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Top Teams 2008

After Week Seven

  1. Alabama
  2. Penn State
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Georgia
  8. LSU
  9. BYU
  10. Missouri
  11. Ohio State
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Texas Tech
  14. Utah
  15. Kansas
  16. USF
  17. North Carolina
  18. Miami
  19. Boise State
  20. Georgia Tech
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Entries in Heisman (157)


Heisman pages

Ok, so I finally got around to making the Heisman candidate pages on here.

They're pretty self-explanatory.  I'll try and keep them updated.

They're also linked on the menu at left, under Heisman.

CFR week five Heisman rankings

Very little change, other than the pretend contenders slipping away into oblivion.


  1. Reggie Bush, USC-Is starting to solidify a lead.  Another great performance, this time against ASU as he had the winning touchdown run and 158 yards on 17 carries (9.3 average!) including two touchdowns.  Shared carries and the spotlight with teammate LenDale White, but was definitely a crucial factor in the win.  Faces Arizona this weekend.
  2. Matt Leinart, USC-What may be his worst performance of the year, and got it out of the way early (as opposed to UCLA zero touchdown performance last year).  Also suffered a concussion, which may explain why he looked like he was someplace else on Saturday.  Still finished 23/39 (59%) for 258 yards.
  3. Vince Young, Texas-Call this a tie for #2.  Awesome third and 30 run for a touchdown that set the tone against Missouri.  Threw two touchdown passes (although mostly a function of athletic backs  making great plays on both).  Went 15/22 (68%) for 236 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception, along with 13 carries for 108 yards (8.3 average) and a touchdown.  Great stuff.  Showdown this weekend against Texas, his last real Heisman push game.  Great timing since nobody will be watching the USC/Arizona game.

That's basically the legit Heisman field right now, unless something drastic happens.  Much less confusing than last year, for certain.


  • Drew Stanton, Michigan State-Great revival story this year.  Michigan loss hurts his candidacy, although he performed fairly well.
  • Sam Keller, ASU-Needs to win out.  Five interceptions against USC, but led his team to the brink.  Will finish with some great numbers.
  • Brady Quinn, Notre Dame-Obviously everyone's waiting on the USC game.  So far, so good.

Good candidates, if numbers didn't matter

  • DJ Shockley, Georgia-Made a good team better.  Exciting.
  • Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech-Efficient and makes some really magical throws.

See Ya

  • Maurice Drew, Chris Leak, Laurence Maroney 

This Week's Games, Week Five

Per usual, CFR's This Week's Games section is updated.

Off to an earlier than usual start to the week, tonight saw Fresno State crush Toledo.  ESPN or ESPN2 will televise a handful of uninteresting games the rest of the way until Saturday when we have a decent slate of games to look forward to.

The 12:00 bracket starts out with Heisman candidate Vince Young and the #2 Texas Longhorns tackling Brad Smith and Missouri (12th nationally in scoring at 43.7 PPG).  #3 Virginia Tech travels down the road to old Big East rival West Virginia.  The game everyone will be checking out is #11 Michigan State in a rare role as home favorite against Michigan.  The Wolverines need this game badly, having already lost to Notre Dame, the fan base is on the ropes and simply cannot fathom taking one to the gut from the rival Spartans.  No doubt Warren from RJYH will have a field day this week getting clinical on the Michigan bloggers' suicide routines.  Is it any wonder that Jack Kevorkian was able to get so much work in the great state of Michigan?

Also of some intrigue (HT Bruce Feldman), undefeated Indiana takes on undefeated Wisconsin.

#24 Louisville may be sucking its collective thumb in anticipation of yet another non-big-three Florida school opponent.  This time it's Florida Atlantic coming to town.  Don't screw it up again, fellas!

A few minutes later, Illinois takes on Iowa.  Think the Hawkeyes get Zooked in their own backyard?

At 12:30 #10 Tennessee takes on Ed Orgeron's Mississippi Rebels.  I'd pay to see the pregame Orgeron tirade and his references to the girth of Tennessee coach Fullmer.  Also, Texas A&M tries to reprogram their memories and avenge a loss to mighty Baylor last year.

After that, nothing of interest happens until 3:30.

ABC and its GameDay show are out in Tempe anticipating some kind of upset (think 1996 ASU 19, Nebraska 0) between #1 USC and Arizona State.  I'm just anticipating an interesting game.  The Trojan defense was something fierce against Oregon last weekend, and they've long contained Dirk Koetter's teams.  Thing is, there's a new sheriff in town, and Sam Keller is a far superior offensive player to Andrew Walter---he can actually move the ball around the field and make deadly weapons out of not one but two tight ends.  That said, the Leinart/Bush '05 show will roll on.  Great viewing.

CBS grabs an intriguing game between Florida and Alabama at the same time.  Hopefully the Gators learned their lesson from the matchup against Tennessee and don't get suckered into the usual SEC mud ball, keep-it-close because I can't win straight-up type games that Alabama loves to play.  Both teams are undefeated, so the hype is going to be pretty intense.

Depending on where you live, ABC will also have a trio of snoozers to watch: Syracuse @ #16 Florida State, #18 Minnesota @ Penn State, and #23 Iowa State @ Nebraska.  Oh Lord.  Pray for Minnesota and their robotic running offense (and Heisman candidate Laurence Maroney) if you can't get the USC game.

At five, Oregon faces Stanford.  This game has train wreck value, as Stanford will be making its first appearance since the well-publicized shaming against some nobody from the bowels of the lower division schools.

I'm kind of looking forward to the 7:00 matchup between Arizona and #12 California.  The Bears are fun to watch but they're still kinda shaky right now.  At this point they need to be getting the last kinks out of the machine before taking on the heart of the Pac-10 slate.  Games against UCLA, ASU and USC are on the horizon, so this should be kind of the tune-up, look your Sunday finest match for them.

Steve Spurrier's South Carolina bottom dwellers also travel to the Plains to take on the Auburn Tigers, full of cupcake crumbs all over their front whiskers.  Are they satisfied, or is there room for more?

