2009 HEISMAN PREDICTION...KEENUM??
By mark rogers
June 22, 2009
Time to predict the award I personally hold above all other sports awards.
Not because I think it is the most prestigious award or that it goes to the best athlete in all other sports...but simply because college football is, by far, my favorite sport in the world.
In fact, there are just a handful of things (obviously very important things) I enjoy more...
So here we go..the 2009 Heisman prediction.
Last year I listed three players who I thought had the best chance: Florida's Tim Tebow, USC's Mark Sanchez and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen. OU's Sam Bradford ended up winning, Texas QB Colt McCoy came in a close second.
Read last year's post here: http://blogs.scripps.com/abil/bigcountryfootball/archives/2008/08/heisman-hopefuls.html
Tebow ended up in the final three (actually received the most first place votes), Sanchez would have been there if they hadn't been upset at Oregon State early in the year, and I was just way off on Clausen...maybe just a year early.
This year the possibilities and scenarios are even more interesting and endless.
My final three this year: UF's Tim Tebow, UT's Colt McCoy and Houston QB Case Keenum...and I'm not being a homer on the Keenum call, I'll explain why later...as soon as I tell you who I think WON'T win the Heisman.
Sam Bradford. He won't win because of three reasons: the OL, the wide receivers and the running backs. The OL and receiving corps lose a TON of experience. Because of that, the Sooners will be forced to throw the ball less and run the ball more. And why wouldn't they? They have the best running back duo in the nation in DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown.
The emphasis will be on the running game, and there's no way Bradford will put up the ridiculous numbers from a year ago. He's out.
DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. OU's running backs are both coming off 1,000 yard seasons. Neither one will be able to separate and the Sooners won't be contenders without them both healthy. The only way one could separate would be if the other was injured, but if that happened, the Sooners would fall out of the national title hunt and the attention would be directed elsewhere.
Zac Robinson, Dez Bryant and Kendall Hunter. The three-headed monster that is Oklahoma State. Two 1st Team All-Americans and a QB that would have led three other BCS conferences in nearly every passing category a year ago.
There's just too much star power. They'll cancel each other out and will take votes away from Bradford as well. Maybe not many...but enough.
Juice Williams. The dual-threat Illinois QB is an unbelievable athlete and should have his best season yet. He's got great receivers and a rocket arm. BUT. The Fighting Zookers play at Ohio State and versus Penn State in back to back weeks (Sept 23 and Oct 3). They'll lose at least one of those games which will immensely hurt his slim chances. Slim because of the part of the country he's in.
Darryl Clark and Evan Royster. Penn State's QB and RB that will both be at least All Big-10 if not All-Americans. But, like many other high profile teammates, they'll cancel each other out.
Terrelle Pryor. The Ohio State QB had a phenomenal freshman year. Look for him to struggle with the sophomore jinx. That combined with an early loss to USC and the fact that he won't put up the ridiculously flashy offensive numbers (like McCoy, Robinson, Tech's Taylor Potts and Tebow) will cost him a shot...this year.
Jahvid Best. The California RB (and nation's leading returning rusher) is really the only early contender on the West Coast. USC's QB is in his first year as the starter and they have about 17 running backs that would be starting in any other backfield in the nation. If Cal can upset USC, they'd be in the national title hunt, and it will be because of Best.
Those are the players I don't think will win.
Here are the players I think have a shot:
Jevan Snead. Ole Miss is picked by some to win their division and play in the SEC Championship this year. The only chance Snead has is if he leads the Rebels to the division title. How could that possibly happen? Home games against Bama and LSU and they don't play Florida or Georgia in the regular season. A relatively "easy" SEC schedule. Plus, they have some amazing athletes on both sides of the ball, beat Florida last year and Snead played his best football late in the year...something to build on.
Funny...Snead could play for the national championship this year, but to get there, he'll have to go through Florida (where he originally committed out of HS) and Texas (where he played as a freshman only to be beat out by Dave Campbell's cover boy, McCoy).
The main issue Snead will face is that if he is in the Heisman race, he'll have won the division and probably be facing Tebow in the SEC Championship. And if Tebow's in the championship game, he'll get more votes than Snead...period.
Snead's only chance is if Tennessee or Georgia come out of the East.
Jimmy Clausen. I picked him to be in the final three last year, but he really could be there this year. Notre Dame has a favorable schedule, and if they can upset USC in South Bend, Clausen will be in the conversation. The Irish play Michigan, Purdue, Pittsburgh and Stanford on the road. Everyone else has to go to Notre Dame stadium (except for Washington State which they're playing in San Antonio).
And now for my final three.
Colt McCoy. The Texas QB only set a national record for completion percentage last year and will leave Texas with every passing record and a legacy that will live forever in the hearts and minds of Longhorns past, present and future.
He brings back a great group of receivers including Jordan Shipley, who was granted a 6th year of eligibility, and has the best OL the Longhorns have had in more than a decade. Plus he's not sharing the backfield with a household name (like Bradford, Clark and Robinson).
Texas will have to beat OU, but the Longhorns' strengths (OL and WR) are the Sooners' weaknesses.
Colt will have another record-breaking year.
Tim Tebow. The only player in college football history to get a second chance to repeat as a Heisman trophy winner. The scary thing here is that the Gators return EVERY starter on defense and just about every key offensive player from a team that was crowned the best in the land a year ago.
Florida is ridiculously good and it will take an epic and monumental upset to knock them off the pedestal. He'll leave the college ranks as, arguably, the greatest college football player in history...seriously.
Case Keenum. The former Wylie Bulldog and Houston QB threw for more than 5,000 yards last year. He had a 44 to 11 TD:INT ratio and completed 67.4% of his passes. The Cougars are picked by many to win Conference USA.
IF...and it's a big IF...Keenum can lead his team to early season upsets at Oklahoma State and versus Texas Tech, he'll be the front-runner.
The only other way he could make a trip to the DAC is if Florida is upset early and Texas loses to OU or OSU. Crazier things have happened.
If Keenum puts up the kind of numbers he did a year ago...and he probably will...and if he gets some help from some other Heisman favorites, he has a great chance to be in the conversation at the end of the year.
Oh yeah, and he'll have to lead UH to a conference title. Houston plays at OSU, vs. Texas Tech, at UTEP (another Conf USA contender) and at Mississippi State in four straight games.
If UH comes out of that 3-1 or 4-0? Keenum's right there in it.
So there's my three favorites. McCoy, Keenum and Tebow.
Other dark horses? USC QB Aaron Corp, V Tech RB Darren Evans, Tech QB Taylor Potts and BYU QB Max Hall. If anyone wins the award that I haven't listed in this post...I won't know what to do with myself.