It's Week 2, and Heisman talk is already hot and heavy. Names like Denard Robinson and Marcus Lattimore are storming their way onto the national scene as other familiar names are dropping like flies.
But before we talk about who these dead names are (okay, maybe not completely dead), we need to take a look at what qualifies a player for such an honor as the greatest trophy in sports.
A player, first and foremost, needs to be on a successful team. We're not talking about a seven- or eight-win team here. The Heisman winner must be on a team in competing for a spot in at least a BCS bowl game.
Secondly, a player must be a media darling (see Robinson, Denard for a prime example two weeks in).
Next, a Heisman candidate must always, always step up when he is called upon, specifically in the big games. Leading a team to victory over other ranked opponents not only garners attention but also boosts a résumé even further.
Last, but certainly not least, a player must be on offense, specifically a quarterback, running back, or multi-threat athlete.
The "outline" of a Heisman candidate is further defined in one of my earlier articles, "The Many Faults of the Heisman Trophy."
Now that we understand what it takes to be considered for that one special night in the Big Apple, who's fallen off the map through the first two weeks of the season?
Once sitting on many preseason Heisman boards, neither Ponder nor his team has lived up to the hype quite yet this season.
After an easy-going drubbing of Samford in Week 1, Ponder and the Seminoles were completely overmatched against Oklahoma in Week 2. Not only did he underperform (two INTs, 39 percent completion rate), but he failed to step up in the big game as well.
All is not lost for Ponder, however. If he can pull it together in the coming weeks and put up the monster numbers he is known for, he can still make it to New York.
However, winning the trophy is looking like a huge uphill battle thanks to his poor early performance. Consistency is the key in winning this thing, and the Oklahoma loss will loom big when mentioning Ponder's name in the competition.
Lewis is one the most underrated running backs in the country, mostly due to the conference he plays in. Shredding defenses last season like a butcher in a meat shop, he had one of the best freshman campaigns we've seen in a while.
However, Lewis and his team also got off to a rocky start in 2010. A tight loss to a solid Utah team in the opener already raised a question mark for his campaign this year.
With only a 3.0-yard per carry average in that contest on 25 carries, he followed that up with yet another questionable performance against New Hampshire in Week 2.
Against UNH, Lewis ran for 27 yards on 10 carries. Instead of ripping apart a terrible defense, he failed to inflate his stats in Week 2 after a mediocre Week 1 showing.
It's going to be tough for Lewis to even get Heisman votes if his performance stays at this rate. A sophomore slump isn't to be called for yet, but it's hard to see him matching the magical numbers of 2009.
Although Brantley's name could be found on some preseason Heisman polls, some were skeptical on how legit he actually was this early in his career.
Without much experience playing behind the living Son of God, Brantley was forced to find his reps on the practice field and didn't see much live time until clean-up time his first two years. Now a junior, he is just getting the feel of leading a powerhouse to victory.
He has been successful in that aspect with victories over Miami (OH) and South Florida, but the stats are not eye-catching. By no means are they below average, especially with a 4-0 touchdown to interception ratio. However, Brantley will not be putting up Heisman numbers, especially come conference play.
It may be too soon to declare such an opinion, but Brantley is going to be in New York in 2011. His senior season will consist of experience, success, and maybe even a Heisman Trophy just like his predecessor.
Forget Dion Lewis' domination as a freshman last season—Williams was the real deal.
Running for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns in '09, he and his team were thought to be the real deal once again entering 2010.
After a late fourth-quarter loss to Boise State, many thought the Hokies would come back in Week 2 in order to stomp James Madison, a Division I-AA team.
However, that wasn't the case. Not only did Williams falter, but his team also fell 21-16 for an embarrassing loss and lost any hope of making its way to a big name bowl game.
Running for a measly 131 yards on 40 carries this season, Williams is having a mediocre season that could have been saved in time for New York. However, with a loss to James Madison, his team may have ended any hope for he and his quarterback, whom we will discuss later.
The former Heisman winner hasn't played a down yet in 2010. To say it's his fault he may not repeat as the winner this year is completely unfair.
In fact, it's more due to his replacement than to his injury. Trent Richardson, while taking over Ingram's carries, has put himself into position to make a run at the trophy.