And in perhaps the strangest national broadcast ever (if I'm reading the ESPN schedule correctly), ABC is televising for a live national audience, a game played in front of maybe 9,000 people between host San Jose State and visiting Nevada. ? ? ?  Apparently the Kansas State at Oklahoma game just wasn't worth their time.

As day drifts into night, #13 Notre Dame trips to nearby #22 Purdue for what should be a fairly good game.  Both teams have well designed if somewhat creaky offenses.  They both hate each other.  Both have chips on their shoulders.  Cool.  Keep it interesting, fellas.

Lastly, South Florida tries to play giant killer again, visiting #9 Miami.  Thing is, as much as people hate Miami, if they lost this game, would anybody really care?  It kind of bothers me how non-controversial these recent Miami teams have become.  College football could use a contending Miami team, but won't get it for at least this season.


More Heisman stuff

  • I may follow through with my idea of regular updates on the Reggie Bush/Matt Leinart/Chris Leak/Vince Young Heisman pages on here.  Look for those to emerge next week, perhaps.  Or maybe never.
  • Also, a favor to ask.  Please click on this link---HeismanProjection--- so the owner will see traffic coming his way and maybe he'll start an earlier look at the Heisman race this year.  That website is a great Heisman resource and it would be pretty cool if it were functional during the regular season (as HeismanPundit has been).Update:  Apparently HeismanProjection was taken down today!  The Heisman folks are stuck on stupid about policing websites reporting on their award.  I'm disgusted right now.
  • Big news:  The official announcement date for the 2005 Heisman trophy ceremony will be on Saturday, December 10.  Mark your calendars.
  • Projected regular season statistical totals for the four leading Heisman candidates:

Matt Leinart, USC

236/348 (.678), 4112 yards, 40 TD/8 INT

For those curious, that would round out his career total (sans bowl performance) as follows:

760/1162 (.654), 10990 yards, 111 TD, 23 INT.  Staggering totals for just three seasons of work.

Reggie Bush, USC

160 carries, 1332 yards (8.33 average), 16 touchdowns

40 receptions, 684 yards (17.1 average), 8 touchdowns

16 punt returns, 108 yards (6.75 average), 0 touchdowns

24 kickoff returns, 420 yards (17.5 average), 0 touchdowns

240 touches, 2544 all-purpose yards (10.6 average), 24 touchdowns

Vince Young, Texas

140 carries, 808 yards (5.77 average), 4 touchdowns

156/240 (.650), 2176 yards, 20 touchdowns, 16 interceptions

Chris Leak, Florida

Negative rushing yards, but 6 rushing touchdowns

243/342 (.711), 3111 yards, 27 TD/0 INT

  • Cool website
Here's the official website for 1958 Heisman winner and Army back Pete Dawkins.  He beat out Iowa's Randy Duncan, as well as big names like LSU's Billy Cannon, California's Joe Kapp and SMU's Don Meredith to capture the award.

CFR Week Four Heisman Rankings

Bye weeks are bad for Heisman candidates lately.

Vince Young took the week off, and Reggie Bush went nuts.  Matt Leinart recovered from an early start to have a dominant second half against Oregon, as well.

Chris Leak piloted Florida to 49 first half points against Kentucky.


  1. Reggie Bush, USC-Has overtaken Leinart's previously strong lead.  Criminy.  Had an outstanding, dominant, awe-inspiring performance against Oregon.  Led the USC offense back from a 13-0 deficit late in the second quarter.  Charted a whopping 267 all-purpose yards (4 PR, 27 yards, 6.8 average, 3 KR, 75 yards, 25.0 average, 3 rec, 43 yards, 14.3 average, 1 TD, 20 carries, 122 yards, 6.1 average, 1 TD) and 2 touchdowns.  Had another one of those classic run one way, reverse the other and pick up some funny-looking blocks touchdown runs, and also had a run where he lost his shoe and hurdled a defender.  Sick.  USC takes on Arizona State this weekend.
  2. Matt Leinart, USC-A slow first half did him in with CFR, but he recovered nicely finishing 23/39 (.590) for 315 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT that was basically a poorly caught ball by his receiver (would have been a touchdown) and tipped into the arms of an Oregon defender.
  3. Chris Leak, Florida-Outstanding first half against Kentucky.  A roaring crowd could have unsettled Leak after the Gators went down 7-0 after a blocked punt, but he merely went 20-25 in the first half with 4 touchdowns, finishing 24/31 (.774) for 313 yards, 4 TD and 0 INT.  Florida takes on Alabama this weekend.
  4. Vince Young, Texas-Bye week.  The Longhorns take on Missouri this weekend.

Basically, we have a nice field of four here, all on marquee programs at marquee positions.  Unfortunately for Vince Young, the other three lead candidates all are playing in intriguing national games while he's stuck with ho-hum Missouri.  Hopefully he goes nuts and can continue to generate attention for his Heisman candidacy.


  • Drew Stanton, Michigan State-Great numbers, on an upstart program in a suddenly wide-open conference.  Team is in CFR's top 10 this week.  Next game: home against Michigan.

Is 79/108 (.732) for 1184 yards, 13 TD/2 INT and a nationally-leading 201.3 quarterback rating.

  • Sam Keller, ASU-Great numbers on a CFR top 10 team.  Major personality helps him.  Could see a lot of interesting feature stories if he can stay in the Heisman race.  Next game: home against USC.

Is 88/147 (.599) with 16 TD/2 INT and a rating of 175.5, good for 7th nationally.

  • Laurence Maroney, Minnesota-Vital role in Minnesota's upset win over Purdue on Saturday.  Next game: at Penn State.

113 carries for 698 yards (6.18 average), 6 TD and 174.5 yards per game (#1 nationally).  Is on pace for 1920 regular-season rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.

  • Maurice Drew, UCLA-Waterbug do-it-all on a team with a lot of buzz.  Not great numbers partly due to his grandfather's passing that caused him to miss an entire half against stat-padding Rice.  Next game: home against Washington.

37 carries for 278 yards (7.51 average), 4 TD and a 92.7 yards/game average (#33 nationally).  Has also tallied 4 catches for 33 yards, 5 punt returns for 151 yards (30.2 average) and 2 touchdowns, for a total of 6 touchdowns.

