I say this in jest but remember my picks last year? Close to terrible. Didn’t have Jameis CrabLegs on my ballot, no Andre Williams, no Jordan Lynch (although I did give him honourable mention). Hopefully this year I won’t look like a complete idiot with my pre-season Heisman predictions (although I have made sure to leave poor Braxton Miller out this year).
- Marcus Mariota, Oregon – I have the Ducks winning the CFP Deal-i-o this season. And this is the guy that will lead them there. On top of that, he has a good shot at being the #1 pick in next year’s NFL draft. I think this a solid pick as the next Heisman winner. And finally, he will get one of the first massive showcase games against Michigan State in less than two weeks. Get yourself out front early and you have a better chance at taking home the Heisman at the end.
- Jameis Winston, Florida State – “Jameis, meet Archie. Archie, meet Jameis. Now just so you understand Mr. Winston, you are no Mr. Griffin. Your journey stops at one Heisman. Now go take a seat.” The voters, despite the fact they may say otherwise, will penalize Winston because he already won it. Seems silly but to be honest, is there a way for him to top what he did last season? Because if he did, then that would be super impressive.
- Bryce Petty, Baylor – Heisman voters love QBs who put up massive stats. There will be a few this year who will do that but none better than Petty and none for a better team than Baylor. By my calculations (and I’m a former math teacher so you can take this type of calculation to the bank), he should throw about 65 times a game and should easily top 5000, if not flirt with 6000 yards, especially with the early sked the Bears have.
- Rakeem Cato, Marshall – Everyone loves the plucky underdog. Last year, Jordan Lynch finished third in the Heisman voting. The worst part? If he had been at a bowl-eligible BCS school, he probably would have won the whole thing. Marshall has a stupidly easy schedule this season. And Cato can throw and run. He could break all sorts of Conference USA records this season and should lead the Herd to the first CFP New Year’s Bowl-a-thon Extravaganza.
- Todd Gurley, Georgia – Running backs, over the past decade, haven’t got a lot of Heisman looks, especially as the college game leans towards more passing and higher-octane offenses. Saying that, Gurley is part of the two-headed running back beast at Georgia (with Keith Marshall) and should put up some monster numbers and looks like he will be playing on Sundays.
- Nick Marshall, Auburn – Amazingly enough, this guy will be the best quarterback in the SEC this season. After a few years of amazing QB play, the level has dropped off. No offense to Marshall as he is still an awesome QB and looks to prove that last year’s Tigers team wasn’t a fluke. If he can somehow go crazy in a couple of the more difficult games and has an incredible Iron Bowl, he could be considered a dark horse contender for the title.
- Brett Hundley, UCLA – Here is possibly the first player on this list who could be considered a victim of having a better player at the same position in his conference. Hundley should be lights-out as he continues the football renaissance in Westwood but to have Mariota in the same conference will take a lot of the spotlight off of him. Sometimes that’s a good thing but when it comes to the Heisman, you have to be at your best when the entire nation is looking right at you to perform.
- Leonard Fournette, LSU – This will be a shocking choice to some. It is now commonplace to put a freshman in the Heisman mix at the start. Many will go for a quarterback but I am leaning towards Fournette, who will carry a heavy load in Death Valley. Could he be our next freshman Heisman winner?
- Everett Golson, Notre Dame – Another potential surprise pick. The Irish showed why they so sorely missed Golson last season as they dropped from the BCS title game to the Pinstripe Bowl. He should help get the team back into a College Football Playoff New Year’s FunTime Bowl this season and I count him as a dark horse Heisman contender if the Irish make doubters out of all of us and somehow run the table.
- Myles Jack, UCLA – Defensive players get almost no respect when it comes to the Heisman Trophy. The offensive players have the flashy plays and crazy stats and the defensive players can’t say the same. Even Clowney wasn’t close last year. Could be different for Jack as he plays running back from time to time and is a beast in the front seven for the Bruins. Also, with no Anthony Barr, he is the man they will all look to. If they make waves in the Pac-12, don’t be surprised to hear some experts saying this name as a potential Heisman candidate.
- TJ Yeldon, Alabama
- Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
- Taysom Hill, BYU
- Shane Carden, East Carolina
- Karlos Williams, Florida State
- Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
- Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
- Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
OK we are finally here. The schedules are (slowly) starting to come out. TSN has really upped the ante with SEVEN games this coming weekend; two Thursday night and five on Saturday. They have really done well with more college football coverage (not to mention they are already looking like they are going to hit home runs with tennis and soccer coverage as well). I am hoping Rogers and Bell get on their horses this year (more than last year at least) and get their specialty pack schedules out soon. As of right now, only the one game has come up and it’s on Wednesday night (Abilene Christian-Georgia State). We should see at least 20 games a week on the specialty packs this season. I am curious as to how they are handling the SEC Network games. I would be shocked if Texas A&M-South Carolina and Temple-Vanderbilt weren’t on the specialty packs Thursday night but there has still been no indication at this point that they will be. I hope to find info soon on this.