October 31, 2007

CSTV.com poll goes with Ryan

Five of six experts picked Matt Ryan as the leading Heisman candidate, while the lone voice of dissent went with Tim Tebow. Getting one third place vote: Texas Tech freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Click here to see the full results ...

CBS panel likes Dixon, too

Two of four panelists picked Dennis Dixon to win the Heisman, while CSTV.com's Adam Caparell stuck with Florida's Tim Tebow and J. Darin Darst picked Matt Ryan of Boston College. Another surprise: Dennis Dodd picked Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman No. 2. Hmmmm.

Click here to see the full results ...

CFN pays a little respect to Forte

In his 'Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown' column this week, College Football News writer Pete Fiutak lists Tulane's Matt Forte in the category of 'No current chance to win it, but deserves to be in the discussion.'

Says Fiutak of Forte, "His team is awful, but the numbers are becoming too ridiculous to ignore. "

Click here to read Fiutak's column ...

You can't have it both ways, Gene

In his weekly Heisman ranking for SportsIllustrated.com, Gene Menez has both Dennis Dixon (No. 3) and Jonathan Stewart (No. 5) ranked.

Of Stewart, Menez writes "I'm still sticking to the theory that Dixon, not Stewart, makes the Ducks offense run as smoothly as it does, but after Saturday's 103-yard, two-touchdown effort, Im starting to come around to Stewart's side."

Wait a minute. You can't have it both ways. In the past, teams have sent more than one player to New York. But in the case of Oregon, it will be one or the other, not both.

Click here to see the rest of Menez's ranking ...

Pundit can't let go of Tebow

Give the Heisman Pundit credit for having the guts to pick Oregon as its top ranked team in the country. We admire any site willing to go against the grain. But in this week's ranking, the Pundit kept Tim Tebow listed as its top candidate. Uh-uh, can't agree there. How could Tebow stay No. 1 when Matt Ryan won a bigger game and is playing for an undefeated squad? Another interesting pick -- Darren McFadden at No. 5. No way.

Click here to see the rest of the ranking ...

MSNBC's No. 2 pick? It might surprise you

In its weekly ranking, MSNBC has Matt Ryan in the top spot (who doesn't?) but behind him the site prefers Dennis Dixon of Oregon. That's a bit of a surprise to us, considering how well running back Jonathan Stewart has played as of late. Many believe that for Oregon to get back Arizona State this week, the Ducks will need a big game out of Dixon. We agree. But until that happens, Dixon is not a top three candidate.

For MSNBC's complete ranking, click here ...

October 30, 2007

Top 10 Candidates (Oct. 30)

Round and round we go, who will win this race nobody knows. For now, Matt Ryan of Boston College has the lead, but he also has a rough road ahead. The same is true of Michigan's Mike Hart and Florida's Tim Tebow, the other two 'serious' candidates in this race. The biggest riser of the week is West Virginia's Pat White, who jumped up four spots and whose STP Rating increased by 10 points. The biggest faller? Read on ...

1. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College (2) -- needed a nationally televised win to gain points in this race. It didn't hurt that it came on the road. Next four games are all dangerous with the potential, though, for more gain. STP Rating: 36 {+4}

2. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (1) -- a great candidate, but his only shot is if his Gators finish strong and Ryan self-destructs. STP Rating: 30 {-4}

3. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan (3) -- Hart can still control his own destiny. With huge games against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State -- all wins, no less -- he could jump up the board. STP Rating: 29 {nc}

4. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State (5) -- like Hart, Wells must win out. Difference is, he is part of a national title contender. Another difference, more people know Hart. STP Rating: 25 {+3}

5. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri (7) -- can't win this race but now he is fighting for a seat in New York. STP Rating: 24 {+7}

6 (tie). Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon (6) -- teammate Jonathan Stewart has knocked Dixon out of this race. STP Rating: 22 {+3}

6 (tie). Pat White, QB, West Virginia (10) -- making up ground as his Mountaineers continue to play solid football. STP Rating: 22 {+10}

8. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky (4) -- a big disappointment last week. STP Rating: 21 {-5}

9. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (8) -- one of the most exciting players from an otherwise boring conference. STP Rating: 14 {-2}

10. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (8) -- name recognition is keeping him in the top 10 -- for now. STP Rating: 4 {-12}

**Note: Last week's ranking in parentheses, change in STP rating in brackets.

About the rating: The Strike the Pose scoring system is based on four categories, each one carrying equal weight at this point of the season. (A) Prestige: the candidate's likeability, visibility and on-the-field excitability; (B) Numbers: just the stats; (C) Success: the won/loss record and rank of a candidate's team matters in this race ... a lot; (D) X-Factor: all else that matters, including strength of schedule, injury/adversity, how much or how little support the candidate gets from his teammates, etc.

October 29, 2007

Week 9 Recap

Well, one could argue that Tim Tebow's gutty performance on Saturday in the loss to Georgia was Heisman-worthy. Playing with an aggravated right shoulder, Tebow stuck his body in harm's way, leading with the shoulder to pursue a poor snap (the Bulldogs recovered to end the contest). Still, as much as we must respect Tebow's talent and all he does for his club, fact is his Gators have now lost three games and until Boston College loses a game we don't see him overtaking Matt Ryan in any poll.

And about Ryan ... the Virginia Tech come-from-behind win was, well, terrific. Up until this point no one could be sure if Ryan was for real. Sure, he beat Notre Dame, but what half-grade quarterback couldn't do that this season? The win over the Hokies -- in Blacksburg, no less -- was noteworthy. Ryan's numbers were not good (two interceptions, 25-of-52 passing) but he is proof that Heisman voters favor wins over all else.

Sick of our Chris Wells ramblings yet? Well, don't be, he deserves praise from someone. Against a defense that was suppose to stymie the Buckeyes, Wells rolled up 133 yards, giving him 996 for the season.

