Where Do Heisman Hopefuls Stand?

It's not necessary to begin an argument for the Heisman until around this time of year. There are way too many players with far too many games to play to begin the debate early in the season. I feel right now is the correct time, however. If you start with Week 1, it becomes just like the rankings.

For example, I never thought Notre Dame or Texas were a top-three team in the preseason and now, I think their ranking is a bit higher than what it may actually be. So if someone had Brady Quinn considered the top choice for a Heisman winner in the preseason, he might be still considered a top-three selection since he's only had two bad games, but I'd say he's lucky to be in the top five of my consideration. Let's get to the rankings...

1. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State
1,898 yards, 23 TD, 2 INT
Momentum: STEADY

The stats are great and I'm impressed with his consistency. Yes, he did have a bad game against Penn State, but that's the only game he has thrown an INT. In every other game this season, he has thrown/scored at least 2 TDs. This is Troy Smith's award to win and the only game left that will challenge Smith is the season finale on November 18th at home against Michigan. He's on the best team in the nation and he's their leader, if they beat Michigan and are presumably undefeated after that, you can put the farm on Smith winning the Heisman.

2. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
2,233 yards, 23 TD, 4 INT
Momentum: RISING

Brady Quinn has to get some credit after his stellar comeback win against UCLA. He also had a very good game against Navy with 4 total TDs. Quinn has performed well with all the pressure and glamour that comes with being the quarterback for Notre Dame. I do think that if the Fighting Irish can win out, Quinn will finish second in the Heisman race. The key, though, is not losing again — otherwise, he can kiss the trophy goodbye.

3. Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia
1,059 yards, 7.0 avg, 9 TD
Momentum: STEADY

Slaton rounds out my top three and he'd probably be No. 2 if the Mountaineers would just let him play more. Anyone who saw his performance against Syracuse knows what I'm referring to when I say they need to let this guy pad his stats. If Slaton had better competition, I'd give him the nod over Ian Johnson, but he hasn't played anyone. If Maryland has been your toughest opponent after Week 8, you have a pretty easy schedule.

4. Colt Brennan, QB, Hawaii
2,934 yards, 35 TD, 5 INT
Momentum: RISING

Look, I don't care if you play for Bethune-Cookman, but if you put up stats like this, you have to get some credit. He has five games with 5 touchdown passes and at least 4 TDs in his last six games. Yes, I am aware that Hawaii plays in a pass-happy offense, but I don't think more than a handful of QBs will throw 33 TDs all season and this guy has 33 after eight games. If the Heisman wasn't so biased, Hawaii QBs would finish in the top five every year with the kinds of numbers they're putting up.

5. James Davis, RB, Clemson
991 yards, 6.6 avg, 17 TD
Momentum: STEADY

Although he didn't do a whole lot against Virginia Tech this past week, James Davis needs to get more credit. He has nearly 1,000 yards, although he is now essentially splitting time with C.J. Spiller. He's also ranked in the top five in TDs in the nation and all while playing the ACC. Even though the ACC isn't the same conference it used to be, the defenses are still stout around the league and this makes his stats all the more impressive.

6. Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
1,124 yards, 5.6 avg, 12 TD
Momentum: RISING

Rice is very quietly putting together a great year. With this kind of play, he has a chance of finishing in the top five for the Heisman. This is absolutely unexpected for a player from Rutgers in previous years, but Rice is the unquestioned offensive leader for this team. If he can outplay Slaton and Rutgers can beat West Virginia, I think I might have to move Rice all the way up Slaton's current No. 3 spot on this list.

7. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
40 catches, 629 yards, 9 TD
Momentum: FALLING

When you put up a goose egg against Clemson in Week 8, you're not going to win the Heisman. When you are a wide receiver who doesn't also return kicks, you're definitely not going to win the Heisman. But when you're as talented as Johnson, you make the top seven. The kid is a no-brainer star for the NFL and easily a top-five draft pick, but he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell for competing for the Heisman. But like I said, when you're as good as he is, you've got to put him on the board.

"On the Brink" Notable Players
(Not in any particular order)

QB Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh
QB Chad Henne, Michigan
QB Colt McCoy, Texas
RB Marshawn Lynch, California
RB Ian Johnson, Boise State
RB P.J. Hill, Jr., Wisconsin
WR Ted Ginn, Jr., Ohio St.
WR Chris Williams, New Mexico State
WR Jarett Dillard, Rice

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