Oct. 11, 2006
By Chris Huston
Special to CSTV.com
The Heisman Pundit breaks down the top players for CSTV.com.
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.
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
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
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
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,
3. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
4. Garrett Wolfe,
5. Chris Leak,
6. Steve Slaton, West Virginia
7. Michael Hart, Michigan
8. Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
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
1. Troy Smith,
2. Adrian Peterson,
3. Garret Wolfe,
4. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame--The College Football Independent: If the Irish keep winning, Brady will definitely get an invite to
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,
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.