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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Blogpoll Roundtable, HP-Style

Brian from MGOblog started a poll made up entirely of input from college football bloggers. The result of the first poll can be found here

Brian also instituted the Blogger’s Roundtable, with different sites hosting discussions in varying weeks. This week, Heismanpundit is the host. Here are my questions. Bloggers, please respond with a link in the comments section.

What criteria do you use to determine if a team and its players are good?

I focus on four things: Game-day coaching, talent level, scheme and how they win. The first thing that jumps out is the talent. I look at whether players have quick feet, whether they move well in space. Do the running backs have breakaway speed? Can the receivers separate after the catch? Can the corners jump the outs? On the flip side, I look at the opponent the team in question is playing to determine what talent disparity (if any) exists between the two teams. This is where the scheme of the team in question usually comes in to play. If Team A has a huge talent advantage, yet still plays the game close, then Team A probably has a poor scheme. I then look for tendencies in the scheme to see how easy it would be to break down, look for use of personnel and formations. If they appear predictable after a few series, I downgrade their system in my mind. Finally, I note how the coach makes decisions during the game. Does he know when to make a gutsy call? Does he manage his time outs correctly? Does he appear to be in control on the sideline? What’s his demeanor? Ideally, a team would have a ton of talent, a great scheme on both sides of the ball and a coach who knew how to orchestrate it on Saturday. I view teams as good or bad based on how they fill that criteria. A team that currently has all three is USC. A team with a ton of talent, good gameday coaching and a poor scheme is Oklahoma. A team with a ton of talent, bad gameday coaching and a poor scheme is Tennessee. And so on…until you get to the Indiana’s and the Baylors. Clearly, significant levels of success can still be achieved with a poor scheme or bad coaching, since it is all relative to your opponent. Finally, how does a team win a game? Do they do it mostly in dominating fashion? Do they exhibit balance? How often do they look sluggish? Do they rise to the occasion when necessary? I look for all those things, since all wins are not the really equal when it comes down to it (at least in my book).

If you could choose one coach to build an offensive system for your school, who would it be? Conversly, who would you choose to devise the defense? Why?

Right now, I’d go with Urban Meyer on offense and Pete Carroll on defense. Meyer’s system has it all: running, passing, option, motion, you name it. He forces opposing teams to defend the ENTIRE field. It’s also a fun system to watch: It puts points on the scoreboard and fans in the stands. Carroll’s defenses have been the best in the nation the last few years. Yeah, I know, the stats say otherwise. But in a given game, where it MATTERED, his defenses have been the best. USC has led the nation in sacks and rushing defense each of the last two years and his units get force more turnovers than practically anyone.

Describe your typical college fotoball Saturday.

I wake up at 7:30 a.m. PT to watch ESPN Gameday. If my team is on the road, I then head over to the local sports bar, one that has ALL the games on. I harangue the waitress until every game I want to watch is on a screen and then proceed to sit there into the night, usually only leaving in time to sprint back for the start of the Hawaii game. If I am going to a game, I am outside the stadium tailgating starting at 6 a.m. My buddy has a satellite dish out there with four TVs. We watch as many games as possible until our game starts and then we watch that. After the game, we head back home to catch the games and highlights we tivoed. On occasion, we head to Vegas and get to the Sports Book at 6 a.m. (to get a good seat) and stay until 9 p.m. By the end of the day, we’re tired, but it’s a good tired.

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I Would Die For You

No, not you guys. This is the text message Oklahoma State commit Michael Goodson claims to have received from a USC coach recently.

The story I linked to talks about how recruiters are relying more and more on text messaging to talk to recruits. Apparently, some coaches are really getting into it. Or, they could be really big Prince fans.

Interestingly, Goodson now claims to be wavering between Texas A&M, USC and Oklahoma State. From the rumblings I’ve heard about some of the issues surrounding the recruitment of Goodson–who quite frankly is destined to be a huge star wherever he goes–we may not have heard the last of this yet.

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College football is even getting a mention on the other side of the pond, as The Times of London weighs in on the 2005 season.

