West Virginia Football: Can Geno Smith Win the Heisman in 2012?

Austyn HumphreyCorrespondent IIIJanuary 1, 2012

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 1:  Quarterback Geno Smith #12 of the  of the West Virginia Mountaineers yells after a turnover against the South Florida Bulls December 1, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  West Virgina won 30 - 27. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Over the past decade, West Virginia football has been synonymous with success.

Since 2002, the Mountaineers have won at least eight games per season, won or shared six Big East titles, and have an impressive 94-33 record.

Most of these wins have come behind the dual threat Quarterback Pat White, who captained his crew to 42 wins from 2005 through to 2008. White is considered the best quarterback in school history, having finished in the top 10 in Heisman voting during his final two seasons in Morgantown.

Geno Smith, though, has the talents to be WVU's first Heisman winner. He has flourished under head coach and renowned offensive mastermind Dana Holgorsen.

Though detractors state Smith posted roughly the same stats in major categories such as completion percentage, touchdowns, and even interceptions, the rising senior threw for 1200 more yards in 2011.

Yards per attempt have also increased, as the starter's receivers have averaged 8.2 yards per reception.

West Virginia has one marquee chance to prove Smith's Heisman stock. The Mountaineers visit likely preseason Top 10 team Florida State in early September.

FSU Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoops will provide plenty of landmines for Smith; this year's Seminoles outfit was fourth in the nation for points allowed (15.1 ppg).

Fortunately, a developing WVU offense ranked 20th in points scored this season, averaging just under five touchdowns per game. The last two times Florida State played a Top 25 scoring offense (Oklahoma and Clemson), the Seminoles lost both games.

Overall, Geno Smith has the resume to be a Heisman finalist. If he can ride West Virginia's middle-of-the-road schedule to an undefeated regular season, he will surely have a shot to bring Morgantown its first Heisman winner.

It would be the crowning achievement for a splendid decade.