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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The College Football Experience Podcast: Episode 7.

Kent Brown & HeismanPundit Jr. wrap up week two’s biggest games & look ahead to week three’s top matchups.

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The Round Up

Here’s the latest on what media are saying about the Heisman Trophy —

Taysom Hill and Everett Golson are on the rise according to USA Today.

Marcus Mariota leads the Orlando Sentinel’s Heisman Watch. And Sports Ilustrated’s.

Mariota gets two of three first-place votes from Heisman voters at the Columbus Dispatch.

A question about Kevlin Taylor no one should be asking.

Cory McCartney of Fox Sports asks if a wide receiver like Amari Cooper can win.

Heisman hype is building for Golson!

LSU freshman TB Leonard Fournette regrets popping the Heisman pose after scoring his first career touchdown against Sam Houston State last Saturday. I guess this is the kind of stuff that happens when people say you are going to win the Heisman as a true freshman.

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Mariota retakes lead in Heisman Straw Poll

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Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has recaptured the lead in HeismanPundit.com’s latest Heisman Straw Poll following his 318-yard, 3-TD performance in the Ducks’ 46-27 victory over No. 7 Michigan State this past Saturday.

The weekly survey of Heisman voters from around the country gave Mariota 7 out of 10 first-place votes and 24 total points, which allowed him to supplant last week’s leader, Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who placed second with 3 first-place votes and 18 total points (Gurley was off due to a bye week).

Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill was third with eight points, while Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper made his first appearance on the list with four points to place fourth.

Defending Heisman winner Jameis Winston was fifth with three points while Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson and USC running back Javorius Allen tied for sixth (1 point each) in their Straw Poll debut.

Now in its ninth season, HeismanPundit.com’s Heisman Straw Poll is the college football world’s most trusted gauge of Heisman voter sentiment. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country during the past seven seasons, with the final 2012 poll correctly picking the top five finishers and the final 2011 poll picking the top seven. This year’s poll is made up of 10 anonymous Heisman voters from across the country. Each week during the season they will pick three players. Tabulations for the preseason poll are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

Each week’s poll is released on Tuesdays throughout the season at HeismanPundit.com. .

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll, 9/9/2014

Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon — 24 (7)

2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia — 18 (3)

3. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M — 9

4. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama— 4

5. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State — 3

6. (tie) Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame  — 1

Javorius Allen, RB, USC  — 1

Number of ballots

Mariota, Gurley — 8

Kenny Hill  — 4

Winston, Cooper — 3

The rest — 1 each

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The HP Heisman Watch, Week Two

Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama

Here is the week 2 edition of the 2014 HP Heisman Watch. After taking into account the games played so far, these are the players who have the best chance of actually winning the Heisman. This is not a prediction of the final order of the race, nor is it an endorsement of who would or should win if the vote were held today. It’s a long view of the race that takes into account schedule and statistical trends.

1. Marcus Mariota, JR, QB, Oregon

Mariota is the strong leader in the Heisman race after leading Oregon to an impressive 46-27 victory over Michigan State. Mariota was 17 of 28 for 318 yards and three touchdowns (with no interceptions). He also rushed for 42 yards on nine carries. This kind of performance against such an elite defense gives him a potential trump card against his competition down the road. If he maintains his production and finally leads Oregon to a win over Stanford, he could cruise to the Heisman.

Season Stats: 31 of 48, 585 yards, 64.6%, 6 TDs, 0 INTs, 208.2 rating, 15 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD

2. Todd Gurley, JR, RB, Georgia

Gurley had off this week but moved up as the result of others moving down. He could further solidify his status as the main challenger to Mariota with a big game against South Carolina on Saturday.

Season Stats: 15 carries, 198 yards, 13.2 YPC, 3 TDs, 1 reception, -5 yards, 100 yard kickoff return for a TD.

3. Nick Marshall, SR, QB, Auburn

Marshall moved back into his starter’s spot at Auburn and led the Tigers to a 59-13 crushing of San Jose State. He threw for 101 yards and a touchdown and also added 103 rushing yards and a score. He’ll have his first chance to make some Heisman waves next Thursday when Auburn takes on Kansas State on the road.

Season Stats: 15 of 25, 151 yards, 56%, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 119.9 rating, 19 carries, 122 yards, 2 TDs.

