Heisman Hopefuls: Trio Of Qb’s Lead The Way
As college football’s regular season draws to an end, we have yet to see anyone separate themselves from the rest of the pack and become the clear frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. Just like the six undefeated teams packed closely atop the BCS Rankings, there are six players all very much in the discussion for who will win college football’s most prestigious award. In no particular order, here are the six Heisman hopefuls with a realistic chance of winning the award.
1. Tim Tebow, QB, University of Florida: There has been quite a bit of discussion recently as to where Tebow would rank among college football’s all-time greats if he were to win his second Heisman Trophy and his third BCS National Championship this year. If those two things were to happen, and they are still big if’s, you would have to consider Tebow the most successful player in college football history. He recently became the SEC’s all-time leader in touchdowns and if he does win, it will probably be more of a lifetime achievement award than anything else. Tebow hasn’t had his most impressive statistical season (1945 passing yards, 706 rushing yards, 25 total TD’s) but if the voters value winning and leadership, they won’t find anyone better than the only former winner in the field. Tebow will almost definitely be a finalist, but he will probably need a memorable performance in the SEC Title Game against Alabama to become only the second man to win multiple Heismans.
2. Colt McCoy, QB, University of Texas: If McCoy doesn’t win this year in his last chance as a Senior, he will be right at the top of the list of best players never to win a Heisman. He already has over 13,000 career passing yards, 112 passing touchdowns, over 1200 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. McCoy hasn’t had quite as good of a season as he did last year statistically speaking, but neither has Tebow and that’s what prevented him from winning last year. If the Longhorns take care of business against Nebraska in the Big 12 Champioship Game, they will almost certainly earn a spot in the BCS National Championship Game and McCoy will punch his ticket to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Then the only question that will remain is whether this year’s voting will be different for last year’s Heisman runner-up.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Moore is obviously the sleeper when it comes to the top three quarterbacks and he will suffer from playing in a weaker conference, but he has the most impressive stats and his team won every one of their conference games by at least 10 points. Moore leads the nation in QB rating and is second in touchdown passes. Some credit should also go to the Boise offensive line; they have only allowed Moore to be sacked five times this season and the lack of pressure has also kept his interceptions at a minimum (3 in 329 pass atttempts). Moore has had a great season, but if former WAC quarterback Colt Brennan wasn’t able to win the award in 2006 while throwing 58 touchdowns, it is unlikely that the Boise State QB will win it this year.
4. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Coming into this week, Ingram is fourth in the nation with just under 1400 yards rushing and is second among backs with at least 200 carries averaging 6.8 yards per attempt. He has proven to be the total package this year by also devloping as a receiving threat (25 catches, 225 yards, 3 TD’s) and has not fumbled the ball once. A lackluster performance against Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Friday won’t help Ingram’s case, but he’ll have a chance to redeem himself when ‘Bama takes on Florida in next Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. If the Crimson Tide can complete an udefeated season in the toughest conference in the country, their best player deserves to be at least a finalist and has a shot at winning.
5. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford: Jim Harbaugh has made Stanford Football relevant for the first time in a long time and he owes much of this year’s success to Gerhart. The Senior has only been held under 100 yards in two games this season (both losses) and leads the nation with 23 touchdowns while ranking second in rushing yards with 1531. The stat to remember with Gerhart is that he played his best football in his team’s biggest games. In consecutive weeks earlier this month, Gerhart ran for a combined 401 yards and six touchdowns in wins over Oregon and USC. If Gerhart can have another big game against Notre Dame’s soft run defense (ranked 80th in the nation), he should have earned himself a spot as one of the finalists.
6. Jordan Shipley, WR/KR, University of Texas: It tends to be very difficult for a receiver to win this award because typically if a receiver is having a great year, so is their quarterback. One thing that Shipley has going for him is that along with being one of the nation’s premier wideouts (99 receptions, 1292 yards, 11 TD’s), he is also a dynamic kick returner (48 punt returns, 306 yards, 2 TD’s ). Shipley will have one more chance to showcase his abilities against Nebraska’s stingy pass defense (1st in the Big12) next week, but at this point it seems a little unlikely that both he and McCoy will be finalists.