Thursday, October 11, 2007

Heisman handicap

Eleven years ago this autumn I did a weekly Heisman scorecard in my What's on Tapp column. For much of the semester, I promoted Orlando Pace's non-candidacy, thus dashing my credibility with my 12 readers. Did Danny Wuerffel end up winning that year?

Anyway, let's take a look at this year's field as of October 11.

1. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
2. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
3. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
4. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
5. Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
6. Colt Brennan, QB, Hawaii
7. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon
8. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
9. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
10. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU (Just like my old Pace pick - the best player in college football, but can't win it because of his position. Thought Woodson winning in '97 might break that stalemate, but we haven't seen it since.)
11. PJ Hill, RB, Wisconsin
127. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan

As you might have guessed, I'm a big fan of Mendenhall, was even before last week. He's putting up big numbers against good teams, and has several marquee games left. Illinois's passing attack is iffy, so he'll get plenty of chances.

Jackson is the most exciting player in college football, but it's just so hard (that's what she said) for a wide receiver to win it. Jackson recently had a dry stretch, and he can't afford any more. He also has some showcase games coming up, could put him in the lead.

Arkansas and Kentucky will lose too many games for McFadden and Woodson to win, and the ACC is too pathetic for Ryan's chances.

Hart is the most overrated player in college football. In this week's TSN Heisman watch: " He's back - 215 yards and three touchdowns against Eastern Michigan." EMU? Way to go Mike! It's increible the weight college's brand names carry, and unfortunate.


Jim Polzin said...

Good list, although I wouldn't put Brennan quite so high. The only thing he has going for him is big numbers, and he'll come nowhere close to last year's because he's been hurt. He might be the best QB in college football, but playing against crappy competition and throwing the ball 60 times a game just doesn't do it for me.

I think if the Badgers would have beaten Illinois and Hill would have hit the 100-yard mark, he would have been right in the mix.

You mentioned Hart, here's a bigger farce: One of the ESPN guys actually had Jake Long as a fifth-place pick on one of the weekly polls last week. Whatever.

scott.tappa said...

You know what drives me crazy? Every time an announcer says "Wisconsin's Joe Thomas won the Outland Trophy last year and was the third pick in the draft, but guess who the Big Ten's lineman of the year was!" That was the Michigan name working for him.

Every scout's review I've read of Long's play this year has said that he's not as good as people have though, that he's slow and stiff, and that he only recently played himself into high round consideration.

It would be great if someday Wisconsin's name held the same weight as college football's (or basketball's) elite, storied 10-12 programs. For now we have to settle for it carrying more weight than 90% of the programs out there.

Will said...

I like Matt Ryan - and made my voice count by voting for him in your poll.

He plays QB for a national program - although BC has never been ranked this high, it's just one of those programs that everyone knows because of Flutie - and is putting up great numbers.

Mendenhall will have to make up so much ground. I'm not discounting his credentials, especially after seeing him beat up UW. Just not sure he'll get the proper media notice. It's a shame, but the award has become an even greater PR-campaign than it was when Dayne played.

Jim Polzin said...

I voted for Jackson. Part of that was based on finally getting around to reading the SI feature on him. I've only seen him once this season, but in my opinion he's the ``outstanding football player'' in college football, as the ballot states.

I texted a couple of you guys today. I saw Kanye West in the O'Hare airport. It was the second sighting for our group, as Willy and Kanye shared a flight from New York to Vegas. Maybe he wants to join our tight-knit community.

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