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MATT FAIRCHILD BREAKS DOWN THE TOP RETURNING CANDIDATES FIGHTING TO WIN AMERICA'S MOST PRESTIGIOUS AWARD

With most spring practices being held as of this moment, I decided to do a little research and take a look at the top returning players for next season. Like you, my blood boils and my skin shivers when thinking about the upcoming college football season. I figured what the hell, let's take a Sportscrack look at the best players. And as we all know, if you are going to win a Heisman, you either have to break some records or play for a title contending team. So let's get that tailgate started and crack open that cold beer that tastes so good when it hits your lips. College Football is king here at Sportscrack.com.

 

THE LEADING CANDIDATES

 

Brady Quinn, Notre Dame-The Brady4Heisman hype started last year after a brilliant season in which the 6'4 QB matured under the tutelage of offensive genius Charlie Weis. Smashing Notre Dame records with over 3600 yards passing and 32 TD's, while only throwing 7 INTs, Brady finished a distant fourth in the Heisman race last year. Expect similar numbers this year and a top 3 preseason team with an offense that returns most of it's offensive line and play makers such as Darius Walker, Jeff Samardzija, and Rhema McKnight.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-USC

 

Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma-Peterson's rushing stats were nearly cut in half last season in comparison to his freshman season (finished 2nd in Heisman voting) but that was in large part due to a Sooner team that had inexperienced and inconsistent QB play and an offensive line that was missing pieces. Expect Peterson to return to his freshman form with the maturation of QB Rhett Bomar helping spread the defense so it can key on Peterson. If Oklahoma wins at Oregon on September 16th and Peterson has a big game then he instantly vaults into the top 3 for the Heisman.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-TEXAS

 

Troy Smith, Ohio State-Vince Young may have had the best bowl game performance, but Troy Smith's wasn't far behind. In destroying Notre Dame with his precision passing and quick footwork in the Fiesta Bowl, Smith finished the season completing almost 63% of his passes while throwing for 16 TDs and only 4 INTs. If he can manage to stay out of trouble, the kid could have a huge season and again have the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-TEXAS

 

Brian Brohm, Louisville-True, Louisville plays a schedule that is as soft as Ron Jeremy after doing an eight ball, but Brohm is the real deal. Many detractors will say he can't contend because he plays in the Big East and he is coming off an injury. Doesn't matter. The kid can play and he might be the most polished passer not named Brady. He completed nearly 70% of his passes while throwing for 19 TDs and only 5 INTs last season, expect 27 plus TDs from him this season.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-West Virginia

 

Kenny Irons, Auburn-As I have said before, to be a candidate you usually have to play for a title contending team. Irons will be the best player on the best team in the SEC, so he has that going for him. While rushing for nearly 1300 yards and 13 TDs, Irons proved to be the top back in the SEC last season while nearly leading Auburn back to the SEC championship game. I expect QB Brandon Cox to have a really good season, but I also think that Tommy Tuberville is going to give Irons the ball during goal line situations, and we all know that TDs help win Heisman's.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-Alabama

 

Darius Walker, Notre Dame-Only a sophomore last season, Walker had a shade under 1200 yards rushing while catching 43 balls for 351 yards in a first year offense under Charlie Weis. While not the fastest back or the biggest back, Darius does a lot of little things that helps his team win. When the Irish were in a jam with their passing game they had the confidence to give the ball to Walker and expect big things (241 total yards against Stanford, 3 TDs against Ohio State) while trying to uphold a balanced attack. Incoming freshman James Aldridge could steal some carries from him, but expect Darius to score a ton of touchdowns in the most explosive offense in College Football.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-USC

 

Steve Slaton, West Virginia-19 TDS as a true freshman. Let me repeat myself. 19 f-ing TDs. Slaton didn't even play in 3 of West Virginia games last year but still managed to score more often than a Mountaineer with his sister. Scary stats literally and figuratively you say. How about the over 200 yards rushing and 3 TDs against the heavily favored Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl last season? If West Virginia can continue to improve on last season, don't be surprised if Slaton gets a call to New York to sit with a bunch of old farts.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-Louisville

 

Dwayne Jarrett, USC-Another tall freak of nature for the Trojans, Jarrett will more than likely leave USC with every receiving record. Last season he caught 16 TDs with nearly 1300 yards receiving. But who will throw him the ball this year? Mark "Dirty" Sanchez or John David "leaking" Booty are vying for the QB spot left by Matt "We should have won" Leinart. I'm going with Dirty Sanchez just for reasons that are entertaining and childish to me. Plus I want to hear the old and senile Keith Jackson call him Dirty Sanchez. Oh yeah, Jarrett will have a big year no matter who throws him the ball.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-Notre Dame

 