Super Longshots:

  • Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M 

GameDay Week Four

Not a bad show so far.

There was a nice piece about VT player Victor "Macho" Harris, who got burned during an in-house visit with VT coach Frank Beamer.  He saved his house and family from a kitchen fire, then forged a bond with his (future) coach, who had also been burned as a youth.

Kirk Herbstreit got a little weird saying Penn State would go 8-3, but whatever...

Coming up there's a discussion about what team is the best in the SEC, which should be interesting, as well as a feature on Heisman winner Matt Leinart's NFL film study.

UPDATE: Kirk just said Alabama may be the best team in the SEC... what?!  Lee said LSU and UGA will be in Atlanta.

UPDATE: Just showed a teaser with ESPN's Shelley Smith nearly sitting on top of Leinart in the film room.  Give the man some room!  They had a shot from the back where it made a silhouette of the two where they look like lovers sitting close in a movie theatre.  Ew. 

Huuuuuuuge crowd, props to the VaTech fans for showing up in droves on such short notice. 


CFR Week Three Heisman Rankings

This is getting fairly boring, hehe.

Can make plans for NYC

  1. Matt Leinart, USC-In about four quarters of work, leads the NCAA in passing efficiency at a staggering 243.7 rating.  Directs an offense that scores four touchdowns in less than two minutes against Arkansas.  Is 36/48 (.750) for 713 yards, 7TD and 1 INT.  Project those numbers over 13 games and you have 234/312 (.750), 4635 yards, 46 TD and 7 INT.  Those numbers won't hold, but this guy is in charge of a video game offense right now.
  2. Reggie Bush, USC-Two touches, two touchdowns.  Would normally be leading with CFR, but Leinart's unstoppable right now.  I'm curious how far both of these guys can push their performances this season.
  3. Vince Young, Texas-Easy win against Rice.  So-so numbers, but is the entire offense at times on an elite team.
  4. Chris Leak, Florida-Pedestrian performance against Tennessee.  Like Young, is the defined leader of his offense.  Will now be playing without injured receiver Andre Caldwell.

Hoping for a trip to NYC:

  • Sam Keller, Arizona State-1078 yards, 62% completions, NCAA leading 12 TD and just 2 INT in three games.  Fun to watch.
  • Maurice Drew, UCLA-Unstoppable waterbug.  Numbers have dropped, but has two touchdowns on returns and will push 1,500 yards.  UCLA starting to get name recognition again.
  • Laurence Maroney, Minnesota-Numbers are no longer on bonanza pace, but is perceived as the nation's top yardage back (481 yards, 160 average, 6 TD).  Needs to break through Purdue's nationally leading rush defense (18 YPG, 0.8/carry).
  • Drew Stanton,Michigan State-The Spartans are climbing the national rankings thanks to their efficient (194.0 rating) QB.
  • Brian Brohm, Louisville-It took a game, but he's taken command (198.9 rating, 5TD/1 INT, 76% completions) of the Louisville offense.

Week Four look-ahead

On paper this week's slate of games isn't as compelling as last week.  No worries, though---most teams are entering the conference portion of the schedule and there should be a lot more even matchups from here on out.

On Wednesday, a once-promising game is now just an opportunity to witness the dynamic Bowling Green offensive attack go up against a wounded and reeling Boise State squad.  If getting dizzy is your thing, the game's on Boise's blinding smurf turf and televised on ESPN2.

There's little to say about Thursday's games except they're one day closer to being Friday.

Friday brings us the maddeningly inconsistent Iowa State Cyclones against Army, and a wounded but dangerous California squad up against New Mexico State.  Both games are good measuring sticks if nothing else, to see what specifically Iowa State and California are doing on the field, and how effective they are at it.  The confidence gained here is particularly important for a guy like Cal QB Joe Ayoob, as the Bears build towards their late-season matchup against USC in Berkeley.

Saturday morning gives us eight of the Big Ten Eleven teams going head-to-head.  For an early snoozer, watch Iowa battle Ohio State.  Drew Tate is back for the Hawkeyes, and looked impressive last week.  Ted Ginn looks to finally get untracked against a physical if somewhat stiff Iowa defense.  Iowa won this one last year 33-7.

#11 Purdue, a narrow winner over Arizona last week, travels to Minnesota to take on Laurence Maroney and the Gophers' rush attack.  Both teams do some unusual things on the ground, so this will be a little more interesting as both should push well into the 30 point range.

#17 Michigan State travels to Illinois against a surprisingly competitive Illinois squad.  The Illini held tough last week against California before the Bears surged in the fourth quarter.  Can the Illini work their magic again versus a similarly dynamic and explosive offense?  That's tough to do.

Lastly, Penn State takes on Northwestern and should be blown out.

A big-name, low excitement contest is also in the works for the Colorado/Miami game.  Miami has looked pretty awful early on this year, and Colorado probably has the bodies to make a game of this one for a while.  If nothing else you can watch Miami QB Kyle Wright continue to develop and think about how you'll be telling your grandchildren "I remember when..." I saw Kyle Wright as a RS-FR.

Also of intrigue, North Carolina takes on North Carolina State.  In state battles tend to be interesting.  Clemson also looks to build upon a strong early start, this time facing a depressed Boston College squad that messed up a good opportunity to dethrone Florida State last weekend.

At 12:30, tail-between-the-legs Arkansas takes on a surging Alabama team in what should be your typical SEC mud fest as both offenses are very much works in progress.  Think 5-yard dump passes, 3 yard runs, 1 yard runs, punt, incomplete pass, 3 yard run, 8 yard pass, 1 yard run, incomplete pass, 3 yard run, punt...  tune in if that's your idea of fun.

After that, you can take a nice nap until 3:30.  #15 Georgia Tech travels to Lane Stadium for an intriguing ACC matchup against #4 Virginia Tech.  The Hokies need to have a big win against a name opponent to jump-start their campaign for national legitimacy.  This is a good start.

