Race to the Heisman: 2008's Top Candidates Reside in the Big 12

Mark WhiteContributor INovember 20, 2008

The end of the season is drawing near, and the race for the Heisman is just as competitive as it was four months ago, albeit with a host of different faces.

With preseason Heisman front-runners Chris "Beanie" Wells and Pat White falling out of contention, and other viable candidates such as Chase Daniel sliding to the back of the pack, we have a slew of other contenders positioned to achieve this prestigious award.   

In my opinion, the two top candidates are Colt McCoy and Graham Harrell, with Harrell clearly in the lead.  Harrell is currently boasting huge numbers, an undefeated season, and is solidly in command of his own fate entering the game against another Heisman hopeful, quarterback Sam Bradford and the single-loss Oklahoma Sooners this weekend.

It should also be noted that having one of the best wide receivers in college football in Michael Crabtree, who also happens to be a Heisman hopeful, hasn't hurt Harrell's stats or his Heisman status. 

Colt McCoy maintains, what I believe, is a close second in the race with only one loss and, although not as robust, his own impressive stats. The one loss just happened to be dealt to the mighty Texas Longhorns from Graham Harrell and the mightier Texas Tech Red Raiders. 

The third candidate, just in case both the Red Raiders and the Longhorns take a nosedive over the final crucial weeks of the 2008 season, is Oklahoma's sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford.

Bradford, like Harrell, has produced some absolutely tawdry numbers.  Although his stats are superior to McCoy's, the Sooners' head-to-head loss to the Longhorns would tip the Heisman scale to the Texas quarterback.

Furthermore, Bradford is only a sophomore, and historically, it's almost unheard of for sophomores to win the Heisman—obviously the exception being Tim Tebow with his unprecedented achievement of the Heisman in the 2007 season. 

Other notable Heisman prospects are Florida's Tim Tebow, Missouri's Chase Daniel, and Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who just happens to be the top-scoring receiver in the nation. 

While not necessarily a Heisman candidate, I would also like to give mention to Zac Robinson, the resilient and successful quarterback for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

The Cowboys could quite possibly be the best two-loss team in all of college football, having beaten the then third-ranked Missouri Tigers. Their lack of recognition might simply be a situation of being overshadowed by the fact they play in the Big 12 with the likes of Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma.

A Cowboy win against the Sooners in the last game of their season could definitely solidify a Heisman candidacy for the young Mr. Robinson, especially if the Sooners arrive at Boone Pickens Stadium with a fresh victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.