OK, hand over the crow pie ... we'll eat it. We challenged Pat White of West Virginia to show us he was worthy of walking back into the Heisman race. We listed him 10th in the Strike the Pose rankings last week, but we really felt obligated more than we believed he'd stay in that spot. Well, White is there to stay. His performance on the road (10-of-16 passing, 155 yards rushing) in a 31-3 win over Rutgers was impressive, to say the least.

Ray Rice of Rutgers, on the other hand, also had a big night (142 yards rushing). Too bad his team has done little to help him stay in contention. He's a class individual with numbers that are good enough. Just not a good enough team to play on.

Know about Andre Dixon of Connecticut yet? If you don't, you'll know soon. Against South Florida's oh-so-great defense Dixon piled up a season-best 167 yards on 32 carries. That gives the sophomore four 100-yard efforts in the six games in which he's played this year. He isn't a realistic 2007 candidate, but he could be for 2008 ...

Another future Heisman candidate -- Georgia's Knowshon Moreno. Not only did he rack up 188 yards and three scores against the Gators, but he made the hard yards in key situations. Wow.

For all that is remarkable about the Arizona State Sun Devils, there is no real Heisman candidate on this squad. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter? Maybe, but his numbers are lacking (he ranks 34th in passing yards and 21st in touchdown passes).

Then again, the top five passers in the country -- Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Brian Brohm (Louisville), Paul Smith (Tulsa), Colt Brennan (Hawaii) and C.J. Bacher (Northwestern) -- are not legitimate Heisman contenders, either, as far as we're concerned.

The nation's seventh-best passer -- Missouri's Chase Daniel -- is. He has passed for 2,533 yards, owns the fifth-best completion percentage (69.9 percent) and has helped his team to a 7-1 record, including Saturday's 42-28 win over Iowa State.

We hinted last week that Dennis Dixon's biggest problem in shaping his Heisman campaign was getting voters to look past his Oregon teammate, Jonathan Stewart. That was true again this week in the win over USC. While Dixon had nice numbers (76 yards rushing, 16-of-25 passing), Stewart got the highlights with his two scores and 103 rushing yards.

October 25, 2007

Week 9 Heisman Preview

A lot is riding on the Thursday night game between Boston College and Virginia Tech. A strong performance and a win for Matt Ryan, and the Heisman race is back up for grabs. A loss, and Florida's Tim Tebow is well on his way to bringing home the hardware. Here is a look at where the top 10 candidates are at, and what fans and voters can expect this weekend.

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Opponent: at Georgia; Rank against the pass: 13; Rank against the run: 47
When does Tebow get to play the Florida Internationals of the world? Georgia will fight tooth and nail for this game, and it will be up to Tebow to make plays on the road to deny the Bulldogs.

2. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Opponent: at Virginia Tech; Rank against the pass: 40
The Eagles as the No. 2 team in the country? Nah, we don't buy it, and a primetime loss in Blacksburg could severely damage Ryan's campaign.

3. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan
Opponent: vs Minnesota; Rank against the run: 94
If healthy, this could be Hart's biggest game to date. The fact that the Gophers are in such rough shape, however, could prompt the coaching staff to give their superstar one extra week's rest.

4. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Opponent: vs Mississippi State; Rank against the pass: 18
Last year against the Bulldogs, Woodson had 284 yards and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs. We don't think he'll be so easy on them this year.

5. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
Opponent: at Penn State; Rank against the run: 9
This game presents by far the biggest challenge for Wells to date. The Nittany Lions have made a habit out of slowing down opposing backs in recent weeks. Will Wells be next in line?

6. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon
Opponent: vs USC; Rank against the pass: 21
Think Dixon is out of this race? Imagine what a big performance in a convincing win over the mighty Trojans would do to boost his campaign.

7. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
Opponent: vs Iowa State; Rank against the pass: 67
Cyclones put up a fight against Oklahoma last week. We don't see Iowa State pulling off the magic two weeks in a row, though. Expect big things from Daniel.

8 (tie). Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Opponent: vs Florida International; Rank against the run: 102
Another cupcake for McFadden to devour ... or wait, will it be Felix Jones with the better numbers again?

8 (tie). Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Opponent: idle
Bradford has the week to ponder how he can work his way back into contention.

10. Pat White, QB, West Virginia
Opponent: at Rutgers; Rank against the pass: 7; Rank against the run: 44
A rematch of last year's overtime shocker. White gets to play this time around.

October 24, 2007

Tebow edges Woodson in CSTV.com poll

By a score of 19 to 18, Tim Tebow has taken back the lead in the CSTV.com weekly poll, narrowly edging out Kentucky's Andre Woodson. A few other interesting names made this week's list: Matt Forte of Tulane and Todd Reesing of Kansas. Click here to see the full top 10 voting ...

Spielman has Dixon No. 2

Chris Spielman of ESPN.com is the highlighted ballot this week. Of his top five, the one pick to stand out is Dennis Dixon at No. 2. Argues Spielman, "The improvement he's made this year is outstanding, and his ability to both run and throw the ball effectively has Oregon challenging for conference and national titles." Click here to see the rest of Spielman's ballot and how the panel voted ...

CBS panelists go with Tebow

A week ago, only one of the CBS panelists believed Tim Tebow was the top candidate. Now three of four agree. Not editor Sid Saraf, though. He likes Tebow's latest victim, Andre Woodsoon. Hmmmm, interesting. Can't justify it myself, but I'd love to hear Sarif's rationale.

Also of note, the top five did not include Mike Hart. Again, very interesting ...

For CFN, the race is down to six

As far as College Football News is concerned, there are now six possible favorites for this Trophy. While the winner may surprise some readers, one of the top six was even more of a surprise to us -- Colt Brennan of Hawaii. Are ya' kiddin!? Who has he played? Put him against Missouri and see if he does any better than Graham Harrell did last week.

