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The Latest HP Heisman Poll

The Heismanpundit Heisman Poll, Sept. 22

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–55 (7)
 
2. Jahvid Best, RB, California–53 (5)
 
3. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–43 (1)
 
4. Jacory Harris, QB, Miami–17
 
5. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–8
 
6. Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee–5
 
7. Daryll Clark, QB, Penn State–4
 
Jake Locker, QB, Washington–4
 
Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State–4
 
10. Jevan Snead, QB, Mississippi–2
 
About the Poll
 
The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for five players each week. Tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on.  Last year’s final Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote.

Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.

Chris Huston, owner of Heismanpundit.com, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.
 
HP’s Thoughts
 
Cal running back Jahvid Best is surging in this race now and it’s no wonder after scoring five touchdowns against Minnesota.  While Tebow and McCoy are obviously great players, Best provides a lot of the razzle dazzle that the voters crave and that has perhaps been lacking from the venerable quarterback duo in the early going.  If Best can keep it up these next two weeks against Oregon and USC, he might take over this race.  Keep an eye on Miami’s Jacory Harris, the latest dark horse to emerge.

From a Voter

“For me, this was the week preseason preconceptions gave way to what’s actually happening on the field. In the wake of an inspiring but workmanlike afternoon from Tebow; and another halting first half from McCoy, it was a no-brainer  to elevate the sensational Jahvid Best to the top of my ballot after his five-TD performance on the road against much-improved Minnesota.”– Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated
 
Heisman Game of the Week
 
No. 6 Cal at Oregon.  This game would have a higher profile if the Ducks hadn’t flopped against Boise State in week one, but it is a possible trap game for the Bears, who could be looking ahead to USC the following week.  The good news for Best: No rain in the forecast and a chance to fly on field turf against a suspect defense.  Fun note: Best has scored more touchdowns this season than 40 teams in the FBS.
 
Player to Watch

Jacory Harris, Miami.  Harris and the Hurricanes head to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech this Saturday.  He’s one of the hottest players in the country right now, but playing in this venue will be a challenge.  Voters will be keeping a close eye on this game and Harris has a chance to make a big impression by leading Miami to a win.  If that happens, he’ll have no time to rest on his laurels as Oklahoma is up next.
 
This Week in Heisman History

Eddie George rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries to lead No. 7 Ohio State to a 45-26 win over Notre Dame in 1995.  “All I know is I played a game against Notre Dame to the best of my ability,” said George afterward.  “If I’m up for Heisman consideration, that’s great.”  He went on to win the trophy that year, beating out Nebraska’s Tommy Frazier and Florida’s Danny Wuerffel.

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The Latest Heismanpundit.com Heisman Poll

This Week’s Poll Results, 9/15
 (first place votes in parantheses)

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–59 (9)

2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–52 (3)

3. Jahvid Best, RB, Cal–41 (1)

4. Max Hall, QB, BYU–19

5. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–8

6. Daryll Clark, QB, Penn State–7

7. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State–3

8. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State–2

     Jevan Snead, QB, Mississsippi–2

10. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame–1

       Joe McKnight, RB, USC–1

About the Poll
 
The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for five players each week. Tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on.  Last year’s Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote.

Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.

Chris Huston, owner of Heismanpundit.com, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.

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The Latest Heismanpundit.com Heisman Poll

Hot off the presses…

This week’s poll (first place votes in parantheses):

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–60 (8)

2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–57 (5)

3. Jahvid Best, RB, Cal–35

4. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State–10

5. Max Hall, QB, BYU–9

6. Daryll Clark, QB, Penn State–7

7. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame–5

8. Joe McKnight, RB, USC–4

9. Jevan Snead, QB, Mississippi–3

      Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee–3

11. Taylor Mays, DB, USC–1

      Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–1

About the Poll

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for five players each week. Tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on.  Last year’s Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote.

Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.

Chris Huston, owner of Heismanpundit.com, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.
 
HP’s Thoughts

The injury to Sam Bradford jumbles the race quite a bit.  Tebow and McCoy are a solid 1-2, with Best, Bryant and Hall gaining strength.   The top five should be unchanged after this weekend, but don’t be surprised if Clausen or McKnight surges into contention after high profile games against Michigan and Ohio State, respectively.
 
