It’s time for this week’s HP Heisman Watch. The following list is of the players who have the best shot at actually winning the Heisman. It is not a predicted order of the final voting. Therefore, some players not on this list will assuredly get their share of votes.
1. Chris Wells, Ohio State–Things are getting tricky when it comes to analyzing Wells’ chance at the Heisman. At this point, there are a ton of variables in play. First off, he is hurt. Second, most of us don’t know how healthy he will be against USC on Saturday. Third, he has gained a slight advantage in that a loss to USC could be seen as the result of his being hurt, thus increasing his perceived worth to his team. Fourth, a win over USC with Wells making a minimal contribution could hurt his perceived worth to his team (they still won even though he was hurt? He must not be that important). Fifth, he could potentially have a Willis Reed type of moment, gutting out a winning touchdown, for instance, while not necessarily performing well in the overall game due to being hobbled. Thus a premium would be placed on his guttiness in the clutch. Last, he could just end up being a complete non-factor, but I think he now has a built in excuse and so won’t be dramatically penalized by the voters for it. So, you see all the ways to look at it? The fact that there are so many possibilities is a testament to the high stakes of the game this Saturday vs. USC. Unless Wells and Ohio State have a total meltdown, I believe he is unlikely to be eliminated from the race by virtue of his injury.
That’s because after USC, the Buckeyes will move on to the Big Ten schedule and, assuming he is healthy, Beanie will pile up a ton of yardage. Even if he has a rough game against the Trojans, he is likely to come back and put up 1,700-plus yards, which would at least make him a legitimate candidate, especially if the Buckeyes are undefeated or headed for the BCS title game once again.
Last week: Injured. Season: 13 carries, 111 yards, 8.5 ypc, 1 TD
2. Chase Daniel, Missouri–Daniel is moving closer to taking the lead in the Heisman Watch. He’s been exemplary so far and the Tigers have played well. What more can you ask for? If Wells stumbles against USC, he’ll be the front runner for the Heisman.
Then, all he has to do is keep winning. No small task.
Last week: 16 of 17, 245 yards, 3 TDs, 1 int. Season: 42 of 62, 568 yards, 6 TDs, 1 int., 9 carries, 46 yards
3. Mark Sanchez, USC–Sanchez is a shaky No. 3 right now. Let’s face it, he’s had one game. But the Ohio State game is such a high-profile affair, he is in a unique situation to capitalize. After Saturday, he could be out of the race, or sitting at the top.
Just a couple of the benefits/pitfalls to being the quarterback for the No. 1 team.
Last week: Off Season: 26 of 35, 338 yards, 3 TDs, 1 int.
4. Colt McCoy, Texas–McCoy is quietly off to a nice start for the Longhorns, but he will stay a few slots back in the race until the Oklahoma and Missouri games play out. Those two games could go a long way in determining this year’s winner.
Last week: 20 of 29, 282 yards, 4 TDs, 1 int Season: 44 of 58, 504 yards, 7 TDs, 1 int, 17 carries, 108 yards, 1 TD
5. Matt Stafford, Georgia–Stafford looks to be maturing as a quarterback and is off to his best start yet. There will be no shortage of big games for him to show his stuff. For now, he’s a candidate as long as UGA is undefeated.
Last week: 18 of 28, 213 yards, 2 TDs, 0 ints. Season: 31 of 49, 488 yards, 4 TDs, 0 ints.
6. Percy Harvin, Florida–Harvin came back against Miami, but didn’t set the world on fire. He’s got one more week to show his stuff, or else the clock will run out on his Heisman hopes.
Last week/Season: 5 carries, 27 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch, 12 yards
7. Stafon Johnson, USC–Johnson had minimal impact against Virginia, but he’s got this big game against Ohio State to do his thing. While USC seems determined to make all its tailbacks happy, it will go with the hot hand when necessary. If Johnson does not break out against OSU, he’s off this list for good.
Last week: Off Season: 9 carries, 28 yards, 1 TD
8. Pat White, West Virginia–White is hanging by a thread in the race after his WVU team lost to East Carolina, 24-3. He was shut down for the most part and it looks like WVU is really missing Coach Rod. Unless the Mountaineers run the table the rest of the way, White won’t have a shot.
Last week: 11 of 18, 72 yards, 0 TDs, 0 ints, 97 yards on 20 carries. Season: 36 of 51 for 280 yards, 5 TDs, 1 int., 29 carries, 160 yards, 0 TDs.
Dropped Out: Graham Harrell–For Harrell to have a shot at winning, he had to break NCAA records for yards and TDs in a season. With just 3 TDs in two games, that looks unlikely right now.
If the Vote were Held Today
1. Tim Tebow
2. Chase Daniel
3. Chris Wells
4. Knowshon Moreno
5. Mark Sanchez
6. Pat White
7. Graham Harrell
8. Jahvid Best
9. Matt Stafford
10. Percy Harvin