Posted by Walter
So I guess the college football gods weren't too happy that we took a week off from our Heisman poll (with all the top teams winning handily last weekend there wasn't any change in our ballots). After upset Saturday the only things more shaken up than the AP and Coaches polls are our Heisman ballots.
Let's see, my initial Heisman ballot was basically a who's who of undefeated quarterbacks. Tebow? Lost. Bradford? Lost. Dixon? Lost. Harper? (Gulp) Lost. Pretty much I lost my entire Heisman field on one weekend. Heck, I guess that's why they don't give out the trophy in midseason. On the bright side, though, my new ballot features a slew of new names (no still no McFadden, and definitely no White/Slaton after their annual choke job) an even has one non-QB! Onto the ballot.
1) Andre Woodson, QB Kentucky
And there's a new leader in the clubhouse. Although Woodson saw his record breaking interceptionless (is that a word?) streak come to an end, he did manage to lead the Wildcats to yet another victory, leaving them and LSU the only unbeatens in the SEC. Woodson deserves a ton of credit for navigating the treacherous SEC waters thus far, but he has a bear of a schedule in front of him, starting tonight at South Carolina (and their staunch passing defense). The Wildcats have no, absolutely zero, defense, so if Woodson can somehow lead them to the SEC title game he will all but lock up an invitation to New York....not to mention the number one overall draft spot (I told you he's a better pro prospect that Brian Brohm).
2) DeSean Jackson, WR/PR California
Although I list him as a wide reciever and a punt returner, Jackson hasn't been doing a whole lot of the latter these days. Teams are just unwilling to kick it to him, instead conceding favorable field position and blasting the ball out of bounds. While his numbers suffer because of this, Jackson's mere presence as a punt returner gives his team countless yards of field position and an unquantifiable advantage in games. Then there's Jackson the reciever who absolutely torched Oregon in Autzen stadium with a Heismanesque 160 yard 2 TD performance. While his numbers have been anything but consistent, Jackson is unquestionable the biggest difference maker in America and he deserves a seat at the trophy presentation.
3) Tmi Tebow, QB Florida
It's hard, nay impossible, to blame Tebow for the loss against Auburn. Tebow threw well, and ran harder. It's just tough to win a game against 11 guys when you are the only one on your team playing. Tebow has been an absolute machine this year, churning out yardage and big plays. It was the same story against Auburn, except that the rest of his team didn't do anything. It will be interesting to see if other coordinators follow Will Muschamp's blueprint for beating the Gators. Namely, stacking the line against Tebow the runner on 1st and 2nd down, and dropping 8 into coverage against Tebow the passer on 3rd. This scheme will allow the Sophomore to continue to put up some solid numbers (he accounted for about 90% of Florida's offense against Muschamp's Auburn defense), but might result in another loss or two for the Gators.
4) Chase Daniel, QB Missourri
OK so here is what I am thinking. Mizzou has one of its annual "show me" games this week against Nebraska. Now Gary Pinkel's teams almost always blow these games (what am I saying almost, they ALWAYS blow these games). But this year I have a good feeling, and it's not because the Cornhuskers nearly lost to Ball State. It's because Chase Daniel is quietly putting together an absolutely monster season. The diminutive sophomore (he's generously listed at 6'0'') has been lighting teams up to the tune of 317 passing yards per game, and has a sterling 13:4 TD ratio. He should formally announce his Heisman candidacy with a huge game against a Nebraska defense that hasn't stopped anyone this year, I'm just getting in on the ground floor.
5) Matt Ryan, QB Boston College
This spot came down to Matt Ryan or Purdue QB Curtis Painter. Both have solid numbers with Painter's stats being gaudier, but Ryan's being put up against much better competition. If Painter and the Boilermaker offense go out and beat Ohio State on Saturday I will have made the wrong selection, but we'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. The bottom line is that Matt Ryan has been the difference between another 8-9 win season for BC, and a potentially special season. New coach Jeff Jagodzinski has opened up the passing game, taking advantage of the strong armed Senior QB and Ryan has responded. He is clearly the heart and soul, leader, and best player on BC which finds itself in the top 10 for the first time in....well, a long time. And while some will look at Ryan's presence on this list as me being a homer and season ticket holder, the kid has a real shot to win this award. With a brutal second half schedule, Ryan has potentially five (!!) marquee matchups to grab voters' attention (Notre Dame, VTech, Clemson, Miami, Florida State). If Ryan can lead BC through that gauntlet to the ACC Title game he'll be sitting in New York. If he leads BC through that stretch undefeated, Doug Flutie's trophy won't be the only one displayed in Conte Forum.