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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll–Final Call!

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The final HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll of the season is in and Alabama running back Mark Ingram is the leader following his 113-yard rushing performance against No. 1 Florida in the SEC title game.

Ingram grabbed four first-place votes and totaled 46 points to retake the top spot back from Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.

“I moved Ingram to the top of my ballot around mid-season, and nothing has made me change my mind,” said one voter. “What he did Saturday against a quality Florida defense was my final validation.”

The vote by the weekly panel of 13 Heisman voters was hardly a slam dunk for the sophomore running back, however, and the race appears to be very muddled going into Saturday’s Heisman ceremony.  Stanford’s Toby Gerhart (43 points, 2 first-place votes), Texas’ McCoy (36 points, 1 first-place vote) and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (36 points, 4 first-place votes) all garnered significant support.  A total of six different players received first-place votes, tying the poll’s season high.

Voter commentary reflected the split:

“It’s long past time Heisman voters abandon their traditional, restrictive criteria and award the “most outstanding player,” regardless of position. Suh was hands down the most dominant player in the country on either side of the ball, and his performance in the Big 12 title game firmly solidified his stature. ”

“C.J. Spiller may be more exciting and Toby Gerhart more punishing, but no running back has been more effective against a tougher schedule than Ingram.”

“Golden Tate is as outstanding as he is underrated. Why he isn’t getting more Heisman love is beyond me.  He should not be penalized because his team stunk.”

“Toby Gerhart was consistently excellent this season. He never had a bad game. Stanford’s four losses or his lack of playing on the final weekend should not be held against him.”

Since ultimately you can’t take a cash advance to buy more votes, some sort of history is sure to be made on Saturday.  Ingram could become Alabama’s first Heisman winner or runner up, while McCoy could become the first Heisman runner up to come back and win the award since Herschel Walker did it in 1982.  Meanwhile, Gerhart would be the first non-USC winner from the Pac-10 since 1970 and Suh would be the first pure defensive player to win.

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, including the winner.

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 of HeismanPundit.com coordinates and also votes in the poll.

The Final HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 12/7/09
Total points, with first place votes in parantheses

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–46 (4)

2. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford–43 (2)

3. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–36 (1)

    Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–36 (4)

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–11 (1)

6. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–7

    C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson–7

8. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–5 (1)

9. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon–2

10. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–1

     Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon–1

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And on Keenum’s Behalf…

…this, from a Heisman voter:

Case Keenum cannot be ignored any longer.  He’s  everything you should want in a Heisman candidate. He’s putting up record-breaking quarterback numbers and is the best passer in the nation. He’s dramatically bringing his team from behind in big games. He’s beaten three BCS teams (Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State) and has Houston – HOUSTON! — ranked No. 13 in the country.  And for all the Tim Tebow supporters out there, just remember this:  Keenum’s team put up more points against Mississippi State than Tebow’s team did.”

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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 11/10

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 11/10
Total Points with first place votes in parantheses

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–55 (9)

2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–29 (1)

3. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–28 (2)

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–24

5. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson–16

6. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford–11

7. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–8

8. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–7 (1)

    Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–7

10. Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas–6

11. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame–3

12. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon–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 final Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote, including the winner.

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 of HeismanPundit.com coordinates and also votes in the poll.
 
HP’s Thoughts
 
Mark Ingram appears to be in firm control of this race after his 144-yard rushing effort in the Tide’s win over LSU.  This means he’s on track to win the Heisman as long as he finishes strong and doesn’t slip up against Florida in the SEC Title game.  However, keep an eye on Colt McCoy of Texas, who is making a late run for the trophy.  I see the race as being between these two candidates, though as many as five players could be invited to New York for the award ceremony. 
 
From a Voter
 
“Julio made the highlight reel, but for the fourth or fifth game in a row, it was Ingram piling up yards when ‘Bama had to have them–especially with Greg McElroy continuing to struggle.  Yes, Tebow and McCOy had nice games, but they’ve lacked the consistency of Ingram, who in my mind is consolidating his grip on the award.”  —  a Heisman voter.

Heisman Game of the Week
 
No. 1 Florida at South Carolina–The Gators haven’t been the same offensively this season.  As a result, Tebow’s numbers have decline markedly and now he needs a jolt to kickstart his campaign.  A stellar performance against a good South Carolina defense would do just that.  However, a poor outing would, for all intents and purposes, bring his run for a second Heisman to a close.  If history is any guide, I wouldn’t count him out just yet.        