Finally .. a true frontrunner

Writes SI.com's Gene Menez, "For the first time all season, this Watch has a clear leader ..." We couldn't agree more. A week from now, however, that could all change. Give kudos to Menez for having the guts to place both Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart in his weekly top 10. Click here for a look ...

A four-man race?

The Heisman Pundit says the race is now down to four candidates. Click here to see if you agree with the four the site still believes in.

MSNBC lacks love for Hart

In its weekly Heisman ranking, MSNBC has picked Mike Hart of Michigan as its seventh-rated candidate. Somehow we wonder how six other players have shuffled in front of Hart. Hey, we'll admit that we were not convinced a month ago that Hart could climb back into contention, but we're certain he is more of a contender now than MSNBC's No. 5 choice, Darren McFadden. Click here to see the rest of the top 10 ...

October 23, 2007

Top 10 Candidates (Oct. 23)

The showdown last Saturday was better than advertised. Thankfully it gave some focus to the Heisman race, but with all of the craziness in college football this season, who can be sure the race won't be flipped upside down again this weekend? Two more candidates have left our top 10, while a few familiar faces have stepped back into the ranking to replace them. **Note: Last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (4) -- the win over Kentucky was huge, and his knack for making big plays bumped him ahead of Ryan. STP Rating: 34

2. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College (1) -- lost a spot without doing a single thing wrong. Now we'll see if he can one-up Tebow by beating Virginia Tech this week. STP Rating: 32

3. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan (2) -- everyone wishes Hart well, but he must get healthy before he can climb this ranking. STP Rating: 29

4. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky (3) -- played about as well as could be expected and still lost. Ahh, the trouble with facing a SEC schedule. STP Rating: 26

5. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State (8) -- Todd Boeckman's strong play of late could split voters on which player gives the top-ranked Buckeyes more value. STP Rating: 22

6. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon (10) -- does his job and more, week after week. STP Rating: 19

7. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri (NR) -- nobody watches this team, otherwise Daniel would get more attention in this race. STP Rating: 17

8 (tie). Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (6) -- hanging on by a thread only because he was the favorite in this race to begin with. STP Rating: 16

8 (tie). Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (7) -- did nothing special last week, but he has kept his team alive in the national title chase. STP Rating: 16

10. Pat White, QB, West Virginia (NR) -- his numbers aren't as dazzling as one might expect. That said, West Virginia has just one loss and fans are beginning to credit White more than teammate Steve Slaton for that success. STP Rating: 12

Sorry, but no dice: Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell, Cal WR DeSean Jackson ...


About the rating: The Strike the Pose scoring system is based on four categories, each one carrying equal weight at this point of the season. (A) Prestige: the candidate's likeability, visibility and on-the-field excitability; (B) Numbers: just the stats; (C) Success: the won/loss record and rank of a candidate's team matters in this race ... a lot; (D) X-Factor: all else that matters, including strength of schedule, injury/adversity, how much or how little support the candidate gets from his teammates, etc.

October 21, 2007

Week 8 Recap

Andre' Woodson had the better numbers, but the Heisman race is about winning games as much as it is about numbers and Woodson's Wildcats did not have enough to out-do Tim Tebow's Gators. Woodson completed 70 percent of his throws for 415 yards and five touchdowns. He converted on fourth down throws and never allowed his team to fall out of the contest. But Tebow was equally impressive. He threw four touchdowns, rushed for another, and got the Gators back into contention in the SEC. Fans will remember the jump pass from this game; we'll remember one short run where Tebow get pushing the pile despite a number of Wildcat defenders joining in on the tackle.

Is Tebow the new Heisman frontrunner? Tough to argue against it. Check back on Tuesday to check out our top 10 ranking ...

We made the comment last week that Chris Wells had better win the battle against Michigan State's Javon Ringer if he was to stay in the race for the Heisman. Well, here are the results from Saturday: Ringer, 18 carries for 49 yards; Wells, 31 carries for 221 yards. Wells set the tone early, with big runs in the Buckeyes' first few drives. But what might make his performance most remarkable is that he carried so much for a guy who had injury concerns only a week ago. Wells can now ride Ohio State's momentum. Should the Buckeyes win out -- in a few high-profile games -- Wells will only gain more exposure.

Pat White is not out of this race, but we can't help but think he is getting too much attention from Heisman analysts, most of whom have kept him in their top 10. Against Mississippi State this week, White had 61 yards passing and 89 yards rushing. Some will argue that White deserves attention because he has guided the Mountaineers to a 6-1 start, their lone loss having come against South Florida. But White has not yet helped his club to beat a quality opponent yet, either. We won't be able to evaluate White until these next few weeks are in the books. I don't think he'll hold up to the challenge, but we'll see ...

Well, it wasn't pretty, but Sam Bradford did help his Sooners do away with Iowa State on Saturday, 17-7. Bradford turned in his worst performance (57.1 completion percentage, no touchdowns, one interception) since the Colorado loss.

I'm not sure DeSean Jackson has any real shot at the Heisman anymore. Even though he had nice numbers (136 yards, two scores) his Bears self-destructed against UCLA, and no one seems to respect the Pac-10 this year.

The only Pac-10 team with a legitimate Heisman candidate is Oregon. They won convincingly on Saturday, but not because of Dennis Dixon, who threw one touchdown, one interception and posted just 196 yards. Nope, instead running back Jonathan Stewart had the big day for the Ducks (251 yards).

Graham Harrell's Heisman campaign? Over.

Another dead campaign could be that of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. On Saturday he gained 110 yards on 22 carries in a win over Mississippi. But those numbers are not impressive enough for McFadden, who was expected to post 150-plus each game of a demanding SEC schedule with ease. Also of note, his teammate, Felix Jones, had 101 yards on 15 carries on Saturday and scored two touchdowns (McFadden had none).