#5 Florida also travels to Kentucky fresh off a win against clueless Tennessee. The Wildcats took Louisville to the wire three weekends ago, do they have it in them to hang tight against another sophisticated attack?  Florida's offense has been in shell mode, as predicted, and thus leaves them vulnerable to opponents who know how to score touchdowns.  Chris Leak could really use a great performance here if he wants to stay in Heisman contention for 2005.

#16 Notre Dame takes on former coach Tyrone Willingham in Seattle.  On paper there's drama, but in reality Charlie Weis will probably use this game as a rebound to build confidence leading up to the USC game in a few weekends.

At 6:00, we get to watch #14 Michigan battle run-happy Wisconsin.  Last weekend was a nice schedule padding game for the Wolverines, but now they have to prove that the Notre Dame game was a fluke (as CFR argues) and topple the Badgers.

At 7:00, USC travels to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks.  Autzen Stadium has been quite unkind to the Trojans of late (2002 victory aside), and many a prognosticator sees this game as the last non-Cal hurdle for the Trojans on their way to the Rose Bowl.  USC's Pac-10 road openers are scary times under Carroll, as well.  With no Texas game on the schedule, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush have big opportunities here to surge ahead in the Heisman race against the Longhorns' Vince Young.

At 7:45, GameDay special Tennessee @ LSU takes the main stage.  I predict another SEC slopfest, although LSU has the potential to open things up in ways Tennessee can't.  Whether they choose to do so or not, I have no idea.  The Vols' backs are against the wall, though, as they could fall to 0-2 in SEC play.  Tell me again why are they starting Erik Ainge?

Finally, if you're still awake at 10:00, #18 Arizona State takes on the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis.  The Beavers surrendered 63 points against the sophisticated Louisville attack last weekend and are looking to spare themselves further embarrassment.



A few questions---

How does one sort out the early Heisman status of Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Vince Young?

Ignoring the rules for a minute, what is your perception of this race?  Who would you vote for at this early juncture, and what factors weight on your decision?

And, projecting for a moment, how do you see this race sorting itself out?

Do the Heismandments hold and render this a race between Vince Young and Reggie bush?  Are Leinart and Bush going to cancel each other out and render an awkward Vince Young victory?

I'm just curious.  I think a great case can be made for all three, right now.

Feel free to address some of this in the Heisman discussion forum here.  Hopefully the always busy HP can chime in a little in response to these disjointed questions as well. 


Talk Heisman

In the CFR Heisman discussion forum.

Also linked in the Heisman section on the menu to your left.


CFR Heisman Rankings, Week Two

See list below.

What a difference a weekend makes.

The top candidates haven't changed much, but another crazy weekend has reshuffled the "field" candidates.

Because it is so early in the season and already the top candidates are set in wet concrete, much of the "outside candidate" drama is gone.  Big programs with Heisman tradition dominate the race.  Sorry, Chad Henne.  Sorry, D.J. Shockley.  We feel your pain, Brian Brohm.

At this point, we have four strong candidates, and a narrowing field of hopefuls.  The real drama now comes in the battle for top position among those big four, and to track who among the outsiders will make it to New York.  It will be exciting to figure out who the final field of five candidates are.  I hunch at least one of the top four will drop out from serious contention, although he may still be in New York City when all is said and done.

This list basically reflects the race reality of a narrowed field, as highlighted by HeismanPundit's latest Heisman list.

  1. Reggie Bush, USC-Had a bye week to get ready for Arkansas.  Backfield mate LenDale White says he's not worried about his carries.  Things are smoothed over, which means White is probably in for a lot of carries to soften the Arkansas run defense.  Look for Bush to have some kind of big return or long run or reception.
  2. Matt Leinart, USC-Bye week, like teammate Bush.  Leads the NCAA in passing efficiency.
  3. Vince Young, Texas-Impressive performance in a close win over Ohio State last weekend.  Threw for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns after his running plays were shut down by the Ohio State defense.  Lots of buzz this week.  Is in great position.  Last hurdle is the Oklahoma game.  You can start suit shopping, Vince.
  4. Chris Leak, Florida-Another efficient performance against Louisiana Tech last weekend.  Big game against Tennessee this weekend.  Lots of buzz coming out of Gainesville that backup Josh Portis is Urban Meyers' "guy", and a better fit for the offense.  This may catch up with Leak, as people may think he's a product of the system yet not all that helpful within it.  Regardless, he's a great passer on a very good team who is putting up great numbers.

The Field:

It's hard to tell at this point who has a good shot at New York City and the Heisman ceremony.  The likely candidate will probably be a survivor, whose team is in the top 10 with a nearly spotless record and has put up the necessary stats.

Any outside candidate will probably have put up unreal numbers at his position.  Think Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma if he can run for 200 ad infinitum, or Minnesota's Laurence Maroney or Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe.

  • D.J. Shockley, Georgia-Hanging on by a thread.  We'll know more when the SEC shakes out.  Can earn a lot of public good will for sticking things out behind David Greene, and then piloting the Dawgs to an SEC crown.  Think Jason Campbell.
  • Marshawn Lynch, California-Also hanging on by a thread.  Is injured, and has not put up gaudy numbers.  I hunch his team will be very much in the top 10 at the end of the year and will have also given USC a close game.  But the story right now is his quarterback, Joe Ayoob.
  • Brady Quinn, Notre Dame-Similar to D.J. Shockley.  His numbers aren't that great, but Notre Dame is generating tremendous buzz right now.  If the Irish can continue winning, institutional power and credibility may carry young Quinn far.  He has a game in October against USC that many people will be watching.
  • Sam Keller, Arizona State-Impressed in win loss against LSU.  Will put up great numbers.  Problem is his team is nowhere near the top 10 right now, and could have a minimum of two three regular season losses (LSU, California, USC).
  • Laurence Maroney, Minnesota-Quickly falling, as pace has slackened.  Needs well over 2,000 yards.
  • Maurice Drew, UCLA-Huge game this weekend against Oklahoma, playing in honor of his grandfather who passed away in the stands of last week's game against Rice.  Now has two punt return touchdowns.

This Week's Games

Props to my old man for reminding me that I haven't updated the "This Week's Games" feature.

