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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Stu Mandel Gets It So Right

While CFN struggles with offensive concepts, CNNSI’s Stewart Mandel continues to show why he’s one of the top young college football writers around with his discourse on the new offensive wave in college football.

The spread and West Coast are just the latest in a long cycle of offensive crazes that have dotted college football’s evolution. From the single wing, to the T-formation, to the wishbone, to the Run ‘n’ Shoot, enterprising offensive coaches have constantly searched for a new wrinkle that might give them an advantage over defenses. The offensive innovations on offense are often a direct response to systemic changes in defensive philosophy. The recent advent of the spread, for instance — which began to surface more frequently in the late ’90s and has boomed in popularity ever since — is viewed by many coaches as a necessary means to combat the complex, NFL-style blitz packages that have pervaded the college game over the past decade.

Of course, this is the kind of thing we’ve been talking about for a while here at Heismanpundit.com. It’s nice to see these concepts and ideas being discussed in the mainstream media. Really, it’s been a long time coming.

As we’ve said before, it all boils down to the continual tug and war between offense and defense. Right now, the offenses are coming up with things that a vast group of coaches and players don’t know how to defend. Eventually, there will be an antidote to these styles of play and then a new permutation, a new wrinkle, will have to evolve.

In the meantime, we believe that the teams that utilize these offensive philosophies will continue to have an edge over the teams that don’t. Which is why we believe that Florida will have great success under Urban Meyer and teams like USC, Cal, Louisiville, Boise State and Utah (provided they keep the same system) will also continue to win a lot of games.

The only thing we would add to the Mandel story is a point about familiarity of systems. We believe that teams that are unfamiliar with certain types of offenses are at a unique disadvantage–witness Oklahoma’s problems with USC and Cal’s problems with Texas Tech last year. It’s this point that led us to attribute Auburn’s success last year to Al Borges (as Mandel did), which leads us to think that the SEC will be unprepared for the Gators, which surmises that Georgia won’t be ready for Boise and that Louisville will continue its offensive dominance after moving to the Big East.

Will it all happen? We think so. But only time will tell.

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Oh, CFN…tsk tsk….

College football News.com has its unit rankings out for this season and, as usual, some of them are quite perplexing.

For instance, the Pac-10, which has great all-around backs like Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Marshawn Lynch, Terrance Whitehead and Maurice Drew, was rated the FIFTH best conference for running backs, behind, uh, The Big East among others. Huh? The Big East has better running backs than that group? Where? At UConn?

Then, the Big 12 was deemed to have the best quarterbacks. Say what? I guess CFN didn’t learn the lesson of the Orange Bowl, either. Is there a legitimate, established passing quarterback in the Big 12? Where?

Then, we go to the overall offensive unit rankings, where CFN has four SEC teams among the top seven, then ranks the league third overall among the conferences offensively. Huh? I’ll bet you didn’t know that Georgia has a better offense than Louisville. Holy Bejeezus.

CFN has also been having fun hyperventilating over LSU’s offensive talent:

Every offensive starter, whatever the depth chart turns out to be, will be on an NFL roster, or at least be in NFL camp. Not only that, every second teamer, whatever the depth chart turns out to be, will likely be on an NFL roster, or at least be in an NFL camp. That’s how loaded the LSU offense is with talent.

First off, I doubt this is even remotely true. LSU’s right guard is going to be drafted? Their backup left tackle will be in a camp? The fullback and tight end will be drafted? No way. You could say the same thing–probably more legitimately–about USC’s offense, which has about seven guys with first-round talent in the starting lineup alone. The point is, CFN seems to think that all these guys being drafted (supposedly) means something. Well, if it really is relevant, why does CFN rank them No. 2 behind USC? Is it because USC has better talent (CFN doesn’t imply that)? Or is it because of a better system (which CFN doesn’t bother to mention)?

Just weird stuff, man.

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Forde And Maisel Back And Forth

ESPN.com has Pat Forde and Ivan Maisel chatting back and forth about the upcoming season.

Most of it is the usual conventional wisdom, lots of talk, little in the way of actual original thoughts or insights. But here’s a nugget:

Pat: The other thing with them (Oklahoma) is whether they lost a little something in that defrocking by USC: a little bit of swagger, a little bit of invincibility in the Big 12. They may still have it. I will be interested to see–

Ivan: — if the other teams learned the lessons of the Orange Bowl. That’s an interesting point.

Pat: — including you guys, ahem, in burnt orange.

Of course, I would add, ahem, the guys in the media, too. Have they learned the lesson of the Orange Bowl? Doesn’t look like these two have yet.

In our East Coast conspiracy of the day, did anyone else notice that the only conference not discussed by these two was the Pac-10? Or did I miss it?

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Maroney And The Heisman

Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney has a good shot at a 2,000-yard season this year, what with him getting the bulk of the carries since Marion Barber has now departed to the NFL.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press did this story recently on Maroney.

The sense is that with Barber gone, and Setterstrom and Eslinger back, Maroney is in line to tear up the Big Ten. His speed makes him a legitimate touchdown threat on each carry. He averaged 6.2 yards a carry last season and broke touchdown runs of 31, 50 and 80 yards. Coach Glen Mason vows to find carries for promising backups Amir Pinnix and Gary Russell, predicting that Maroney will get 75 percent of the carries.

He will need to have over 2,400 yards to have a chance at the Heisman, but a run at 2,000 will probably get him to New York. As usual, Minnesota will be a fun team to watch if you enjoy a good running game.

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Who Voted For Texas?

Buck Harvey of The San Antonio Express thinks one of the votes was from none other than Bob Stoops.

Lose this time, and the odds catch up to him in a down cycle. Upset Texas, and the streak is six, and his status is intact.

Texas is No.1?

To Stoops.

I’ll buy that.

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Herbstreit’s Top 10 Offensive Players

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit gives us his top 10 offensive players.

His list:

No. 10 — Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona State
No. 9 — Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
No. 8 — Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal
No. 7 — Vince Young, QB, Texas
No. 6 — DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis
No. 5 — Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
No. 4 — Gerald Riggs, RB, Tennessee
No. 3 — Ted Ginn Jr., WR/KR, Ohio State
No. 2 — Reggie Bush, RB, USC
No. 1 — Matt Leinart, QB, USC

Our list would probably go something like this:

1. Reggie Bush, USC
2. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
3. Matt Leinart, USC
4. Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M
5. Chris Leak, Florida
6. Vince Young, Texas
7. Ted Ginn, Ohio State
8. Lawrence Maroney, Minnesota
9. Maurice Drew, UCLA
10. Marshawn Lynch, Cal

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UGA Linebacker Suspended

Georgia linebacker Tavares Kearney was suspended by Bulldogs coach Mark Richt after twisting a teacher’s arm following being accused of cheating on….a nutrition exam.

I hear those nutrition classes at Georgia are especially tough. Kearney was cleared of the cheating charge, but will miss the Boise game as a result of his boorish behavior.

Instead of learning the Boise offense, now he can learn the food pyramid, I guess.

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