What did Mike Hart's absence do to his Heisman campaign? Well, not so much. His Wolverines continued to roll against Illinois, and when Hart re-joins him he'll pick up where he left off. Let's put it on paper right now -- if Michigan wins its next three games and then knocks off Ohio State to win the Big Ten, Hart will win the Heisman, regardless of what Tebow and Matt Ryan do from here on.

October 18, 2007

Week 8 Heisman Preview

The key game this week pits a pair of high-profile Heisman-caliber quarterbacks against one another: third-ranked Andre' Woodson against fourth-ranked Tim Tebow. The meeting between the Wildcats and Gators will eliminate one from SEC contention and remove one candidate from the top five. Here is a look at where the top 10 candidates are at, and what fans and voters can expect this weekend.

1. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Opponent: idle
Gearing up for next Thursday's showdown at Virginia Tech.

2. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan
Opponent: at Illinois; Rank against the run: 27
This is a big game for the Wolverines. Will Hart be sidelined with the ankle or pull a Willis Reed and rise to the occasion?

3. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Opponent: vs Florida; Rank against the pass: 66
Geez, now a date with Florida! Life just doesn't ever slow down for Woodson. If his Wildcats win again this week, it will guarantee him a seat, if not the Trophy.

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Opponent: at Kentucky Rank against the pass: 27
Tebow's campaign cannot survive a third SEC loss, whether he plays well or not.

5. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
Opponent: at UCLA; Rank against the pass: 77
Will he dazzle us, or will he produce another snoozer?

6. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Opponent: at Mississippi; Rank against the run: 98
Finally! A game McFadden should shine in ... we think.

7. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Opponent: at Iowa State; Rank against the pass: 70
One of the most unheralded candidates should have another fine day ... not that anyone is paying attention.

8. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
Opponent: vs Michigan State; Rank against the run: 24
This game is a running back-lover's delight (Javon Ringer on the opposite sideline). Wells needs to win the battle if he is to stay in the war.

9. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech
Opponent: at Missouri; Rank against the pass: 100
The first BIG test for Harrell. He'll either leap or plummet after this game.

10. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon
Opponent: at Washington; Rank against the pass: 62
Potential trap game for the Ducks? Maybe, but Dixon has played strong throughout the year and we expect him to shine on the road again this week.

October 17, 2007

Hey, who voted for Selvie !?

The CSTV.com weekly poll is out and Andre' Woodson has taken a commanding lead over the field. Be sure to visit the poll to see the top 10. Of note, one expert gave a third place nod to South Florida defensive end George Selvie. Wow, this race really is wide open.

Time to recognize Harrell

Of his No. 5 ranked candidate Graham Harrell, ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach writes, "Unlike Hawaii's Colt Brennan, Harrell is putting up ridiculous statistics against pretty good competition." We couldn't agree more. Click here to see Schlabach's ballot and the ESPN.com top five ...

As for the CBS poll ...

Three of four CBS experts picked Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan is the current frontrunner for the Heisman. The lone voice of descent? CSTV.com's Adam Caparell, who still favors Tim Tebow. Click here to see each ballot and the consensus ...

And, in case you missed it, Ryan came out on top in the Strike the Pose weekly ranking, too

For SI.com, it's Tebow

Gene Menez believes Tim Tebow's week away from action served him well. Tebow has climbed back out front in the SI.com ranking. That's a pick we can understand, but no Andre' Woodson in the top 10!? C'mon Gene, get real! Click here for the complete top 10 ...

Pundit not backing down on McFadden

If the Heisman race were held this week, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden would still be the winner says the Heisman Pundit. We couldn't disagree more. Sure, we understand that McFadden's name is the easiest to remember, but voters are well aware of his three losses already. And by the time the season's through, we suspect McFadden will have a few more of losses tied to his name.

Woodson is back out front, says MSNBC

Andre' Woodson's efforts in last week's win over LSU was all it took for MSNBC to bump him back to the front of their rankings. Have a look at the rest of the top 10 ...

October 16, 2007

Top 10 Candidates (Oct. 16)

Well, what can be said about this race other than its future is more uncertain than the BCS. Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan is the new frontrunner, which is probably a sign that Ryan and his team is due for a dud. You'll notice we are now ranking the top 10, as the field begins to trim heading into crunch time. **Note: Last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College (3) -- only holds a slight edge over Hart, and mostly because his team is still gripping its undefeated record.

2. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan (7) -- better pray that ankle injury is nothing serious.

3. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky (8) -- win over LSU gave his candidacy new life.

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (4) -- by no means out of this race.

5. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal (2) -- fun to watch ... when he decides to show.

6. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (1) -- excuses only last for so long. At some point the Razorbacks' woes were going to have to affect McFadden.

7. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (9) -- has beaten both Texas and Missouri, and could get a New York invite if the Sooners win out.

8. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State (5) -- we'll know more when Ohio State plays a good team (might not be until they travel to Ann Arbor).

9. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech (10) -- the most under-appreciated of all the Heisman candidates.

10. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon (12) -- a close second to Harrell in that category.


Sorry, but no dice: Missouri QB Chase Daniel, Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall, Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill, LSU DL Glenn Dorsey, everyone playing for USC ...

October 14, 2007

Week 7 Wrapup

Fans are already asking what Hawaii's come-from-behind win over San Jose State will do for Colt Brennan's campaign. The short answer: not much. Now for the long answer .. for one, this was San Jose State, not LSU. If anything, the game should serve as a reminder that Hawaii faces a weak schedule and that Brennan would never pass for 545 yards against Auburn or Ohio State or, heck, even Notre Dame. Brennan is good against not-so-good teams, and his performance on Friday, while heroic, loses value when put in perspective.

