Heisman Hopefuls 2012 – After Week 1
With week 1 out of the way, it’s time to readdress the Heisman race and find out who’s hot and who’s definitely not. Tyrann Mathieu is obviously history thanks to getting dismissed from LSU, while Michigan’s Denard Robinson will have too steep an uphill battle after a howler against champs Alabama. I’ll run through my original list - Heisman Hopefuls – and separate the chaff from the wheat. Check out the new additions, and feel free to comment below if you have any other suggestions or ‘dead certs’.
RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
His offseason was tainted by the attack and the swirling rumors in its aftermath, but after spending time in hospital, Ball showed it was business as usual against a gutsy Northern Iowa squad hell bent on giant-killing. Ball ran for 120 yards and a score in a workmanlike performance against a team loading up against him. Still, he needs to do better against lesser teams (sorry, UNI) to stay in the running.
Next Week: @Arizona
Stats to Date: Rushing 32-120-1, Receiving 3-31-0.
CB Tyrann Mathieu, Louisiana State
QB Matt Barkeley, Southern California
The pressure of being the Heisman favorite doesn’t seem to faze Barkley at all. He threw a 75-yard TD on the first play (although Marqise Lee did most of the work) and picked apart the Warrior secondary in a surprisingly easy victory. This is how we play against the non-BCS teams, Montee Ball.
Stats to Date: Passing 38-23-372-4-0
Next Week: @Syracuse (in East Rutherford, New Jersey)
QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma
In one of the laugher performances of the week, the Sooners did their level best to lose to UTEP. Thankfully, the Miners kicker missed 3 FGs, or else the game plan in the 4th quarter could have led to a major upset. Jones wasn’t awful, being pressured on almost every play, but he managed to make enough plays to win the game, despite an obvious lack of cohesion with his receivers. There are a couple more weeks before the competition gets really tough, so Jones and Co had better get their act together.
Next Week: Florida A&M
Stats to Date: Passing 36-21-222-2-0, Rushing 3-(-19)-0.
QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
After showing his stuff on a national stage by blowing the gates off Clemson in the Orange Bowl, Smith continued his pursuit of the Heisman with an excellent performance against Marshall, who aren’t a top team by any stretch, but they’re solid enough. He threw as many TDs as incompletions (4) and even ran for a score. I’d almost be tempted to put him at the top, but I’m going to wait until conference play is in motion to start rankings, probably around week 6.
Next Week: Bye
Stats to Date: Passing 36-32-323-4-0, Rushing 8-65-1.
QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
In a game not quite as epically bad as the Oklahoma fiasco against UTEP, Georgia made what should have been an easy win over Buffalo a game for far longer than expected. Murray as sloppy in the first half, but stepped it up in the second as Georgia finally started to play like they should. A similar start next week could be problematic.
Next Week: at Missouri
Stats to Date: Passing 26-15-258-3-0, Rushing 7-(-12)-0.
QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
The Razorbacks may have allowed Jacksonville State to stay close for too long (35-21 at half), but it certainly wasn’t Wilson’s fault. Despite breaking in a new set of receivers, he picked apart the Gamecocks with consummate ease. Yeah, he lost a fumble, but no-one will even remember that by game 12.
Next Week: Louisiana-Monroe (in Little Rock)
Stats to Date: Passing 27-19-367-3-0, Rushing 3-(-2)-0.
QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
One of the few top teams who chose to face a real live opponent in week 1, Clemson took on Auburn and despite winning, may have Boyd fall back in the Heisman race. The battle of Tigers saw Boyd under immense pressure for much of the game, but he managed to make enough plays to eke out the victory. However, RB Andre Ellington was the key to the victory with 231 yards rushing. Boyd has some catching up to do.
Next Week: Ball State
Stats to Date: Passing 34-24-208-1-1, Rushing 19-58-0.
RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Lattimore was well in contention last season before tearing up his knee and missing the rest of the season. Now he’s back and ready for another run, and started this year’s attempt with a solid performance in a tight win over conference foe Vanderbilt. He looked a little slow cutting off his rebuilt knee, but was otherwise the Lattimore we all know and love. Unless you’re an SEC opponent.
Next Week: East Carolina
Stats to Date: Rushing 23-110-2, Receiving 3-21-0.
RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
After a less than impressive performance against LSU to begin his career last season (2 fumbles), Thomas had a much better performance this season against Arkansas State. He scored 3 TDs, 1 on the ground, and had a solid but unspectacular performance as Oregon called off the dogs after going up 50-3 just before half-time.
Next Week: Fresno State
Stats to Date: Rushing 3-64-1, Receiving 4-55-2, PR 1-6-0.
Ten More to Watch:
QB Denard Robinson, Michigan: After his performance against Alabama (2 Ints), I have more hope of winning the Heisman than Shoelace.
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson: Missing 2 games to suspension will probably rule him out. Even if he’s amazing, voters may ignore him based on his off-field troubles alone.
RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska: An injury against Southern Miss (3-68-1) may cost him playing time, if not games. It’s not looking good for Rex right now.
QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State: The Buckeyes may have nothing to play for, but don’t tell Miller. A performance that includes 207 yards passing with 2 scores and 161 yards and another TD on the ground speaks for itself.
QB Collin Klein, Kansas State: A steady performance against an out-manned Missouri State, but not one to catch the voter’s eye.
RB Kenyon Barner, Oregon: He managed 9 carries for 66 yards and 2 scores before getting yanked before the Court of Human Rights stepped in during the walloping of Arkansas State.
WR Robert Woods, Southern Cal: Injury problems and a great performance by teammate Marqise Lee meant Woods had a quiet game with just 6 catches for 42 yards, although he had 2 scores.
RB Knile Davis, Arkansas: A quiet performance (18-70-1) in his first game back after a broken ankle that cost him last year is forgivable, but he’s got to start showing why he’s considered a great back soon.
RB Eddie Lacey, Alabama: Nine carries for 35 yards and a score isn’t unlike Trent Richardson’s first game against Kent State last season, but a potential committee approach could ruin his chances.
QB Derek Carr, Fresno State: It may only have been Weber State, but completing 20 of 25 passes for 298 yards and 2 scores is okay in my book. He needs to show up against Oregon this week to start people talking.
New Kids on the Block:
RB Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State: He caught the public’s attention with 44 carries for 210 yards and the winning score in a tough win over Boise State, but can he sustain that production over a season? His offense has to help him out.
RB Andre Ellington, Clemson: Step aside, Boyd and Watkins. 231 yards against Auburn’s defense is not to be sniffed at and will catch somebody’s eye somewhere (apart from mine).
QB Nick Florence, Baylor: Florence’s destruction of SMU to the tune of 341 yards and 4 TDs will have people thinking RGIII, Mark II. I can’t see him sustaining it over the season though.
RB Jonathan Franklin, UCLA: With 214 yards and 3 TDs on just 15 carries, Franklin is one of the hotter runners right now. He’s talking 2000 yards, but can he back it up against tough defenses?