I haven’t been too high on Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike’s Heisman chances, but not because I don’t think he’s a good player.
It’s just that it is very difficult for a relative unknown from a non-traditional Heisman power to come out of nowhere and seriously challenge for the Heisman.
He has been a consistent presence in the HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll the past few weeks. In the most recent poll, he was fourth with 25 points and even notched a first-place vote.
But I think the main reason for that is that he has had the best season (to date) of any player on an undefeated team. So voters are keeping him in mind, but only for a spot down the ballot (not the top spot).
Can that change?
When I look at the rest of Cincy’s schedule, it doesn’t look possible. After tonight, the Bearcats play Louisville, Syracuse, Connecticut, West Virginia (on a Friday), Illinois (on a Friday) and Pittsburgh. Not a ranked team in sight and not much reason for Heisman voters to tune in.
That doesn’t mean Pike can’t be a factor in the race, though. He’s got a chance to get to New York, at least, and it all begins with tonight’s matchup against unbeaten South Florida.
Most of the pundits who comment on the race will be watching this game, which is the advantage of playing on Thursday night. It’s Pike’s chance to really shine, to show that he’s a great player regardless of his schedule or conference affiliation.
Getting his team out of tonight’s game unbeaten will impress a lot of voters and as a result he’ll remain a solid option for some Heisman voters when all is said and done.
Where he finishes in the final balloting, though, will depend less on what he does and more on what the other candidates do.