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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Pac-10 Props

Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen gives an interesting look at why the Pac-10 deserves more props.

Some key highlights:

There might not be a foolproof way of analyzing the respective power of conferences, but try this: Since the turn of the century, the Pac-10 has been the best conference during college football’s four biggest games – the Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls.

The Pac-10 has gone 6-1 in those four BCS games, with the only loss coming in the 2003 Rose Bowl when Oklahoma handled Washington State 34-14.

Moreover, the league has sent half of its teams to a BCS game in the past five years, a higher percentage than any other conference.

But my favorite quote comes from Mike Stoops:

Arizona second-year coach Mike Stoops, who grew up on Big Ten football and then came up through the coaching ranks in the Big 12 at Kansas State and Oklahoma, is convinced.

“There are very innovated offenses,” he said of the Pac-10. “The quarterback play was shocking to me. The ability to throw the ball down the field … I never saw that really until we came here.”

So, in essence, it’s really about style of play, right Mike?

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Some More BURNING Questions

Why must questions about college football always burn?

Oh well, Tony Barnhart asks them once again. Here’s our answers to his questions:

How long could Auburn’s winning streak–at 15 and counting –last?

We think it will go on for at least six more games. After all, all of Auburn’s first five contests are at Jordan-Hare Stadium. What’s more, it includes the likes of Ball State, Western Kentucky and Mississippi State. If the Tigers get by their opener against Georgia Tech–which they should do since they are at home–then it’s smooth sailing for a while. After the homestand, it’s on to play a mediocre Arkansas team in Fightville. If the Tigers are 6-0, just how much confidence will they have? A lot, we think. Then, look out. They just may be the team to beat in the SEC West.

Coach Tommy Tuberville shocked onlookers at this past week’s SEC Media Days by saying this would probably be the most talented team he’s had at Auburn. That’s a strong statement given that the Tigers lost four first-round draft choices from a 2004 team that went 13-0.

What impact could probation have on Steve Spurrier’s rebuilding plan for South Carolina?

Uh, our initial reaction is Who Cares? It’s South Carolina. Rebuild? To rebuild you have to have been built in the first place. Look. No one would give a rat’s ass about South Carolina were it not for Spurrier being there. Will probation hurt? Sure. But it’s not like they were going to go 11-0 anyway.

Can Brodie Croyle stay healthy for an entire season?

We’ll go out on a limb and say yes. But again, this is really a pointless question since Croyle plays for an Alabama program that will never go anywhere under Mike Shula. Until the Tide gets a real coach again, the No. 1 traditional program in the South won’t be rolling anytime soon. Note to Spurrier: This is the kind of program that needs to be rebuilt and, once rebuilt, could actually win national championships.

Will Florida’s Chris Leak run the ball as much as Utah’s Alex Smith did last season?

No. But he’ll run it more than you think. Leak isn’t known for being a great athlete, but that’s because he’s never been required to show his stuff. As the season goes on and he finds his niche, he’ll run more and more and be surprisingly effective. Will he run for the numbers that Smith did? Probably not. But you know, it’s not like Smith was doing OJ impressions when he ran. Most of his yardage was straight-ahead stuff, the product of what the system presented him. Look for Leak to take advantage as well.

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Another Heisman Watch

Andrew Bagnato of the Arizona Republic chips in his Heisman watch along with a look at other top players.

The assignment: Rate Division I-A’s top returning skill players.

The temptation: Print Southern California’s two-deeps.

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Charlie And The Football Factory

The LA Times–which after all has Irish alum Bill Dwyre at its head–took a look at new Notre Dame head man Charlie Weis this weekend in a piece that (to me) is pretty revealing of what kind of coach he is going to be.

A couple red flags:

1. The guy nearly died a few years ago after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. His father died at 56 of a second heart attack. Can he hold up long enough to turn the Irish around?

2. The siege mentality. As someone who has seen programs up close and how they function, a closed policy with the media just never works. But apparently, that’s what Weis is prepared to do at Notre Dame, among other things:

Since taking over full-time in February, Weis has reconfigured Notre Dame into the Midwest branch of New England Patriots Enterprises.

He will control everything, from the play-calling to the information flow, to how Notre Dame chooses its toothpicks.

Weis is the medium and the message, his mantra shucked and honed from mentors Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, two of the NFL’s most practiced coaching dictators.

Popular sayings in their doctrine include “you are what you are” and “we’ll do all the talking.”

Weis was a longtime NFL influence peddler, most recently the offensive coordinator for the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots. Yet, his inner core remained largely impenetrable because Belichick, who fell approximately two feet from Parcells’ coaching tree, did not allow his assistants to talk to the media.

“That’s what the rules were,” Weis says. “Sitting in this chair now, I can see some of the benefits from it being that way.”

The NFL is the NFL. This is college football. More importantly, this is Notre Dame we’re talking about. The NFL is a business, Notre Dame is a way of life. If Weis thinks he is going to be able to control every minute aspect of a program and run it exactly to his liking, he’s sorely mistaken. And the worst thing he could do is be stingy with the media from the getgo. If things ever go bad, he will need all the friends he can get.

What ends up happening when you run a program so tight is that the players themselves become tight. Weis needs to relax and stick to being a head coach–that is, someone who oversees everything, but isn’t worrying about what kind of toothpicks are being used.

The last thing Notre Dame needs right now is a control freak.

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The Leinart Files

The latest in a long line of “How does Matt Leinart handle his celebrity” pieces, this time from Todd Harmonson of the Orange County Register.

“I don’t think of what I do as celebrity-like or that I’m famous,” said USC’s quarterback, who will begin practice with the two-time defending national champions Thursday and continue his rehabilitation from offseason elbow surgery. “It’s just the whole situation, the whole timing of being myself, winning, being a quarterback, playing in L.A.

Notes Harmonson:

This week, reluctant celebrity Matt Leinart again gets to do what he loves: play QB for USC.

I think that Leinart is quite possibly on his way to being the most famous college football athlete of all time–any time you are a regular in US Magazine, you’ve crossed a pretty high exposure threshhold.

But it’s nice to see that, in the end, he’s just a football player at heart.

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The Star’s Preview

This week the mainstream media gobbledygook will be flying fast and furious as fall camp starts across the country. Legions of beat writers and columnists will be unleashed upon the defenseless college football public.

In that spirit, here’s Blair Kerhoff’s preview of the season courtesy of the Kansas City Star.

His Heisman picks, outside of the big three of Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson:

–Texas quarterback Vince Young may be the most dynamic quarterback this season, but can he function as well without running back Cedric Benson?

–Texas A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal is a terrific runner and underrated as a passer. But the Aggies need to break through to the division?s top two to help his chances.

–Ohio State wide receiver/return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. one of the nation?s most exciting players but may not have Heisman numbers.

–Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams is the nation?s leading active rusher heading into the season (4,062) but must overcome the non-BCS stigma.

–Florida quarterback Chris Leak won?t be running the Utah offense, said new coach Urban Meyer. He?ll be running Leak?s offense. A couple of big victories early (Tennessee, LSU) would thrust Leak into the race.

His pick for the Heisman? Bush.

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Big 10 Questions

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune asks the following questions on the eve of Big 10 media day.

Regarding Joe Pa’s continuing reign, Greenstein concludes:

….until Paterno says he’s ready to pack up, there’s no reason to believe it.

Personally, I think that Paterno won’t leave until he’s carried out on a stretcher.

But in all reality, he should have left after the 2002 season, when the Lions went 9-3. At least he could have gone to pasture on a high note.

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