Heading in to the 2009 college football season there are three early favorites for the Heisman Trophy all returning quarterbacks.
We will look at the early favorites and some other players that could win the award as well. Of course that could only happen if the three favorites take several miss steps along the way or if the injury bug strikes and derails them.
The early leader has to be the 2007 winner Tim Tebow on the defending champion Florida Gators. If the Gators can go undefeated for the first time in the programs history could wrap up a second Heisman for Tebow. The Gators are a loaded team this year and if they can get to a second straight National Championship game Tebow could win in a run away.
Behind Tebow in my mind has to be Colt McCoy out of Texas.
The reason I think he is second is that he was one play from an undefeated season—if not for a great touchdown catch by Michael Crabtree and Texas Tech it could have been McCoy playing for a championship last year.
Unless the defenses get a lot better in the Big-12 McCoy and the Longhorns will put up great numbers once again.
In third place early is the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.
The reason I believe Bradford is third is two reasons. The first one is that Bradford’s team did not beat McCoy’s team last year in the Red River Shoot Out. Then Bradford lost to Tebow’s team in the National Championship game. You cannot give him a second Heisman unless he can beat McCoy in the same conference as he is, and Tebow has a head to head win over him he would not be able to avenge unless the two met up again for the title.
Secondly, Bradford’s whole offensive line will have to be reworked. That could mean that Bradford does not have the protection to up the big numbers we are used too. Do not get me wrong Bradford is not going to have a bad year. I just think it will be a great season I just think his numbers will be down with the retooling on the offensive line.
Now let’s look at some other players who could make some noise and join the Heisman race:
Let’s stay in the SEC for our first look at players that could jump in to the Heisman race. Hopes are high in Oxford, Mississippi this year and Snead is one of the reasons why. Throwing for 2762 yards and adding 26 touchdowns passing to go along with three rushing touchdowns in the 2008 season.
Plus the Rebels were the only team last year to beat Florida and they did it in the Swamp. If Snead and the Rebels can go undefeated until the SEC Championship Game he will be in the mix. The Rebels will have to win all season long to keep Snead in the race.
The Ohio State quarterback became the starter last season and improved as he got playing time. Pryor passed for 1,311 yards, throwing for 12 touchdowns, and rushing for six more. Pryor could keep the trend going of sophomores winning the award. He has several games where he could make statements and get in to the Heisman talk. With an early show down at home against USC on September 12th and defending Big-10 champions Penn State on November 7th at Happy Valley Pryor with wins could become a favorite for the Heisman.
In Stillwater, Oklahoma the hopes are just as high as there as in Oxford, MS with quarterback Zac Robinson returning for Oklahoma State. The quarterback threw for 3,064 yards last year along with 25 touchdowns passing and eight rushing touchdowns. Robinson will have several statement games with the Cowboys this year starting with the first game of the season at home against Georgia from the SEC at home. Robinson also gets Texas at home and goes to Oklahoma for that rivalry game at the end of the season. The Cowboys will have to play better defense this season so Robinson has a chance to win games to stay in the Heisman conversation.
The Georgia Tech running back will have a chance to touch the ball in Paul Johnson’s triple option attack. Dwyer had 1,395 yards rushing last season with 12 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. The triple option will give the Yellow Jackets running back rushing attempts but he will have to share the load with Roddy Jones at running back and quarterback Josh Nesbitt. That could bring his numbers down along with the fact defenses will be more prepared for the Tech offense.
Dwyer big games on the schedule are Virginia Tech at home, at Florida State in conference and three SEC schools outside of conference with the big one being Georgia at home. Dwyer will have to have a huge year running the ball to win the Heisman. Dwyer might have to go over the 2,000 yard mark rushing the ball to take the award.
The Notre Dame quarterback will be in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy just because he plays for the Fighting Irish. Clausen did throw for 3,172 yards with 25 touchdowns passing. With a lot of expectations in South Bend the Irish will need Clausen to have a good year to win games. If Clausen and the Irish can win games and he can put up good numbers he will be in the mix. Clausen will have a chance to make a statement against USC at home in mid October. Other statement games will be at home against Michigan State and Connecticut.
Kansas looks to send out their senior quarterback on a high note this year and will make a push to add his name along with McCoy and Bradford in the Big-12. Reesing passed for 3,888 yards with 32 touchdowns passing and 4 rushing touchdowns last season. Kansas will have to win to keep Reesing’s name in the Heisman race. Reesing will have two statement games in conference getting Oklahoma at home and Texas on the road. The Jayhawks will have to go to the Big-12 Championship Game and beat either Texas or Oklahoma if Kansas wants to give Reesing a chance to win the Heisman.
As the season starts and plays out other players will come in to the conversation and some of these players will drop out. I am sure with all the big games on their schedule a player from USC will jump on to the national stage at some point in the season and be in the Heisman talk. A mid major player will jump in to the Heisman race at some point this season.
It’s early and this is not an end all list of players that could make some noise for college football’s biggest award. So let the debates begin on who should be in contention for the 2009 Heisman Trophy.