Ingram is set to return in Week 3, but missing two weeks in a season is crucial in this race. While he was on the sidelines, others were racking up big numbers (including Richardson) and, sadly, look to have dropped his name out of contention.
While Richardson's production will almost certainly decrease when Mr. Ingram steps foot on the field, having two stud running backs is never a good recipe when looking to bring home the bronze statue. Alabama's duo will win them games, and maybe a repeat as national champion, but won't bring home college football's most popular award.
Another player who is cursed by the spell of inconsistency, Harris and the 'Canes fell to Ohio State this past weekend, 36-24.
After a fabulous sophomore campaign, Harris had become a media darling as the starting quarterback at Miami. Now a junior, he has plenty of opportunity on national television and in the media in order to make an impact on the Heisman race.
However, with performances like his four-interception day in what may be his biggest game of the year, you can fully expect Harris to drop out of the race by midseason. He may be one of the most exciting players in the ACC, but inconsistency is never allowed by the Heisman Gods.
Were giving Brantley another year, so let's do the same for Harris. Think Terrelle Pryor here. Once consistency is found, you may have found yourself a future Heisman winner.
Until then, Miami fans will be left with plenty of ups and downs.
Coming off a year on the sidelines watching the Texas gunslinger himself in Colt McCoy, Gilbert is primed for a successful year in 2010.
Behind an excellent offensive line equipped with weapons all around him, watching Gilbert this season just gives you the feel of a Greg McElroy-type quarterback.
He's young, talented, and lethal. He's just not ready to be the playmaker of the Texas offense. With a decent QB rating (124 rating) and almost 400 yards on the board, he is putting up average numbers for a quarterback of a Top Five team.
When all is said and done, Gilbert is going to be a great quarterback at Texas. Only a sophomore, there is plenty of time to see what he has to offer. 2010 may end in success for Gilbert and the Texas offense, but this isn't the year that we see the Longhorn quarterback in Heisman contention.
Just like his workhorse of a running back, Taylor failed to lead his team to victory in the first two weeks of the season.
He gets a pass for the Boise State game, in which he was constantly being pressured and still put up decent numbers, but losing to James Madison should erase you from contention right off the bat. A preseason Top 10 football team should not be losing to an FCS opponent.
Taylor's numbers don't suggest that he should be dropped from the race just yet, but being the quarterback of such a disappointing team might do the trick in the long run. With two losses entering a pretty competitive ACC slate this season, it might be hard for either of the Hokie stars to overcome such a deep hole.
In the end, look for Taylor to put up above-average numbers and get his team back on track to a decent bowl game. However, any dreams of BCS championships or bowl victories are now long out the window. You can throw the Heisman Trophy dream in there as well.
He may not have been a household name before the start of the season, but Dobbs appeared on a number of Heisman previews.
As the starting quarterback of the Naval Academy, you're either going to be the Cinderella story or Mr. Irrelevant. Finally getting some much-needed attention, Dobbs has faltered under the pressure, as he has put up some very average numbers in the first two weeks.
In his first two games, including a loss against Maryland to open up the season, he has thrown for merely 157 yards and run for just over 100 yards. Throw in a mere two rushing touchdowns, and you no longer have a Heisman candidate.
In order for a Navy player to win the trophy, the numbers will have to be off the charts. In addition, Navy would have to have a program-changing season in which they finished the year at least in the Top 25.
Unfortunately, all of these things now look to be out of reach. Dobbs will have another great year—just not worthy of the Heisman talk once associated with his name.
Devine was the hardest player to put on this list.
If you look at his numbers so far (46 carries, 223 yards, two TDs), you can make a case that he is still very much in this race. In fact, he still very well may be.
However, watching both of West Virginia's first two games, you can see that this production isn't going to hold up.
Even playing in the Big East, Devine does not play on a very good football team. In a game that WVU should have lost, Marshall gave the Mountaineers all they had before losing in the last quarter of the game.
Devine is a rare talent. He is going to be a special one in the league and will probably be a first-round pick come draft time. However, his consistency has always been a question mark. His numbers will surpass 1,000 yards on the ground, 15 rushing touchdowns, and plenty of highlight reel plays, but in the long run, his team and conference will keep him out of the true Heisman discussion.