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Clearinghouse Chaos Heisman Ballot, Take 1

It was suggested to me last week that I start up my own Heisman watch because “every college/sports blog has one”. I tend to agree and the only reason I didn’t do one sooner was because I wanted to wait a while before I went about making these types of decisions. Much like my reasoning for not releasing a top 25 poll until the first week of October (maybe I’ll write on that later this week…) I didn’t want to start my Heisman thoughts too soon. Anywho, here’s the first installment of my personal top 5 for the 2008 Heisman Trophy.

1. Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri

Daniel leads my Heisman ballot due to his elusive combination of gaudy stats and leading a top ranked team.  His passing stats are video game-esque with 1400 yards, 12 touchdowns against 1 interception, and an efficiency rating just a tick under 200.  Combine those with the fact that he’s the leader of a top 5 team and you’ve got the recipe for a Heisman frontrunner.  The only things that will knock Daniel from one of the top positions on my ballot are a)somebody coming along and producing een more eye popping numbers while guiding their team into national title consideration or b)Daniel and/or Missouri stumbling and falling from the national title picture themselves.  I don’t see either of those happening in the near future so look for Daniel to be a near permanant fixture close to the top of my, and just about anybody else’s, Heisman list.

2. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

Bradford, much like Daniel, has that elusive combo of big numbers and national title aspirations. In fact he bests my Heisman frontrunner in many categories with a superior 214.43 efficiency rating, 79% completion percentage, and 10.9 yards per attempt. In fact, the only thing really holding Bradford back is that he’s only played in three games to Daniel’s four. With Missouri off this week and Oklahoma taking on TCU it wouldn’t surprise me to see Bradford have yet another huge game and potentially take the top spot in next week’s list. However it is clearly a two horse race at the moment and there is a pretty good dropoff from here.

3. Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State

Ringer makes the list as the first running back of the top 5. Moreno, the other back in this upper quintet, gets a lot more press and hype but it’s Ringer who is leading the pair in rushing (699 yards in 4 games) and his 11 touchdowns on the year put him over the top. It should be noted though that Ringer’s 699 yards have come at the expense of a whopping 143 attempts (35 a game, folks). Despite his somewhat pedestrian 4.8 yards per carry I still would vote Ringer third in my Heisman ballot because everybody loves a good darkhorse and I really like that he has found the end zone 11 times already.

4. Max Hall, QB, BYU

Hall has been masterful in keeping BYU’s undefeated BCS-busting hopes alive thus far. He has thrown for nearly 1300 yards and has 15 touchdowns to just a pair of interceptions. What’s really holding him back though is that he plays at a little guy school in a little guy conference, and while he may end up with similar numbers to other quarterback frontrunners they’ll be certain to be discredited due to him playing in the Mountain West. It also doesn’t help his cause that despite the potential of being undefeated at the end of the year you simply cannot take BYU seriously as a legit national title contender. For Hall to pull the tremendous upset he would have to top 4,500 yards passing and put up a touchdown:interception ratio somewhere north of 4:1. For now, though, I consider him to be worthy of the fourth spot on my list.

5. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

Knowshon Moreno has one of the coolest first names you’ll find in college football and also happens to be one of the best running backs you’ll find anywhere. The fact that he’s only a sophomore could hold him back, or it could help him a la Tim Tebow 2007. Underclassman eligibility aside, Moreno has run for an impressive 455 yards (113 a game) this year and found the endzone 9 times so far – both in the top 15 of the nation for their respective categories. Also helping Moreno is “the hurdle” that Mark Richt deemed it necessary to whine about not getting played on national TV, which will in turn leave a lasting impression on voters’ minds when putting together Heisman lists. If he can continue to run for 110 yards a game and comes anywhere close to putting up two touchdowns a game he’ll be on anybody’s short list when it’s all said and done.

On the bubble:

-David Johnson, QB, Tulsa

Every year there’s a guy somewhere who plays for a small school that gets some attention because of the absolutely eye popping numbers he puts up. This year, David Johnson is that guy.

– Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

I only have Sanchez here because he looked pretty good against a fairly stout Ohio State defense. If he doesn’t start putting up better numbers though, he’ll find himself off my list in a hurry.

-Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

This is, admittedly, a bit of a down year for wide receivers, but if there’s one in the country who could make some noise it will be Crabtree. Playing in Mike Leach’s offense is a golden ticket to big numbers but is also a golden ticket to have you numbers downgraded.

-Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech

Harrell will also suffer from the bias that comes with being a “system quarterback”. He’ll wind up with some of the best stats in the land but unless Tech is competing for the Big 12 South he won’t get the respect he deserves.

-Donald Brown, RB, UConn

Brown is probably the best running back you’ve never heard of, languishing on a mediocre Big East team. However, he quietly leads the nation in rushing and is only one touchdown behind Ringer.

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