Mike Hart, Michigan-What the hell is this guy doing on here you jest? It is true that Hart's rushing numbers dropped from 1455 yards to 662 last season and scUM had a terrible season. The main reason why Michigan did so bad wasn't because Lloyd Carr is an idiot, we all that. It was because they had no running game after losing Hart to nagging injuries. As much as I detest Michigan, I can see Hart coming back and having a big year. If Hart rolls then Michigan rolls, but Carr is still a self absorbed idiot.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-Ohio State

 

Ted Ginn, Ohio State-4 TDs are hardly Heisman worthy, but Ginn was still trying to discover what role he played in Jim "Gay man sweater vest" Tressel's offense last season. In the Fiesta Bowl he discovered it. Or better yet, Troy Smith discovered him. Heisman candidates often are guys who make the big play, have the extra gear and have that something that makes them special. Ginn has all of these qualities. If he can return kicks for TDs and catch balls and make things happen then he can make a legitimate push. Everyone loves the homerun threat.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-Texas

 

Drew Stanton, Michigan State-If anybody is a wild card in the Heisman race it has to be Stanton. One could argue that Stanton was vying with Brady Quinn as the best quarterback of the Midwest last year. He threw for over 3000 yards and 22 TDs, but the Spartans crumbled down the stretch and didn't even make a bowl game, despite an impressive win at Notre Dame early in the season. The team was so shitty at the end of the season that they wound up losing 6 of their last 7 after winning their first 4 games. If Stanton wants to contend he will have to lead the Spartans to a Big Ten Title. In other words, no fucking chance.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-Michigan

 

Marshawn Lynch, Cal-Last year I stated that Marshawn could rush for 2000 yards in a season while accumulating 20 plus TDs. As you know, he didn't come near these numbers, but it wasn't my fault or even his. Injuries and Justin Forsett delayed such gaudy numbers. Despite missing 2 games and splitting carries with Forsett, he still rushed for 1246 yards while averaging 6.4 yards per carry. I think he is the best runningback in the nation, thus he makes the list no matter what his numbers look like.

MAKE OR BREAK GAME-USC

 

THE DARK HORSES

 

Chris Leak, Florida-One year ago I had people telling me I was crazy saying Brady Quinn was a better QB than Leak. Leak was this, Leak was that, blah blah, blah. Last time I checked he still hasn't won a SEC Championship or really even won a huge game. Guess I was right. The kid is good, but not that good. Tim Tebow will be better. Sleep good Gator fans.

 

Drew Weatherford, FSU-As the drug out hippie Bill Walton would say, "GAG me with a spoon." Yes, I hate FSU. Not just because they have a coach that is more shady than a heroin dealer that "just wants to be your friend" or the fact that they still have that BS National Championship from 1993 or that Chris "Pops" Weinke won a Heisman. It is the fact that I still have FSU fans come up to me and tell me that they were a better team than Notre Dame in 1993. Why am I bringing it up? Because despite all these facts I think Weatherford is a good quarterback and that is saying a lot. If he cuts down the interceptions and wins some big games then he is a contender.

 

Lorenzo Booker, FSU-Supposedly this kid is working his ass off to be a better player this off season. Now that Leon Washington is gone, Booker will get the carries in the complicated and ridiculously bad play calling led by Offensive Coordinator Jeff Bowden. It's his senior year and he wants to improve his stock for the NFL Draft. In other words, he could have a huge season, much like a player in his free agent year.

 

Michael Bush, Louisville-The kid had 24 TDs last season and I leave him on the dark horse list. I guess the reason why is because the QB always gets the recognition whether a team is doing good or bad. Despite all of Bush's talents, which are enormous by the way, Brian Brohm will outshine him in an offense that will put up 40 plus points every game.

 

Kenneth Darby, Alabama-Darby put up a solid season for the Tide by rushing for over 100 yards six times last season. In order to contend for the Heisman he will have to score more than 3 TDs this season. I would be shocked if he rushed for less than 10 TDs.

 

Drew Tate, Iowa-Tate could be the Doug Flutie of this football season. He is listed at 6'0, but if he 6 feet tall then I have a John Holmes hidden in my pants. If Iowa wins this year it will be because of Drew Tate. The little guy can play and could put up huge numbers this season for the Hawkeyes. Big Ten title would help, got that Hawkeye fans.

 

Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame-Fear the Mullet. The Shark put up incredible numbers with over 1200 yards receiving and 15 TD catches. The only thing that worries me about Samardzija is his head getting too big after last season. Fellow receiver Rhema McKnight will catch a ton of passes and Brady Quinn and Darius Walker are more serious candidates for the Heisman thus making the Shark a dark horse candidate. Nothing but love for you Shark.

 

Blake Mitchell, South Carolina-Two things are working for young Blake Mitchell. One, he has the best coach in the south in Steve Spurrier. Two, he has the best receiver in the south in Sidney Rice. The Cocks should improve on last season, one in which they won 7 games and made a bowl game. It is true that Mitchell sucked donkey nuts the last two games, but the Lagrange, GA native will have a big junior season

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Guest bluester2000

1) It's not a mullet you tool shed.