4. Trevor Knight, SO, QB, Oklahoma

Knight was 21 of 34 for 299 yards and two touchdowns as Oklahoma beat Tulsa, 52-7. He also rushed for 35 yards and a score. The next two games against Tennessee and West Virginia should provide an opportunity to gain some early traction in the race.

Season Stats: 40 of 68, 552 yards, 58.8%, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 138.8 rating, 9 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD.

5. Everett Golson, SO, QB, Notre Dame

It’s been eight years since an Irish quarterback was in the Heisman mix and Golson is playing like he wants to break that string. He went 23 of 34 for 226 yards and three touchdowns in Notre Dame’s 31-0 whipping of Michigan. Games against Stanford and Florida State in October should determine his ultimate Heisman fate, but he’s off to a nice start.

Season Stats: 37 of 56, 521 yards, 66.1%, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 173.6 rating, 27 rush yards, 3 TDs.

6. Brett Hundley, JR, QB, UCLA

The Bruins have looked far from sharp, which might not portend well for Hundley’s Heisman hopes. Nonetheless, he threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns on 33 of 44 passing against Memphis and remains a legitimate contender. Looming games against Texas, ASU and Oregon should tell us a lot more about the Bruins and their star quarterback.

Season Stats: 53 of 77, 638 yards, 68.8%, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 148.6 rating, 65 rush yards, 1 TD.

7. Ameer Abdullah, SR, RB, Nebraska

The argument that Nebraska should not have been struggling with McNeese State is besides the point. Abdullah’s remarkable catch and run with seconds to play saved the Cornhuskers from an embarrassing defeat. Great players make great plays at crucial moments and that’s what Abdullah did. He was held to 54 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, but he did catch three passes for 96 yards (and the decisive score) and also returned a kickoff 34 yards.

Season Stats: 38 carries, 286 yards, 7.53 YPC, 2 TDs, 4 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.

8. Javorius Allen, JR, RB, USC

Allen had a career-high 154 yards to help lead the Trojans to a mild upset of Stanford in Palo Alto. It looks like Allen has the potential to be the most productive USC running back since Reggie Bush. If he manages to break off big games against the likes of UCLA and Notre Dame at season’s end, he’ll probably be in the Heisman mix.

Season Stats: 45 carries, 287 yards, 6.4 YPC, 1 TD, 1 reception, 23 yards.

9. Kenny Hill, SO, QB, Texas A&M

Hill went 17 of 26 for 283 yards and four touchdowns in a 73-3 laugher against Lamar. The next four games should be relatively smooth sailing for the Aggies…and then the fun begins. Matchups with Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Missouri and LSU will be quite the gauntlet for Hill. If he makes it to New York, he will have earned it.

Season Stats: 61 of 86, 794 yards, 71%, 7 TDs, 0 INTs, 11 rush yards.

Season Stats:

10. Taysom Hill, JR, QB, BYU

Hill threw for 181 yards and rushed for 99 yards and three scores in BYU’s 41-7 romp over Texas. Hill’s continued improvement as a passer plus his running ability makes him a very intriguing candidate. Unfortunately, the Cougars don’t have any marquee opponents left on their slate, so Hill’s production is going to have to speak for itself.

Season Stats: 46 of 63, 489 yards, 73%, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 36 carries, 196 rush yards, 5 TDs.

11. Melvin Gordon, JR, RB, Wisconsin

Gordon needs to rush for 2,000 yards to have a shot at the Heisman, so getting 38 yards on 17 carries against Western Illinois isn’t going to help his cause much. It could well be that Gordon is not 100%, so that could hamper his production moving forward.

Season Stats: 33 carries, 178 yards, 5.4 YPC, 1 TD, 4 receptions, 22 yards, 1 TD.

12. Bryce Petty, SR, QB, Baylor

It’s going to be hard for Petty to win the Heisman after missing what amounts to 1.5 games so far this season. He sat out Baylor’s win over Northwestern State due to a cracked vertebrae and will return to action this Friday against Buffalo. But he’ll need to go on a major tear to get back in the race. Of course, this is quite possible given his talent and the system in which he plays, but the margin for error is pretty thin.

Season Stats: 13 of 23, 161 yards, 56.5%, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 carries, 21 yards, 1 TD.

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FSU paid a heavy price when it beat Citadel

Clemson will visit Florida State on September 20, and the most important thing that the Seminoles had to do last Saturday against The Citadel was to make sure that their players would be in full health after the game, but price per head agents saw that this didn’t seem to work.

