Geno Smith’s turn

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is the new No. 1 in my Heisman Watch and also the new leader in the Heismanpundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll that came out Tuesday.

The pressure and full weight of being the Heisman front-runner now falls upon Smith, who faces his first BCS opponent of the season when Maryland comes to Morgantown on Saturday. Can he handle it? Will the Mountaineers crumble under the glare of the spotlight? Voters will be watching very closely to see if this version of West Virginia under Dana Holgorsen is different from the Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart editions that couldn’t handle expectations. Smith will be at the forefront of that focus.

I think he’s got a lot going for him in this race. Voters have flirted in the past with Holgorsen-bred quarterbacks like Graham HarrellCase Keenum and Brandon Weeden. Smith could be perceived as the latest and best of that line. And don’t forget that the Mountaineers don’t have to go undefeated for Smith to win. All he needs to do is pile up huge numbers and beat Oklahoma and Texas.

In case you forgot, that’s the same formula Robert Griffin III used to win the Heisman last season.

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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