Tag Archives | Heisman Trophy

Heismandment No. 9 Strikes, Mark Ingram Out With Injury

Just as it did for Sam Bradford last year, and just as it has for every other returning Heisman winner–save one–for the past 76 years, Heismandment No. 9 has once again exacted its tribute.

Alabama will be without Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram for Saturday’s opener against San Jose State, and probably longer, after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee Tuesday morning.

His return for the Penn State game looks to be unlikely.

This just illustrates how difficult it is to have consecutive healthy, productive and Heisman-worthy seasons, especially when you are a work-horse back like Ingram.

I don’t doubt that he will come back to put up some good production this year–Ingram’s a warrior with a big heart, after all.  But we can pretty much count him out for the Heisman in 2010 which, of course, is what I have written all along (to the consternation of so many of you).

In the meantime, here’s hoping his recovery goes well and he’s back out on the field soon.

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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 12/1

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 12/1/09
Total Points, with first-place votes in parantheses

1. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–58 (7)

2. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford–47 (3)

3. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–28 (1)

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–24

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–13 (1)

6. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–10 (1)

7. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–7

8. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson–5

9. Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas–2

10. Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon–1
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–1
Jacqizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State–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
Colt McCoy has finally done what voters have been expecting of him all season and, as a result, this Heisman race is now his to lose.  If he can lead Texas to a win over Nebraska on Saturday, he’ll become the third Longhorn Heisman winner and just the fifth player to win after coming in second the year before.  Should McCoy slip up in a loss to the Cornhuskers, Toby Gerhart is in position to take home the Pac-10’s first trophy by a non-USC player since fellow Cardinal Jim Plunkett won it in 1970.
Heisman Game of the Week
No. 1 Florida vs. No. 2 Alabama–This game will feature a former Heisman winner (Tebow) and a former Heisman front runner (Ingram).  While both of these players are now longshots to win the 2009 trophy, the SEC title game could have a profound effect on the outcome of this race, as both will draw significant support when the ballots are tallied.  At the very least, this game provides one last chance to appreciate one of the great players in Heisman history in Tebow. 

Player to Watch

Colt McCoy, Texas–As it turns out, the player many thought was the preseason favorite to win the 2009 Heisman (including HP) has actually lived up to the expectations.  Not only has he produced another excellent season, but he has led his team to the brink of a national title berth.  Through it all, McCoy has handled the pressure as well as anyone possibly could.  His reward will be to go down as one of the great players in college football history.

This Week in Heisman History

A total of 65 voters ballots were cast for the inaugural Heisman Trophy, awarded to the University of Chicago’s Jay Berwanger in 1935.  Actually, at the time it was not called the Heisman. The Award was the Downtown Athletic Club’s Trophy to the Outstanding College Football Player East of the Mississippi River. In October of 1936, John Heisman, then the DAC’s Director of Athletics, passed away and the Award was named in his honor.

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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 11/24

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 11/24/09
Total Points, (with first-place votes in parantheses)
1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–58 (10)

2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–40 (1)

3. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford–33 (1)

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–20

5. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson–13

6. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–9

7. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–7 (1)

Case Keenum, QB, Houston–7

9. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–3

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State–3

11. Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon–1

Dexter McCluster, RB, Mississippi–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

It looks like this twisting and turning race has finally come down to Ingram and McCoy.  Whichever of these two can finish strongest will win the Heisman.  While Gerhart, Tebow and Spiller aren’t in position to take the top prize, they can still influence the outcome based on how they close out their seasons.  To wit: A vote for Gerhart or Spiller could be a vote otherwise meant for Ingram, while a vote for Tebow might’ve gone for McCoy.  This one is going down to the wire and could be the closest Heisman race since 2001.

Heisman Game of the Week

Texas vs. Texas A&M–The nation will tune in to the annual battle between the Aggies and Longhorns while stuffed on turkey and mashed potatoes.  It’s the only college game on Thanksgiving Day, so McCoy will have the Heisman spotlight to himself.  He’d better get off to a fast start in this one before the tryptophan kicks in.

Player to Watch

Mark Ingram–Mr. Ingram, get ready for your Heisman close up.  While McCoy takes center stage on Thursday, the big game on Friday will be between Auburn and Alabama.  Heisman ballots have been sent out, so many of the voters will be taking a close look at Ingram for the first time.  If they like what they see, he’ll be set up to clinch the Heisman one week later against Florida in the SEC title game. 

This Week in Heisman History

Playing with two broken ribs on his 23rd birthday, Auburn’s Bo Jackson ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns…all to no avail as the Tigers lost, 25-23, to Alabama on a last-second, 52-yard field goal by Van Tiffin in 1985.   Jackson would go on to win the Heisman by the smallest margin ever–a mere 45 points over Iowa’s Chuck Long.

