As I was returning from the Coliseum where I’d just witnessed Kenjon Barner vault himself into the Heisman conversation I peeked into a bar to watch the last drive for Alabama against LSU. AJ McCarron looked amazing, and watching that game winning drive made me think the Heisman race had been shaken up.
Barner tore up USC, McCarron came back heroically against LSU. Having checked my phone throughout the day I knew that Collin Klein had left his game injured. It seemed like the perfect storm. The worst place Klein can be is on the sidelines when two players are having Heisman moments.
Then I watched the whole Alabama-LSU game and my perception shifted. McCarron looked pedestrian for three plus quarters and the game could have easily slipped away on the last drive. McCarron at his best is a strong complement to the Alabama offense, at worst he is little more than a game manager. Those are not exactly the superlatives needed to win the Heisman.
The final drive in the LSU game may have helped him gain some national recognition but it’s not going to win him the Heisman.
Outside of the one drive in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game McCarron has done little to justify his Heisman hype. The thing is, he hasn’t done anything detrimental to quell it either. Tide fans are some of the most vocal in the country and they have used their status to artificially raise McCarron’s profile. The underlying McCarron narrative is “he’s the best alternative!?”. McCarron’s numbers and performance alone won’t win him the Heisman but if the guys ahead of him falter, he’s the best alternative, right?
For Oregon, Kenjon Barner finally showed why HP has been touting him as a dark horse all season. His record setting day against USC was very impressive, but in all honesty De’Anthony Thomas might have done the same thing if the ball were given to him.
Barner is certainly deserving of his recent plaudits and his numbers would look even more impressive if he played more in second halves like he did in Los Angeles, but we are 10 weeks into the season and and Barner is just starting to break into the serious conversation. It seems unlikely that Barner could overtake Klein solely on his final four performances unless Klein somehow collapses.
The race is not over but we now know who the real contenders are.
–Week 10 is the first week of the season where no undefeated teams lost. Six still remain.
–Boston College opponents have fumbled the ball 22 times this year. The Eagles have recovered the ball just six times
–Rutgers has yet to allow a fourth down conversion.
–This (Tebow time)