West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is the front-runner in the 2012 Heisman race. Smith's stats this year boggle the mind: 195-of-259 for 2,271 yards, 25 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
With those kind of stats, it appeared impossible to catch him. Then that 49-14 debacle in Lubbock, Texas last Saturday changed everything. Smith didn't play poorly. In fact, he actually played very well going 29-of-55 for 275 yards and one touchdown. And again, no interceptions.
But Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege stole his thunder. Doege went 32-of-42 for 499 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. If you watched the game without benefit of knowing anything about either quarterback, you would have handed the game ball to Doege, not Smith.
In the Heisman world, that matters. You're supposed to be the most outstanding player in college football.
Nobody's perfect, not even Smith, but we all wonder if that Saturday was just a fluke of a game or a sign that against better defenses, Smith's numbers don't stack up.
We'll find out this Saturday in Morgantown, West Virginia.
For the second straight week, West Virginia will be facing a very unforgiving defense, albeit at home against Kansas State. The Wildcats' No. 32 defense is legit and very opportunistic, currently holding an amazing turnover margin of plus-11.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is a legitimate Heisman candidate, but he's not nearly as exciting to watch as Smith or the Mountaineers' offense. Unless you're a football purist. One who appreciates perfect execution from all 11 players on one side of the ball, a great balance of running and passing and a quarterback who sacrifices his body on almost every play.
If Klein out performs Smith, will Klein become the Heisman front-runner?
Klein has the perfect opportunity to steal Smith's thunder in this Saturday's contest. While it's difficult to compare two quarterbacks' production when they are playing in different venues, it's a luxury to have both playing together in one stadium.
This is a unique chance to compare Smith and Klein at the same time. A perfect opportunity to see them in the same environment, same weather and same spotlight.
It's Smith vs Klein. For all the Tostitos.
If Smith comes out on top, he will have regained any footing he lost with Heisman voters last week. Smith, it should be noted, has had his Heisman moment against Baylor.
If Klein comes out on top, he will have ensured his spot in New York City this December. He may also have waited for the perfect opportunity to possess the one thing that has been missing from his campaign.
His Heisman moment.
Against the Heisman front-runner.