With Gurley Out, Heisman Race Shifts
Douglas Whitson ’15
Before I even start this article, I’d like to thank Georgia running back Todd Gurley for making it possible for this article to exist seeing as there wouldn’t be a discussion of who should win the Heisman had he not violated NCAA rules. However, he did, so now the Heisman race has busted open with a multitude of candidates. Also, if the SEC West wasn’t such a tough division I’d say that Dak Prescott is a shoe-in. Prescott and his Bulldogs still have to play Ole Miss and Alabama, two games which could very well write him off as a Heisman front runner if he plays poorly. The other frontrunners are Marcus Mariota of Oregon, Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, and Everett Golson of Notre Dame. Maybe none of these candidates will win and someone on the outside looking in will steal the coveted trophy.
The reason Dak Prescott is first in the Heisman race thus far is not just because he’s playing well. Every single one of these candidates has been playing great this season and close to or at the level of Prescott, but Prescott hasn’t lost a game yet…in the SEC West, the strongest conference in college football. Mississippi State has played three top ten teams in a row and has destroyed all of them. The other three frontrunners all have one loss except for Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin who has rushed for a combined 399 yards in the two games the Badgers have lost. Marcus Mariota was a frontrunner a couple weeks ago with Gurley, but then Oregon blew it in a home loss to unranked Arizona. Mariota has made up for his poor performance with two good games including a beat down of UCLA. Everett Golson has had a fantastic season thus far and played well against undefeated Florida State even though the Irish fell short. If Notre Dame can somehow make it into the college football playoff then look for Golson’s name to become more and more relevant in the Heisman discussion come December.
So those are the frontrunners, now what about the sleepers? There are a lot of them. The names who have seemed to stick around as sleepers for the Heisman are Bryce Petty, Bo Wallace, and Amari Cooper. Bryce Petty’s name may slip out of discussion for this week considering Baylor’s loss to an unranked West Virginia team even though they’re better than people think. Don’t worry Baylor fans, his name will come back if it even does leave momentarily because Baylor seems to be the favorite to win the Big 12 this year. Bo Wallace and Ole Miss are undefeated so far. So how has his name not climbed up to the top of the discussion? Even though his team is undefeated he hasn’t been as good as the likes of Prescott and Mariota this season. He’s good just not good enough. The way I see his name sliding into serious discussion is if Ole Miss manages to go undefeated this year or win the SEC West. Along with either of those, he needs to play great against Mississippi State and Auburn. The third sleeper is Amari Cooper of seventh ranked Alabama, a one loss team (to Ole Miss). Cooper is the best receiver this year in college football by far, well on his way to over a thousand yards receiving. It is hard for receivers to win the Heisman, so don’t expect too much out of Cooper. If he finished somewhere like third or fourth in the Heisman race I’d still be pretty impressed.
The Heisman truly is up for grabs this year with so many great players. We’ll see how it all plays out when December rolls around.