The 2012 Heisman hopefuls include the usual suspects like a quarterback from USC (Matt Barkley), a running back from the SEC (Marcus Lattimore) and Denard Robinson.
However, that list should include Le'Veon Bell before the University of Michigan quarterback.
In case you haven't ventured to the mitten, the Michigan State Spartans and the school from Ann Arbor have a bit of a rivalry. That whole skirmish between the Hatfield and McCoy families pales in comparison to this true blood feud.
Suffice it to say, these opposing nations will be heavily debating which player is more deserving of trip to NYC. Both Spartans and Wolverines nations would do well to remember that football is the consummate team sport. And, for that reason and a couple others, Bell will be the one hoisting that stiff-arming trophy before Robinson.
Michigan State only has four returning offensive starters coming back for the 2012 season. Fortunately for Le'Veon Bell, they're all lineman.
These front-line fellows aren't the only ones who gained experience. Last year's revolving-door mentality will help the Spartans overcome any ailments.
Michigan's offensive line has been declared better by ESPN's Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett, but he admits that Michigan does not have much depth beyond the starting five. The backups are comprised mostly of freshman, which doesn't bode well.
State has already felt the sting after losing Blake Treadwill for the next four to five weeks. However, they can handle the blow with an easy early-season schedule as Treadwill might be back before the Notre Dame game.
Could Michigan handle Alabama's defensive line if one of their starters goes down? Highly unlikely.
As mentioned previously, teamwork is the key to successful seasons. However, the contributions of your teammates don't affect each player's Heisman campaign in the same manner.
Denard Robinson is at the mercy of his receiving corps. If they fail to produce, his hype will die down by October.
How many quarterbacks' numbers thrive or die due to the plays made after the catch? This question looms large for Dennard.
Michigan has quite a few unknowns at the position.
Roy Roundtree—the team's No. 1 option—has kicked off the season with knee surgery and didn't exactly light it up last year anyways. He had a grand total of 19 catches.
Every other receiver on the roster is unproven. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement for Denard's Heisman chances.
Conversely, Michigan State's lack of established receiving threats only serves to benefit Le'Veon Bell. If a coach is hesitant to sling the rock, handing off to your best offensive player isn't a terrible alternative.
While it is true that teams may be more apt to stack the box, the threat of DeAnthony Arnett on the outside should at least preoccupy a safety at the beginning of each snap.
Mark Dantonio loves to play defense and pound the rock. Sure, he'll throw it, but he's old school by nature.
Le'Veon Bell loves the sound of what coach is putting down.
Michigan State will be breaking in a new quarterback in Andrew Maxwell. Preliminary reports by Sports Illustrated describe him as a leader, and there's hope that he'll emerge this season to be the type of quarterback that Kirk Cousins was.
However, Dantonio knows he returns the bulk of a top-ten defense. He'll be sure to rest them by repeatedly crashing Bell into opposing defensive lines.
Denard Robinson isn't quite so lucky.
Rich Rodriguez' spread fit his talents much more specifically. By all accounts, the kid is a hard worker. Yet, the pro-style offense that Michigan has returned to isn't in his natural wheelhouse.
For the past two years, Le'Veon Bell has played second-fiddle to the older Edwin Baker, or at least split carries with him.
Bell is officially the man for the Michigan State Spartans.
Just like Montee Ball for the Wisconsin Badgers, Bell will have plenty of opportunities to finish off drives. It can be argued that the Spartans don't have a No. 2 back, but rather a third- and fourth-stringer.
Larry Caper will come in to relieve Bell occasionally. However, as evidenced by being buried on the depth chart last year, Caper won't be stealing too many carries from the more prolific Bell.
Denard Robinson's rushes will be significantly cut this year, just as they were last year. The emergence of Fitzgerald Toussaint as a capable lead rusher will allow Brady Hoke to enact the workhorse attack he always envisioned.
Le'Veon Bell is built for the struggle. Denard Robinson is built for the pocket.
The Big Ten might not be the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust game that it once was, but there are still plenty of heavy hitters and hard-nosed defensive squads out there.
And they all love to smack around Heisman candidates.
Robinson has had trouble staying on the field. For comparison to another injury-prone quarterback, he is the same height as Micheal Vick but 20 pounds lighter.
Quite simply, if Denard isn't on the field, he can't make plays.
Bell could be used to pull oil tankers out of the harbor. The tug boat stands at 6'2" and weighs a ridiculous 244 pounds.
Basically, Bell will stay on the field for an offense that emphasizes his strengths with few teammates detracting from his stats. Those are the keys for an invite to New York City.