The ESPN poll I posted a couple of days ago got me thinking, how would I vote for the Heisman if I did indeed get a chance to vote? Well, I've been doing some soul searching and I've decided to list my top 10 candidates for this years 2009 Heisman Award.
Note that the Heisman goes to the year's most outstanding football player. It doesn't say offense or defense, nor does it say most talented or most valuable. It's the most outstanding football player, the player that was the best and most consistent player all year long.
So because of that, my rankings may disagree some with the talking heads at ESPN who tend to vote for whoever they hype up the most (Tebow).
1. Ndamukong Suh - Nebraska
Only once in the history of this award has a defensive player won the Heisman and that was Charles Woodson back in 1997. Ever since then it's been a Quarterback's award to lose. Well this year, there hasn't been an outstanding QB with Tebow being good at times and just average in a few games. McCoy really hasn't gotten going so far this year, Bradford was injured in week one, Clausen has played well but his competition has been weak, and Tyrod Taylor doesn't have the stats to warrant winning this award. So who does that leave? With no top-notch running back emerging and with very few dominant wideouts this year, Suh is really the only player that has been consistently dominant in each game. Right now, if I had a vote Suh would be my number one choice.
2. Tim Tebow - Florida
As much as I dislike Tebow, the kid is an excellent player and an even better person. However, thanks in-part to ESPN, the majority of the country hates his guts. And at the end of the day, I think that could cost Tebow his second Heisman trophey unless the Gators go 13-0 and beat Alabama in the SEC championship game which at this point looks likely. Tebow's stats are down a bit from his last two seasons but as long as the Gators keep winning, Tebow will stay in the top 3 in this race.
3. Jimmy Clausen - Notre Dame
I hate myself for voting for Clausen but he's number one in passing efficiency at 179 a game, that's 15 points higher than Tim Tebow who is 3rd on that list. However, the reason why Clausen isn't higher is because of Notre Dame's strength of schedule. How would Tebow, Tyrod Taylor, Case Keenum, Todd Reesing, and Tony Pike do against the level of play Notre Dame has played this year? Probably a lot better than they have done against their own schedule. Take a player like Tyrod who has had to play Alabama, Nebraska, Miami, and Boston College in his first 6 games, all of whom rank in the top 25 in total defense. So, sorry Jimmy, throw for 400 yards against USC and I might move you up, but if you have a bad game you'll probably be off this list for the rest of the season.
4. Mark Ingram - Alabama
The last running back to win this award was Reggie Bush back in 2003 and even though Ingram is a good back, he's just not putting up "Heisman Numbers." However, because Alabama is undefeated so far with a few quality wins, Ingram has warrented a spot in my top five but there's a pretty big gap right now between him and Jimmy Clausen.
5. Colt McCoy - Texas
Colt has been largely pedestrian this year compared to last season but his numbers still figure as some of the best in the nation. However, the spark just hasn't seemed to be there for Colt this year, who could be pushing himself more this year instead of just going out there and playing his game. If Texas goes undefeated this year, Colt could move up but after one or two losses I just cant see Colt winning this award.
6. Ryan Williams - Virginia Tech
Alabama fans like to brag since they believe they have the best freshman running back in the nation in Trent Richardson, that's fine because the Hokies have the best redshirt freshman running back in the nation. Ryan Williams has filled in rather nicely for an injured Darren Evans and it appears that Williams could be well on his way to New York if the Hokies can run the table and find a spot in the BCS National Championship game. However, if Ryan has a bad game or the Hokies slip up somewhere along the way, his Heisman hopes could be ended for this season.
7. Tony Pike - Cincinnati
I have a hard time believing Pike is a serious contender just because of what the Hokies did to him in the Orange bowl last year. Pike is a good quarterback who is really starting to play well in Bryan Kelly's system but because they are in the Big East and because Cincy's schedule has been rather light, I'll need to see him show up in a big game sometime this season before he can move any further up on my list.
8. Ryan Mathews - Fresno State
When your the leading rusher in the nation, you'll tend the grow a little Heisman buzz around yourself but unless Mathews starts cranking out some 200 and 300 yard games in conference this season, it's going to be hard to get the media support for him to get an invite to New York this season. The good news is Mathews is just a junior and this year could spring board him into the Heisman race next year if he can repeat this performance.
9. Case Keenum - Houston
Case would be higher on my list but a tough Houston loss a few weeks ago has dropped him down and almost out of Heisman contention. Keenum is still one of the better passers in the NCAA but when your in a non-BCS conference, it will take a strong, and nearly perfect effort for you to get an invite to New York.
10. Jordan Shipley - Texas
There are about six players I wanted to put in the 10th spot but after his performance against Colorado this past weekend, I had to put Shipley in at this spot. Shipley is a 6th year man down in Texas and is doing everything he can so embrace this opportunity. However, for Jordan to make it to New York he'll simply have to keep doing what he's been doing the last couple weeks and he could easily rise close to the top of this list. But, if Oklahoma has anything to say about it, they'll be looking to end Mr. Shipley's chances this weekend.
QB Tyrod Taylor - Virginia Tech
QB Todd Reesing - Kansas
RB Darius Marshall - Marshall
QB Jake Locker - Washington
WR Eric Decker - Minnesota
WR Golden Tate - Notre Dame
RB Jacquizz Rodgers - Oregon State.