Consider it done.

Pertinent thoughts and picks below...

Utah over TCU on Thursday.

The UTEP/Houston matchup Friday is a good one between dynamic offenses running behind marginal talent.  I'll take Mike Price in this one.  He's due for a bigger D-1 gig soon.  Carson Palmer's baby brother is the QB at UTEP.

Louisville should snap out of its mild funk while hosting the always scrappy Oregon State Beavers.  The Beavers' Matt Moore, a UCLA transfer, is probably a better overall quarterback than the departed Derek Anderson.  The problem is their defense looks down this year.

Vanderbilt tries its hand at playing a hairy, muscular, ugly Cinderella for the third time this year, taking on the hairy, muscular, ugly Ed Orgeron and his Ole Miss Rebels.  The Rebs dont have much of an identity right now, Vanderbilt does, and is playing with swagger.  A mild edge to the Commodores.

Auburn is once again dancing merrily through cupcake land, this time taking on Ball State.  I guess they're happy to finish #3 in the polls ad infinitum.

San Diego State makes yet another return trip to Columbus to face the Buckeyes.  Gotta love those away and away series.  Or in Ohio State's case, home and home.  The Aztecs should have won in 2003.  They should have beat Michigan last year, too.  But their magic failed to produce wins.  The Buckeyes should romp.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame returns to South Bend for Charlie Weis' first home game with the Irish.  The opponent is a red-hot Michigan State squad.  I'm skeptical of the early Irish results, and this is a big test against a confident squad running a machine offense.  Weis already has his players' attention, as they're all talking about how badly Michigan State owns the Irish of late (five straight victories over Bob Davie, 1-2 against Tyrone Willingham, but 1-0 in South Bend, undefeated in South Bend since 1993).  I'm going with the Spartans on this one.

Clemson has to hate its early schedule (vs. Texas A&M, @ Maryland, vs. Miami), but I love it.  Credit goes for taking on some name programs so early.  The Tigers are 2-0 and playing with a lot of confidence.  Miami's offense appears to be in very bad shape right now, but like Virginia Tech, this is a Cane team that's always been able to scrap and play a little street ball if they can keep the score down.  I am a fan of Kyle Wright and think he's a guy that will be tough to handle as he improves each week.  Tough call here, but Miami should win.

UCLA should win pretty easily over Oklahoma.  Problem is, we're talking about Karl Dorrell here.  The Sooners are due for a bustout game, but their quarterback woes may be so severe as to cripple them against a Pac-10 foe more than comfortable with facing an incompetent pass attack.  The Bruins' run D is horrible, though, and I keep thinking about that early loss to Oklahoma State last year where the Cowboys threw all of six times and still won going away.  I'll still choose the Bruins, however.

Alabama at South Carolina kicks off CBS' SEC coverage this year.  Alabama's a mess, so this is an easy call for the Gamecocks.

Texas should crush rice.  CFR will be looking for some kind of Heisman highlight run from Vince Young.

Fresno State at Oregon is a good barometer game for both programs.  The Ducks have to figure out Fresno's rush attack, while also continuing to implement their new spread offense.  Fresno has to steal a big win somewhere and then try and roll through their conference now that Boise State is already on the ropes.  A win here, plus a conference crown (obviously this is projecting a lot) and Fresno has a great shot at a pretty good bowl game.

Another barometer game is Florida State at Boston College.  Everyone's writing the Noles off, which scares me.  Remember a similar situation last year?  Bruce Feldman sniffs this one out, too, and says the Noles are calling it a "sod game".  However, I think the Noles' offense is a borderline disaster, second-half romp against The Citadel aside.  Boston College has muffed games like these in the past, but they're home and against a significantly weakened foe.  They also have a captain of discipline as their coach, so they shouldn't get too out of shape if things don't go exactly as planned.  Call this one a B.C. win.

In theory, Florida romps over Tennessee.  But there are some creaks in the foundation right now.  Its clear the offense isn't close to where it will be.  Chad Jackson is the star right now, but if the offense were functioning properly, chances are the star would be Andre "Bubba" Caldwell.  Also, there's a lot of talk about athletic backup QB Josh Portis.  Sounds like Meyer's already a little handcuffed by Leak's lack of mobility and is looking for ways to get around it.  Tennessee has its own issues though, namely not knowing that Rick Clausen is far and away their best quarterback.  And you wonder why I get after the SEC sometimes... when the league's "best" coach is either too dumb or too proud to get the best player at the most important position on the field instead of his bumbling backup, errrrr co-starter.  Anyway.  Clausen should have a great game, but CFR is going with the Gators.

Be sure to keep tabs on the Mississippi State/Tulane game.  Tulane has been displaced by Hurricane Katrina and may not play a home game for a long time.  People are talking about LSU as America's team, but don't forget Baton Rouge was spared much of Katrina's wrath.  The kids at Tulane are the ones who are semi-permanently playing away from home, away from their University, relying on the goodwill of conference peers.

For an example of someone who has a grasp with the Familarity concept, check out Bruce Feldman's take on the Arizona/Purdue game.  I'm going with the Wildcats, but for slightly different reasons.  I just think Purdue is bound to slip up several times this year despite the excitement about their schedule that bypasses Michigan and Ohio State.  The Boilers had an easy road last year and wound up with some strange losses.  Count on the same happening this year.  Until a team proves it can break a pattern, they get treated by CFR like they can't break it.  Kind of like how we can count on Michigan to lose at least two if not three games this year.

And finally, in a game nobody will stay awake to watch, USC should romp over Arkansas in their home opener.  What's interesting is that USC has gone from playing one of the pass-happiest teams in the NCAA in Hawai'i, to playing the current national rushing leader, in Arkansas.  Talk about a shock to the system, it's the football equivalent of icy-hot.  Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush will continue to make their Heisman push, although Bush may make way for backfield LenDale White, who was upset about limited carries last time out.


ESPN brief CFB teaser for this weekend

ESPN had a segment on tonight, with their CFB guy, Joe Schad.

