I'll be the first to admit it: I hated Dan LeFevour.
Graduating from rival Western Michigan University, it is easy to see why. He was the star quarterback at the opposing school and was a thorn in Western Michigan's side every season.
This is not to mention the enormous photo of him outside Ford Field and Comerica Park in Detroit that greeted me on my way to Tigers games.
However, after watching him defeat the Broncos the last three seasons and become one of the best players to ever play in the Mid-American Conference, I have grown a lot of respect for him.
LeFevour stepped in as a freshman and proved he was a star almost immediately.
He was named MAC Freshman of the Year and MVP of the Motor City Bowl as a redshirt freshman as he led CMU to victory. The following season, as a sophomore, he threw for 27 touchdowns and ran for another 19 in a Tim Tebow-like performance. He was just the second player in Division One FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 3,000 (Vince Young being the first).
To everyone in the MAC, LeFevour is royalty. To the outside world, he is still a relative unknown. However, his play this season begs him to be included in the Heisman Trophy race.
A senior in 2009, LeFevour has already racked up stats and big wins to deserve being included in the race. He was instrumental in the upset win over Michigan State in East Lansing and has led the Chippewas to a 5-1 start.
The Downers Grove, Ill. native is completing passes at a 71.8 clip and has thrown 12 touchdowns against just four interceptions this season. He has also ran for 319 yards and eight scores through six games.
He is starting to generate momentum too in many of the national Heisman projections. On the ESPN.com Heisman watch list, he is ranked 13th as of Oct. 13.
A win against Boston College in their place on Halloween would also go a long way in improving his chances. That and he'll probably have to finish undefeated the rest of the season in conference contests, including picking up wins in the MAC Championship and bowl game.
As he's from the MAC and rarely plays top opponents, he'll have to put up serious stats and get Central Michigan at least into the top 25 before the season concludes.
It won't be easy as LeFevour faces rival Western Michigan for the final time this Saturday in Kalamazoo, Mich.
However, with the proven track record, consistency, and hunger to win, LeFevour should be considered as one of the contenders with the likes of Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Jimmy Clausen.