Every year when we flip our calendars to August we all get a little excited. You can simply smell it in the air and ex-players feel it in their bones. It’s football season!
When college football is just a few short weeks away people start to think about conference championships, national championships and the coveted Heisman trophy.
Every sports writer and broadcaster has their own predictions for the top Heisman contender so I will share mine.
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Barkley is the top candidate on every list that I have seen so far. USC being the preseason No. 1 team will only help create the hype around Barkley, not that it is needed. His numbers speak for themselves from previous seasons. He has one of the top receiving duo’s in the country and the team just added former Penn State running back Silas Redd. All signs point to Barkley.
Concern: Pressure. The spotlight is on and he knows it.
2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Robinson is now a senior and has plenty of experience that has silenced any doubters of his talent. There is simply no better playmaker in college football right now. Robinson will be tested early on against Alabama. The national showcase will help his chances with a solid performance. Brady Hoke’s defense will provide Robinson with more snaps helping pad his stats.
Concern: Schedule. Opener against Bama, on the road at OSU, Notre Dame and Nebraska.
3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Ball ran for 33 touchdowns and over 1,900 yards just a season ago. The Badgers lost a few players on the offensive line, but it seems as though Wisconsin breeds lineman. Perhaps the biggest loss for the Badgers was Paul Chryst, offensive coordinator. All these concerns for Ball are important, but remember he is a hard-nosed runner. He will still get his yards and touchdowns needed.
Concern: Health. Hard-nosed running means banged up bodies.
4. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Smith started his case for Heisman with a blowout win in the bowl game a year ago against Clemson. He will be stacked with speed on offense once again this season. His receivers are shorter, but possess blazing speed. The strength of the schedule is the obvious concern for WVU. The Big East would have hindered Smith’s chances, but the different style of play may take time to adjust.
Concern: Conference. New conference, new teams and new styles.
5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Every reporter lists Lattimore as the number one back due to his physical abilities. I have him fifth only because of the injuries. Playing in the SEC is tough, but with toughness comes recognition. A solid O-line will give him big averages per touch, as well as touchdowns. As always in that conference a tough schedule can slow him down, but no defense can stop him.
Concern: Health. Previous injuries are already a concern.
Ej Manuel, QB, Florida State
- FSU may win the national title, putting Manuel on top of many lists.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
- Jones has an abundance of yards over the last two season, but some disappointing loses with them.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
- Arkansas will be tough this year and play both Bama and LSU at home.