As the season gets closer, we’re taking an in-depth look at each of the top candidates and asking: What does that player have to do to win the Heisman?
Now, let’s talk about Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.
He’s one of three Heisman finalists returning this season. He finished fourth in the race last year, while picking up 635 points in the balloting. It was the highest finish ever for a Boise State player.
As a result, he’s got some strengths heading into this race:
–He’s not only the top player on what could be a top 10 team, he’s the greatest player in the history of a program that has 114 wins in its last 10 seasons.
–Being a finalist last year gives him a lot of credibility with Heisman voters and his name will be associated with the Heisman process for the second year in a row. So he has very good name recognition.
–He has incredible career numbers, with 99 TD passes and just 19 interceptions so far, to go along with 10,883 passing yards and a lifetime efficiency rating of 166. With a good season, he’ll have more touchdown passes than any quarterback in NCAA history (though he might be surpassed by Case Keenum) and join Timmy Chang as the only player to produce four 3,000-yard passing seasons.
–He’s 38-2 as a starter and, with eight more wins, he’ll pass Colt McCoy to become the winningest quarterback in NCAA history.
–His team has moved to the Mountain West Conference, where it will get a bit more exposure while giving him a crack at beating high-profile TCU. The season opener against Georgia also provides an opportunity to make some noise in the race.
–He plays in an offense that will produce big numbers for his resume.
–He’s a likeable guy and, given his physical limitations, is seen as a gutty overachiever.
So what does Moore have to do?
1. He needs to lead the Broncos to an undefeated season and look impressive in wins over Georgia and TCU.
2. He needs to have a season that is statistically comparable–but preferably superior–to his last two, placing among the nation’s leaders in passing efficiency, touchdowns and completion percentage.
3. Hope that Stanford and Oregon disappoint and that no one from a traditional power emerges as an elite player.
It’s a tall task, that’s for sure. Is it a shame that such a remarkable player probably won’t get his due in the Heisman process? Definitely. However, thanks to his pioneering career, future Boise State Broncos will have a much easier time of it. It’s no small accomplishment to do the things he’s done and very few players in college football history have been honored as Heisman finalists.
When it’s all said and done, he’s probably a good bet to make it back to New York, but a long shot to win the Heisman.