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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A Look At Andre Ware

Very few players have a Heismandment named after them, but 1989 Heisman winner Andre Ware accomplished that very feat. This story in the South Bend Tribune looks back at Ware’s Heisman season as he gets ready for enshrinement into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Down and distance mattered little during Ware’s magical 1989 season. He threw for an obscene 4,699 yards and 46 touchdowns as the Cougars rolled to a 9-2 record and No. 14 national ranking.

Unfortunately, Ware’s season ruined things for many of the quarterbacks who came after, as it became clear that his numbers were bogus, the product of a gimmicky system. Quarterbacks who have put up similar numbers since have pretty much been yawned at by the Heisman voters.

To this day, he is the main reason why a quarterback from a Texas Tech-like system will never again win the Heisman.

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Secretive Meyer

Apparently, Meyer is reluctant to share the secrets of his offense, according to Ivan Maisel of ESPN.

If you want a more detailed tutorial, get in line. Coaches who make a pilgrimage to learn from Meyer or Sanford don’t get much. Texas A&M, Oregon and Louisiana-Monroe are the only staffs that either Meyer or Sanford allowed to come in for a tutorial, according to Sanford.

People just need to be patient. The college football world–and the SEC in particular–will soon see it all up close and personal.

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OU Secondary In Trouble?

Oklahoma’s secondary, which struggled at times last year, has gotten some help recently as former tailback D.J. Wolfe has moved to cornerback in the spring. He’s now running with the second team, according to the Norman Transcript.

The move of former linebacker Lewis Baker to safety underscores the further trouble the Sooner secondary may be in after losing Antonio Perkins and Brodney Pool to the NFL.

We can see the Sooners losing at least three games this year and this could be a big reason why.

Bruce Feldman of ESPN concurs:

I’m thinking OU might be headed for a couple of three-loss seasons. I predict the Sooners are headed for a dip like Miami has had the past two years — not a Penn State-type fall off the cliff drop, but more of a linger around No. 11 or 12 type of thing. We have grown accustomed to Bob Stoops overcoming most challenges, but after how the last two seasons ended, I think a little of the luster has worn off. But it’s a little bigger than that, too.

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Come And Get It

That’s the title of this piece by Sporting News’ Matt Hayes, which all but hands a third-straight national crown to USC.

Hayes gets it right when he notes how talented the Trojans are, and how the youngsters of the last three No. 1 recruiting classes are just now getting their turn.

As good as the Trojans were in the back seven last year, they’ll be even better this year because of their improved overall athletic ability. A prime example: Linebacker Keith Rivers, who played behind All-American Matt Grootegoed last season, has bulked up to nearly 240 pounds and is one of the fastest players on the team.

As I’ve said before, it will take Pete Carroll leaving, or a major scandal brewing, to slow the Trojan locomotive down.

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White Retires

Jason White was a great college player and a good guy, but he has called it quits, quietly retiring after taking a shot at making it with the Tennessee Titans, among others.

It’s this sort of result that has gone a long way towards building up the current prejudice that is inherent in the Heismandments.

The more the voters see Heisman winners failing in the pros, the more they are reticent to get too ga-ga over them when they are in college. That is why Matt Leinart has a huge hill to climb in his bid for a second trophy, fair or not.

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A&M Not Planning Any Promotions

At least not for now, not for Reggie McNeal, revealed head coach Dennis Franchione the other day.

“I don’t think today those things work,” Franchione said. “I think what works well is playing well. There’s enough national media coverage, and there’s enough understanding of who plays well. The best promotion and the [best] thing that he can do is to go out and play well.”

It is a given that you have to play well. Obviously, if the Aggies are doing well, it will help McNeal. But at some point, he will need some kind of push that will enable him to step out of Vince Young’s enormous shadow.

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Forde And Maisel Sitting In A Tree…..

The ever-raging which-is-the-best-conference debate lingers on and this time ESPN’s Pat Forde and Ivan Maisel weigh in, proving once again that the mainstream sports media–I guess in this case we’re really talking ESPN–has done very little soul searching following an entire season of being completely off base.

We’ve already posted our list of top conferences, which has the ACC at the top, followed by the Pac-10 and then the Big 10.

What’s fascinating about Maisel’s and Forde’s comments are how they so blithely encapsulate the conventional wisdom.

Says Maisel about the Big 10, which he and Forde put at the top of the conference list:

Not often do you have four teams from the same league mentioned as top-five teams. Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue are all getting pub.

So, the justification for the league being good is that four teams get all the pub. Doesn’t seem very sound football-wise.

Then on to the SEC, which Forde and Maisel are once again in lockstep in ranking it the second-best conference:

Six teams in the first coaches’ Top 25, and Steve Spurrier to boot. Power ebbs and flows in most leagues — not this one.

Thus says Maisel. But even the most die-hard SEC fans admit that the league had a down year last year. Interesting the line about power ebbing and flowing. Is Maisel acknowledging that the same top six–unlike in other leagues–dominate year in and year out? Finally, his line about six teams being in the top 25 goes to the root of my point about SEC scheduling: Easy scheduling equals more wins which equals better records and more teams being ranked, which in turn makes the mainstream media say “Wow, look at all those ranked teams with all those wins. Must be a great conference.” As we’ve discussed, it goes deeper than that. Unfortunately, the way things are set up now tends to invite lazy analysis.

Then we get to the Big 12, which I rated fifth out of the BCS conferences:

The only thing seriously hurting this league is the dramatic imbalance in divisions. The South is loaded: Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech are all Top 25 caliber. The North needs someone — anyone — to step forward as a viable champion.

So says Forde, not realizing exactly what he is saying, apparently, as he nonetheless rates the conference third overall. Let’s get this straight: An entire division of this conference is acknowledged as a joke, the overall champion has gotten its clock cleaned in three of the last four BCS title games and this year it has a suspect favorite in Texas (whose title hopes could be over by September) and, yet, the conference still garners such broad respect? Sheesh.

Finally we get to the mandatory under-ranking of the Pac-10 by ESPN. Just to recap, practically the entire television network, the dot-com and the Magazine predicted an Oklahoma win in the Orange Bowl. Part of the reason was because of USC coming from such a ‘weak’ conference as the Pac-10. The conference has three teams ranked in the top 25–roughly the same ratio as the Big 12 does–yet still does not garner any respect. Does it matter that the venerable Phil Steele ranked the Pac-10 as the best conference following the 2004 season? Of course not! This lack of respect is important, since it permeates the media and trickles down to how rankings are compiled. As a result, we get a 6-6 Alabama team with nary a first-round pick to speak of (and a lousy coach to boot) sneaking into the top 25, while a 6-6 UCLA team with pleny of talent (and a lousy coach) doesn’t get a sniff. Arizona State, meanwhile, can go 9-3, destroy Iowa and beat Purdue, yet end up ranked well behind them coming into the next season, despite having most of its team back. Is it fair? Well, I don’t know. But I do know that it is primarily lazy.

And that’s inexcusable.

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