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.
Author Archive | Heismanpundit

On Tap….

Just a brief entry today….things to look for in the next couple days:

–We’ve been preparing the rollout for Collegefootballpundit.com, which should be out shortly. It will deal with college football in general, while Heismanpundit will continue its focus on the Heisman.

–The Heismanpundit Preseason Top 10 Heisman Candidate list will debut tomorrow.

–Our Top 10 Teams and All-Americans will be unveiled in the next several days as well.

Looking forward to even more lively debate!

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Just a few days after putting together some actual insightful entries, Orson Swindle, who puts the BS in EDSBS, managed to resort to his usual name-calling-in-lieu-of-being-able-to-respond-to-an-argument approach in his non-reply to his getting disemboweled by us last week.

Always the creative one, he has taken to referring to us as a Jim Rome wannabe. This is an illustrative reference, since it probably sheds light on the world in which the fellas at EDSBS live in: Message Boards, Sports Talk Radio, X-Box and (undoubtedly) Fantasy Football. You know, all redoubts of the frustrated football fan who gets excited when he sees his team being written about on CollegeFootballNews.com.

We’ve often called EDSBS the court jesters of the college football blogosphere. For the most part, they’re pretty funny guys. But for some reason, they keep wanting to get involved in issues we care about, all while still trying to maintain this air of self-detachment that is, frankly, irritating. They’ll play ball for a quarter or two, but when they start to get tackled, they pack up and call it quits, all the while making fun of those who actually still want to keep playing.

A few weeks ago, we were referred to by EDSBS as (among other things) ‘required reading.’ Now we are Jim Rome wannabes.

And he calls us confused?

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Bush’s Latest Buzz

USC tailback Reggie Bush and Florida quarterback Chris Leak were co-No. 1 on Heismanpundit’s post spring top 10 candidate list.

However, given the bevy of media attention that Bush has received over the summer, it’s likely that our official preseason list will have him all alone at the top.

That’s because Bush has been very visible all summer, as he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated (while being the subject of a story inside, as well as the magazine’s pick for the Heisman), written about inside Men’s Fitness Magazine and has generally been a constant presence on the covers of most of the major preview magazines.

This story touches on Bush’s rising Heisman buzz and USC’s efforts to promote both him and Matt Leinart.

The USC tailback mystique is a mainstay of Heisman lore. It could push Bush all the way to the trophy.

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A Dark Horse Scenario

Texas A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal is primed for an even bigger year than last year–when he threw for 2,791 yards and rushed for 718–if the Aggie coaches are to be believed.

Franchione was so impressed by the way McNeal dominated on and off the field that coaches named him their most improved player in the spring. With four of the five starters back on the offensive line and running back Courtney Lewis returning, it’s no wonder A&M expects to challenge Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 South.

McNeal is an interesting dark horse candidate for the Heisman. While he doesn’t come from a traditional power, he plays for a team that could potentially get a lot of attention if it has the season it is capable of.

What’s more, the Aggie schedule is set up perfectly for a late-season Heisman run by McNeal (should others falter, of course). The Aggies play Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas and (if applicable) the Big 12 Title game to close out the year.

Should McNeal outduel Adrian Peterson and Vince Young while leading A&M to wins in those games, he’ll likely be on his way to New York at the least. If Leinart, Bush, Leak, et al, stumble along the way and McNeal’s numbers are good, he could even win it.

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Bring Back The Stiff Arm!

Lately we’ve talked about the evolution of offenses, now here’s a little bit about the evolution of running styles.

Today’s players could learn a thing or two by going back to the stiff arm, as told in this piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Lowering the shoulder has become the move of choice for the power running back. The stiff arm has gone the way of the dodo.

“I don’t think the stiff-arm is as sure a move as a little sidestep. A lot of secondary players don’t have good tackling bases. They might get zippered up, so they don’t have a good base. If you have a good running back like the backs we have on this team, all it takes is one sidestep and they are headed back north-south.”

Or, as James said, a lowered shoulder. Which, by the way, is how Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma got many of his 1,925 yards last season. Then again, lowering that shoulder is also what got him offseason surgery.

Ironic that the Heisman Trophy itself employs the stiff arm. It’s probable that not a single one of the candidates this season have ever used it in a game.

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Mike Woods Out With His List

Mike Woods of MSNBC put out one of the best Heisman watches last season. He kicks off this year with Matt Leinart at the top of his group of contenders.

Only injury, or a lights-out year by teammate Reggie Bush, will prevent him from his appointed date with history. Or destiny, if you prefer.

As usual, Woods frames the debate properly. We don’t think that Leinart is going to win because of Heismandment No. 9, but we do acknowledge that this particular rule could fall by the wayside if History (with a capital ‘H’) is the order of the day.

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Never The Coaches Fault

It’s very important to understand ‘coachspeak’ when following college football. Coaches like to pump up their opponent, to go along with hyping of certain players, to talk about game plans publicly–only to think and do just the opposite most of the time.

One thing that coaches like to do to absolve themselves from blame is talk about ‘execution.’ When a coach puts together a game plan, he tells his team that if the game plan is executed, the team will win.

If the team loses, he can then blame the loss on lack of ‘execution.’

What is never admitted by the coach is that the game plan could very well be the problem. Sometimes, it could even go so far as be the fault of the scheme. But to admit that, a coach would have to admit that he has been selling a load of bull to his team. And that won’t happen.

The latest case of this is with Bob Stoops of Oklahoma. The last we saw the Sooners, his secondary was getting ripped to shreds in the Orange Bowl. This after a season of clear signs of vulnerability.

Now, is Oklahoma going to try to fix things by changing the way they scheme in the secondary? Oh no. They will shuffle some new players in. And work on technique. Click on this story to see what I mean.

To wit:

Matt Leinart disassembled Oklahoma’s secondary with a record-breaking performance in the Orange Bowl. The Sooners plan to rebuild it with an infusion of talent and a renewed focus on proper technique…..

What isn’t changing is Oklahoma’s defensive philosophy.

“The bottom line is I felt what we were in proved in a lot of games to be very successful,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said “In some games, we gave up some big plays, not so much because of the scheme.”

Instead, Stoops blames a lack of technique

Sure, it wasn’t his fault, it wasn’t because of his scheme. Oh no. The players didn’t execute because they didn’t use proper technique!

Again, if Stoops thinks he can just reshuffle some players and babble some nonsense about technique, the Sooners may be headed for more than the three losses that I predicted last week.

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