Who will be the Heisman winner in 2008? Who really knows, but some of the top contenders are already known, and it is widely known that a canidate has to be pumped up by the media for most of the season in order to seriously win or contend for the award.
So here is what I think it looks like in 2008:
1. Tim Tebow, University of Florida- Tim Tebow is coming off a Heisman winning season where he went 20-20. Tebow will most likely run the ball less this year with the addittion of Emmanuel Moody. Several schools of thought are available on this point. That will take some of Tebows rushing yards and rushing TDs. But it may keep Tebow healthier by taking less punishing hits and may allow him to put up better passing numbers. What is known is that Tebow will be a contender and is a media darling (heck Erin Andrews may interview him every week...). Tebow is clearly the favorite...even though only one guy has won the award twice.
2. Chris 'Beanie' Wells, The Ohio State University- Beanie was an absolute monster last year and he had several injuries including a hurt ankle and wrist. Beanie is a big power back with surprising speed. The offense of Ohio State will feature Beanie Wells. Ohio State gets a bunch of media attention and an early showdown with USC (with good results by Beanie, and the Bucks) could seriously vault Beanie up the charts. For a big back he has surprising speed and runs through most arm tackles. Last year while injured he had 1600 yards and 15 TDs. Improved numbers will at the very least get him an invite to NY...and possibly the statue.
3. Chase Daniel, Missouri- Chase Daniel was the conducter of the very good offense at Missouri. He is a smart QB who understands how to run the spread offense. Expect Daniel to put up very good stats this season, while completing a lot of passes to the very very explosive Jeremy Maclin. Senior QBs on contending teams often get a lot of media hype...but Missouri will need to have repeated success like they had in 2007 for Daniel to be considered. Perhaps a ticket to NY would be in order for Chase Daniel.
4. Pat White, West Virginia University- Pat White has been a very good QB at WVU for several years. He has many explosive plays and is one of the most important players to his team in the nation. Without Steve Slaton watch out for this guy (although he was replaced by Devine). White is an upperclassman at QB who will play on a team with a lot of wins and spectacular plays. That has proven to be a very good formula for winning the Heisman. I think the 'career achievement' will not be awarded this season because of the other guys in the race...but White could certainly win it with his performance in 2008. WVU will need to prove to be a strong contender again in 08 if White is to have a serious chance at the Heisman.
5. Knowshon Moreno, University of Georgia- The UGA running back put up great numbers in a limited number of games in 07. He is a very shifty back who avoids tacklers all over the field. For a speedy and shifty back he has an unusual ability to run out of some arm tackles. The guy has the full package. UGA has plenty of 'showcase' games in order for him to make his mark on the national stage. The issue comes from splitting time with other UGA backs (not really splitting time, but with Caleb King and other RBs he will not get the 25+ carries/game that Beanie Wells will see). UGA will also have to navigate their difficult schedule with a good record and a BCS berth in order for Moreno to be seriously considered.
Those just missing out:
6. Graham Harrell, TTU- The guy could become the all-time leader in CFB History in TD passes if he throws about 40 this year (he threw more than that last year). The offense allows him to throw the ball all the time to guys in open space. The amount of yards and touchdowns that he can put up will certainly be glistening and the numbers alone may get him to the Downtown Athletic Club. The issue comes from the TTU defense. If TTU loses too many games he will probably not be mentioned seriously. Also many people around the country feel that the 'system QB' is a knock on this guy, and his numbers may be a bit of an abboration. Even though every QB in the nation plays in some system or another...
7. Michael Crabtree, TTU- The big, strong, fast, explosive, and dominant reciever will be very tough to start this year. The pass happy offense will give him numbers which are off the charts, just like his physical ability. A Wide Reciever has not won the award since Desmond Howard in 1991. It is kind of a long shot for Crabtree to win, but he is certainly one of the best players in the country.
8. Percy Harvin, University of Florida- Percy Harvin is a guy who can do just about everything on the football field. Part of last year he played at RB and carried the load for the Gators. He is also an outstanding reciever who is tough to stop in open space, but continues to get open due to the innovative offense of Urban Meyer and the huge number of weapons that Florida has on offense. The many offense weapons may hurt Percy (at least stat wise). The other issue with Percy winning the award is that WR don't often win the award (see Desmond Howard above) and the Heisman likely Tim Tebow is on the same team as him, and may take away some of his thunder...but nothing can take away from the explosive big play ability of this great WR.
So there ya have it folks....any comments or corrections are welcome...CFB is almost here.