Heisman Watch 2008 – 9, Week 8
Texas, you get your wish this week. There is no longer any way that anyone can deny Colt McCoy the top spot in the race.
Just look at the record: Beat Oklahoma. Beat -- and beat up -- Missouri.
Need we say more?
I am not saying the road ahead will be easy for McCoy in any fashion. This week’s opponent, Oklahoma State, found a way to shut down Chase Daniel and the Missouri Tiger hasn’t been heard from since.
Can the Cowboys do the same to McCoy? Maybe.
And really no contender will be tested as much over the remainder of the season than McCoy. Three games remain against ranked opponents, including two in the top 10. Add in another ranked foe in the Big XII title game, and McCoy will be the most vetted Heisman candidate we have seen in years.
He faces a similar struggle to Tim Tebow last season. With a clear lead, all eyes were unfairly focused on every flaw that Tebow could expose in his play on the field.
McCoy doesn’t have the luxury of a field that is far behind him at this point. Even with the clear lead, there is no denying that others on the list have had brilliant seasons, seasons that are Heisman-worthy in themselves, just not as much as McCoy’s so far.
So, as we head into the final third of the season, get ready for the spotlight to shine brightly on our top candidate. The eyes of Texas are hoping that he doesn’t get burned.
Here is how I would rank the candidates on my ballot after Week 8:
- Colt McCoy (QB Texas) – 81.2%, 1894 yds, 19 TD, 3 INT, 371 yds rush, 6 TD – McCoy could have stopped playing in the first half and still moved to the lead. Instead, he kept rolling over Missouri and cemented a lead that might not be beatable. Until he causes his team to lose, the award is his.
- Sam Bradford (QB Oklahoma) – 71.4%, 2520 yds, 26 TD, 5 INT – Bradford is excelling in the wrong year, plain and simple. While winning as a sophomore is a rare occurrence, in any other year, Bradford would likely be the top name on this list. As the season grows later, it seems more and more likely that Bradford’s performance will be one of those remarkable also-rans.
- Daryll Clark (QB Penn State) – 63.3%, 1531 yds, 11 TD, 2 INT, 190 yds rush, 8 TD – As Clark goes, so does Penn State. Clark has Penn State looking like a real contender in the National race for the first time in a decade. Sure, the stats aren’t eye-popping, but Clark’s contributions make him a much more compelling candidate than just the numbers would tell you.
- Graham Harrell (QB Texas Tech) – 69.8%, 2761 yds, 23 TD, 5 INT, 5 rush TD – Harrell had an up and down game against Texas A&M, not a team you want to be so-so against and stay in the Heisman talk. Too much would need to happen to McCoy and Bradford for Harrell to move up, but he also has the opportunity to face them head on in the coming weeks. Keep watching.
- Shonn Greene (RB Iowa) – 1154 yds, 10 TD, 6.5 avg – Time to recognize someone coming from nowhere to enter the race. Greene has been steady all season and despite Iowa’s record, no one has stopped him yet. Not scoring against Michigan State doesn’t help him, but averaging close to 145 yards per game helps a lot.
People with still a chance to make this list: Chase Daniel (Did nothing to help himself being crushed by Texas and outshone by Colt McCoy), Knowshon Moreno (Still an intriguing pick and will get some love in the South. But probably out of it at this point), Javon Ringer (Ohio State was too much for Ringer, which means the Heisman is too),
People who may get hype but are done: Tim Tebow (Still here… Not sure what to do when he endorses another player for the award), Max Hall (Loss kills the dream)