The 2009 college football season started with three clear cut contenders for the Heisman Trophy. Those contenders were Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy.
In the first week of the season Sam Bradford was injured against BYU and his hopes to repeat as a Heisman winner were gone. To be fair, Tebow and McCoy have seen the door opened to other contenders by unrealistic expectations being placed on both quarterbacks.
Now, heading into the last week of the season during the conference championship games and the final regular season games, the contenders get to make one last statement. December fifth the Heisman hopefuls get to make their final case for the award.
The Heisman will be won on this final week before the bowl season starts. Let’s look at the contenders, and the game ahead of them that could win them the Heisman.
Two for Timmy:
Season Stats: 2,166 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, 796 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns
Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators could be peaking at the right time. In the big season finally before the SEC Championship Game against Florida State, Tebow threw for 221 yards, three touchdowns, rushed for 90 yards and two more touchdowns.
Tebow could be helped more than other Heisman contenders in the SEC title game. His Gators play the undefeated and second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Tide has a top ten defense and has gotten a lot of help from the defense to remain undefeated. Tebow will get a chance to put up numbers against this defense. If he can put up big numbers against this defense, while securing a win, he will wrap up the Heisman.
Much like last year in the fourth quarter against the Tide, all eyes will be on Tebow, especially if the game is close.
The Heisman is supposed to be a seasonal award, but Tebow’s past accomplishments could give him an edge if voters cannot decide. He has broken nearly every school record, several SEC records, and is without question the best leader in college football today.
Tebow will get extra credit if he can lead the Gators to the national championship game and a chance to repeat for the first time in school history. The only negative could be that Tebow has won the award before and voters may not want to give him two.
The Real McCoy
Season Stats: 3,328 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 368 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
Colt McCoy has to be the sentimental favorite for the Heisman. Of the big three quarterbacks, McCoy is the only one who has not won the award. Bradford and Tebow both have a Heisman and this fact could swing a few votes Colt's way.
McCoy could be helped by a big game in the Big-12 Championship against Nebraska. He will face a very tough Cornhuskers team.
Again, the stats for McCoy are not as good as past seasons, but he owns nearly every school record at Texas and several Big-12 records. He is also the winningest quarterback in college football history.
McCoy helped his case with a big game against in-state rival Texas A&M. Colt threw for 304 yards with four touchdowns and rushed for 175 yards with one touchdown.
All Colt has to do is keep Texas heading to its first national championship game since Vince Young led the Longhorns to a title in 2005 season.
A loss against Nebraska would end Colt’s Heisman hopes.
The award might not be for career accomplishments, but it has happened in past seasons. The most recent example would be Ron Dayne and what he did for the Wisconsin Badgers. Dayne won the Heisman his senior year based on the body of work in his college career.
McCoy could fall into that category in a season where no one has stepped up to win the award. Still, that could also go against McCoy if voters look, specifically, at his senior season.
Ingram Might Not Be “Hip” Enough To Win
Season Stats: 1,429 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 246 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns
Mark Ingram was in the driver’s seat for the Heisman, until Alabama played Auburn. While McCoy and Tebow helped themselves against rivals, Ingram did not.
Ingram only rushed for only 38 yards and was on the bench while the Tide rallied to beat the Tigers in their final drive. Alabama head coach Nick Saban believed that Ingram had a bruised hip and it kept him off the field.
The Crimson Tide has one of the most storied histories in college football, but has never had a Heisman Trophy winner. Even with the bad game this fact could help Ingram win the award.
Gutting out a game against the top ranked Gators and a top ten defense would sway a lot of voters in favor of Ingram. He will have to go over the century mark rushing and the Tide will have to win the game for voters to give him their vote.
Ingram could have his Heisman hopes ended by a late season injury.
If he does not play or is ineffective, he will not leave the lasting mark on the voter’s and it will be unlikely that he will get the Heisman.
While Tebow has a lot to gain this week, by playing in the number one versus number two matchup in the SEC title game; Ingram has a lot to lose.
Making the Case for Keenum
Season Stats: 4,922 passing yards, 38 passing yards, 120 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns
Case Keenum is one of two quarterbacks from non-BCS conferences that are putting up video game numbers. Keenum, who plays for Houston, is in Conference USA and does not get a lot of national exposure because of that.
Keenum has had big games against teams from BCS conferences. In three out of conference games against Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, and Texas Tech, Keenum threw for 1,235 yards, 8 touchdowns, rushed for 56 yards, and two more scores.
Two things hurt Keenum's Heisman chances. Those two things are loses to Central Florida and UTEP. The two loses were not Keenum’s fault, but the fault of a bad defense which forces Keenum and the offense to have to keep scoring.
In the C-USA title game Keenum will get one more chance to impress voters. The 10-2 Cougars will play the 8-4 Pirates from East Carolina.
Keenum might have to put up unheard of numbers in a win to even have a shot at the Heisman.
One thing that does help him is that Houston has had a Heisman winner before.
The fact that he plays in a non-BCS conference with two loses will hurt Keenum’s chances.
His numbers, on the other hand, make it impossible to ignore his potential to win this award.
An Undefeated Boise State Could Give Moore More Votes
Season Stats: 3,053 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, nine rushing yards, one rushing touchdown
Kellen Moore is the other quarterback putting up video game type numbers. Moore gets a lot of attention playing for an undefeated Boise State team.
Moore will get a final chance to state his case in the final regular season game against New Mexico State. He should have no problem putting up huge numbers against an Aggies team that is 3-9 on the season and giving up 30.8 points a game.