Player to Watch

C. J. Spiller, Clemson–Spiller is coming off a school-record 312 all-purpose yards against Florida State and now he’s beginning to make some noise in the Heisman race.  He is as spectacular a player as there is in college football.  He is on pace to become one of just five players to crack the 7,000-yard career mark in all-purpose yardage and he’s just one kickoff return touchdown away from the owning the NCAA career mark in that category.  If he puts together some more games like he had against FSU and Clemson wins the ACC, look out.

This Week in Heisman History

Ron Dayne rumbled 31 yards off right tackle to break Ricky Williams’ one-year-old NCAA career-rushing record, part of a 216-yard effort by the senior tailback in Wisconsin’s 41-3 win over Iowa in 1999.  He went on to handily beat out Joey Hamilton and Michael Vick in the 1999 Heisman voting.  Dayne’s final total of 6,397 career rushing yards still stands today.

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Keenum Making A Move

I believe the player making the biggest move in the Heisman race this week is Houston’s Case Keenum.

His second-straight 500-yard passing game, resulting in a last-second, come-from-behind win over Tulsa, might’ve assured him of a top five finish in the race and, quite possibly, a trip to New York (depending on how the last few weeks shake out).  It’d be a fine honor on the 20th anniversary of Houston’s only Heisman.

While he will not win the Heisman this season, his 2009 performance coupled with his team’s success will set him up nicely for 2010, when names like Tebow and McCoy will be gone and the all-time NCAA passing yardage mark will be within reach.

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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 10/13

HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 10/13
(total points, with first-place votes in parantheses)

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–50 (6)

2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–35 (2)

3. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame–34 (2)

4. Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati–25 (1)

5. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–20

6. Ndamkong Suh, DT, Nebraska–11 (2)

7. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State–5
     Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech–5

9. Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee–3

10. Todd Reesing, QB, Kansas–2
     Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–2

12. Jacory Harris, QB, Miami–1
      Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama–1
      Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech–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 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 of HeismanPundit.com coordinates and also votes in the poll.

From a Voter

“If the award is for the most outstanding player in college football, you have to be awed by how dominating Ndamkong Suh has been this season. Other guys who become the default frontrunners due to their reps linger near the top and will be tough to beat in the end, but I’m going with Suh at this point. He’s made the Huskers a big deal again and he’s doing some things nobody at his position does. What’s really amazing is that you talk to coaches who go up against him and they focus on him so much in their game plans and he still makes plays.”– a Heisman voter.

Heisman Game of the Week
 
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 20 Oklahoma.  This could be where McCoy wins or loses the Heisman.  The voters will be watching closely to see if the Texas quarterback can recapture his magic from last season, when he finished second in the balloting.  While he’s been solid so far this year, he has thrown more interceptions and fewer touchdowns than many expected.  But if he plays well and leads Texas to a win, he’ll be hard to beat for the Heisman.  If he stumbles badly in a loss, however, he might have a hard time getting back to New York.

Player to Watch

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma.  Last year’s Heisman winner won’t repeat thanks to a shoulder injury that kept him out of the last three games, but he could still play the role of Heisman spoiler.  He showed few signs of rust in throwing for 389 yards in his return to action last week against Baylor, which augurs well for his matchup on Saturday against Texas and McCoy. If Bradford flashes the form that led to his record-setting season in 2008 and the Sooners win, he might even start appearing on some Heisman lists again.

This Week in Heisman History

Oklahoma running back Steve Owens rushed for 112 yards on 28 carries and scored four touchdowns, eclipsing the 100-yard barrier for the 14th-straight time, as the Sooners held off Colorado, 42-30, in 1969.  Late in the game, Owens broke the NCAA record for career rushing attempts (683) held previously by Wisconsin’s Alan Ameche.  He went on to beat out Purdue’s Mike Phipps to become Oklahoma’s second Heisman winner.

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Weekend Heisman Preview

This is a make-or-break weekend for a couple Heisman candidates.  It’s also the beginning of an important month that should eventually determine who wins the trophy.

Tim Tebow–I know he’s not playing due to a bye, but his recuperation over the weekend is key.  Will he be ready to go against LSU?  Rest up, big guy.