I am assuming the writer is British. But he sure has a good feel for how special the college game is:

However the pros can’t match the college game when it comes to stirring the soul. Which team is No 1 is the burning question from the start of preseason practices through to the end of the season and beyond. Even the bowl game, annually dubbed the national championship match, doesn’t always answer the question because, unlike every other sport in America, college football doesn’t feature a play-off system at the end of the season.

I ask you: How can a Brit understand college football better than so many Americans?

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The Latest Heisman Odds

The latest Heisman odds are out and Pinnacle Sports.com has Matt Leinart with a substantial lead.

The USC quarterback is a 13/10 favorite according to the online sports book. Reggie Bush is second at 9/2, Adrian Peterson third at 13/2 and Vince Young fourth at 11/1.

The site goes a step further in its betting options:

With two USC players considered the top Heisman candidates,
PinnacleSports.com has also created a betting option on whether a Trojan player will win the award this season. The odds that a player from USC takes college football’s top individual honor currently stand at 5/4 odds, while the
chances that the Heisman winner isn’t a Trojan stand at 5/7.

If Heismandment No. 9 holds up once more, putting money on Leinart could end up being a sucker bet.

Current Odds: (All Odds Subject to Change)

Odds To Win 2005 Heisman Trophy From PinnacleSports.com
Matt Leinart, USC 13/10
Reggie Bush, USC 9/2
Adrian Peterson , Oklahoma 13/2
Vince Young, Texas 7/1
Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State 11/1
Chris Leak, Florida 11/1
Chad Henne, Michigan 18/1
Drew Tate, Iowa 18/1
Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M 22/1
Marshawn Lynch, California 32/1
Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech 38/1
Laurence Maroney, Minnesota 38/1
Brady Quinn, Notre Dame 70/1
Jason Gwaltney, West Virginia 100/1

Will a USC Player Win the Heisman Trophy?
No 5/7
Yes 5/4

Is anyone else wondering what Jason Gwaltney is doing on that list? I would put his odds at about Ten Zillion-To-One!

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Thanks To Readers

Yesterday was an all-time high in hits for the site, thanks in no small part to Dan Weber’s blurb in his recent story on Reggie Bush and to AOL’s linking to us from their sports page.

Much of the general college football talk will soon make its way over to collegefootballpundit, but the focus on the Heisman will burn brighter than ever here.

We’ll also soon be sprucing up the links section with more Heisman resources, including links to information on the top candidates.

If anyone has any suggestions on ways to improve the site, please feel free to drop me a line.

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The Texas Quarterback, 2006

With Texas quarterback Vince Young likely to skip his senior year to enter the NFL draft, what will become of the Longhorn QB situation in 2006?.

Mack Brown appeared to have the situation solved last fall when Ryan Perrilloux–the top prep signal-caller in the country–committed to come to Austin and play for Texas.

But LSU stole Perrilloux from under Brown’s nose just before signing day, leaving the Longhorns with few options should Young head to the NFL.

Basically, this could be the ‘now-or-never’ year for Brown, since Oklahoma will rebound back into shape by next season and Texas A&M and Nebraska appear to be on the upswing as well. In other words, the Big 12 will only get more difficult.

Of course, it’s likely that Brown will snag a top quarterback out of this year’s class. Who wouldn’t want to be the heir to Vince Young? But unless he is a phenom ready to start from Day One, it will take a while to get the same production.

As for Perrilloux, we last heard from him when he was talking smack about LSU’s current quarterbacks and how he was going to come in right away and start. Anyone have any updates on how he’s coming along in camp?

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Leinart Under The Microscope

Looks like Matt Leinart is tiring of all the attention he’s getting.

But Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart has tired of the attention that led USC’s compliance office to check into his 22nd birthday party and even caused some concern because of something written on a borrowed shoe.

Apparently, he wore some shoes on the cover of ESPN Magazine that read: OU 17. Some thought it referred to a gambling spread. Instead, he had merely borrowed backup QB John David Booty’s shoes for the shoot.

Will Leinart be able to handle the intense scrutiny in his quest for a second Heisman? More on this later…..

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