Sunday, July 23, 2006

Handicapping the Heisman Hopefuls

Ok, so the college football season is still a while off... but in my opinion, it's never too early to start talking about college football. So I'd thought I'd like my top candidates for the Heisman, and what I predict their odds to be.

Brady Quinn (Notre Dame)
This one's pretty obvious. Quinn's basically the golden boy of college football right now, playing at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis. These are two very large pluses in his corner. Because all of Notre Dame's games are on TV, everyone in the nation will get to see him a lot. Playing for Charlie Weis is always a good thing for a QB, and Quinn showed last year. Maurice Stovall is gone, but Jeff Samardzija is back, and Darius Walker in the backfield means that teams can't just key on the pass. With Weis, one of the (if not the) best offensive minds in all of football, Notre Dame should have an extremely potent offense, all centered around Brady Quinn.
Odds: 2/1

Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma)
Peterson was bogged down by injury trubles and the fact that the Sooners had no passing game last year. Even so, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry and scored 14 TD. This year, as long as he can stay healthy, and Rhett Bomar can make some strides at the QB position, I expect his numbers will be closer to his 2004 campaign, where he rushed for 1925 yards as a true freshman. He'll be the center of the offense for a good team in a relatively weak major conference, meaning he should be able to gain lots of yards and score lots of TDs.
Odds: 3/1

Troy Smith (Ohio St.)
With the exit of Vince Young to the NFL, Smith becomes the top dual threat QB in all of college football. If Smith had started and played all of the Texas game, I think there's a very good chance that last season would have played out much differently. As it is, Smith is a great runner, but his passing is what improved all game by game. He finished the season very strong with good games against archrival Michigan and against Notre Dame in the bowl game, which should give him lots of momentum and confidence coming into the year.
Odds: 8/1

Ted Ginn (Ohio St.)
And now we see part of the reason that Smith is so dangerous... he has a pretty good target to throw to. Ginn is one of the most explosive receivers in college football, a gamebreaker in every sense of the word. As with Smith, we were reminded again of Ginn's big-play ability in the Fiesta Bowl, where Ginn caught 8 passes for 167 yards and a TD in addition to running for 73 yards and a TD. Wide Receivers typically have a hard time winning the Heisman, but Ginn is a possiblity because of his all-around explosiveness.
Odds: 12/1

Marshawn Lynch (California)
Playing in the same conference as Reggie Bush and LenDale White, he sometimes got overshadowed last year, but I don't think that will be a problem this year. He split carries with JJ Arrington his freshman season, but last year he got the ball more (almost 200 carries), and showed just how good he is. In only 196 carries, he ran for 1264 yards, or 6.4 yards per carry. He also ran for 10 TD. If Cal can get more consistent play from the QB position (which you wouldn't think would be a problem with Jeff Tedford), the Bears should contend for a Pac-10 title, which certainly helps Lynch's Heisman hopes.
Odds: 20/1

Brian Brohm (Louisville)
A heralded recruit coming out of high school, Brohm showed why last year. Leading a potent Louisville attack (RB Michael Bush is also a Heisman candidate coming into the year), Brohm is accurate (68.8 completion %), efficent (9.58 YPA), and makes good decisions (19/5 TD/INT ratio). If he can lead Louisville past West Virginia in the Big East, he could get a lot of Heisman hype.
Odds: 20/1

Chad Henne (Michigan)
Despite a disappointing season for Michigan as a team, Henne remained a constant in there for the Wolverines. In some circles, he was looked at as a little bit of a disappointment, but that's just because he set the bar so high for himself with an excellent freshman campaign. He didn't throw for as many yards last year as he did as a freshman, but he did improve his TD/INT ratio. This year, Michigan should be back on the map, as they are loaded with weapons. Michael Hart should be back and healthy (and he could be a Heisman contender as well), and Kevin Grady got a lot of experience in the backfield. On the receiving corps, Jason Avant is gone, but big play man Steve Breaston is back, as is Mario Manningham. With that offense, Michigan will be right back in the thick of things in the Big 10 with Ohio St. and Penn St.
Odds: 25/1

What's your early predictions?

8 comments:

Mini Me said...

After the Texas game and then later on the Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame, I have started to fall in love with Troy Smith. I think Brady Quinn certainly is the favorite to win the award however I will be rooting for Smith! I hope Smith has a great year and ends up getting drafted high.

insomniac said...

Give me $25 on Troy Smith at 8/1. College football hasn't seen a QB like him since...Vince Young last year!

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

how 'bout steve slaton -- the runningback from WVU? he'll tear up a weak big east.

twins15 said...

Slaton was probably next on my list... and then Jarrett from USC.

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