Tennessee Football: Will Tyler Bray Realistically Contend for Heisman Trophy?

Stephen Williams@SteveO_WilliamsContributor IIIJuly 26, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 30:  Tyler Bray #8 of the Tennessee Volunteers against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Back in June I wrote an article titled “How Tyler Bray Can Contend for the 2012 Heisman.” In the article, I spelled out what must happen in 2012 for Tyler Bray to receive Heisman consideration.

The question at hand here is can he realistically contend. In order to answer that question, we must visit the previous article to see what it would take for it to happen.

First things first, Bray must stay healthy. It’s easy to get lost in the hype of Tyler Bray coming into the season, but he is still yet to play a full season of college football. He didn’t start until the final month of the season his freshman year, and injuries cost him multiple games in 2011.

There’s absolutely no way Bray, or any other player for that matter, can contend for the Heisman after missing significant time. Even though the track record says otherwise, it’s realistic to think Bray can survive the 2012 season staying healthy.

Secondly, his wide receivers have to stay healthy in order to give him a chance. We saw how quickly things went downhill when Justin Hunter went down in 2011, and while the Vols are deeper at wide receiver this year, the same thing could be a downfall this fall as well. When you lose your primary weapons, it’s very difficult to continue to put up big numbers.

Like with Bray, it’s realistic to expect the wide receivers to stay healthy, even though it’s very likely that someone will go down at some point. You just have to hope that it is not for very long.

So far, so good for Bray.

The third thing on the list was the Vols must pull off upsets. Tennessee has plenty of marquee games on the schedule that will provide Bray an opportunity to show off on the national stage.

The Vols have home games with Florida and Alabama, while traveling on the road to Georgia and South Carolina.

However, the question is whether it is realistic to think he will contend for the Heisman. In order to say that, you have to think it’s realistic that the Vols will spring multiple upsets this season.

While I think Tennessee will be much improved in 2012, I don’t think it’s realistic to think the Vols are going to pull off several stunners. It’s very fair to think the Vols will win a game they won’t be favored in this fall, but enough of them to really make a national splash is not likely.

The final two items on the list go hand in hand with the previous one. Tennessee needs to win the SEC East and finish in the top 15 in the country. In order for both of those things to happen, the Vols have to spring several of the upsets mentioned previously.

Again, to say it’s realistic that they pull that off is a foolish statement. This Tennessee team will be far and away better than the first two teams Derek Dooley put on the field in Knoxville. In the end though, this is a team that is still playing catch-up to the big boys in the SEC.

So let’s answer the question at hand here. Can Tyler Bray realistically contend for the Heisman in 2012?

The answer is no. Even if he were to manage to stay healthy for the entire season, the team is not likely to have enough success overall to put Bray in the Heisman discussion.

If the Vols continue to progress and have the season that many are hoping for in 2012, maybe we will have this discussion a year from now. That is, only if Bray and his other talented teammates return to school for their senior years. That’s a discussion for another day though.