Heisman Contenders and Pretenders


Mark Ingram

As much fun as elite QBs are to watch, the Heisman isn't about being flashy, it's about being the best. As the 2009 winner of the award, and given the fact that he's playing on a team with a great offensive line and a passing game talented enough to force defenses to keep more players out of the box, Ingram makes the most sense as the frontrunner, and is inarguably a contender. He had 1,992 total yards on 6.7 yards-per-touch and scored 20 total touchdowns last year. Don't be surprised if he at least matches those number in 2010.

Terrelle Pryor

The odds-makers have picked Pryor as the favorite to win the award this year, and if the guy who won it last year wasn't back for another year, I would agree with them. Pryor's numbers may have not matched expectations thus far, but in his last two big-time games in 2009, he shined, with 3 touchdowns in a 24-7 win at Penn State, and 338 total yards and 2 touchdowns in a 26-17 Rose Bowl win against Oregon. His athleticism and natural leadership skills will take him, and the Buckeyes, far this year — just not far enough.

Jake Locker

How important was Locker to Washington's success? In the Huskies' 7 losses in 2009, he scored 12 touchdowns and threw 9 interceptions. In 5 wins, he scored 16 touchdowns and threw 2 interceptions. It stands to reason, then, that Locker has already proven he's one of the most valuable players in the nation. The only question is if he can put up eye-catching numbers for an entire season. With Steve Sarkisian as his coach, and another year of experience playing elite Pac-10 teams, I think he'll finally put up those numbers and enter into late-season Heisman discussion.


Ryan Mallett

I realize that Mallett's numbers rank at or near the top of the nation, but as was previously mentioned, flashy numbers don't make the case for the Heisman as well as being the best — and Ryan Mallett is far from the best.

Why, you ask? How about the fact that in his team's 5 losses in 2009, he actually scored 9 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions, which is actually a better ratio of TDs-to-turnovers than what he had in the Razorbacks' wins (20-to-5). It stands to reason that if he was the driving force behind the offense, his solid numbers would have translated to wins. Or take the fact that in his team's toughest games (against Alabama, Florida, and LSU), he completed only 41% of his passes and scored only 1 TD in each.

Mallett is not very valuable, not very clutch, and not a contender.

Matt Barkley

In games against top-25 teams, Barkley threw 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. As pathetic as those numbers are for a supposed Heisman contender, they may not be the worst, at least given that in the rest of his games, those against teams outside the top 25, his ratio of TDs-to-picks was an utterly mediocre 10-to-7.

There's not really much else to say. He simply hasn't done anything to make me think he can contend for Heisman, no matter how much press he gets.

Comments and Conversation

August 30, 2010

Kyle Jahner:

In all fairness to Barkley, he was a true freshman last year.

That said, I don’t think anyone believes he’s going to be a legit Heisman contender this year… even among USC fans like myself.

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