Week 8 Heisman Ballot

Just like last week, this week’s Heisman ballot features many changes. It still remains quarterback heavy, but there is a new leader and an old leader has fallen off the map entirely. There is also a face inside that many don’t seem to realize is even playing college football. Find out who’s making a case and who’s falling behind as we head toward the part of the season where legends are made.

1. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

Sam Bradford might be playing his way into a December trip to New York

Sam Bradford might be playing his way into a December trip to New York

Bradford reassumes the top position on my Heisman ballot thanks to an excellent game against Kansas over the weekend. The Oklahoman “only” completed 67% of his passes but he was able to put up 468 yards and 3 touchdowns while avoiding the turnover bug in guiding the Sooners to a 45-31 shootout win. After a game like that, I think he has made up the perception that Colt McCoy gained over him in their head to head meeting two weeks ago. A lot of people forget that despite Oklahoma losing the Red River Shootout, Bradford put up excellent numbers in the process and thanks to this most recent effort his numbers are better enough than McCoy for me to put him back at the top. I mean, the guy has over 2,500 passing yards, has thrown for 26 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions, and still boasts the second best quarterback efficiency rating in the nation at 192.22. It’s getting to be late October, normal quarterbacks in BCS conferences shouldn’t be putting up ratings in the 190’s anymore.

2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas

What did Colt McCoy do to drop from his one week run atop my list? All he did was improve on his already ridiculous 79% completion percentage (29 of 32) while throwing in 332 yards and a couple of touchdowns through the air and on the ground alike. But unfortunately for McCoy his competition for college football’s most coveted award is continuing to put up numbers that simply cannot be ignored. It’s not that McCoy doesn’t have his own merits, but he just trails Bradford in almost every major signalcaller stat. He has more than 600 fewer passing yards (albeit on 40 fewer attempts), is averaging more than a yard per attempt less, and has thrown 7 fewer touchdowns. Him being second here is more an indication of the year that Bradford is having than a knock on the year that he is having, I mean anybody who is completing more than 80% of his passes at any point in the season, let alone now, should be running away with this thing.

3. David Johnson, QB, Tulsa

David Johnson has become sort of my personal banner that I am carrying in this space. This week is the first week that Johnson has gotten any votes in ESPN’s Heisman Watch, and nobody has him as high as I do. For anybody reading this, please write your local sportswriters to get this guy some attention. Johnson on the year is leading the country in quarterback efficiency rating (212.82), touchdowns (31), yards per attempt (12.0), and is fourth in the country in passing yards per game (342.4). And, as I always point out every week, he is putting up these numbers on less than 30 passing attempts per game. It’s going to hurt him that he plays in Conference USA and to stay in contention he can’t slack off one bit. But if at the end of the year he winds up with 4,000 yards, 50 touchdowns, and an efficiency rating north of 210 he deserves a seat at the ceremony and, depending on what Bradford and McCoy do in the meat of their schedules, maybe even some serious contention to win the damn thing.

4. Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech

Graham Harrell seems to be getting into a groove, scoreboard operaters everywhere should be on alert

Graham Harrell seems to be getting into a groove, scoreboard operaters everywhere should be on alert

It took a few weeks for Harrell to really get in synch on the year, but he has definitely found that groove. In three of the last four weeks he has completed 78% of his passes and topped the 450 yard mark twice. Oh, he’s also thrown for a combined 15 touchdowns in those four games. Harrell has now assumed the top spot in the country in terms of passing yardage and has worked his way into the top 5 in passing touchdowns. Playing in Mike Leach’s system will hinter his perception in the eyes of voters but if he can come close to what he did last year (5,700 yards, 48 touchdowns) it will be enough to keep him in the Heisman conversation this year.

5. Donald Brown, RB, UConn

The fifth spot I might just rename the “not a quarterback” spot as I can’t in good mind put nothing but quarterbacks on my ballot. I mean, I know there is some good quarterbacking going on out there (particularly in the Big 12), but there are a lot of quality players at other positions that are getting flat out ignored. Donald Brown is one of those guys who, much like David Johnson, isn’t getting enough attention by the national media. Here is a guy who is leading the nation in rushing yards, averaging 5.70 yards per carry, and has found the end zone 12 times on the year. Despite an off game last week in a disappointing loss to Rutgers, Brown still topped the 100 yard mark. If somebody is going to break the quarterback stranglehold on the Heisman race this year, it might as well be a guy who is averaging over 160 yards a game on the ground.

Others on the radar:

Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

Bryant is averaging 19 yards every single time he touches the ball and is also in the top 10 in the country in receiving yards. If he has a big game this week against Texas (sound familiar?) he could jump into the top5.

Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri

Once the near unanimous frontrunner, Daniel has had a horrible two weeks and now finds himself on the outside looking in. It will take a masterful next 5 games and an incredible game in the Big 12 Championship for him to get back into this thing.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

When your quarterback is in the Heisman hunt and you are his primary target, I suppose it’s easy to find yourself in the conversation as well. Crabtree, last year’s Biletnikoff winner, has put up excellent numbers and continues to hang around.

Jarrett Dillard, WR, Rice

If Crabtree is putting up great numbers, Dillard’s are off the charts. Despite leading the country in receiving yards and touchdowns he needs to actually pick up the pace if he wants to be taken seriously.

Tyrell Fenroy, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

Fenroy is a darkhorse that I mentioned last week and he went out and put up 128 yards and a touchdown. Granted it was against Arkansas State, but when you’re averaging nearly 7.5 yards per carry you’re bound to get noticed by somebody.

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