It's time to elect Homecoming King! Let's decorate the float, figure out who the cool kids are, and see which regional media have an ax to grind.
Here's what some respected handicappers believe:
This is a rare year for the Heisman. There are a number of reasonable candidates and I wouldn't throw my remote through the television screen if any of them won, though I do think that there are two who clearly separate from the pack. Fortunately, there's no chance for a Notre Dame theft ala Paul Hornung or Tim Brown nor will we see a non-entity like Gino Torretta steal the hardware.
And we won't see Gordy Lockbaum in the Top 3 finishers. You're real funny guys, Eastern media.
Heisman Watch ranks the top candidates thusly:
Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma So.
Colt McCoy QB Texas Jr.
Tim Tebow QB Florida Jr.
Graham Harrell QB Texas Tech Sr.
Shonn Greene RB Iowa Jr.
Michael Crabtree WR So Texas Tech
Nate Davis QB Ball St
Javon Ringer RB Michigan State
Commentary: I take issue with the Midwestern caboose of mediocrity at the tail end of this list. Nate Davis and Javon Ringer anywhere in the Top 10 is abject buffoonery. Nate Davis is a medium fish in a tiny pond who frittered away the MAC championship and Javon Ringer is another in a long line of 35 carry per game Big 10 backs with a terrible per carry average and the magical ability to completely disappear in any game of consequence. Anthony Thompson, Mike Hart, and Blake Ezor send you their regards.
My Homecoming King ballot reads thusly:
1. Colt McCoy - No player means more to his team. He is the best marriage of Bradford's raw production and Tim Tebow's leadership. There's also a rather compelling argument to be made that he should be leading his team in the national title game against Florida or Oklahoma. He shattered the NCAA passing percentage mark with a surreal 77% completion rate, his only loss was on the road to a Top 10 team after driving his team for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:30 on the clock, and he came up huge in every game of consequence. His rushing production and efficiency exceeds that of Tebow at Florida and he threw for 3,445 yards, 32 TDs and 7 Ints to boot. No one has done more to will their team to victory.
2. Sam Bradford - The numbers are off of the charts - 4464 yards passing with 48 TDs and 6 INTs - and you have to admire his arm, accuracy, poise, and intelligence. In his only loss against Texas, he played quite well. It was the OU defense that tapped out. You can't fault him for having an amazing supporting cast, but one must wonder if a few other QBs couldn't put up comparable numbers insanity in their system surrounded by that talent. As prickly as all Longhorn fans are right now with OU's bullshit ascension over Texas to the BCS title game, it would be hard to deny Bradford's claim on the trophy. This is a great QB.
3. Tim Tebow - He's the most charismatic player in the race and though his production pales compared to McCoy and Bradford, he is the heart and soul of the Gator team. I also think he is in no way deserving of the award when compared to McCoy and Bradford. He has a notorious absence of clutch play in tight spots - the recent SEC championship notwithstanding - and neither Bradford or McCoy would get outplayed by a Big 12 backup QB on their home field and take a loss. I love Tim Tebow as a player and in many other years he would be a deserving winner, but McCoy and Bradford are the class of the race.
4. Shonn Greene - You have to be leery, particularly with a schedule as forgiving as Greene's, but the kid is objectively good. He broke 100 in every game he played (totaling 1729 on the year) with a surrounding cast on offense comprised of professional mimes, student managers, and beatniks. He's strong, has real skills, gets the tough yards, and has the ability to break away (6.2 yards per carry average). Iowa doesn't score a touchdown against Penn St without Greene in the backfield drawing run fronts. I really like this kid and it's unfortunate he's handicapped by a lack of TV exposure.
5. Michael Crabtree - 1135 yards and 18 TDS is impressive enough, but when you consider that Crabtree played injured for half of the year and drew a lion's share of the attention from opposing defenses, his numbers are even more impressive. This is a pure football player, the next Michael Irvin.
6. Eric Berry - If the Heisman purports to reward singular excellence, Eric Berry represents the highest level of play at his position in the nation. Obviously, a DB can't have the consistent game impact that a QB or RB can and Tennessee was a horrendous football team, but Berry enabled the Vols to field a salty defense and every time I looked up he was either knocking a SEC superstar unconscious or picking off a ball and running it back 50 yards. He is The Truth.
7. Graham Harrell - Probably the highest level of competence that a Tech system QB can achieve. This is the most dangerous QB in the country if your defense can't make him move past his first or second read. In those instances, he's throwing just about the most accurate and catchable a ball a human can throw. That written, Tech's schedule set up very favorably and Crabtree is a wonderful life preserver. I can't quite get over his play in Norman when his team needed him the most.
8. You can make arguments here for Brian Orakpo (Texas), Aaron Maybin (Penn St), Kendall Hunter (OSU), Jonathan Dwyer (GT), Jahvid Best (Cal), Jacquizz Rodgers (OSU), Donald Brown (UConn) and several others. Feel free to do so.
My prediction: Sam Bradford. In one of the closest ballots in Heisman history
I want your thoughts.