Kenny is your Heis-Man

By Amsinger - May 17, 2006

Brady won't catch a break, there will be no joy for OSU's boy Troy, Adrian Peterson's Heisman isn't coming anytime soon and the chances of striking a pose are weak for Florida QB Chris Leak. Believe it or not, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner was a no-name one year ago.

Auburn running back Kenny Irons will be college football's best player this season.

Talking Heisman is out of hand this early, I know. The reason I'm in a rush is more to make you aware of how incredible Mr. Irons' season is going to be for the Auburn Tigers.

Irons, who took over as starting tailback from Tre Smith three weeks into the season - rushed for around 1300 yards, 13 touchdowns and carried a poor Auburn offense to a 9-2 regular season record. Irons had Heisman-esque performances in 2005 with 182 yards on the ground against Arkansas, 218 rushing yards against LSU, 179 versus Georgia and 103 against a fantastic Alabama defense. I'm not counting his 147 yard outing against lowly Ball State and three 100-yard-plus performances against Western Kentucky, Ole Miss and Kentucky.

The '07 senior runs like he's mad at someone. Auburn folks describe Irons as a mix of Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, both former Auburn first round tailbacks. If that's the case, how can anyone discard this prediction?

Picking Irons over Quinn, Smith, Peterson, Lynch, Brohm and Leak has more to do with playing style - combined with new season adjustments for 2006. For example, Charlie Weis isn't dumb. He's going to force teams to stop Darius Walker this season...which will be hard to do with Notre Dame's revved up offensive line. Quinn is also without two of his top three favorite targets in TE Anthony Fasano and WR Maurice Stovall. Brady will be excellent this season, but he won't be the lone superstar.

Troy Smith did it all last season for Ohio State, passing for 2,282 yards, 16 touchdown passes, just 4 picks - while rushing for over 600 yards and 11 TD's on the ground. But let's be honest, without receiver Santonio Holmes - OSU's "other" Heisman hopefull, Ted Ginn Jr. won't be able to continue the air-show this season. Holmes WAS that important. Without him, the Buckeyes won't be able to stretch the opposing defenses and Ginn will be double-teamed more than ever. Troy Smith will still get it done - just not in Heisman style. Junior tailback Antonio Pittman will put up better Heisman numbers than OSU's quarterback.

Anyone who believes this is the year in Norman and Adrian Peterson will win the Heisman is simply in denial. Bob Stoops doesn't have another weapon to compliment his '04 Heisman runner-up. QB Rhett Bomar had moments last season, but overall - he won't take any pressure off the shoulder-pads of Peterson. Adrian is a great running back - don't get me wrong, he may be the first tailback selected in the 2007 NFL Draft, but his college team won't help his chances of striking a pose in New York City.

Cal running back Marshawn Lynch could have a huge year. Big enough to knock off Irons? Possibly. Lynch was amazing last season and like Irons, will be the main offensive weapon for his team. The quarterback situation at Cal is unsettling for Jeff Tedford. Joe Ayoob was disastrous at times in '05 and Nate Longshore is coming back from injury, he'll be the starter and could be great...key words? COULD BE. Sophomore wideout DeSean Jackson is a superstar in the making, but not enough help to take the pressure off of Marshawn.

Brian Brohm was my pick to win the Heisman one year ago. So what does that say about me? I don't think anyone expected Louisville to be dismantled by South Florida in week three. Bottom line for Brohm is his team's overall record. Playing in the Big East hurts his chances - so while I expect his stats to surpass Quinn's and Leak's in the passing department - if Louisville loses a conference game Brohm's Heisman chances are flushed.

Chris Leak is the real enigma in this class. The 11-year-senior has all the experience a head coach could ask for and now has one year of Urban Meyer's weird spread offense under his belt. Here's the problem with selecting Leak for the Heisman in May, what's to say he'll understand the spread offense this season if he seemed lost at times in 2005? Rushing yards are essential for a quarterback in this offense and Leak wants NO PART of it. His net rushing total was 81...not 81 yards per game - no, 81 yards for THE SEASON! With his arm, he averaged just 219 yards per game. He wasn't Heisman-worthy last year and he won't be this season.

Other darkhorse candidates are the USC boys, QB John David-Booty and WR Dwayne Jarrett while Iowa's QB Drew Tate could play like Doug Flutie as a senior. Texas sophomore Jamaal Charles will get looks, along with Louisville's tailback Michael Bush.

Hopefully I stated my case for Kenny Irons as your new Heisman Trophy winner. With an improving quarterback in Brandon Cox and more carries, Irons is the man. Here's the question Auburn fans want to know...can Irons carry the Tigers into a BCS bowl game?

Find out in my next blog when I give you my preseason Top 25!

Posted by Amsinger at 06:01 PM on May 17, 2006

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