Heisman Race Is Better Than You Hear

December 5, 2009 by Dave Congrove

I don't understand the typical assessment of this season's Heisman Trophy race. Several of the nation's best players are hardly drawing a whisper of their name, and I can't help but wonder what all the talking heads have been watching. Most observers seem to be bored with the race. I think they're missing the show.

Don't accuse me of disliking the poster-boys in the race. I have nothing against Texas QB Colt McCoy (11th passing, 5th in total offense) or Florida QB Tim Tebow (70th passing, 73rd rushing, 33rd in total offense). I like Alabama RB Mark Ingram (11th rushing) and Clemson's return specialist C.J. Spiller (2nd kick returns, 59th rushing). No doubt, they are great players and MVP's of their respective teams. I disagree, however, that they have been the best players in college football this year.

Forget all the hype, team records and player career numbers - none of that is supposed to matter.

Houston QB Case Keenum should be the Heisman favorite in my book. He leads the nation in passing yards per game with 406.9, which is 84.6 more per game than his closest challenger. Keenum is also tied for the lead in TD passes with 38, and is 5th in pass efficiency rating. He leads the country in total offense with 108.9 yards more per game than McCoy.

In fact, my top Heisman candidates contain only one of the commonly heard names, Stanford RB Toby Gerhart. I'd place him 2nd, followed by Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams. Others I would have to consider include Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes, Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli, and some defensive players like Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh, Texas A&M's Von Miller and TCU's Jerry Hughes, too.

Gerhart's 1,736 yards rushing and 26 TD's include 480 yards and 9 TD's against run defenses that currently rank 13th (Oregon State), 19th (Arizona State), 21st (Arizona) and 22nd (California).

Williams' 1,538 yards and 19 TD's include 433 yards and 4 TD's against run defenses that currently rank 2nd (Alabama), 9th (North Carolina), 14th (Nebraska) and 17th (Boston College). The redshirt freshman finished the regular season with back-to-back 4-TD performances and began his career with 71 yards rushing, 42 yards receiving and 2 rushing TD's vs. Alabama.

Freddie Barnes has 31 more catches than any other receiver. He totaled 1,554 yards and a nation's-best 16 TD's.

Anybody's Heisman top-five list should include no fewer than two of these. It is inexcusable for Keenum not to be on every one of them.