The In The Bleachers roundtable will become a weekly feature on this site. In each roundtable a question will be posed and the writers of In The Bleachers along with writers from other blogs will answer the questions.
This week's guest roundtable bloggers are Matt Quirion from the Notre Dame blog Her Loyal Sons, and Draft Daddy from the popular NFL Draft blog DraftDaddy.com. This week's question is as follows: Which player NOT named Tebow, Bradford, or McCoy stands the best chance to win the Heisman?
Adam Nettina: Let’s face it; the only way Tebow, McCoy, or Bradford don’t win the Heisman is if something goes terribly wrong for each of their respective teams, with none of them making their conference championship games. Considering Texas and Oklahoma are in the same division of he Big 12, the two teams’ fall from title contention would mean that Oklahoma State suddenly become the South’s de facto champion and powerhouse.
That scenario that would likely put Cowboy quarterback Zach Robinson at the head of the Heisman discussion, as the 6-foot-3, 210-pound dual-threat quarterback also satisfies the media’s love for players from high-octane, spread-oriented offenses. The fact that Robinson has the chance to outshine both McCoy and Bradford in head-to-head matchups, coupled with the Cowboys’ nationally-televised opener with Georgia, should put Robinson in the position to control his own Heisman destiny and give him the chance to become the perfect Heisman Trophy “darkhorse” candidate.
Matt Quirion: I can't shake the notion that Taylor Mays could win the Heisman this year. He's already getting a ton of positive press. He's got the brand-power of USC and he's got what could be 2 very big, national TV games early on (Ohio State and Notre Dame (God willing)) which could allow him to take a lead if none of the "expected top 3" manage to differentiate themselves. And if he can get that "lead" in perception, then the USC brand could carry him through to winning the Heisman, particularly if USC is the #1 team in the land.
Michael Felder: I must admit my mind instantly went to Taylor Mays of SoCal and Eric Berry of Tennessee; just the thought of dropping a defender into the mix flies in the face of the fact that the Heisman has turned into a quarterbacks only award. As much as Id love to see Berry walk into the Downtown Athletic Club and walk out with the stiff arming trophy I cannot in good faith toss him out there as my pick.
In keeping with the has to be from a good team, has to have a Heisman moment and has to have ample hype early theme of the last decade I submit for you Jahvid Best. The guy is a wizard on the field running, catching and returning the football. Hes got legitimate speed to hit the corner, great big play-ability and Cal has a shot at swooping in to win the Pac-10 now that their quarterback situation is stable. If Cal can supplant USC and he can put up numbers similar to last seasons 1,500+ yard effort including the herculean 311 effort the little guy has a shot at getting the Heisman.
Draft Daddy: Putting up big enough numbers to beat out ex-Heisman winners Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford, as well as prolific Big XII quarterback Colt McCoy,will be a daunting task for anyone this fall. My first inclination was to go "retro" and lean towards selecting a running back that could potentially wrest the Heisman hardware away from the big three quarterbacks. From 1972 to 1983, only running backs won the Heisman. From 1983 until 1999, only seven quarterbacks won the Heisman. Since 2000, however, the Heisman has clearly been a trophy that has gone to the most prolific quarterback in college football -- Reggie Bush is the only non-quarterback to win this decade.
With that in mind I had to think of a quarterback that could elevate his game enough in 2009 to steal the Heisman. Guy that comes to mind first is Jevan Snead from Ole Miss. Not only does he have all the physical tools needed to have a huge season in the run-first SEC, he's got a couple of speedy senior pro prospects he can throw the ball to -- Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge. He also has 7 starters returning on the offense and has already started getting quite a bit of media hype in the mainstream media due to his N.F.L. potential. It also helps that some experts believe Ole Miss could have a top team 10 this year. If that happens, Snead will become the face of the Cinderalla program and likely remind veteran voters of the days that the great Archie Manning was leading the Rebels to national glory.
Ron Juckett: The chances of one of these three not winning are extremely slim. Frankly, injury would have to knock them all out. There are some dark horses that should find their way to New York for the ceremony. Daryll Clark at Penn State should have a big year. He can run and throw and if PSU has a serious shot at the championship, it will be on his arm and legs. He's the Big Ten's Tebow. LeGarrette Blount, Oregon's star RB should get a New York invite as well as the Ducks are looking to make some noise. Couple real dark horses that get some early season television time are Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State if they beat Southern Cal and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen. Big things are expected from the Irish this year and he will get plenty of exposure.
Brian Sakowski: As we all know, a lot of the Heisman award is hype, so one would have to look at players that have already been hyped, but maybe not as much as the big 3. Three names come to my mind; Jevan Snead of Ole Miss, Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State, and Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State all have the big playmaking ability and the hype to go along with it.
I will eliminate Bryant for the shear fact that a receiver winning this award is next to impossible with only Desmond Howard and Tim Brown doing it in recent memory. I feel that Ole Miss is a little overhyped and might not have the season many expect, because we all know that you must be on a championship caliber team to win this award.
So that leaves us with Terrelle Pryor. Pryor has the legs, high profile team, and big game early against USC to show himself off, however, the only thing questionable is his passing game. Now can a sophomore win this award 2 times in the last 3 years when before that it was never done? Most likely not, but statistically it has about the same chance as Tebow, Bradford, or McCoy not winning the award this year.
Special thanks to Matt Quirion from the Notre Dame blog Her Loyal Sons, and Draft Daddy from the popular NFL Draft blog DraftDaddy.com for taking time out to answer this question. Join us next week when our next roundtable question will be: What team consistently ranked in the top 10 in preseason magazines has the greatest potential for failure?