From a Voter

“Even though I voted Tebow first and McCoy second, I really don’t see much separating those two right now. It’s more like 1A and 1B. I don’t see that changing much in coming weeks. The rest of my ballot, though, was in complete turmoil. Bradford’s injury bounced him entirely, and I had a hard time deciding who to put where. Best? Snead? Clausen? I even gave Case Keenum a look. If Week One is any indication of what the season will be like, it’s going to be crazy.– Jenni Carlson, The Oklahoman
 
Heisman Game of the Week
 
No. 3 USC at No. 8 Ohio State.  These two elite programs have won 14 Heismans between them, including four of the last seven.  If Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor can engineer the upset in the Horseshoe, he’ll immediately pop up on every voter’s short list.  Meanwhile, USC’s McKnight has a chance to prove that he really is the next great Trojan tailback (it’s a position Heisman voters love).  Rain could be a factor in this one.  
 
Player to Watch

Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame.  Clausen has been on fire lately, throwing for 716 yards and nine touchdowns in his last two games.  It looks like he’s finally living up to the considerable hype that surrounded him coming out of high school.  This week, the Irish take on a much-improved Michigan squad and if he performs well, he’ll be set up for serious Heisman run.  Never underestimate the power of the Notre Dame quarterback mystique.
 
This Week in Heisman History

UCLA’s Gary Beban–dubbed “The Great One” by coach Tommy Prothro–went just 9 of 20 for 109 yards though the air, but turned a key 4th and 2 into a tackle-breaking 27-yard touchdown run with four minutes left to lead the No. 6 Bruins to a 20-16 win over No. 9 Tennessee in 1967.  Beban would go on to edge O.J. Simpson for the Heisman Trophy.

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The HP Heisman Watch

Here is my latest list of the players with the best chance of actually winning the Heisman:

1. Colt McCoy, Texas–McCoy got off to a good start, throwing for 317 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception while completing 21 of 29 against Louisiana-Monroe.  He held serve on opening day and saw his candidacy strengthen thanks to the injury to Sam Bradford.   The Texas schedule in the coming weeks holds no major challenges, so he will likely retain this spot, barring injury or upset, for the first half of the season.  The three-game stretch in mid-to-late October that includes Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State will probably determine his Heisman fate.

2. Tim Tebow, Florida–Tebow went 10 of 15 for 188 yards against Charleston Southern, with a touchdown passing and a touchdown running.  There is little need to pay close attention to his candidacy until SEC play begins, when he can truly get back to impressing voters in high profile games.  For now, he’s chasing history but remains a clear No. 2 behind McCoy.

3. Jahvid Best, Cal–Best wasted little time showing off his speed, ripping a 73-yard touchdown run early in a Cal win over Maryland.  Best ended up with 137 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 10 carries and added 2 catches for 23 yards, plus an 18-yard kickoff return.  He’ll probably put up equally gaudy numbers against Eastern Washington next week.  He remains the running back with the best chance of shaking up the race.

4. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame–The junior Irish quarterback has picked up where he left off last season.  He went 15 of 18 for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns (no picks) in a win over Nevada.  It’s still really early, but he looks like he could be on his way to a special season.  The Notre Dame quarterback position is a storied one in Heisman lore, so don’t count out the possibility of a serious run at the trophy here.

5. Daryll Clark, Penn State–If Saturday is any indication, Clark looks to be even better than he was last season.  He was 29 of 40 for 353 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception against Akron.   If he keeps up this kind of pace, he’ll go down as one of the great quarterbacks in Penn State history. 

6. Max Hall, BYU–We wrote a while back that Hall had a great opportunity to make a splash with Heisman voters thanks to early season games against Oklahoma and Florida State.  Well, the Cougars beat the Sooners, 14-13, and Hall threw the game-winning touchdown pass with just three minutes left.  While he wasn’t overly brilliant, he was gritty in going 26 of 38 for 329 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.  I think this game helps Hall’s Heisman chances, though not as much as it would’ve if BYU had beaten an Oklahoma team playing the whole game with a healthy Bradford.

7. Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State–The sophomore phenom looks much improved over last season, but his team’s struggle against Navy could be a harbinger of things to come.  Pryor played well, going 14 of 21 for 174 yards and ran for 30 yards, with a touchdown passing and a touchdown running (including an interception).  But the lack of difference makers on offense for the Buckeyes could put a lot of the onus on Pryor and that is a tough situation for any young quarterback to be in.  If Ohio State can rebound and beat USC, then Pryor moves back up this list.

8. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State–I picked Bryant to be the most likely Cowboy to mount a Heisman run and, after Saturday, I think that was justified.  Bryant was dazzling in a solid win over No. 13 Georgia, snaring 3 passes for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns, one of them a diving, highlight reel catch in the endzone for OSU’s first points.  He also added 29 yards on two punt returns.  

9. Joe McKnight, USC–McKnight was a highly-touted recruit who has been outstanding at times, but he has never put together a consistently dominant season.   Part of the reason for that is the USC tailback-by-committee approach which has served to evenly distribute the carries amongst a bevy of talented backs.  However, it looks like McKnight has a chance to emerge as the prime option in 2009.  He opened with 145 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries against San Jose State.  He also caught a pass for 21 yards and returned a punt 18 yards.  The Trojans next play Ohio State, against whom McKnight ran for over 100 yards last season.  If McKnight has another big game against the Buckeyes, he’ll start to get some Heisman buzz.

10. Jevan Snead, Ole Miss–Snead wasn’t particularly impressive in the Rebels’ win over Memphis, going 12 of 22 for 175 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.  He’ll need to pick up the pace a bit to stay in this race.

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The 2009 Preseason HP All-American Team, Offense

Quarterback

Colt McCoy, Texas–With so many great quarterbacks returning in 2009, this wasn’t an easy choice.  But McCoy is coming off a record-setting season where he completed 77 percent of his passes and was just a last-second Texas Tech upset away from clinching the Heisman and a berth in the national title game.  I think it’s time to give him his due.

colt

Running Back

Jahvid Best, California–Best is the closest anyone has come to being the next Reggie Bush.  He rushed for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns as a true sophomore and averaged an amazing 8.14 yards per carry.  He’s a classic breakaway back with angle-crushing speed.  If he can stay healthy, he’ll flirt with the 2,000-yard mark.

jahvid best

Fullback

William Rose, Florida Atlantic–At HP, we recognize that there is still such a thing as a fullback in football and so therefore there must be an All-American at this spot.  Rose, a senior, rushed for 307 yards and caught 23 passes for 168 yards in 2008. 

rose

Tight End

Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma–The best college tight end since Kellen Winslow, Jr.  He should’ve won the Mackey Award last season, when he caught 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns.  A superior talent.

jermaine-gresham-p1

Wide Receivers

Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State–The most dominating wide out in college football.  He can take over a game.  Also a brilliant return specialist.  A dark horse Heisman candidate who caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore.

Kansas St Oklahoma St Football

Arrelious Benn, Illinois–A long-time HP favorite (he was an HP preseason AA last year), he has the best combination of size, speed and strength of any receiver in college football.  Should have huge year with continued improvement by his quarterback, Juice Williams.

ArreliousBenn_001

Offensive Line Unit

Per HP tradition, we will not choose individual All-Americans on the offensive line.

We refuse to do so because, unlike other people who pick All-Americans, we admit that we have no idea who really are the best offensive linemen.

There are no individual stats to go by. Highlights rarely show what they do. We could go off of hearsay, but wouldn’t that be dishonest? What’s more, there are 585 starting offensive linemen in Division One. It’s almost impossible to have seen enough of them to know who is really the best.  Did anyone pick Baylor’s Jason Smith–the second pick in the draft–on their preseason team last year?  I don’t think so.  So, while other All-American teams choose linemen almost solely based on reputation, we will not.

However, we will choose the best line unit in the country, since this is a bit easier to quantify. That honor goes to USC, which returns five starters plus two part-time starters–including three seniors–from a group that went 12-1 and paved the way to 195 rushing yards per game while allowing only 18 sacks.  Congrats Trojans.

O-LINE

We’ll have our preseason HP All-American defensive team tomorrow…

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