The Broncos and Moore will be playing for a chance to make a BCS game for the second time in school history.
Boise State might need to win big to impress the bowl representatives of the BCS bowls who will take at-large bids.
Moore faces a lot of the same problems that Keenum faces. He plays in a non-BCS conference and on the West coast. By playing in the WAC, which does not get much national television exposure in primetime, Moore's Heisman chances may falter.
Moore will also be helped if Oregon can win the Pac-10 and Boise can say the beat the Pac-10 champions. If he can be the only player from the West coast who plays on an undefeated team, the voters will have to give him a look.
Suh, a Defensive Player Could Win the Heisman
Season Stats: 70 tackles, seven sacks, one interception, one blocked kick
Ndamukong Suh could steal the Heisman in the Big-12 Championship Game. Suh will get a chance to stop a nearly unstoppable Texas offense.
Suh has been unblockable and unstoppable this season.
He faces constant double teams and is still is able to disrupt the opposing team’s offense.
More importantly he opens the door for his teammates to make plays because of all of the attention he gets.
The Cornhuskers have not forgotten about James Brown and Texas beating them and keeping them from winning a national championship. Suh and his Nebraska team will come out firing.
Suh will be a big part of the game plan if Nebraska has any chance of beating the Longhorns.
He will need to harass McCoy and force Colt into mistakes all day long to create an upset win.
The only thing that hurts Suh’s chances of winning the Heisman is the fact it is hard to quantify the impact of a defensive player on a season.
Anyone who has watched the Cornhuskers play would see that against Missouri and Oklahoma Suh dominated the game.
C.J. Scoring Talent Spiller’s over
Season Stats: 912 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, 440 receiving yards, four touchdowns, 210 punt return yards, one touchdown, 645 kickoff return yards, four touchdowns, 17 passing yards, one touchdown
Clemson’s C.J. Spiller can score on any play in which he touches the football. Spiller is the only true game breaker in the college game today.
Spiller has scored in the return game, rushing, receiving, and even throwing for a touchdown. He is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
Clemson will play Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. Spiller was outstanding in the regular season match-up against the Yellow Jackets rushing for 87 yards and adding another 69 yards receiving with one touchdown.
Spiller did have a somewhat bad game against South Carolina with just 37 offensive yards, but he did have an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The bad game against the Gamecocks and the fact the Tigers are a four loss team could cost Spiller the Heisman.
To be fair to Spiller, he has been nursing an ankle injury the later part of the season. A huge game rushing, receiving, and in the return game in an upset win would give Spiller a lot of attention for the award.
Still, Spiller will be a very long shot to win the Heisman. He will need all the other contenders to have very poor days since he hasn't gotten the hype other players have all season long.
There are several other hopefuls for the Heisman. One of those hopefuls is Toby Gerhart who leads the nation in rushing yards.
The main problem for Gerhart is that Stanford's season is done after their win over Notre Dame. In that game Gerhart rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns. He also passed one time for 18 yards and a score.
The other problem for Gerhart is two subpar games against Wake Forest and Oregon State. Against the Demon Deacons he rushed for only 82 yards and no scores and against the Beavers he rushed for only 96 yards, but had two touchdowns.
Stanford not playing December fifth, and the fact that Notre Dame has a horrible defense that everyone put up huge days on could hurt Gerhart’s Heisman hopes. Especially if the other Heisman contenders listed above have huge days for teams playing for BCS bowl games and conference championships.
There are players who are on the Heisman radar who are playing before December fifth and could sneak up and steal the award.
Three of them will be on the same field playing for both a BCS game and a conference title.
The Oregon versus Oregon State game will be for the Pac-10 title and a berth in Rose Bowl. Jeremiah Masoli for the Ducks and the Rogers’ bothers for the Beavers have one last chance to make their Heisman case.
Masoli will be helped in his case if Oregon wins. He has passed for 1,865 yards with14 touchdowns through the air and 619 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns on the ground.
Masoli will need a big game to make people forget about the egg he laid against Boise State. Plus the fact that he missed the game against UCLA and Oregon won without him.
James and Jacquizz Rodgers are the play makers for the Beavers. They both have had solid seasons for an Oregon State team that has three losses.
The Beavers have losses against USC and Cincinnati. James Rodgers has 865 yards receiving with 8 touchdowns, 260 rushing yards with one touchdown and 151 return yards.
Jacquizz Rodgers has 1,313 rushing yards with 19 touchdowns, 436 yards receiving with one touchdown, and 14 passing yards with one touchdown. All three players will be hurt by playing on Thursday and their efforts could be overshadowed by other contenders.
The only other player who might even have a chance at the Heisman is Noel Devine. The West Virginia running back could use a monster day against Rutgers to have a chance at the Heisman.
Devine has rushed for 1,232 yards with 11 touchdowns and has 149 receiving yards with one touchdown. Devine has kept West Virginia in games and provided a spark on offense when needed.
Still, Devine has been hampered with an ankle injury that has slowed down his amazing speed. A huge day by Devine could jump him in to the Heisman race.
In a year that no one seems to want to standout and win the Heisman, the last week of the season could determine who wins the award. The contenders will all have one final chance to impress voters.
That is except for Toby Gerhart who will have to hope that all the contenders playing this final week stumble. Gerhart will not have a chance to make a final statement to voters these other players will.
This could be the year all Heisman hopefuls tell the voters the same thing. Remember, Remember the fifth of December.