With the college football season roughly half over (Stanford has played 6 of its 12 regular season games) it’s time to look at the big picture of the sport. We’ll have a Stanford mid-season report for you later this week, but for now we focus on that most glorious of individual sporting awards: the Heisman Trophy. It is silly to say who should win the Heisman–after all, half a season makes a lot of difference in determining who is the best player in the country. But misconceptions abound regarding the Heisman, so it’s worth trying to figure out some of the confusion surrounding the honor. The Stanford Daily, for instance, published the extremely partial results of its Heisman poll in today’s issue, and deserving players regularly get passed over when the award is given out each December. So in the hope of possibly getting at the truth of the matter, here are The Daily Axe’s mid-season Heisman leaders:
1. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State– The savvy leader of the Broncos has thrown 14 touchdowns and just 1 interception. He’s also completed over 67% of his passing attempts and is the primary offensive weapon on the third-ranked team in America.
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon– James is averaging nearly 170 rushing yards per game to complement his 10 total touchdowns (9 rushing, 1 receiving). He’s also a member of the #2 team in the country, hasn’t fumbled the ball yet this season, and has ran for almost 200 yards more than Toby Gerhart had through his first five games last year.
3. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan– He made bad decisions with the ball last week against Michigan State, but Robinson is still one of the finest players in the country. He’s picked up more than 100 more rushing yards than James has thus far, and Robinson is doing it as a quarterback. Michigan probably isn’t a good enough team for Robinson to win the Heisman this year, but he deserves to be in the conversation.
Other notable players (in order of excellence, i.e. Pryor is #4, and so on): Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State; Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn; Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska; Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford.
Surely, many Stanford fans will be rooting for Andrew Luck to win the Heisman and avenge Toby’s close second-place finish in the voting last year. We will be, too. However, Luck ranks seventh on our list for two reasons: record and statistics. Luck’s Stanford team has one loss, and with the exception of Denard Robinson’s Michigan squad, every other team represented on this list is undefeated so far. Luck also has not posted passing numbers that clearly distinguish him as the absolute best player in the nation. With big games against Arizona, California, and Oregon State, Luck could very well move up the list in a hurry. And, mostly because it’s pure video joy, here’s this:
*Note: The above is not a list of who we necessarily think will will the Heisman, but rather who, based on performance so far, most deserves to win.