Going into this NCAA football season there was a long list of candidates for the prestigious Heisman Trophy award. After the first 2 weeks the list is still long. Here is a look at a few of the leaders:
Matt Barkley – USC – Quarterback – Barkley is the odds on favorite to win and even though he is having, and will have, an outstanding year, I’ve never been one to bet on the favorites so I am going to pick someone else. If anyone beats my pick, it’ll be Barkley. On a side note, I’d like to give Barkley credit for coming back for one more year. In the Trojans first 2 games he has completed two-thirds of his passes for 559 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Montee Ball – Wisconsin – Running Back - Arguably the best smashmouth runner in the game going into this year, Ball hasn’t looked good in Wisconsin’s season opening victory in which they escaped 26-21 against and then a 10-7 loss to unranked Oregon State. Ball has a total of 181 yards and just 1 touchdown.
Denard Robinson – Michigan – Quarterback - The dual threat Wolverine QB is obviously the focal point of the Michigan offense. I think opposing defenses have figured out his scheme and are looking to shut him down. In their first game Big Blue was pounded by Alabama and then they barely won against Air Force. Robinsons numbers look good but his team doesn’t. <50% completion, 408 passing yards, 3 TDs, and 3 INTs to go along with 245 yards on the ground and 3 rushing TDs.
Landry Jones – Oklahoma – Quarterback - The signal caller for the Sooners is having a decent year but it has come against mediocre opponents. The OK schedule toughens up with a game against #15 KSU, a road game to Texas Tech, and then the Red River Rivalry against #14 Texas. If Jones has hopes to win the Heisman he will have to perform well in the next 3 games against quality teams and his stats will still need to improve. He is currently 40-64 for 474 yards and only 4 touchdowns.
Geno Smith – West Virginia – Quarterback - The WVU QB was 32-36 for 323 yards and 4 TDs before giving way to Paul Millard in the second half of the Mountaineers opening win against Marshall. The senior quarterback is on everyone’s mind going into this season after torching ACC Champion Clemson in last years Orange Bowl for 6 TDs and over 400 yard plus another score on the ground. With upcoming games against James Madison and Maryland look for Smiths numbers to continue to grow as his Heisman stock improves.
Aaron Murray – Georgia – Quarterback - Expectations are high as most people think Murray will lead the Bulldogs back to the SEC Championship game. Murrays numbers are decent with 500 yards and 6 TDs in two games but they had to pull away late against both Buffalo and Missouri. Homes games against Florida Atlantic and Vanderbilt should get the Bulldogs offense back on track before tough challanges against Tennessee and South Carolina.
Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina – Running Back - The Gamecocks had their best season ever last year, winning 11 games, and look to improve on that success. However if Steve Spurrier wants his team to win the SEC East they are going to need more production out of Lattimore. Marcus, and the whole USC team, struggled against Vanderbilt and then saw limited time against East Carolina in a blowout victory. His stats (150 yards and 3 touchdowns) need to pick up if he’s going to win the Heisman.
Dark Horse to Win: Johnathan Franklin – UCLA – Running Back – Averaging 10.5 yard per carry and 215.5 per game the Bruin running back is making things look easy. UCLA is back in the Top 25 and Franklin is a big part of it. The upcoming schedule is favorable for Johnathan to get more yards and more confidence going into the late, tough stretch of the season.
Other Players To Watch: Marqise Lee & Robert Woods are taking votes from each other. Tajh Boyd should benefit from getting WR Sammy Watkins back from suspension but they could also take votes from each other.
–Bruce Wilson blogs for CBS radio on WFNZ.com for the sports talk radio station 610 AM The Fan and for his personal blog, Brucedogg.wordpress.com . He is also the owner of Superior Car Service , a chauffeur & transportation company. You can follow him on Twitter @BruceRWilson–
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan.