Is Geno Smith or Landry Jones Best Bet to Edge out Matt Barkley in Heisman Race?

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterSeptember 11, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the game on September 1, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Two weeks into the season, it seems Geno Smith is the player most likely to unseat Heisman favorite Matt Barkley. As Chris Huston of CBS Sports points out, the West Virginia quarterback is gaining steam among straw-poll voters and is positioning himself for strength in the Heisman race. Landry Jones, Smith's Big 12 compatriot, is nowhere to be found in the early going.

Smith has only played one game, against a hapless Marshall team, but he's already got the eye of the public. He opened up the season as a top-five pick to win the Heisman, and now, as he climbs the list, he is merely waiting for Barkley to make a mistake before he takes the lead.

The senior quarterback plays in a scheme that's very "Heisman-voter friendly" from a statistics standpoint. And while he's not one for running the football, he will do great numbers overall.

The most interesting part of the discussion between Smith and Jones is the third-place kid in the Heisman straw poll, Collin Klein:

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein made his first appearance in the poll thanks to his performance in the Wildcats' 52-13 shellacking of Miami (Fla.). He picked up one first place vote to tie for third (six points) with Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas.

"I don't think any player in the country is as valuable to his team as Klein," one voter said.

Both Jones and Smith will be playing Klein. And as the unassuming dual threat of a quarterback continues to pile up touchdowns, Kansas State's star will be an interesting one to watch.

If one of the Big 12's Heisman hopefuls truly wants to unseat Matt Barkley, it will have to start September 22nd when the Sooners take on the Wildcats. For Smith, he gets K-State in October, and that could be quite the "Heisman Moment" for the candidate.

Ultimately, the award is Matt Barkley's to lose for the moment. But like the rest of the nation, USC is starting to get into the thick of its schedule, so Barkley will be tested. As it stands right now, Geno Smith appears to be the player poised to make the leap to No. 1 should Barkley stumble.