The lead-in was some talk about "Florida", namely that the Big 3 programs from the state are the only ones involved in games between ranked teams this weekend (#13 Miami @ #20 Clemson; #8 Florida State @ #17 Boston College; #5 Tennessee @ #6 Florida).

Other tidbits:

Notre Dame is replacing injured receiver Rhema McKnight with the diminuitive Matt Shelton.  I like the move.  It's a stretch to call Shelton fast, but he is a guy with an uncanny knack for getting himself open WAY downfield (a fat 25.8 average to go with 20 catches).  The previous regime somehow found a way to get him involved with the offense last year.  It remains to be seen if Charlie Weis has much interest in doing the same.

In perhaps the first Heisman mention for Maurice Drew outside of the blogosphere, Schad said the Oklahoma/UCLA game would be a matchup between two Heisman candidates.  More likely, there's just one Heisman candidate in the game, and his name isn't Peterson, surprising enough.  Drew's grandfather collapsed and died during UCLA's game against Rice last weekend, so Drew's got some things to work through.  Adrian Peterson is also in the news for missing some classes and getting the usual light punishment from coach Bob Stoops.

That's about all.

PS: Hey Joe, update your blog


Texting Chad Henne

Just got a text message from a friend: "Chad Henne 4 Heisman!"


There's 7:00 left in the 4Q right now and Michigan is down 17-3 to Notre Dame.

Chad Henne's line:

14/31, 114 Yards, 45.2%, 0TD/1INT 3 Points

He's not this bad, obviously, but he's chosen the worst possible time to have a bad game.  Its not like guys haven't been open all afternoon.  Talk about a case of the yips. 


CFR Heisman rankings, Week 1

  1. Reggie Bush, USC-Best I've ever seen him run.  Effortless performance against Hawai'i, and apparently has stolen starting carries away from a disgruntled (sort of) LenDale White.
  2. Matt Leinart, USC-Plays like he's above the game at times.  Right now the USC "ticket" is way out in front.  Kind of like the polls.
  3. Chris Leak, Florida-Solid debut against Wyoming.  Can he run with any effectiveness, though?  People will be holding him to the Alex Smith standard, perhaps unfairly.
  4. Chad Henne, Michigan-Will steward one of the NCAA's best offenses this season.
  5. Vince Young, Texas-His season largely swings on performances (and victories) against Ohio State and Oklahoma.
  6. Brian Brohm, Louisville-Efficient but unimpressive debut.  Ran for two scores, costing him touchdown passes.
  7. DJ Shockley, Georgia-Great performance.  Do it again!  And again.  And again.
  8. Marshawn Lynch, California-Team lost its starting quarterback, and the backup struggled.  Time to ride #10 for a few weeks.  Has 150+ yards already in the bag.  Needs a trip or two to the highlight shows.
  9. Drew Tate, Iowa-Went 9/10 as Iowa scorched its opponent.  Will never have the Heisman numbers, but team's performance could vault him higher onto the list.
  10. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame-Efficient in opener, surprised observers.  Fate linked to Notre Dame's wins and performances against Michigan and USC early in the year.  Charlie Weis hype an additional boost.
  11. Lawrence Maroney, Minnesota-Blew up with first two carries.  Settled down after that.  Needs to continue to record 200-yard games to stay on the radar.


  • Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
  • Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M
  • Brandon Cox, Auburn

On the radar:

  • Brian Calhoun, Wisconsin
  • Omar Jacobs, Bowling Green
  • Maurice Drew, UCLA
  • Sam Keller, Arizona State
  • Mike Hart, Michigan 

Saturday's slate

Check out the slate here.

I'll be out of town, don't know when I'll return, but obviously will be tuning into the games.

Things to look for:

Can Ohio State cover the spread against Miami of Ohio?  Who is their back?  What will Ted Ginn do?  Can Justin Zwick in his 1-game tryout finally move the passing offense?

Will Bowling Green fall flat against Wisconsin's defense or can they continue to look like a legitimate national offense?

Does Tennessee swiftly end the Darrell Hackney hype?

Watch USC/Hawai'i.  What trends emerge on offense and defense against an unusual opponent on the road? Does the new hydra-like offensive coordinator position thing... know what its doing?  What will Reggie and Matt do?  What USC freshmen and reserves make names for themselves?

Will Vince Young have another Michigan performance against LA-Lafayette?

What to make of new Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor?  Is their offense still a mess?

Can Texas A&M escape Clemson?  What will Reggie McNeal do?

How ugly will the Notre Dame/Pittsburgh game be?

Can Auburn live up to its promise and blow Georgia Tech out of the water?

Will Mike Price year II show continued progress at UTEP?

And for Sunday's games---

Is Perry Patterson a great young quarterback that nobody's talking about, or a dud?  Watch Jason Gwaltney's debut for West Virginia.  He's behind another pretty good back, so he may be limited early on.

Can Brian Brohm get over the nerves of his first start and keep Louisville's offensive machine rolling against Kentucky?


Can BYU's super receiver Todd Watkins light up Boston College?

Will Colorado/Colorado State be yet another thriller?

How will Nate Longshore do in his California debut?  Will the Bears play backup Joseph Ayoob?  What will Marshawn Lynch do?  Why in the world are they playing Sacramento State?

Tune into Boise State/UGA.  No questions, just answers.

I have no thoughts on Florida.  It will take them a few games to really get a grasp of the Urban Meyer offense.  Until then they're just playing ball kind of blind.

Does Navy still have that offensive magic of last year?  Can Maryland contain their run?

Can NC State upset a vulnerable Virginia Tech?  Tech's defense looks ferocious, but so does the Wolfpack's defensive line against a pretty shaky Marcus Vick.

Feel free to comment below on whatever strikes you and I'll respond to the more interesting comments when I get back.

Welcome back, college football!

I'm still figuring out a daily schedule for what will go on at Resource during the week, but count on my weekly Heisman and Top Teams rankings/lists, of course, lots of brief analysis of interesting stats, controversial banter, some more Katrina updates (Outside the Lines on ESPN did a nice show tonight about the Tulane team's relocation---pretty sad), and much more. 


Today's games "Opening Day"

This is great.