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Heisman Nirvana

That’s what it’s going to be like this Saturday, possibly the most important day on this season’s Heisman schedule.

Between Texas-Oklahoma, USC-Notre Dame and Florida-Arkansas, the action will include TWO current Heisman winners, THREE major candidates for the 2009 Heisman, an undetermined number of future Heisman challengers (among the various underclassmen on the rosters), and FIVE traditional Heisman powers with a combined 24 bronze statues to their credit (nearly 1/3 of all the winners).

I’m a West Coast guy, so after a hearty breakfast, I’ll get the Sooners and Longhorns at 9 a.m.  I’m keeping a close eye on this one, because if Colt McCoy plays lights out, he could take control of the race. 

What does he need to do for that to happen? 

Continue Reading →

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The HP Heisman Watch

We are five weeks in and right now I believe there are only four players left who can actually win the Heisman in the current environment.  I say ‘current’ because there is one circumstance in which the race could be thrown wide open to all comers again.  Namely, if every one of the remaining four candidates mess up.

What kind of scenario would that entail? 

1. Colt McCoy plays horribly in a loss to Oklahoma, or when Texas gets upset elsewhere along the way.

2. Tim Tebow’s weakened state leads either to a loss vs. LSU or he doesn’t play for a couple games, severely curtailing his stats.

3. Notre Dame and Jimmy Clausen get trounced by USC.

4. Miami gets upset and Jacory Harris underperforms or gets hurt.

In this scenario, the race would be ‘reset’ and the usual standards for picking the Heisman winner would be ratcheted down.  Voters would disregard the usual statistical benchmarks and team records in order to determine the winner.  Outside candidates who wouldn’t normally break into the top echelon would then be reconsidered.  Should this happen, look for names like Greg McElroy, Joe McKnight, Tony Pike, Toby Gerhart, Tate Forcier and Noel Devine to emerge as possible contenders, along with the current ones.

That said, here are the four players who currently have the best chance at actually winning the Heisman.  All four are from traditional Heisman powers.  Remember, this is a projection based on how the season is likely to unfold based on what we know now, NOT the way the vote would end up.

1. Colt McCoy, Texas–McCoy is the clear front runner and all he really has to do is beat Oklahoma to put himself in position to cruise to the Heisman.  He has a chance to make this race devoid of any drama.  On the year, he’s got 1,145 passing yards, with 9 TDs and 5 picks and is completing 71 percent of his passes.  Assuming Texas makes the Big 12 title game, he is on pace to have 3,721 passing yards with 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.  Now, he obviously needs to tone down the picks, but I don’t think he’ll have a problem doing that.  If he maintains a 3-to-1 ratio, he’ll be fine.  But if the picks keep coming, they could pose a problem for some voters. 

2. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame–When was the last time a Notre Dame quarterback led the nation in passing efficiency?  Well, that’s what Clausen is doing now.  And he’s doing so in dramatic fashion, leading the Irish to comeback win after comeback win.  I think there is an understanding that Notre Dame isn’t especially good right now, but that it is Clausen who is willing them to victory anyway.  On the year, he has 1,544 passing yards, with 12 TDs and 2 interceptions.  He is completing 68 percent of his passes.  He is on pace to have 3,705 passing yards with 29 TDs and 5 picks by the time of the Heisman vote.  His biggest obstacle is USC in two weeks.  But if he beats the Trojans–and it will most likely be because of him if it happens–he may be unstoppable in this race. 

3. Jacory Harris, Miami–Harris has emerged as a legitimate Heisman contender after a very tough first four games.  If the ‘Canes were 4-0, he might be in great shape in the race.  But they are 3-1 and some things will need to happen for him to have a shot.  Namely, Miami needs to win out.  I actually think this is a good possibility.  If the ‘Canes are 11-1 at the time of the Heisman vote and in contention for a BCS berth of some sort, Harris will be seen as the catalyst for the program’s revival, much like Carson Palmer was seen as the reason for USC’s revival in 2002.  Right now, he has 1,008 passing yards with 8 TDs and 5 interceptions.  He is completing 62 percent of his passes.  He is on pace to have  3,024 passing yards with 24 TDs and 15 picks by the time of the Heisman vote.  However, because Miami’s schedule is considerably easier the rest of the way than it has been so far, I expect his yardage and touchdowns to rise considerably above that pace and for his interceptions to drop.

