This is a day late and I don't have a good reason. I made up my mind on who would be #1 last Sunday and haven't been convinced otherwise or even really questioned the thought. I just didn't feel inspired to write it yesterday and now I'm falling behind. I'm going to do my NFL column today. I'm in the no-research auto-pilot phase and I have to look back and make sure I'm actually doing these columns right. Is the Heisman column on the wrong day? Is the NFL column on the wrong day? I don't think the Heisman column is actually research free but I am trying as hard as I might to base these opinions on what I've seen this year. Doesn't mean Christian Ponder is closing in on consideration even the announcers last week said he's "been playing as well as any of those guys." No, he really hasn't or FSU wouldn't have collapsed into the pile of shit that they've been. Ponder has had 3 good games this year and FSU is 2-1 in those games. Yeah, yeah, they've got 3 losses and so does the other "FSU" (Fresno State, who I've noted before is actually CSUF) but, guess what? The QB's big job in football is to make everybody on the team (at least on offense) elevate their game. Florida State's line has been wretched and their receivers have been inconsistent. That falls on Christian Ponder a lot more than Ryan Mathews has to account for the shitty defense at Fresno State. Ponder is also off the hook for Florida State's shitty defense, btw.
Big tumblers this week? Mt. Cody didn't eat up much space last Saturday and I'm not even going to write him up this week. Nice for me to preach about consistency, huh? Rolando McLain was okay but didn't have a great game last week. Because, you know, Cody and the line were merely decent laast week instead of dominating. Jimmy Clausen looked great bringing Notre Dame back, and definitely solidified his candidacy in my mind, but he also rushed his last three passes when he had a chance to tie the game. They should have gotten it to overtime and if Clausen is the best player in the country, he should have made a play in that situation. So he's not even second this week. I admit I'm giving Tim Tebow a huge pass in this whole process. No way has he looked like the best player in the country. Soft tosser McCoy still doesn't look that good to me. I thought he was legit when I watched him last year. This year he looks like Doug Flutie's body and athleticism with Bernie Kosar's arm. Bernie Kosar was once in a televised QB competition where the longest throw he could make was 19 yards. That's as far as he could throw it. Colt McCoy remids me of that. Except that Bernie also couldn't run to save his life and he was 6'5" or so. McCoy is about 6' and can run.
I have been on record as being a lover of defensive candidates. I might have to bite the bullet and drop all my non-Suh contenders. Nobody else looked like a great player last week and Suh is only a consideration for me because he gets a ton of hype. He's good, don't get me wrong, but I always hate the Heisman candidates that don't really strike me as future All-Pro's in the NFL. Suh strikes me as overrated in college and the pros. That doesn't mean all pospects are Heisman candidates, though. Jimmy Graham looks like the surest bet of any pass-catcher in college ball right now but he doesn't make a lot of plays because he is in his first year of football in 4 years. Suh and Cody might be back on the list next week, or even some other new defensive discovery. Also absent this week is Brandon Spikes. Is he seriously hurt? UF is a little fucked if he's out. Maybe moreso than if Tebow misses a game or two. I don't waste time writing about injured guys as Heisman candidates until the end of the season. So Spikes is off the list until further review.
Who is on the list? This is it:
1) Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State - My favorite new show of the fall leads the country in rushing. I was surprised to find out he doesn't lead the nation in 20+ yd rushes because it seems like he's good for at least 10 on every play. He averaged over 10 yards per carry last week and went over 200 yds again but nobody cared about it because A) he's supposed to do that every week and B) he plays after everyone, including West Coasters, has bgone to sleep. Also, the game wasn't available anywhere that I could find. I've seen plenty of Mathews this year, though, so don't worry. I have a pretty good idea of what I missed.
2) Case Keenum, QB, Houston - I was watching Houston play last week and something occurred to me that I don't think I'd realized before. Case Keenum might be the best pro prospect of any QB in the country. Seriously. Tony Pike is brittle. Jimmy Clausen is a hot-head. Tim Tebow has the worst footwork this side of Jamarcus Russell (no more capitalized "M" for the time being). Ryan Mallett needs to play another year and Sam Bradford is an over-rated product of Oklahoma's system. Case Keenum makes throws through zone coverage in perfect time with his receivers and with real force. He's a prototype size and he's quick with his release. He also plays against generally lousy teams but I think I like what I've seen. This might be my new Andre Ware. I spent 6 years hoping Ware could get in the right situation to become a star and now I'll hope the same for Keenum. I don't know how teams in the league feel about him. He might be a top 10-kind of guy already. I think Dallas might be a good situation for him. He can take over for Romo in the 2011 season and have a solid supporting cast while whatever new coaching staff is in Dallas by then puts together the next generation of over-hyped Cowboys players.
3) Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame - I can't be bothered to go back and look this up but I think this might actually be the same spot I had him in lasat week. So much for falling. I've written enough about this guy.
4) Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia - If for some reason the NFL decided to have a skills competition between Devine and Mathews at next year's scouting combine I would DVR that shit. I like Devine a little better from an entertainment standpoint and he's definitely playing against tougher opponents most weeks and yeat, still, I rate Mathews as a better player. Devine didn't have a great game last week but I think I've figured out why the story arc has lead me to where I am: West Virginia doesn't rely on Noel Devine nearly as much as they should. He doesn't get the ball enough to be the real heart of the team the way he should be. It's too bad because he is the most enjoyable player in college football since... um, Percy Harvin. Last year. So not that long ago. But Devine has totally lived up to his high school-days YouTube hype as far as I'm concerned.
5) Tim Tebow, QB, Florida - The power of Christ compels you! Since I just mentioned Percy above let me point this out: two years ago, before I realized how much work Tebow needs to do to become a legit NFL passer, I argued (lightly) with my friend Jackson that Percy Harvin was the real reason Florida was so good on offense. It occurred to me last week, as Florida slogged out an unimpressive and officially questionable win, that I was absolutely correct. I have Tebow on here out of habit. I though he should have won last year because I had taken the same pills as everyone else and Percy missed time in a few games. Tebow should have won his second Heisman last year and it's starting to look like he will win it this year instead. But he should get credited as a fullback this year because he barely ever throws the goddamned fucking ball. And it annoys me no end. Percy Harvin was the reason Florida's offense looked so good the last three years. And Tim Tebow doesn't trust his receivers nearly enough. Seriously, he has no obvious rapport with any of the guys on the field this year except for the white guy and the tight end. That's another reason Tebow will not be very good in the league. Unless he gets drafted by Minnesota and gets to throw to Percy Harvin all the time. So why is Tebow on my list? I feel compelled to put him on here. And I would honestly still give him a vote. I think you get five votes when you vote for Heisman, don't you?
The rest of the bests:
Jacory Harris, QB, Miami - I feel traitorous putting him this low. He had a really great game last week, too. Against UCF, though. And he did throw 2 INTs against FAMU. He is legitimately the "franchise" in Miami right now and if Miami wins out there's a good chance I'll be screaming for Jacory by the end of the year.
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech - Love the player, hate the game. Virginia Tech choked to death against Georgia Tech last week. It was entirely a defensive letdown and Williams shouldn't be penalized for that. Still, I'm disappointed in all the Hokies right now. For shame, Hokies, for shame.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama - I'm fine with the growing sentiment that an Alabama player has to be in the running for the Heisman because look at how fucking good that team is, would ya? But Mark Ingram is getting carried away on overstated hype. 'Bama's O-Line play has been spectacular and I don't get the feeling The Tide would lose any steam if Ingram goes out. Trent Richardson is just as good. Ingram gets most of the carries so he gets most of the yards. I'm not even arguing that Ingram isn't a great player. He is a great player. He just isn't the best player on his team, in his conference, or in the country.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State - Here's another beneficiary of a team needing a Heisman rep. Good quarterback, great situation, doesn't ever make me think, "I am watching the best player in the country."
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame - This guy's name is a joke, right? I like the numbers he puts up and he does make some pretty good plays every week but I'm pretty sure Notre Dame would be fucked in the asshole very roughly if for some reasone Jimmy Clausen has to miss any time at all. On the other hand, if Michael Floyd hadn't gotten injured he would have probably made the Top 5.
Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford - The next Joe Cribbs!
Dion Lewis, RB, Pitt - I don't watch Pitt very closely when they're on and I never see this kid do much when I'm watching but he's got a run-away freight train of hype around him and he puts up some really good numbers. So I'll have to pay closer attention to boost him up by much.
Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy - Best option QB since Tommy Frazier. No bullshitting either. I really believe it. Go Middies!
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford & Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State - Let me clarify here on Jacquizz: I haven't actually watched him at all this year. I will, alright? I just haven't gotten around to it. I will see him this week, hopefully tearing up the USC defense again, but in the interest of journalistic integrity I have to give full disclosure. I've seen him before but not this year. Toby Fucking Gerhart is on here for the same reason Jacquizz is on here. They both score tons of TDs. That is all.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech - He looks like the second coming of Calvin Johnson but I wonder if it's just because nobody bothers to cover him. How can you ever expect a pass play from Georgia Tech? He deserves a mention, though, because he is like a nightmare presence lurking for anybody playing against Georgia Tech.
This list expanded this week. And I'm just cutting myself off now because I don't want to include any more admissions that I haven't seen some people play (like that WR from Bowling Green - your numbers suck in a really intertesting way) and I am going out of my way not to include and defensive players this week. I don't mind all the oddball candidates but I don't want Tebow to win it this year unless he does some really awesome stuff from now on.