Leak Drops Out

Oct. 11, 2006

By Chris Huston

Special to CSTV.com


Chris Huston

The Heisman Pundit breaks down the top players for CSTV.com.
E-mail here!

We are halfway to the Heisman ceremony, and one thing is already certain--for the 10th year in a row: the winner will not come from the Southeastern Conference.


Florida quarterback Chris Leak is having an outstanding season, and he has led his squad to a 6-0 start, but it was his backup, true freshman Tim Tebow, who made all the big plays in last Saturday's win over LSU.


While Leak had a solid game, it will not be lost on voters that he was on the bench for all three Gator touchdowns. 


Furthermore, Auburn's upset loss to Arkansas deprives Leak of an undefeated foe to slay this week.  What was once a key matchup with national implications is now somewhat anti-climactic.   


As a result, Leak has virtually no shot at winning the Heisman.


But that does not mean that last week's field of four has been narrowed to three just yet.  Replacing Leak as a candidate is Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe.  His emergence as a Heisman contender promises to change the dynamics of the race.


He will have the most effect on Adrian Peterson.  Prior to Wolfe's surge, Peterson was the only running back with serious Heisman hopes.  Those voters with a predilection toward running backs were likely to coalesce behind his candidacy.  Now, Peterson's stats will inevitably be compared to Wolfe's and, while it will be understood that he is the more outstanding talent of the two, his numbers will suffer by comparison.


Many of the talking heads on television are wrongly portraying Wolfe's Heisman run as a lost cause.  They are right that it is usually next to impossible for a player from Northern Illinois to win the Heisman.  They forget, however, that we are not talking about LeShon Johnson or Michael `The Burner' Turner here, but a player who is making a serious run at an NCAA record. 


What's more, they also forget that the Heisman had a three-year period from 1988-1990 where players from non-traditional powers took home the award.  Barry Sanders (1988), Andre Ware (1989) and Ty Detmer (1990) were all at relative disadvantages due to the institutional weaknesses of their schools, but won anyway. 


They won because all three put up mind-boggling statistics that no one had ever come close to. 


Sanders set an NCAA single-season rushing record with 2,628 yards and also punched in 39 touchdowns.  Ware--the first black quarterback to win the trophy--passed for 4,299 yards and 44 touchdowns, while Detmer threw for an NCAA-record 5,188 yards to go with 41 touchdowns. 


Don't get me wrong.  If Wolfe doesn't smash Sanders' record, he won't win the Heisman.  But if he does, he better start working on his acceptance speech.


                                                              *    *    *


While Wolfe looks to shake the race up and Leak's candidacy is up in smoke, the other three major contenders had solid weeks.


Troy Smith passed for 191 yards and three touchdowns.  Brady Quinn had 232 yards and three touchdowns.  Peterson rushed for 109 yards and a score. 


Peterson's candidacy suffered the worst of the three, as his Oklahoma team lost to Texas.  It is highly unlikely that Peterson gets to play in the Big 12 championship now, which means he won't get that 13th game to boost his stats before the Heisman vote.  While he is not out of the race, he needs to finish strong and hope a couple of the other candidates slip up a little.


Meanwhile, neither Smith nor Quinn got much mileage out of their little-watched performances.  But they weren't hurt either. 


As a result, my latest Heisman Watch has a new leader--the quarterback of the No. 1 team in the land.


Heismanpundit's Top 10


1.       Troy Smith, Ohio State

2.       Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma

3.       Brady Quinn, Notre Dame

4.       Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois

5.       Chris Leak, Florida

6.       Steve Slaton, West Virginia

7.       Michael Hart, Michigan

8.       Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech

9.       Marshawn Lynch, Cal

10.    Erik Ainge, Tennessee


That's my top 10.  Now, let's see what the CSTV.com bloggers have to say:


The CSTV Heisman Blogpoll Members

College Football Resource

College Game Balls

Heisman Pundit

In The Bleachers

Pitch Right

The College Football Independent

The College Football Index

The Wizard Of Odds





1.       Troy Smith, Ohio State--The College Football Index:  Calm under fire (always the first measure of a QB) and pulling the trigger effectively.  However, how much is it Smith, and how much is it his sublimely talented teammates?  Is he the new Vince Young or the next Ken Dorsey?


2.       Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma--In The Bleachers:  If it were up to Peterson, the Sooners would've won the Red River Shootout, but he can't throw the ball, too. He had another 100 yard effort against a quality team and is still on pace for a strong 1,800 yards this season.


3.       Garret Wolfe, Northern Illinois--College Game Balls:  Through 5 games he has over 1,300 rushing yards. We should spell his name Garrett B-E-A-S-T.


4.       Brady Quinn, Notre Dame--The College Football Independent:  If the Irish keep winning, Brady will definitely get an invite to New York. With all the pre-season hype, dropping one game doesn't knock you completely out.


5.       Chris Leak, Florida--College Football Resource:  He runs the show, but no longer grabs the headlines as freshman Tim Tebow emerges as a difference-maker in the Gator offense.


6.       Michael Hart, Michigan--Pitch Right:  If there's a definite sleeper in the Heisman race, it's gotta be Hart. Don't look now, but he's quietly compiled nearly 800 yards on the ground for one of America's bets teams. 


7.       Steve Slaton, West Virginia--The Wizard of Odds:  Is there any doubt that he should be among the top players after running for 185 yards against Mississippi State?


8.       Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech--In The Bleachers:  Johnson contiunes to be the Georgia Tech offense. Against Maryland he had 133 yards receiving and a touchdown. That 133 yards accounted for almost 83 percent of Tech's passing output for the day. Can you imagine the stats he would have if he had someone like Quinn or Smith throwing to him?


9.       Dwayne Jarrett, USC--College Football Index:  Jarrett has been the ESC-key for QB Booty as the new guy eases into game speed.  With him defending the den from scavengers, has USC even lost a step?  Everyone thinks so, but I'm not sure.


10.    Marshawn Lynch, Cal--Pitch Right:  He may be the best running back in the Pac-10, but a 50-yard day against Oregon effectively kills whatever outside chance he still had. 



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