl vs. Illinois should be quite entertaining and give Griffin a good shot at showing off his considerable talents.
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State–Assuming Justin Blackmon goes pro, Weeded should emerge as the Cowboys’ prime offensive star in 2011. But will the offense be the same without Blackmon, Kendall Hunter and offensive guru Dana Holgorsen?
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska–He got off to a blistering start and then tailed off due to injuries, but Martinez could get back on track against Washington in the Holiday Bowl and establish himself as a real Heisman contender in 2011.
Aaron Murray, Georgia–Murray takes on UCF in the Liberty Bowl. He had the best freshman year ever by an SEC quarterback, so if he can build on that in 2011, he’ll be one of the top Heisman candidates.
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina–One of the few true workhorse backs around, he can pencil his name into the 2011 Heisman race with a productive effort against FSU in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl.
Trent Richardson, Alabama–We’re probably about to say goodbye to Mark Ingram, but now it’s time for Richardson to step to the forefront. He may not get enough carries to stand out, but if he plows for big yardage when he can against the Spartans in the Capital One Bowl, it could augur well for his production in 2011.
Denard Robinson, Michigan–With a month off to lick his wounds and get his legs fresh again, Robinson may remind us once again why he led the Heisman race for much of the first half of the season. And if he comes up big against Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl, he may establish himself as the guy to beat in 2011.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma–He won’t wow you with his ability, but Jones runs the Sooner offense well and puts up huge numbers. A big game against UConn in the Fiesta Bowl won’t gain him much respect for 2011, but it won’t hurt either.
Knile Davis, Arkansas–Few backs were as brilliant in the season’s final half as Davis. Yet few are aware of his considerable skills. That may change after playing Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
Michael Dyer, Auburn–While everyone is focusing on Cam Newton, it could be Dyer that explodes for Auburn against Oregon. He’s 50 yards short of 1,000 yards and looks on track to be the next great Auburn back.
Darron Thomas, Oregon–Let’s assume LaMichael James and Newton are heading to the pros. If that’s the case, it may be Thomas who grabs the spotlight next season. If he can lead the Ducks to the promised land, few quarterbacks will be as praiseworthy heading into 2011.