For years the usual complaints about the Heisman Trophy was that its winners were formulaic, pre-determined, and not necessarily the best players the game had to offer. The formulaic thing makes sense, I mean the fact that there exist Heismandments speaks to a certain pattern of determining the winner. Whether or not the Heisman Trophy winner is college football's best player is debatable and ultimately meaningless to its real virtue.
As for that other critique, this season has completely thrown out the window the whole pre-determined thing.
Much like the insanity of the first half of this 2007 college football season, the Heisman Trophy race is one big mess. The sage and knowing Heisman Pundit has gone so far as to make like its a 1988 Nintendo game and is hitting the reset button.
We have come to a turning point in the race for the 2007 Heisman.
Seven weeks into the season, each of the players on the preseason HP Heisman Watch have suffered devastating blows to their candidacies. It makes for a very confusing race.
No other candidate from a traditional power is in place and ready to make a move. No player is wowing the country with season stats (Texas Tech players aside) that capture the imagination. No one player is dominating week in and week out.
Therefore, I think it is time to re-set the race, because right now there is no real leader.
So yes, sad orangutan.
This thing is wide open and it's exactly what the doctor ordered for Heisman Trophy critics. At the same time, there's absolutely no energy to this race. Is there a connection between this lack of excitement and a wide-open field? You tell me. What I do know is that this is quite rare what we're witnessing and while the opportunity's there for some player from outside the traditional powers who also isn't a preseason favorite for the honor to make a run ... it just ain't happening.
In a few more weeks those ballots go out and voters have three lines to fill out three names. If form holds, voters will truly have a wide range of choices and we're going to learn something new about the award and its mysterious cabal of voters here.
Personally, Michigan's Mike Hart has been on my radar since week one. I believe he's had only one game under 100 yards and showed a real competitiveness throughout some of Michigan's tougher, embarrassing games. Heisman Pundit and MGoBlog both are banging that Hart drum a bit, so this isn't an isolated sentiment (see: website + shirts). Hart is college football's Little Engine That Could - and does - so if nobody else makes a break for this thing, why not?
I think he can.