FSU beat the Bulldogs, 37-12, but the Seminoles paid a price as three of their defensive linemen had no choice but to pull out due to lower leg injuries thanks to the Bulldog’ cut-blocking system.

“When you play these kinds of teams [triple-option offenses] they’re constantly cutting those knees and ankles,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Those guys that cut and chop like this, it’s crazy. I’d rather play more conventional teams.”

Nile Lawrence-Stample, Eddie Goldman, and Justin Shanks ended up leaving the game and were not able to return to action.

In the first half, Goldman – who after the game was in crutches and wearing a boot – left the field after going down. The player doesn’t just weigh 320 and is 6-foot-4, but he happens to be one of the team’s defensive linemen with the most experience. If the player is out of action for a lengthy amount of time, all of the defense could be affected.

“He’s a threat to O-linemen, so obviously they wanna double team him,” said Reggie Northrup. “That frees me up to go make plays.”

Derrick Mitchell Jr – another defensive lineman – was able to make it all the way through without being injured, and after the player’s teammates went down, he knew that he had no choice but to intensify his game.

“I wasn’t going to go out there and play conservatively,” said Mitchell. “I feel like when you do try and play conservative because of things like that, that’s when you get those injuries.”

If the player’s injuries prove to be serious, the Seminoles will use the services of freshmen Giorgio Newberry, Demarcus Christmas, and Derrick Nnadi. This change could end up being be very tough for other teams, but many price per head agents believe that

Florida State, being the No.1 team in NCAA football, should be fine.

“I feel like coach Odell Haggins and coach Sal Sunseri do a good job distributing the reps among the first and second string,” said Mitchell. “We all just rotate, first and second string, no matter what.”

Now the Seminoles hope that there will be enough time for Shanks, Goldman, and Lawrence-Stample to fully recover before their ACC showdown in two weeks.

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Mariota’s first Heisman test

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The rash of late-breaking Heisman winners in recent years can be partially blamed on the dearth of high profile September matchups in college football. Heisman voters need information on how players perform against quality opponents and, lately, that data hasn’t reached a critical mass until rivalry week or the conference championship games.

But this Saturday’s game between No. 7 Michigan State and No. 3 Oregon gives voters a rare early-season opportunity to make a clean assessment of the qualifications of current Heisman front runner Marcus Mariota.

Not only do we have two ranked teams from power conferences meeting up for the first time since 1999, we also have two distinct styles colliding as Oregon’s uptempo spread offense goes up against the physical, swarming, 4-3 defense of defending Rose Bowl champ Michigan State.

All eyes will be on Eugene for this one. If you have any questions about Mariota, they should be answered.

Not that those tuning in will be doubting Mariota’s physical talent; there is broad consensus that his skill set will lead to a very early selection in next year’s NFL draft (though he is eligible to return to Oregon for one more season). Nationally, the Ducks command a tremendous amount of respect as a program due to their 67 wins in the last six seasons. But the one thing Oregon has missed during the Mariota years is a signature win over a top 10 opponent.

That’s what voters will be looking for on Saturday. They want to see a transcendent Mariota.

Simply put, if Mariota works his magic against Pat Narduzzi’s defense while leading the Ducks to a victory, the Heisman will be his to lose. It’s not common for that to be the case so early in the season, but the level of respect for Michigan State’s defensive prowess is so high right now that any player who can make it look mortal will be seen as superhuman — if not Heisman worthy. All else being equal, a win over the Spartans would be Mariota’s trump card against his Heisman competition.

Though the rewards will be great if Mariota shines, this game is also fraught with peril for his candidacy. If he stumbles against the Spartans and his team falls, then the margin of error for reviving his quest will be razor thin the rest of the way.

I doubt we’ll get a mixed Heisman outcome from this matchup. Afterwards, I think we’ll either be exalting Mariota’s talents, or shaking our heads in amazement over that Spartan defense.

Can’t wait.

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The College Football Experience: Ep. 6 – Sparty invades Eugene

There are many big matchups this week and @kentbrown34 & @HeismanPunditJr have them all covered. Also, @BaldBryan of the @AdamCarollaShow joins in to break down the USC-Stanford game. Plus, more about MSU-Oregon and ND-Michigan. Check us out on iTunes!

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