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The Heisman Pundit Heisman Poll, Week 6

As I tried to explain earlier this week, Denard Robinson is still the leader for the time being…

Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan — 18 (5)

2. (tie) Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — 16 (4)

2. (tie) LaMichael James, RB, Oregon — 16 (2)

4. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State — 14 (2)

5. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn–9

6. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford–4

7. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska–1

About the poll
The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for three players each week. Tabulations are made on a 3-2-1 basis, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.  The last two years the Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote in 2008 and the top four in 2009.

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
Denard Robinson didn’t vault to the top of the Heisman race in just one week and he wasn’t going to fall from the top in just one week, either.  Despite a three-interception game against Michigan State, Robinson still put up solid overall numbers and maintained the faith of Heisman voters…for now.  Lurking close by in the race is Kellen Moore (who is unlikely to fall very low or rise very high for a while), LaMichael James and Terrelle Pryor.  If Robinson falters against Iowa this week, there will be a free-for-all for the top spot.  If Robinson comes through with, well, another Robinson-like performance, then look for his margin to (once again) increase.

From a Voter
“Denard Robinson may very well lose his frontrunner status in the coming weeks with Michigan’s schedule, but he’s been the best player in the nation so far this season. Even in the Wolverines’ loss to Michigan State last Saturday he put up 301 yards of total offense. LaMichael James has been the nation’s best back as Oregon has rolled, and Terrelle Pryor has a chance to make a statement with a big performance against Wisconsin on Saturday. Watch out for Nebraska freshman Taylor Martinez; he’s quickly moving up the list.” — B.J. Schecter, Sports Illustrated.

Heisman Game of the Week
No. 15 Iowa at Michigan
 — This game could go a long way toward determining the Heisman winner.  If Robinson bounces back from a sub-par (for him) game last week, then he’s likely to retain his front runner status until the Wolverines play Wisconsin on Nov. 20.  If Iowa shuts him down, then it will break the race wide open and give Pryor, Moore and James a chance to move into the top spot. 

Player to Watch
Terrelle Pryor — Pryor gets his second real test of the season this Saturday as Ohio State travels to Madison to take on Wisconsin.  Pryor was just 5 of 13 for 87 yards against the Badgers last year, but all indications are that his passing has improved markedly.  It will be a boon to his Heisman hopes if he can put together a complete game here and lead the Buckeyes to a win.

This Week in Heisman History
Pat Sullivan threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns–at one point completing an SEC-record 13-straight passes–as Auburn beat Georgia Tech, 31-14, in 1971. The Tigers trailed Tech, 7-6, entering the fourth quarter before exploding for 25 points.  Sullivan would go on to win the 1971 Heisman Trophy, beating out Ed Marinaro of Cornell and Greg Pruitt of Oklahoma.

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The Heismanpundit Heisman Poll, 10/6

This Week’s Poll Results, 10/6
(points, plus first-place votes in parantheses)
 
1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–52 (7)
 
2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–48 (3)
 
3. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame–31 (2)

4. Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati–24

5. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–11

6. Jacory Harris, QB, Miami–8

7. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia–7 (1)

8. Tate Forcier, QB, Michigan–4

9. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford–3

10. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–3

11. Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota–2
Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State–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, 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.
 
From a Voter

“They may not have the most eye-popping numbers to date — especially since they’ve played one less game than a lot of the other contenders — but Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy are running the best teams and still performing at a high level.  Tony Pike is in that same category.  The numbers of Jimmy Clausen and Toby Gerhardt are just too significant to ignore, even if the overall team success hasn’t quite validated either Notre Dame or Stanford as among the nation’s elite.  But then, both players will have chances for signature games soon enough, especially when Clausen stares down the USC defense in a couple weeks.” — a Heisman voter.
 
Heisman Game of the Week
 
No. 1 Florida at No. 4 LSU.  High stakes here, as always.  The Tigers might be Florida’s biggest obstacle to an undefeated regular season.  So will Tebow play or won’t he?  That is the question.  If he plays and leads Florida to a victory, it will add another chapter to his amazing legacy and his end reward could be that elusive second Heisman.  If he doesn’t play, or performs poorly in a loss, then his Heisman hopes will fade considerably.    
 
Player to Watch

Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford.  Who would’ve thought the top running back on the West Coast might end up coming from the other side of the San Francisco Bay?  The 6-1, 240-pound Gerhart is fourth in the nation in rushing and embodies Stanford’s newly-discovered, blue-collar style under head coach Jim Harbaugh.  With no other running backs in the race, Gerhart could make a late-season run at the trophy. 
 
This Week in Heisman History

Quarterback Jim Plunkett completed 19 of 31 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown (a 50-yarder to tight end Bob Moore) as No. 12 Stanford upset No. 4 USC in 1970, ending the Trojans’ 25-game regular-season unbeaten streak.  Plunkett later beat out Notre Dame’s Joe Theismann for the Heisman and then led the Indians to a stunning 27-17 win over undefeated Ohio State in the 1971 Rose Bowl.

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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 2009 HP Preseason Top 10 Teams List

The Coaches Poll is out today and, to no one’s surprise, Florida is No. 1.  Now, my top 10:

1. Florida

2. Texas

3. USC

4. Alabama

5. Oklahoma

6. Penn State

7. Ole Miss

8. Oklahoma State

9. Brigham Young

10. Ohio State

On the cusp: LSU, Cal, Notre Dame, Georgia, TCU, North Carolina, Clemson, Oregon State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

Five Darkhorses:  Stanford, Baylor, Arkansas, Illinois, Auburn

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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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Thrill List

Check out Austin Murphy’s list of the most thrilling players in college football history who were the “all-time bests at quickening the pulse and evoking a visceral response from those fortunate enough to have witnessed their artistry”

His No. 1?  The great Vince Young.

Others I might add to this list:

–O.J. Simpson

–Rocket Ismail

–Hugh Green

–Peter Warrick

–Anthony Carter

–Barry Sanders

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