The Wrench In The Works

Oct. 4, 2006

By Chris Huston

Special to from Heisman Pundit


Chris Huston

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The race for the 72nd Heisman Trophy was looking relatively calm going into Week Five.


Just three of the main contenders were in action and, while they all performed ably, no one really separated from the pack.


Out of that calm burst Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe, who gave Heisman voters a bunch of reasons to start considering him as a serious candidate.


353 reasons, to be exact.


And that's not all.


So far this season, Wolfe has 1,181 rushing yards, which, after five games, is more than anyone else in NCAA history.  He's on pace to surpass Barry Sanders' single-season rushing record of 2,628 yards - a record many once thought was unbreakable.  He is averaging a ridiculous 9.3 yards per carry.


If things work out right, he could top the 3,000-yard barrier.


Are you kidding me?  Give this guy the Heisman right now!


Well, before we get too excited, let's not forget that the last player from a non-BCS conference to win the Heisman was BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990.   Unfortunately, there is an ingrained bias among voters against players from small schools.


So the odds are stacked against the 5-7 dynamo from DeKalb.  However, one has to think that for every yard that falls by the wayside en route to Sanders' record, his chances of winning will increase.


In the meantime, we'll keep a close eye on him.  This could be a very special year for the Heisman and we don't want to miss a thing.


                                                              *    *    *


As we mentioned earlier, nothing much changed in the Heisman race in Week Five.


Troy Smith looked good, as he threw four touchdowns in a big win over Iowa.  Brady Quinn tallied 316 yards and a couple of touchdowns against Purdue, while Chris Leak notched two touchdowns in a win over Alabama.


All in all, nothing spectacular.


But fasten your seatbelts, because that's set to change. 


Two key games take place this Saturday that could go a long way toward determining the winner of the 2006 Heisman.


Chris Leak and his No. 5 Florida team will host No. 9 LSU, while Adrian Peterson and No. 13 Oklahoma take on No. 7 Texas.


For Peterson, it is a chance to grab control of the race.  If the junior running back performs well in a Sooner win, he could cruise to the trophy.


For Leak, it is a chance to show he is a serious candidate.  Beating LSU will quell many of the doubters out there who think he can't win the big one.


Meanwhile, Smith gets a breather against Bowling Green, while Quinn should have his way with lowly Stanford.


So what happens if Wolfe gets another 300-yard game while the rest of the candidates falter?


Chaos, my friends.  Utter chaos.


Heismanpundit's Top 10


1.       Adrian Peterson -- If he can carry the Sooners to a win over Texas, then the Heisman spotlight will stay focused on Norman the rest of the season.


2.       Troy Smith -- He just needs to accumulate more yardage so that his stats look good when the voters pull the lever.


3.       Brady Quinn -- It will all come down to whether Notre Dame beats USC.  But what if the Trojans lose first?


4.       Chris Leak -- His candidacy is high risk/high reward.  He could conceivably win in a landslide, or end up on the bench at season's end.


5.       Garrett Wolfe -- He is the wrench in the works.  The littlest among the Heisman candidates may loom the largest when all is said and done.


6.       Steve Slaton -- Every yard he gains this year will be a down payment on his Heisman run in 2007.


7.       Michael Hart -- The more the Wolverines keep winning, the more voters will see Hart as the reason.


8.       Calvin Johnson -- He's already wrapped up the Biletnikoff Award.  Any Heisman votes he gets are just gravy.


9.       Marshawn Lynch -- His profile will grow if Cal takes care of Oregon this Saturday.


10.     John David Booty -- He is the straw that stirs the drink of the USC offense....or what's left of it anyway.


That's my top 10.  Here's a look at this week's blog Poll. 


The CSTV Heisman Blog Poll Members:

College Football Resource

College Game Balls

Heisman Pundit

In The Bleachers

Pitch Right

The College Football Independent

The Wizard Of Odds


1.       Adrian Peterson -- In the Bleachers:  Peterson had the week off and I hope he rested his back, because if the Sooners are going to beat Texas this week in the Red River Shootout, he is going to have to carry them to victory.


2.       Troy Smith -- The Wizard of Odds:  OK, nice quarterback and he doesn't make mistakes, but is he the best player in the land? He just happens to play for the No. 1 team.


3.       Brady Quinn -- Pitch Right:  Notre Dame's Golden Boy put up more then 300 yards in the air again this week and is steadily building one of the nation's best statistical resumes.  


4.       Steve Slaton -- In the Bleachers:  Slaton had the week off to rest his legs, so he could run all over Mississippi State on Saturday. Look for Slaton to have somewhere around 150 yards rushing when he leaves the game in the third quarter.


5.       Chris Leak -- Pitch Right:  He didn't have a huge statistical day against Alabama, but he has posted good numbers on the season and, better yet, has led his team to a 5-0 record.  A tough schedule and increased Tim Tebow appearances could hurt his case though.   


6.       Michael Hart -- In the Bleachers:  Hart did well in his first game against a Big Ten defense, rushing for 195 yards. The longer Michigan stays undefeated and the further they move up the polls, the more Hart will benefit.


7.       Garrett Wolfe -- The Wizard of Odds:  Small time? Yea, right. Just remember what he did against Ohio State: 171 rushing yards and 114 receiving yards.


8.       Calvin Johnson -- College Football Resource:  He may not win the Heisman, but he may be the best player in the country anyway.


9.       John David Booty -- The Wizard of Odds:  Ten touchdown passes and only two interceptions, but with All-American WR Jarrett out, his production may slide.


10.     Marshawn Lynch -- College Football Resource:  He is on fire after a slow start, but the Bears need to win out for him to keep moving up.



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