 

2) How can Brady be expected to put up similar numbers to last year and be the front runner when he finished a distant 4th last year? Oh, that's right because sports writers are political little bitches.

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Guest Shamrock83

No offense to D. Walker but I can't really see him seriously competing for the Heisman.... that would be great if he did though... we need more production on the ground

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Guest Kgreene2343
1) It's not a mullet you tool shed.

 

2) How can Brady be expected to put up similar numbers to last year and be the front runner when he finished a distant 4th last year? Oh, that's right because sports writers are political little bitches.

 

 

1.) Agreed, as he doesn't have goofy looking bangs

 

2.) Although sports writers suck, Brady is also the only returning guy in the top 4 not to mention he should have finished ahead of Leinhart in terms of statistics.

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Heisman will be down to 3 guys immediately.

 

1. Brady Quinn

2. Adrian Peterson

3. Kenny Irons

 

Chris Leak will not even be starting by the 6th game of the season. OSU's guys will drop after they lose to Michigan and Texas. USC will not have anyone contending because you have to have a QB to make a receiver a star. Brohm is the next Dave Klingler and Louisville usually plays on Thursday night on the deuce not on network on Saturday. The west virginia guys just don't get a lot of press. Darius and Shark, while good players, WILL NOT get the Heisman. I will predict that Darius will get at least 70-80% of the touches this season and that Thomas will be the change up when they need speed. I doubt that Aldridge gets much, if any, time this year for many reasons. The biggest being that his knee will not be completely healed and he will need time to get the offense.

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Guest littlefabes09

I would not count out darius he is a very great back. but he just needs the carries look at would he did when he only averged about 15 carries a game. I mean i dont doubt the pass game but if we cant get it done there i would gice the ball to him, i mean look at what he could do to the buckeye eun defence, broke right through it and had all ND touchdowns that what i mean when u cant get it done threw the air

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Guest littlefabes09

I believe ur top 3 by the end of the year will be

 

1.number one senior Brady Quinn just look at the numbers last year.

 

 

2.Look out for Adrien outsatanding back look at what he could do last year when he was healthy just amazing look out quinn this guys got the talent.

 

3.Troy Smith, this guys can do it all i would think with his outstanding receivers ted ginn jr. and gonzales both trmendes receviers, but u should also fear him when he takes it on the ground he can best u out if hes in the open.

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Welcome welcome Little to DD. Can't really disagree with you. Nice analysis. :) Pop in anywhere on the board. New opinions are always fresh and wanted. I personally felt we would be more run oriented myself this year but... that but. (situation to work out) It's up to Charlie he's the keeper of the flame. In that I say mix it up more so of corse Bradys stats may go down. Jeese I opened myself to attacks here. (Ahahahahah :lol: ) All good natured opinions.

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I Believe CW keeps it the way he had last year and I see Brady haveing a hell of a year.DW if doesn't get alot of running yardage i see him getting more passes out of the back this year again.So that will help BQ and DW in both there stats.

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Guest littlefabes09

i do agree about everything that u said and i believe Wies has got his team under control and he know what hes doing but i always think when in doubt put it on the ground i mean i already know the duo of samardzija and McKnight are just going to amazing but if u have trouble give it to Darius he can get the job done but even if quinn has low stats for next year if he wins he will get the hiesman award if they can get the win that all im worryed about for now but the hiesman is also very good lol.

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Guest irishrick

sorry guys, but i think brady will come in second at best, the only way he can win the heksman is fore the irish to win the nc game, walker is good and so is the shark, he is ok but i think that cw needs to yank his chain a little ,as his head is getting big, :lol:

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Guest TDJesus3

irishrick who would you say wins then?

 

I do disagree with you i think its BQ's to lose if we hit BCS its over, QB at ND is the most glamouris position in college football and the voters will die over him if he puts up the numbers, plus with the pro scouts all over him the hype is going to be huge, i dont think we have to win an NC, i think he has to make the BCS and put up big numbers

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Guest littlefabes09

so who do u think will win i mean..if i think what ur saying his yes there is a lot of pressuree on quinn for the hiesman but i think he can handle it..... i saw and interview with him not to long ago and he said that he wasen't really focused on it he is to busy to think about i know in his head he just want to get the job done by winning games....if the irish win,more hype goes to him so i dont see how he doesnt get it unless he gets injured or another winning team like ohio state or even Oklahoma because of there hieman canidates like Troy Smith and Adrien Peterson if they win they get hype to but the guy with the most right now is the main man Brady Quinn and also dont forget they have just the same pressure as quinn

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Guest HollisterCo

I seem to believe your guy Brady Quinn will get the Heisman, he's an incredible talent, and Coach Weis is going to have him even more prepared this Fall.

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