Below is the slate, all times Eastern---

7:00 PM-Vanderbilt @ Wake (ESPNU), Oregon @ Houston (ESPN2), William & Mary @ Marshall, Eastern Michigan @ Cincinnati, Western Illinois @ Toledo

7:30 PM-Buffalo @ Connecticut, Central Florida @ South Carolina (ESPN)

8:00 PM-Northwestern St. @ Louisiana Monroe

10:00 PM-Temple @ #20 Arizona State, Idaho @ Washington State

10:15 PM-Minnesota @ Tulsa (ESPN2)

There's nothing too compelling here.  Some quick thoughts looking this over...

The Wake offense has shown some life of late, and Vanderbilt might be vulnerable to some big plays from  Wake back Chris Barclay, who made the ACC first team.

The Oregon game is notable because Oregon had an embarrassing opening loss to Indiana last year.  They're looking to not make the same mistake again.  Houston's athletic department is hyping this up, and there's all kinds of "duckhunting" promotions on their websites, urging fans to attend.  Its understandable, not many fans really want to lose to a team with neon green uniforms and a duck as its mascot.  Also, its our first glance at super DT Haloti Ngata this year, most likely his last one in Euguene.  Oregon is also a sleeper pick to upset USC this year, so people may have some interest in that.  Lastly, Oregon super recruit Johnathan Stewart will get some carries.

A lot of people will be tuning into South Carolina's game, but honestly, there's nothing to get too excited about.  The team on the field is going to be pretty bad, and other than some visor-throwing, the Spurrier-is-back excitement will quickly get old.  I AM glad The Ol' Ballcoach is back in the game, and look forward to watching him restore some credibility to South Carolina.  But right now there's just not that much to get excited about with them.

I am excited to see Arizona State against Temple, if only to see how far along Sam Keller has come since his great performance against Purdue in the bowl game.  Hopefully ASU has put some new wrinkles into their offense, transitioning away from the more vertical style they employed under Andrew Walter.  This is also a rare intersectional cross-country OOC game, as Temple makes the trip all the way out west.

I'll also follow Minnesota a bit, as I admire their machine-style running offense (4.5 YPC game in/game out).  Lawrence Maroney will make his first Heisman statement this year, and we're curious as to his totals and highlights.

Also a reminder, ESPN is apparently having some kind of GameDay show tonight at 7PM Eastern, so tune in if that's your thing.

Be sure and stop back and comment on games or email your thoughts to us here!




Resource preseason Heisman list

This is way late.

Basically, the Heisman Trophy winner is dictated by a set of unspoken rules.  Blogger HeismanPundit has repeatedly and definitively spelled this out.

Thing is, some of the rules may be broken this year.  They almost were last year (Oklahoma quarterback Jason White finished third, dangerously near a repeat; teammate Adrian Peterson finished a fairly close second as a freshman and underclassman).

So let's separate things just a touch---

Leading candidates on my list who in theory cannot win:

1)Matt Leinart, USC Quarterback (No repeat winners)

2)Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma Back (No underclassmen)

3)Marshawn Lynch, California Back (No uderclassmen)

4)Brian Brohm, Louisville Quarterback (No underclassmen) 

5)Brandon Cox, Auburn Quarterback (No underclassmen)

I actually think Matt Leinart has a great shot at becoming just the second repeat Heisman winner, behind Ohio State's  Archie Griffin (who is perhaps a historical anomaly).  Peterson also has a great shot but his team may not be all that good this year and he'll be playing behind a shaky line, carrying an injury history of shoulder separations. Not good.  Its nearly impossible to win the award if you can't suit up every game.  The other three are very unlikely to win the award, but have strong shots at making it to New York City as "field" candidates among the final five.

If I had to make a list omitting those solid choices, It would look as follows:

1)Reggie Bush, USC Athlete

To me, Reggie Bush has nearly everything going for him and is arguably the leading candidate.  We would have voted for him last year, in fact.

2)Chris Leak, Florida Quarterback

Heisman finalists and winners are heavily slanted towards successful teams.  Leak put up great numbers under a far less offensively gifted coach.  Now he's playing under perhaps the elite offensive coach in the country (now that Norm Chow is gone from USC).  His numbers should go up, and importantly, his wins should go up.  It is CFR's view that Florida's offense will soon dominate the SEC.  How quickly the team picks it up should define the heights of Chris Leak's Heisman candidacy.

3)Vince Young, Texas Quarterback

I'm not all that high on Young's shot at winning the award.  He's simply not a great quarterback.  He is a great runner, though, but outside of the Rose Bowl, few remember many of his performances last year.  Can he consistently bring a Rose Bowl type game when people are watching?  He hasn't so far.  I think people will find themselves a bit disappointed this year, if only because its impossible to do the impossible every week.  Or is it?

4)Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M Quarterback

My faith in A&M has wavered lately, so if they're sliding, so too will Reggie in the Heisman race.  He's a more dynamic quarterback than Vince Young, and his stock will soar if the Aggies somehow capture the Big Twelve title.

5)Drew Tate, Iowa Quarterback

He's got that unmistakeable moxie, and is etched in voters' memories after the classic comeback against LSU in the bowl last year.  Tate's actually a decent thrower and Iowa should be fairly successful this season.  There's some Heisman finalist history with mobile Iowa quarterbacks, most recently Brad Banks who finished second to USC's Carson Palmer in 2002.

Some other candidates to consider:

  • Kyle Wright, Miami Quarterback

Kyle should have a pretty good statistical season, and he'll be the classic Miami quarterback driving a productive offense.  If the Canes show significant improvement this year Wright might get some looks and build for a 2006 campaign.

  • Lawrence Maroney, Minnesota Back

Minnesota's run offense is one of those classic CFB machine offenses, churning out yards with brutal efficiency, no matter the opponent.  There's some All America hype for two of his linemen, and he may go for well over 2,000 yards this year now that backfield mate Marion Barber III is in the NFL.  This year's field is simply too loaded for Lawrence to really make a dent unless his numbers are so far beyond what people anticipate he can do.

