Setting the table for today:
There are currently four major candidates for the 2010 Heisman Trophy and several minor candidates behind them trying to gain traction.
As the race now stands, the leader (if the vote were held today) is a sophomore quarterbacking phenom from a traditional power who has burst onto the scene with his passing and running. He is on pace for a record-breaking season.
Not far behind him–and with more overall advantages in the campaign–is a junior quarterback with elite size and athleticism (and good name recognition) who is in his third year as a starter and is also from a traditional power, though one that is competing for the national title.
Then there is the gutty and diminutive junior from the upstart national title-contending program whose passing numbers and winning percentage as a starter are unmatched and whose Heisman fortunes are, more than anyone else, tied in with those of his team.
Finally, we get to the mountainous junior quarterback with the rocket arm who may well set all kinds of SEC records before he’s through.
Denard Robinson and Terrelle Pryor will not see their Heisman hopes change much as a result of what happens in their games today. And while Kellen Moore’s Heisman aspirations could be dealt a mortal blow if Boise State loses to Oregon State, he’s not going to jump over Robinson and Pryor if the Broncos win.
The one player who has the most to gain from Saturday is Ryan Mallett.
If Mallett plays well and leads the Razorbacks to a win over No. 1 Alabama, I think he’s got a chance to move into the No. 1 spot in the Heisman race or, at the worst, dislodge Pryor for the No. 2 spot.
If the Razorbacks lose a closely-contested game despite Mallett playing well–or if Arkansas wins despite Mallett being ineffective–I think he can stick around in third or fourth place and be in position for a late season Heisman run if the Hogs win out and he puts up some sick numbers.
But if Mallett plays poorly and Alabama wins, then his Heisman hopes will be difficult to revive unless the contenders ahead of him hit similiar road bumps. One thing in Mallett’s favor is that the remainder of the Arkansas schedule features some ‘name’ teams like Texas A&M, Auburn and LSU, but the Hogs are likely to be favored to beat each of them, depending on what happens today.
What kind of game does Mallet have to have to take control of the race? I’m thinking he needs over 300 yards and 3 TDs with no costly picks. That would be impressive against a tough–although untested–‘Bama defense.
Well, the table is set. Time to watch the games.
Feel free to comment below as the day goes on…I’d love to get everyone’s thoughts on week four.