Heisman Watch 2012: Top Challengers to Geno Smith for Trophy

Shawn Brubaker@@63brubakerContributor IIOctober 20, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Running back Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks rushes for a touchdown late in the third quarter against the Washington State Cougars on September 29, 2012 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. The Ducks defeated the Cougars 51-26.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

If Geno Smith maintains his level of productivity, he is virtually guaranteed the Heisman. He has yet to throw an interception; he's second in the nation in passing yards and first in passing touchdowns. 

For a player to challenge his stranglehold on the nation, he would have to do something spectacular. A few quarterbacks compare favorably to Smith, while a few other position players also have a chance to at least attend the Heisman ceremony.

These players have the best chance to unseat Smith as Heisman favorites.


Kenjon Barner, RB Oregon

No running back has a better shot at the Heisman than Oregon star Kenjon Barner. Barner has combined his elite speed with surprising durability en route to a special season. 

Barner has the ability to break off a touchdown at any point, as evidenced by his two runs this season of 70+ yards. 

More impressively, though, Barner has shown the ability to be a true bell-cow back. He has surpassed the 20-carry mark four times this season. In these games, he has 94 carries for 604 yards, a 6.4 yard per carry average.

His game against the Washington Huskies was particularly impressive, as he just kept churning out yards. His longest run on the day was just 11 yards, but Barner still rushed for 122 yards on 20 carries. 

If Barner continues this torrid pace and leads Oregon to a signature victory, Barner has a very good chance to attend the Heisman ceremony.


Terrance Williams, WR Baylor

The numbers that Terrance Williams has managed to post are nothing short of staggering. In just five games, Williams has caught 37 passes for 830 yards, a 166 yard per game average.

If he maintains these numbers, Williams could be in line to set the single-season record for receiving yards in a season, which is Trevor Insley's mark of 2,060 yards. 

The Bears have seven games left. Stretched over the whole season, Williams would have 89 catches for 1,992 receiving yards with 19 touchdowns. 

Those kinds of numbers would get Williams some love from the Heisman committee, but if Baylor gets to a bowl game, that would cement Williams' status as a Heisman contender.


Seth Doege, QB Texas Tech

Seth Doege has been piloting a dynamic Texas Tech, but more impressively, he has been the leader of a 5-1 team that has a chance to keep getting better. 

Doege has been statistically dominant this season. He is second in the nation with 21 touchdown passes, as well as ninth in the nation in passer rating. 

Of course, there are quarterbacks with better statistics, so what Doege would need to do is pilot Texas Tech to a special season. The Red Raiders could realistically win out, which would, with another Oklahoma loss, give them a conference championship.

A conference championship, combined with Doege's ridiculous numbers, would set him up favorably for a chance at the Heisman.