On the flip side, Andre' Woodson's campaign was recharged by his team's upset win over LSU. Even though Woodson cannot accept all of the credit, he played extremely well. His two interceptions were cancelled out by three passing scores (one in OT) and a rushing touchdown. Woodson has not yet reclaimed his frontrunner status, but he has bounced back into contention.

USC was U-G-L-Y in victory over a two-win Arizona squad. No Trojan player deserves to be considered, and that is saying a lot for a program that has earned a number of seats in New York in recent years.

One week a king, the next ... Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall was a fast-rising Heisman candidate only a few days ago. After he and his Illini teammates stumbled against Iowa, we're not so sure.

As much as we like Buckeye back Chris Wells, it did not help that his team played Kent State at this time of year. Wells was allowed to take it easy (only four carries), and for that he gained no points with Heisman voters.

So much for making big plays in big games. Cal's DeSean Jackson caught four balls for five yards in the loss to Oregon State.

Brian Brohm helped lead his team to an upset over Cincinnati. But forget it, Brohm has no shot at the hardware.

Don't forget about Oregon's Dennis Dixon. His campaign took a hit after a close loss to Cal but Dixon has played well throughout (287 yards, three passing touchdowns this week) and his Ducks will likely bounce back into the top five after this crazy weekend. Dixon's Heisman odds are no longer such a longshot.

Darren McFadden is the frontrunner no more. A boring 9-7 loss to Auburn took care of that. McFadden had just 43 yards on 17 carries. Ouch.

Chase Daniel could have taken the torch from McFadden had his Tigers not blown a 24-23 lead entering the fourth quarter. As it was, Oklahoma put up 18 points in the final period to ensure Daniel and the Tigers were done, and that Sooner quarterback Sam Bradford would win the duel of Heisman candidates. With a 70.7 completion percentage, 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions, we must admit that Bradford's campaign has wheels.

As for another frontrunner wannabe ... Michigan's Mike Hart is the sentimental choice. He has done everything right for a team that started the year doing everything wrong. Now Michigan is in a race with Ohio State for the Big Ten crown, and Hart is putting up record numbers. Only one problem. His ankle appeared to be badly injured in the win over Purdue, and if he misses significant time it will take him out of the Heisman race. However, there's a catch. If he does play this weekend against Illinois -- and plays well -- Hart will gain Willis Reed-like style points which could prove valuable.

So, you ask, who the #@!% is the Heisman frontrunner? You'll have to check back on Tuesday. Until then, here's a hint: this weekend he was golden.

October 13, 2007

Rodgers could do it all

In this week's look back at a Heisman legend, CSTV.com's Adam Caparell talks to 1972 Nebraska winner Johnny Rodgers, who made lasting memories (especially in the '71 contest against Oklahoma). Special teams, running, catching ... Rodgers could do it all.

October 12, 2007

A Closer Look: Chase Daniel

It was the game to decide Big 12 North supremacy -- Missouri and its red-hot passing offense against a Nebraska program ready to re-join the nation's elite. But the buildup was much more exciting than the contest. By game's end it was Missouri 41, Nebraska 6.

It surprised fans outside of Columbia and propelled the Tigers to the No. 11 spot in this week's rankings. But it's not much of a surprise if you know what Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel is capable of.

Last Saturday the 6-foot, 225-pound junior dismantled the Cornhuskers, completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 401 yards. He threw two touchdowns, ran for two more, and gained 72 yards on 11 carries. A big performance in a big-time game? Yep, but only one in a long line of great performances from Daniel this season.

Since the start of this season Daniel has been held to fewer than 300 yards passing just once (294 against Illinois State) and he has completed nearly four times as many touchdowns (15) as he has thrown interceptions (four). He torched a very good Illinois squad for 359 yards and three touchdowns; he completed 73.8 percent of his passes and threw five touchdowns at Mississippi; and he posted a 39-yard run the following week against Western Michigan.

All of this is why Daniel is one of the hottest names in Heisman discussions right now.

With his team heading to Norman on Saturday with a date with Oklahoma, Daniel can now help his Tigers claim a stake at supremacy for the entire Big 12 ... and with a encore performance from last week Daniel can claim his stake as a legitimate top five Heisman candidate.

Where he ranks:

Strike the Pose - 6th
CSTV.com Heisman Watch - 7th (tied)
ESPN.com - 6th
SI.com - 5th
MSNBC - 7th
Heisman Pundit - 5th (tied)

Said Pete Fiutak of College Football News, "If he and Missouri beats Oklahoma, he's the favorite."


Why Daniel can win:
His team is winning, for one. Should Missouri do the 'unthinkable' and knock off Oklahoma in Norman, it would bring Daniel and his teammates one step closer to an unblemished mark heading into the all-important Big 12 title game (and another meeting with the Sooners we suspect). Undefeated teams stay in the spotlight, and that keeps the top player (ie Daniel) in the spotlight. With three of the next five at home, and no team as tough as Oklahoma or Nebraska remaining, we like Missouri's chances. Finally, Daniel's numbers are good enough to bring home the Trophy. He ranks eighth in the nation in touchdown throws and among the top 20 in efficiency. That's good enough to meet the approval of stat-hungry voters.

Why he can't:
Not only is Daniel in this race against heavy hitters like Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Cal's DeSean Jackson, he's also up against players similar to him, like Boston College's Matt Ryan. That hurts his campaign because it reduces the underdog value. Another reason Daniel is facing a tough climb is his school, which gets little exposure and has never produced a Heisman winner.

Strike the Pose odds: 13 to 1

October 11, 2007

Week 7 Heisman Preview

You'll notice most of this week's top 10 candidates will play at home. That's always a good sign. Does that mean it could it be a week without much shuffling in the rankings? Well, don't count on it. The Heisman race has just hit the halfway point and players are only just now starting to hit stride. A few candidates have yet to make their move. In Norman this week, only one candidate will survive in the duel of Bradford vs. Daniel. And in LSU, former frontrunner Andre' Woodson has a shot at redemption against the country's third-best pass defense. Here is a look at where the top 10 candidates are at, and what fans and voters can expect this weekend.

1. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Opponent: vs Auburn; Rank against the run: 45
A loss to the Tigers could prove devastating to McFadden's brief stay atop the rankings. A win, however, could create separation between him and the rest of the pack.

2. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
Opponent: vs Oregon State; Rank against the pass: 88
We got a taste of Jackson's brilliance in the Oregon game. We want more, and the Beavers present the versatile receiver with a perfect opportunity to give Heisman voters what they desire.

3. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Opponent: at Notre Dame; Rank against the pass: 60
Even though the Irish are rotten, their pass defense is not too shabby. And for Ryan, nothing will help his campaign more than a win over Notre Dame in front of a national audience.

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Opponent: Idle
No one deserves a week off more than Tebow right now.

5. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
Opponent: vs Kent State; Rank against the run: 64
The ankle appears to be fine. Wells should roll up big numbers against this week's in-state MAC foe.

6. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
Opponent: at Oklahoma; Rank against the pass: 41
Is Missouri for real? Guess we'll find out when Daniel leads his squad into Norman to face the Sooners. The game will tell us whether we can buy as Daniel as a legitimate candidate, too.

7. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan
Opponent: vs Purdue; Rank against the run: 114
No candidate is hotter right now. Fans (and voters) root for Hart because of the predicament his team stuck him in. This week he should blow by the Boilermaker defense with ease.

8. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Opponent: vs LSU; Rank against the pass: 3
Hard to imagine Woodson playing any worse than he did last week against South Carolina. Wait a second -- on the road against LSU -- nope, we can imagine it getting worse.

9. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Opponent: vs Missouri; Rank against the pass: 37
Bradford has the edge over Daniel in this game. Not only is he playing at home, but he has the better supporting cast.

10. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech
Opponent: vs Texas A&M; Rank against the pass: 44
By halftime Harrell could reach the 3,000-yard mark for the year -- seriously, he could.

October 10, 2007

For Fiutak, Hart is the right pick .. for now

Pete Fiutak of College Football News and Fox Sports has been around the college game for a long time. When he speaks others listen, which is why his selection of Mike Hart as the current leader in the Heisman race is so powerful. There have been whispers about Hart breaking back into the leaderboard ever since Michigan scored its first victory over Notre Dame. But Hart already back to the top of the Heisman standings. Hmm, we respect the courage of the pick, Pete.

To read his Brutally Honest Heisman column, click here

CBS panel likes Ryan

It's a surprise that of five CBS Sportsline panelists, four chose Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan as either the first or second best Heisman candidate at this point (the other panelist chose not to rank Ryan in the top five).

That level of praise put Ryan in a first-place tie with Tim Tebow as the mid-season favorite for CBS. Click here to see the rest of the top 5 and the individual ballots ..

In CSTV.com expert poll a new leader emerges (again)

For the third straight week, CSTV.com experts picked a new Heisman frontrunner, this time going with the guy who had owned the spot from Weeks 1-3, Darren McFadden.

McFadden was the only candidate to receive multiple first place votes (four) and his 14 total points were considerably more than second-place finisher Tim Tebow.

Click here to see the results of this week's poll.

Pundit likes McFadden (big time)

In its weekly ranking, the Heisman Pundit predicts that, if held today, voting would hand Arkansas running back Darren McFadden the Heisman by a landslide. That's a bold statement, but it's probably true. McFadden is the safe pick, and amongst a crowd of questionable candidates, voters would most likely favor him at this point, despite the Razorbacks' early-season woes.

White is damaged goods .. didn't MSNBC get the memo?

It's truly touching just how long MSNBC has hung on to West Virginia quarterback in its top 10 ranking. But this week's No. 5 ranking is a bit much. White, like Hawaii's Colt Brennan, has missed too much action to be a serious consideration, and his Mountaineers are still in recovery mode from a bitter loss to South Florida.

We like White, just no longer as a Heisman contender.

Click here for a full list of Mike Woods' Oct. 9 rankings on MSNBC ...

One vote for DeSean ...

Apparently, ESPN.com's Rod Gilmore disagrees with SI.com's Gene Menez. Gilmore has DeSean Jackson ranked atop his Oct. 9 ballot (Jackson ranked third in the ESPN weekly expert poll). We were a little surprised by Gilmore's No. 3 selection, however: Colt Brennan of Hawaii. Is he still Heisman eligible? Brennan has spent too much time on the sideline and not enough time picking apart the nation's worst secondaries to earn a top 5 vote.

Really, Gene ... Jordy Nelson!?

In his latest Heisman column, SportsIllustrated.com's Gene Menez rattles off the top 10 mid-season candidates for the Heisman. His top four aren't much of a surprise, outside of the order they are arranged, but at the bottom of the list I found a peculiar entry: Kansas State receiver Jordy Nelson.

C'mon.

Writes Menez, "I know I'm going to take some heat for including Nelson, but there hasn't been a more dangerous receiver/punt returner in the nation this season. And that includes DeSean Jackson." While we agree Jackson has been awesome at times, absent at others, Nelson cannot compete with Cal's versatile threat (ranked No. 10 by Menez this week).

October 09, 2007

Top 20 Candidates (Oct. 9)

Another week, another shakeup in the Heisman rankings. Does anybody want this trophy? That's to be determined, for now, the top seven candidates in this week's list seem to have the only reasonable chance at it -- for now, anyhow. **Note: Last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (3)
2. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal (5)
3. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College (8)

McFadden is the best of what's available to pick from. Jackson is the one to watch, though.

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (4)
5. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State (10)
6. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri (11)

Tebow does not fall this week because, even after another loss, he's still the most exciting player in the country. Wells and Daniels continue to march up the charts.

7. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan (17)
8. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky (1)
9. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (12)

Hart could be the feel-good story of the season. Bradford's role in the win over Texas gives him a slight boost in this week's ranking.

10. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech (16)
11. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois (NR)
12. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon (13)

Harrell is the healthy version of Colt Brennan (and against stiffer competition). Mendenhall's rushing has been the key to Illinois' success this season.

13. P.J. Hill, RB, Wisconsin (6)
14. John David Booty, QB, USC (2)
15. Todd Reesing, QB, Kansas (NR)

One loss -- and a so-so performance -- was all it took for Hill to plummet this week. Reesing has led a Cinderella Kansas squad with great passing numbers.

16. Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia (9)
17. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida (14)
18. Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers (7)
19. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech (NR)
20. Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State (NR)

Slaton and Rice have had a miserable month of October thus far. Crabtree joins the rankings because he is miles ahead of every other receiver in yards and scoring.

October 07, 2007

Week 6 Wrapup

As we head into mid-October, the Heisman race is entering that period when things usually start to heat up. As we witnessed this weekend, however, this year the race gets colder with each passing Saturday. Who wants the Trophy? No one, apparently.

Tim Tebow had a shot to distance himself from the crowd .. by a mile. A win over LSU, in Baton Rouge, would have given Tebow the boost a Heisman frontrunner needs. And people (aka ' the experts') were overwhelmingly in Tebow's corner (well, all except this writer). But he flunked the test. Though he played well in the 28-24 loss, his one interception was costly. Can Tebow still win the Heisman with two losses? Sure, anything is possible in this wide-open field of candidates, but Tebow must play darn-near perfect football from this point forward. And that is no easy task playing in the SEC.

In our weekly preview we told you Cal's DeSean Jackson had much to gain this week .. his team was idle, and boy will that help him in our Tuesday ranking.

The other player we felt had a chance to get a boost was Chris Wells of Ohio State. And he did. Against unbeaten Purdue (and its ugly defense) Wells gained 85 yards to pace the Buckeyes. Nothing special, but hey, Ohio State is still in the title hunt and Wells has been the key to its offense.

Still like Glenn Dorsey for the Heisman? Other than Florida's last possession he was a no-show on Saturday. We'll say it again, big boys don't win this award. Dorsey might get to New York (somehow we suspect he probably will) but no way he's walking out of there with hardware tucked under his arm. No way.

P.J. Hill's Heisman hopes ... bub-bye.

We deserve to hear some smack for staying high on John David Booty os USC. We expected USC to get upset sooner or later, but certainly not against Stanford. And it was Booty's second straight disaster (four interceptions).

One of the fastest climbing prospects has to be Chase Daniel of Missouri. The Tigers' 41-6 win over Nebraska did more than cement their place atop the Big 12 North chase with Kansas, it cemented Daniel in the Heisman top 10. He had 473 yards of offense in the contest, and rushed for two scores. We like his chances if the Tigers make it through the Big 12 undefeated.

Colt Brennan left the field again for Hawaii. Brennan's campaign was fading, and injuries have now taken him out of serious contention.

The Sooners rebounded against rival Texas on Saturday. Perhaps Sam Bradford rebounded in the Heisman race as well.

BC and Matt Ryan started slow but then took care of Bowling Green, 55-24. Ryan had another big day (312 yards) in the Eagles' sixth win.

Think Benjamin Williams will get the ball more often after gaining 186 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries against Florida Atlantic? The South Florida back had touched the ball just five times the week prior, and never more than 16 touches all season. But wow did he explode for the Bulls this week! A Heisman candidate? Probably not, but the Bulls should have somebody mentioned with the way they are playing, and Williams or Matt Grothe deserved it this week.

West Virginia won big, but quarterback Pat White left banged-up again. His campaign is over; after gaining just 69 yards, Steve Slaton's might as well be over.

Another loss for Ray Rice, another big drop in the ranking.

October 05, 2007

Week 6 Heisman Preview

Here is a look at where the top 10 candidates are at, and what fans and voters can expect this weekend. The top-ranked candidate has already laid an egg. By the end of the weekend we wouldn't be surprised if a few more follow. Two candidates who can really pick up ground this week: Tim Tebow with a win and fast-rising Chris Wells, who has the week's most favorable matchup.

1. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Opponent: lost to South Carolina, 38-23, on Thursday
In case you missed it, Woodson's performances was uuuuggglyy ... won't be in this spot next week

2. John David Booty, QB, USC
Opponent: vs Stanford; Rank against the pass: 23
The Cardinal pass defense is not as bad as fans might expect. How Booty recomposes himself after a sketchy performance last week will tell voters whether he should remain a top five candidate.

3. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Opponent: vs Chattanooga; Rank against the run: NA
McFadden should notch his 100th yard early in the second quarter ... too bad nobody will be watching this game.

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Opponent: at LSU; Rank against the pass: 3; Rank against the run: 14
Because of how crazy the Heisman race has become, this is not a do-or-die game for Tebow. But a win certainly would give him a HUGE lead. As good as LSU is, we'll understand, though, if it doesn't happen.

5. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
Opponent: Idle
Having a week off could be the best thing for Jackson, as a few of the names ranked above him could self-destruct.

6. P.J. Hill, RB, Wisconsin
Opponent: at Illinois; Rank against the run: 51
Everyone is predicting a disaster for Wisconsin this week (even Vegas). A big game from Hill could get a few more Heisman voters to take notice.

7. Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
Opponent: vs Cincinnati; Rank against the run: 25
This is not the best matchup for Rice, who really needs to make amends after Rutgers' debacle last week against Maryland.

8. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Opponent: vs Bowling Green; Rank against the pass: 22
Don't count out Ryan, who is still very much alive in the Heisman hunt. In three of five games this year he's thrown for 350-plus yards. He'll look to add a fourth and deliver to Boston College its first 6-0 start in more than a half-century.

9. Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia
Opponent: at Syracuse; Rank against the run: 110
Slaton should run wild over the Orange in this one.

10. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
Opponent: at Purdue; Rank against the run: 114
Wells is the hottest 'level-two' Heisman candidate out there. We expect a big night against an awful Purdue defense. If we're right, Wells won't be considered second-tier afterward.

Who wants to be No. 1?

Another frontrunner, another quick death. It was a night to forget for Kentucky's Andre Woodson, who just this week jumped to the top of the Strike the Pose top 20 and the CSTV.com Heisman Watch. But, against South Carolina, Woodson was responsible for a turnover-filled loss on a national stage. Woodson played his worst football of the year -- perhaps of his career -- and the loss will send No. 8 ranked Kentucky plummeting down the polls, we're sure. Here's a recap of Woodson's blunders: a first quarter fumble recovered in the end zone, a costly red zone interception, a lateral returned for a score -- the sad part of it was that Kentucky wasn't blown out of the game, Woodson single-handily took his team out of this game.

It raises the question: what the #@*! is going on in this Heisman race!? There is no clear frontrunner because (a) too many quality candidates are playing on losing teams (ie Darren McFadden and Mike Hart) and (b) too many candidates have had that one embarrassing performance in front of a large audience (ie Woodson and John David Booty).

Some suggest the only possible savior is Florida's Tim Tebow. If he beats LSU this week, the Trophy is all but his. If his Gators lose for a second straight week ... well, the rest of this race will be fun to watch.

October 04, 2007

Howard's pose is unforgettable

When Desmond Howard pulled up in the end zone and did his Heisman pose against Ohio State in 1991, it cemented his spot in New York. Howard gave us one of the most memorable moments in Heisman history. Read about it in Adam Caparell's feature on the Michigan great.

Campbell was an all-time great

CSTV.com writer Adam Caparell has posted an entertaining story on one of my favorite Heisman winners, the Tyler Rose, Earl Campbell. One of the most dominating rushers at the collegiate and professional level, it's a shame what the game has done to the man.

October 03, 2007

Woodson out front in CSTV poll

In the latest Heisman Watch, Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson jumped out front. Can't help notice that USC's John David Booty was a no-show in the top 10. Puzzling.

Menez shows Hart some love

SI.com's Gene Menez has Mike Hart ranked No. 3 this week -- ahead of our top choice, Andre Woodson. Has the world gone mad!? Seriously, here is the problem with Hart. If Michigan wins the Big Ten and he continues to play as he has, he could very well win the Trophy. But the instant the Wolverines are out of the race, so is Hart. Would you want to pin your candidacy on the success of that batch of under-achievers?

Pundit says Hart will make trip to NY

In its Oct. 2 edition, the Heisman Pundit believes Mike Hart is among the top five vote getters, meaning the Michigan back would be packing his bags come December. That's a long journey back from Hart's lost Heisman campaign of a few weeks ago.

MSNBC needs to start drinking the Kool-Aid

What is it with the folks at MSNBC? This week they still have Tim Tebow ranked ahead of Andre Woodson, and have West Virginia's Pat White at No. 4. Ahh, yeah, that's believable. Even worse, where is Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill? He's not ranked, but Colt Brennan is No. 6. Yikes!

For ESPN.com's McShay, Ryan is No. 2

The latest Heisman list is out at ESPN.com. As a sidebar, the site asked one of its experts for his top 5. Like Strike the Pose, author McShay has Kentucky's Andre Woodson as his favorite. But at No. 2 McShay likes BC quarterback Matt Ryan. A gutsy pick, but not without merit. Ryan has been strong in guiding his club to a perfect start and if BC stays on that path Ryan will undoubtedly be sitting in New York come December.

October 02, 2007

Top 20 Candidates (Oct. 2)

It was a stunning weekend of college football, and what followed was pure chaos at the polls. Well, all of those upsets had an impact on the Heisman race, as well. We have a new frontrunner, and a few old faces have re-appeared at the back of the pack. This is still a wide-open race -- perhaps more true now than when the season began -- and demanding schedules for the half-dozen candidates currently on top of the leaderboard will only make things even more interesting as we head toward December. **Note: Last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky (7)
2. John David Booty, QB, USC (1)
3. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (5)

Woodson makes the biggest leap, probably because he's been perfect in a field of imperfection. We have to think, though, that playing in the SEC will begin to bite at his campaign. Booty drops a spot after a horrid performance in a win over Washington.

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (3)
5. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal (15)
6. P.J. Hill, RB, Wisconsin (8)

We simply dropped Jackson too far last week after he had failed to show us anything. He's back where he belongs (and where he's spent much of the year) -- ranked amongst the top five. Hill finally gets respect this week after helping the Badgers to a 5-0 start.

7. Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers (2)
8. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College (12)
9. Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia (4)

Rice and Slaton both were affected by upsets last week. Ryan continues to move up the board, and we believe his best football is yet to be played.

10. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State (16)
11. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri (17)
12. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (6)

Wells and Daniels have been two of the more under-appreciated Heisman candidates out there -- until now. Bradford showed against Colorado that he is indeed human.

13. Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon (11)
14. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida (10)
15. Pat White, QB, West Virginia (9)

Dixon drops three spots despite a solid performance in a loss to a favored Cal squad. White's injury could impact his campaign as much as the loss to South Florida.

16. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech (NR)
17. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan (NR)
18. Tashard Choice, RB, Georgia Tech (NR)
19. Colt Brennan, QB, Hawaii (14)
20. Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas (13)

After exiting the ranking for a couple of weeks, Choice re-enters after a big day in the upset over Clemson. Brennan threw five interceptions last week. Charles was great even when his Longhorns were not.

 

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