  • Jared Zabransky, Boise State Quarterback

On another name program, Jared might make a Drew Tate-like candidate.  He has incredible on field charisma, is a great athlete, and is a winner and a great quarterback.  His numbers will be great, his team will have a terrific record and offensive statistics, and he has a national game against Georgia opening weekend to hopefully show off his skills.  Problem is, he still plays for Boise State and is a bit of a strange dude.  His Heisman story is pretty cool though, being the son of potato farmers.  He can launch spuds nearly the length of an entire football field.  I wish I was making that up.

  • Brian Johnson, Utah Quarterback

Brian, a sophomore, is a first-time starter, but he's playing in a very productive offensive system on a team that placed its candidate into the final field of five just last year.  Like Alex Smith he's a good athlete and an intriguing thrower.  The Utah coaches are very comfortable with him.  This is one of those School-Position picks, kind of like USC quarterback or Iowa quarterback that have some resonance recently with Heisman voters.

I have issues putting two exciting candidates on my list---Ted Ginn, Jr. athlete Ohio State and Devin Hester, athlete, Miami.  Both of these guys don't really have a static position on the field.  They do their damage basically out-athleting the opposition, which is stunning to watch but difficult to measure as a Heisman voter.  Because they both return the ball they show versatility, but unlike an athlete like say Reggie Bush, they don't get the ball consistently enough to gain the public's faith as candidates.

Additionally, Ginn is just a sophomore and according to the Heismandments, underclassmen cannot win the award.  This is difficult because I absolutely love watching both of these guys and have long had my eye on them as superb football players.  But, Heisman history and rules are what they are, and that makes it nearly impossible for serious Heisman analysts to give them much weight as potential award winners.

Here are some other guys who I considered at some level for this list and do in fact have a shot of making the finals and maybe for a few of them a very slim shot at winning:

Chad Henne-Michigan Quarterback

Mike Hart-Michigan Back

Sam Keller-Arizona State Quarterback

Paul Thompson-Oklahoma Quarterback

Michael Bush-Louisville Back

Brady Quinn-Notre Dame Quarterback

Omar Jacobs-Bowling Green Quarterback

Given all this information, this is the CollegeFootballResource.com 2005 preseason Heisman Top Candidate List:

  1. Reggie Bush, USC back
  2. Matt Leinart, USC quarterback
  3. Chris Leak, Florida quarterback
  4. Vince Young, Texas quarterback
  5. Marshawn Lynch, California back
  6. Brian Brohm, Louisville quarterback
  7. Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M quarterback
  8. Drew Tate, Iowa quarterback
  9. Brandon Cox, Auburn quarterback
  10. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma back

For comparison, here is HeismanPundit's preseason candidate list:

  1. Reggie Bush, USC back
  2. Chris Leak, Florida quarterback
  3. Vince Young, Texas quarterback
  4. Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M quarterback
  5. Drew Tate, Iowa quarterback
  6. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame quarterback
  7. Maurice Drew, UCLA back
  8. Lawrence Maroney, Minnesota back
  9. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma back
  10. Matt Leinart, USC quarterback
HP separates his list into three sections, the Big Three (Bush, Leak, Young), the Darhorses (McNeal,Tate,Quinn,Drew,Maroney) and Those Aiming To Make History (Peterson, Leinart).

Ted Miller gets it right on Marshawn Lynch

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Ted Miller has this fine writeup about Cal superfreak Marshawn Lynch.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford's talking him up to select media folks.  Hmm...

Of note, Lynch is switching from an awesome uniform number (24) to a puzzling one (10).  That may take some getting used to, but hey, he's the show.

Think he'll make our Heisman list? 2,000+ yards should do the trick.

CFR has already said plenty about Lynch, but if you're new to the kid, here's a starter kit to get you on your way.


Brief hiatus

Off to Sin City for a few days, one brief pause before the upcoming sprint that is college football.

I'll leave you with several things to do.

  • Punditry
Be sure and continue to stop by HeismanPundit, the best in the biz.  He'll soon be opening CollegeFootballPundit.com, sure to be a necessary stop.

If you're new to HP, read and re-read and read again the Heismandments and then check out his Preseason Top 10 Heisman candidate list to see the killer consistency.

We'll be publishing our Heisman top 10 very soon here at CFR.

  • Countdown
The 2005-2006 college football season is almost here.  We've had a running countdown on here for nearly 100 days, and its all but run its course.

Check out our "Countdown Kiss":

  • Skepticism
One of the more prominent CFB bloggers, Brian at MGoBlog got innovative and created a BlogPoll to counteract the often misguided AP, Coaches and BCS polls, pulling together disparate but seemingly informed CFB bloggers to create a weekly poll.

Well, his preseason poll is out and sadly, it looks remarkably similar to all the other preseason polls out there.  Not good.  One would presume that Louisville, Boise State, and a few other outsiders might get a deserving look at being ranked high.  Guess not.  The BlogPoll is a great idea, but it's starting off pretty poorly in my eyes.  Many many many points go to Brian though for thinking of it, organizing it, and putting the thing together.  That's a lot of work.

Hopefully the castigation of those who actually tried to make a dent with his poll ceases, otherwise it fails part of its original mission to be different from all those clonelike poll voters out there who control the polls that do count in college football.

  • Self Promotion
Be sure and peruse CFR's myriad links and blog entries whether you're new or old to us.  There's always something new for those curious about the game.  In theory the resources we have available on here should help you win quite a few college football bar bets.  We're worth the bookmark.

The entire CFB blogosphere is bristling and lined up against us right now for having the audacity to choose Boise State over UGA this year, and for not falling in line in regards to SEC worship and respect for vanillaball offenses.  Talent ain't everything, sorry.

We're also a bit peeved with a Des Moines Register columnist who went after CFB bloggers collectively in a recent article.  What, exactly did CFR say about Steve Alford?  Right...

The archives here are always fun.  Check out entries like political football and see just how red college football really is.  The blue crowd will be happy to know the championship the last two seasons has been awarded to the team from a cool blue state.

  • Other Plugs
Buy the Phil Steele college football preview magazine if you haven't, and read RammerJammerYellowHammer from CFR friend Warren St. John, who runs the FanOpticon blog.