It is still early in the 2007 college football season, but the preseason Heisman candidates are not living up to their billing thus far (Chad Henne, Mike Hart). Thus, I have compiled a list of players I see as the front-runners after Saturday's games.
This award historically goes to the best player on the best team, so many top QB's have to be considered:
1. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon, SR
This Week: 27/36, 367 yards, 4 TD, O INT
Season: Passing: 66/96, 932 yards, 11 TD, 0 INT - Rushing: 291 yards, 4 TD
The Skinny: No player has improved his draft stock this season more than Dennis Dixon. The senior dual-threat has had a magical start to the season, throwing an amazing 11 TD's compared to ZERO interceptions. He has also added 4 TD's on the ground, which adds up to Oregon's uncontested 4-0 start. The real challenge comes next week at home as Cal comes to town, but Dixon has Oregon flying high, and ESPN.com has his projected passing numbers as 198/298, 2796 yards, 33 TD's and 0 INT's. If he does that and Oregon goes 9-2 or better, he will win this award.
2. John David Booty, QB, USC, SR
This Week: 28/35, 279, 4 TD/1 INT
Season: 68/97, 9 TD/2 INT
The Skinny: Booty is a senior QB on the best team in the nation. His numbers aren't as gaudy as Dixon's or someone like Colt Brennan (who sat out last night's rout), but he is solid and if USC goes undefeated, he will be a finalist. The only thing going against him is that stable of running back's that will demand the ball.
This Week: 20/34, 261, 2 TD, 0 INT; Rushing: 27/166, 2 TD
Season: 17 total TD's, 1,096 passing yards, 1 INT
The Skinny: Tebow has had an impressive start, but no matter how good he and UF play, it will be difficult for him to win the Heisman because historically sophomores do not win the award. Florida sophomore QB Rex Grossman can tell you about that, as he deserved the award in 2001, but did not win.
4. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College, SR
This Week: 35/51, 356, 3 TD, 2 INT, 1 rushing TD
Season: 112/181, 10 TD, 5 INT
The Skinny: Ryan is a difficult player to gauge thus far because he is throwing alot of interceptions. However, in his defense, he has 2 things going for him. He throws the ball ALOT, and his team is undefeated. BC has the capability due to a weak schedule to run the table, and if they do, Ryan may not only repeat as conference player of the year, but be a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman. He needs to lower his INT's though to have a shot, especially when you compare his numbers to Tebow and Dennis Dixon out at Oregon.
This Week: 27/39, 334, 4 TD, 1 INT
The Skinny: Including Erik may be controversial since the Vols started 2-2, but he is definitely not to blame. His numbers thus far are exceptional, 108/163, 10 TD's, 2 INT's, and he is on track to throw for 3400 yards this season. His rating of 142.29 is also solid, so if the Vols can right the ship and win out (very possible), a 10-2 season and a very outside shot at a BCS bowl would have to merit Mr. Ainge some serious Heisman consideration.
6a. Steve Slaton, RB, WVU, JR
6b. Pat White, QB, WVU, JR
6c. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas, JR
This group of worthy candidates have several things not in their favor. For Slaton and White, they are teammates, and any progress they make individually will be counterproductive because of the other. McFadden and Arkansas inexplicably lost again last night to Kentucky, so his campaign will be winding down. While he has a legit shot at 1st overall pick in the draft, right now he is on the outside looking in at the Heisman.
Others on the Cusp
Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Briam Brohm, QB, Louisville
If Woodson continues to win, we will move him up. However, look at the Wildcats schedule and it is murder over the next 4 weeks. UF, LSU, and South Carolina. Time will tell if Kentucky is as good as their iffy 4-0 start.