A month ago I wrote an article about the Heisman letdown (Heisman Race Letdown: Does Anyone Want To Win It This Year? ), where I discussed the apparent absence of a Heisman race this season.
Since then, things have drastically changed. We now have more than enough qualified candidates for the ceremony in New York City. It took almost all season, but this is one of the more open and interesting races in the last few seasons.
Here’s a look at the five players you should see in New York on December 12th:
Mark Ingram : He has emerged as one of the lead candidates in this seasons' race, if he wins not only will he continue the trend of three straight sophomores winning the Heisman but he will also be the first winner ever from Alabama. Ingram has rushed for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns and has done his part to help Alabama stay undefeated.
Tim Tebow : The heart and soul of the Florida Gators has once again put them in position for another BCS Title. He’s looking for Heisman number two, to tie him with Ohio State’s Archie Griffin. His stats are down from previous years but still impressive. He’s thrown for 1,730 yards with 12 touchdowns and run for another 604 yards with 10 touchdowns.
Colt McCoy : Never can I remember a Heisman candidate or a team go through a season so quietly. Colt has lead Texas to a 10-0 record, and has done this with very little media pressure. The afore-mentioned candidates seem to get the attention, which is fine with the Texas gunslinger. He’s thrown for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns so far this season.
CJ Spiller : Without Spiller, Clemson wouldn’t be bowl eligible. He does it all: rushing, returning kicks, receiving, and even passing. His 836 yards rushing and six touchdowns lead the Tigers and his 382 yards and four touchdowns receiving are second on the team. He’s also thrown for a touchdown and remains a dangerous return man for Clemson.
Toby Gerhart : Stanford has caught fire of late, and it’s mainly due to their star running back. His 1,395 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns have lifted the Cardinal back into the Rose Bowl hunt. He went for 178 yards and three touchdowns against USC, and the week before he rushed for 223 yards with another three-touchdown performance. With games against California and Notre Dame still on the schedule he could make a jump with more of these big performances.
Others probably looking in:
Kellen Moore : I think there are several factors keeping him out of the top five. One, the Broncos' schedule is very weak meaning he hasn’t had a marquee game. Add that to the fact he hasn’t been on TV enough and he’s on the outside looking in. His sophomore status also hurts his chances. Look out for him next year as his 2,558 yards and 32 touchdowns this season are bound to improve.
Jacquizz Rodgers : Much like Kellen Moore he also faces several problems. He’s had big games against USC and Stanford, but with the senior laden class I think he’s another sophomore waiting for next year. His national exposure has been limited this year, but he’s made the most of it when the Beavers do play a prime time game. This season he’s rushed for 1,148 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Jordan Shipley : The Texas receiver is McCoy’s favorite target. He’s also a stellar return man, with two returns for touchdowns. He has 1,096 yards and 8 touchdowns receiving on the year. Colt McCoy will take Shipley’s votes considering most of his stats are due in some fashion to McCoy’s arm. The more returns he has the better, but it’s too little too late for Shipley.
How it all gets settled out:
The SEC Title game will be huge for Tebow and Ingram. The stats they generate in the game will be the last impression they will be able to leave with voters. Both need to have excellent games in order to jump the other.
The Big 12 Title Game likewise will be huge for McCoy. He will likely face an inferior team from the Big 12 North that he will be expected to dominate. A poor performance will drastically diminish his chances of winning.
Stanford and Clemson will have to win out with Spiller and Gerhart carrying the teams to victory. Gerhart has a very good opportunity to prove to the voters he’s worthy with games against Cal and Notre Dame still on the schedule. Clemson needs to win this weekend to get into the ACC title game. Without getting into that game Spiller will have one less opportunity to prove to the voters he’s the best candidate.