The thing about the Hesiman Trophy that makes it (arguably) both the most desired and "overrated" award in sports is that it's talked about, projected, and argued from offseason to offseason.
I'm not going to get into how I feel the media has ruined this award by projecting it's winner every June and trying it's hardest to make sure that projection becomes a reality. Instead I'm going to dissect this years candidates and explain who I think will win, who I think should win, and who I think shouldn't even be invited to New York.
Let's start with the guys who should get some recognition but won't; QB Case Keenum of Houston, DT Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska, and QB Kellen Moore of Boise State. It's no surprise that Suh will get little recognition despite being the best defensive player in the country. We all know the Heisman is a QB/RB award, and the last non QB/RB to win the award was CB Charles Woodson in 1997.
Keenum is a junior, but due to the fact that Houston isn't undefeated, Keenum has little to no shot. The 6 foot 2, 210 pound QB has 38 TD's to 6 INT's in 2009, with 4,992 yards so far. Those numbers are impressive. But if Colt Brennan couldn't win the award in 2007 while going undefeated, there's no chance for Keenum in 2009.
Speaking of Colt Brennan, this years version of him comes from Brennan's former rival, Boise State. As we all know, Boise State are undefeated and once again BCS bound. Part of the reason you can't deny this team a BCS spot is because of Sophomore QB Kellen Moore. So far in 2009 Moore has passed for 3,053 yards, 38 TD's and 3 Interceptions. Unlike Keenum, Moore is undefeated. Though it's likely Moore will be invited to New York City, since he's a Sophomore he won't win. Not with the other big names from big schools involved in the race this year.
Obviously the two big names from big schools that immediately pop in everyone's heads are Texas QB Colt McCoy and Florida QB Tim Tebow. So far this season, McCoy has passed for 3,326 yards, 27 TD, 9 INT, and 2 rushing TD's. Of course the Longhorns, one of the most visible programs in the country, are undefeated, this making this media darling even more probable to win the award.
But you can't say the phrase "media darling" without mentioning Gators QB Tim Tebow. Tebow's numbers right now look like this; 2,166 passing yards, 796 rushing yards, 17 passing TD's, 13 rushing TD's, and only 4 INT's. In case you're wondering though, these numbers are way down from 2007 when Tebow won the Heisman, and about even with his numbers from last year when he didn't win the Heisman, but won the national championship.
Tebow is a tough call to win the Heisman. He wins, he plays hard, and he obviously makes his team better. He did miss some time though, so honestly I feel as though he shouldn't win the award. McCoy on the other hand serves as a more interesting decision. Heading into the season McCoy was asked to improve, while winning the Big 12. A win this weekend and McCoy will have done everything asked of him to win the Heisman. A win and a huge performance this weekend, and the Heisman is his.
Tebow can win the Heisman as well this weekend, if he has a monstrous game against #2 (or #1B if you want to be fair) Alabama. If Tebow does as said, he will also essentially eliminate Alabama RB, and my current front runner to win the award, Mark Ingram from the competition. Ingram is having a great season thus far; 1,429 yards, 12 TD's, 246 rec yards, 3 rec TD's. Those numbers are particularly impressive in the SEC, but he's going to have to have a great game this weekend to hold onto the lead.
Ingram's decline may be due to the rise of Stanford RB Toby Gerhart. All Gerhart has done in 2009 is defy the laws of college football while rushing for 1,736 yards, and 26 touchdowns, Gerhart also ran for over 400 yards and 6 touchdowns combined in wins against USC and Oregon, two defenses that scouts and analysts both considered top 10 in the country. This past week against Notre Dame Gerhart ran for three and passed for one touchdown, en route to another 200 yard rushing game. It's important to note that of all the major Heisman contenders, Gerhart's strength of schedule was the most difficult, which is why he gets my vote for the Heisman.
Gerhart may not even finish in the top 2 running backs in Heisman polling though, because not only does Ingram have a big game this week, but so does Heisman sleeper C.J Spiller of Clemson. Spiller broke the NCAA record with his 7th kick return for a touchdown this season, en route to sending Clemson to the ACC Championship game. Spiller also has over 900 rushing yards and over 400 receiving yards thus far, and adds another 11 touchdowns to make his total 18 on the season. A big game, resulting in a Clemson win this week, and Spiller won't only be headed to the BCS, but also to NYC for the Heisman presentation.
So now that I've mentioned all the candidates, and who I think should win (Gerhart) let me now rank them as I see the media breaking it down; 1. McCoy, 2. Ingram, 3. Gerhart, 4. Tebow, 5. Moore, 6. Keenum, 7. Spiller, 8. Suh.
That's right, it's gonna be Colt McCoy.