Contrary to the popular belief of most college football fans, the race to the Heisman starts before Game One. Terrelle Pryor ended the season with an excellent performance that remained on the conscience of the sports writers who were glued to the TV and hanging onto the edge of their seats as Ohio State played another talented team in a highly anticipated BCS bowl matchup.
Coach Tressel and his staff surprised many spectators and fans, letting Pryor dictate the outcome of the game by passing and making plays much more than he did in any of the regular-season games in his young career. OSU's ball control and stellar defense made for an exciting victory for anxious fans everywhere.
From that performance, I felt that two things needed to happen in 2010 for the Buckeye's to see a bigger bowl game and for Pryor to be named a top five Heisman finalist: 1) Stats—He needed to average 300 yards per game in total offense and be an efficient passer and 2) Simply go undefeated. To date the team and QB are doing very well:
- Terrelle is currently 23rd in Total Offense at 277 yards per game
- 15th in Passing Efficiency
- Ninth in Points Responsible For at 19 per game
- 43rd in Total Passing Yards at 1015 (12 TDs) which is somewhat misleading, because there is only one QB close to 2000 yards (1869). The other 44 QBs in the top 45 are all within approximately 400 yards of each other, so this one we'll have to watch 'til the end.
- And last but not least Coach Tressel's team is undefeated after five games and ranked No. 2 in the nation
Now, here are some concerns that I have based on history and this season:
- Tresselball: Will the coach (based on circumstances) allow Pryor to win games? Also, I am totally convinced that he CAN get the numbers with Tresselball, but with the Heisman, impact wins mean something to voters. (Last-minute drives, big plays, comebacks, and huge road wins, for example)
- Impact wins: I felt OSU let Miami off the hook. There should have been a bigger statement made by either giving up fewer points or scoring more. They could have racked up 50 points or beat them by 30+.
- Big Ten play: I felt that in the Illinois matchup—although a typical Big Ten slug fest—we gave up too many points and couldv'e been more productive. I believe they played down to the competition. (My proof is that they scored every time they needed to, keeping the game out of reach...)
- Team Play: The running game has to be more productive to keep the attack balanced and Pryor healthy. Secondary receivers have to be utilized to the max. Saine out of the backfield, Stoneburner, and anyone else other than Sanzenbacher or Posey need to get the ball.
- A Michigan QB, Bama RB, and an Oregon Stud to name a few: This is a very exciting season with a lot of productive players. Barring injury, this will be a close race.
Finally, I'd like to point out that precedence has been set for the "winning QB" that doesn't have the greatest numbers. Troy Smith and Gino Torretta proved that by playing excellent football. The Heisman voters value a winner as much as a stat machine.
By playing for a highly respected program, Pryor simply has to win games by playing great football, and the rest will take care of itself. Obviously we can get into more details, but I believe that this is a fair snapshot of five games played and five games won.