4. Tim Tebow, Florida–Tebow is the big wild card in the race right now.  We don’t know what his status is and that’s why he is in the four spot.  I have to assume that even if he plays against LSU, he won’t be 100 percent.  If he doesn’t play, it could really hurt his chances at another Heisman since his numbers will have a hard time keeping pace with the others in the race.   On the other hand, a heroic return in a win against LSU could vault him back up there with McCoy.  For the year, he has 643 passing yards with 6 TDs and 1 interception, along with 271 rushing yards and 5 TDs.  Assuming Florida makes the SEC title game, he is on pace for 2,089 passing yards, with 20 TD passes and 3 interceptions, to go with 880 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

How The Regions Are Shaping Up

McCoy is in good shape partly because he is now the only legitimate Heisman candidate west of the Mississippi.  He is likely to capture the vast majority of the votes in the Southwest and West regions and will remain strong in the other regions just as he was last year.  Clausen is obviously the Midwest’s main candidate, while Tebow and Harris are the Southern guys.  The race could be decided by the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.  

If the vote were held today

1. Tim Tebow

2. Colt McCoy

3. Jimmy Clausen

4. Tony Pike

5. Case Keenum

6. Jacory Harris

7. Eric Berry

8. Jahvid Best

9. Joe McKnight

10. Greg McElroy

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Best’s Last Hope

Cal’s game against USC on Saturday could make or break Jahvid Best’s Heisman hopes.

Obviously, the Bears need to win, but I also think Best needs to get well over 100 yards and have some highlight reel runs to really jump back into contention.

One issue that has not been discussed is his health.  Since the second half of the Minnesota game, Best has not looked as explosive as he did before.  I surmise it is because of soreness in his surgically-repaired foot.  However, this is not something that has been revealed, mostly I think due to Jeff Tedford’s penchant for secrecy.

If I’m Tedford, I rest Best all week and make sure that foot is 100 percent.  Having a 5-10, 195-pound back in there who can’t outrun people is almost pointless.

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The HP Heisman Watch

Here is my latest list of players with the best shot of actually winning the Heisman.

1. Colt McCoy, Texas–McCoy didn’t have the greatest game against Texas Tech in front of a national television audience, but it’s going to take more than a couple early season interceptions to derail his Heisman run.  He was 24 of 34 for just 205 yards and one touchdown pass (with two interceptions) on Saturday.   On the season, he is 75 for 110 (68.2%) for 859 yards, with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.  He is on pace to throw for 3,436 yards and 24 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.  While his yardage numbers are good, he needs to pick up the pace with the touchdown passes and start cutting back on his picks.   

2. Jahvid Best, California–Best has very good momentum right now and his odds have gotten better as it looks like Cal could be the Pac-10 favorite .  Doesn’t hurt that he scored five touchdowns against Minnesota, either.  He rushed 26 times for 131 yards against the Gophers.  The one issue he has is his health, which reared its head against Minnesota as he was hobbled in the second half.  On the year, he has 412 rushing yards on 53 carries (7.8 ypc), 8 rushing touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 59 yards and another score.    He currently leads the nation in scoring.  He is on pace to rush for 1,648 yards and 32 touchdowns.  He needs to increase his rushing totals a bit, but obviously his scoring pace is astronomical right now.

3. Tim Tebow, Florida–To win that second Heisman, it’s going to take a season that is head and shoulders above the other candidates.  Tebow might have a hard time doing that if he keeps having games like he had against Tennessee.  He was 14 of 19 for 115 yards against Tennessee, with no touchdown passes, one interception, plus 76 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown.  On the year, he is 39 of 58 (67.2%) for 540 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.  He has also rushed for 148 yards on 39 carries and three more touchdowns.  He is on pace for 2,160 passing yards, 20 touchdown passes and four interceptions, along with another 600 rushing yards.  Those are nice numbers, but he’ll be hard-pressed to win the Heisman with them.

4. Daryll Clark, Penn State–Clark is humming along in the background in the Heisman race and it would take a major fall by all the other candidates for him to break through.  Last week, he threw for 167 yards on 16 of 26 passing with two touchdowns and one pick against Temple.  On the year, he is 65 of 97 (67%) for 760 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.  He is on pace for 3,040 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.  As long as the Nittany Lions remain undefeated, he’ll stick around on this Watch.

5. Jacory Harris, Miami–Harris is the ultimate long shot in this race, as he has very little name recognition amongst rank and file Heisman voters.  He is really just hitting his stride as a starting quarterback and if he can keep it up and Miami keeps winning, he’ll start to get some recognition.  Last week against Georgia Tech, he was 20 of 25 for 270 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.  On the year he is 41 of 59 (69.5%), for 656 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.  His efficiency rating is a sterling 184.08.  He is on pace to throw for 3,936 yards with 30 touchdowns and 12 picks.  Those are obviously very good numbers and if he does it and Miami goes undefeated, he’s got an outside chance to win. 

Dropped out:  Max Hall, Joe McKnight, Jevan Snead, Dez Bryant

If the vote were held today

1. Colt McCoy

2. Jahvid Best

3. Tim Tebow

4. Daryll Clark

5. Case Keenum

6. Dez Bryant

7. Eric Berry

8. Jevan Snead

9. Tate Forcier

10. Jimmy Clausen

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