Jahvid Best–The last running back in the race could see his candidacy rebound with a big game against USC.  What does he have to do?  Well, first off, the Bears have to win.  That’s a given.  Second, he’s got to gain well over 100 yards and break off a long touchdown run or two.  He needs to dazzle with some highlight reel plays.  Does he have enough gas left in the tank?   Of course, if the Bears lose, his chances at the Heisman are basically zero, though a productive game in a loss could still help him to finish in the top five of the voting.

Jacory Harris–Like Best, Harris has a chance to bounce back and move up in the race.  Playing Oklahoma in front of a national audience is an ideal way to do so.  If Miami wins and Harris plays well, he’ll get a lot of attention and might be set up for a late-season run, as the ‘Canes have a pretty good shot at winning out.  If Miami loses, Harris’ candidacy is done and he’ll spend the rest of the season setting himself up for 2010.

Case Keenum–He’s the only one of the top three in the HP Heisman Poll playing this weekend, so he’ll have a chance to keep his momentum going.  The ideal weekend for Keenum would be for both Cal and Miami to lose while he throws for a ton of yards against UTEP.  With Tebow and McCoy in a bye week, most of the positive Heisman attention would then fall his way.

Jimmy Clausen–The Irish host Washington and Jake Locker.   This game will allow viewers to compare and contrast Clausen with a quarterback many think is headed for first-round draft status.  While beating Washington isn’t that big of a deal, outperforming Locker in a win would be a feather in his cap and set him up nicely for the marquee matchup with USC on Oct. 17.

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The Heismanpundit.com Heisman Poll, 9/29

This Week’s Poll Results, 9/29

(first-place votes in parantheses)
 
1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–57 (8)

2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–55 (5)

3. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–37

4. Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati–20

5. Jahvid Best, RB, California–11

6. Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee–4

7. Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama–2

Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State–2

Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota–2

Ryan Williams, RB, Va. Tech–2

11. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame–1

Jacory Harris, QB, Miami–1

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia–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 final Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote, including the winner.

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
 
With Jahvid Best and Jacory Harris absorbing major hits to their candidacies and Tim Tebow suffering a concussion, the race looks quite different than it did a week ago.  Though Tebow still leads, Colt McCoy has surged back into a virtual tie with the Gator quarterback, while Houston’s Case Keenum has, for the first time, placed himself within striking distance of the top spot.  The long view of the race still favors McCoy, though Tebow is benefitting from a short-term rallying effect due to his injury.  A possible dramatic return versus LSU on Oct. 10 might decide Tebow’s Heisman fate.

From a Voter

“This Heisman race is much more wide open than I thought it would be. There are a lot of interchangeable parts, but I still voted Tim Tebow No. 1 because he played hurt — with a respiratory illness– and contributed one touchdown pass and two rushing touchdowns in less than three quarters as Florida cruised to an SEC road victory over Kentucky.  The next two spots on my ballot are Colt McCoy of Texas, then Case Keenum of Houston– who has led his unbeaten, non-BCS team to a pair of wins over Big 12 schools.”– Dick Weiss, New York Daily News.
 
Heisman Game of the Week
 
No. 7 USC at No. 24 California.  Last week, Best was sitting pretty in the Heisman race after moving into second in the Heismanpundit.com poll for the first time.  This week, he’s just trying to survive after being a non-factor in Cal’s 42-3 loss to Oregon.  The calculus for Best against USC is simple:  If he does well and the Bears beat the Trojans, he’ll jump back into contention.  If not, he’s finished as a Heisman candidate and we’ll go another year without a running back winner.
 
Player to Watch

Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati.  Pike is starting to get some attention as he has led the Bearcats into the top 10 while completing 71 percent of his passes for 1,223 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first four games.  He doesn’t have the kind of marquee schedule that lends itself to a serious Heisman run but, if Cincinnati remains unbeaten, he has a chance to get some solid backing as the main candidate from the Midwest region. 
 
This Week in Heisman History

Michigan coach Bump Elliot called Navy quarterback Roger Staubach the “greatest quarterback I’ve ever seen” after watching him gain 307 yards running and passing (including two TDs in the air and one on the ground) in a 26-13 win over the Wolverines in 1963.  The total broke “Roger the Dodger’s” own Midshipmen record set the week before against William & Mary.  Staubach won the 1963 Heisman as a junior and was the last of five service academy athletes to take home the trophy.

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