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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Murray’

P.S.R. Heisman Watch: Week 4

It’s not unprecedented for the eventual Heisman winner to lose at least one game during the regular season – in fact, recent history shows that it’s just as common for the winner to lose at least once than it is for him to run the table. Of the last 10 Heisman winners, not counting Reggie Bush, five have lost at least one game during the regular season: Eric Crouch lost once, Carson Palmer lost twice, Tim Tebow lost three times, Sam Bradford lost once and Robert Griffin III lost three times. So the door to the Heisman is far from closed to Matt Barkley, who was unable to lead U.S.C. past Stanford on Saturday night. But one difference between Barkley and the five quarterbacks listed above is that Barkley entered the season as the undisputed favorite; that might help, in a way, but it might also open up a path for one of his prime challengers – De’Anthony Thomas or Geno Smith, for example – to put a stranglehold on the top spot. One thing is clear: Barkley can’t lose again. Before tackling the list, another installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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    P.S.R. Heisman Watch: Week 3

    The SEC rules the roost – Monday’s post touting the Big 12 notwithstanding. Beyond the national titles, the SEC has also staked a claim to the Heisman since 2007, when Tim Tebow was the league’s first of three Heisman winners in four years. So… what can’t the SEC do? While it’s going to be hard for a team to take out Alabama or L.S.U. in January, it seems – through two weeks, to be fair – that the SEC will not put forth a leading Heisman contender in 2012. For now, fringe and true-blooded candidates like Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones, Eddie Lacy, Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson stand removed from the Heisman’s upper crust. The good news? These players will have ample opportunities to state their case in October and November, when SEC opponents butt heads for conference supremacy. For a player like Murray and Jones, solid showings against Missouri are one thing; doing the same against Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina will make voters really stand up and take notice. Before getting to the list, another installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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      P.S.R. Heisman Watch: Week 2

      This week’s moving and shaking has not impacted the top group: the four or five leading contenders remain in place, with little movement. But along the back end, opening-week showings from several under-the-radar skill players – not too far under the radar, to be honest – has led to a retooling of the second tier. Who knew that Taylor Martinez had that sort of arm? Who knew that Denard Robinson was going to lay such an egg? The latter question raises another interesting idea: What does Robinson need to do to leap back into the mix for the Heisman? It won’t be merely about numbers for Michigan’s senior, though that’s certainly part and parcel of any player’s candidacy – Robinson needs to cut down on interceptions, do more with his legs, score touchdowns, what have you. But Robinson also needs highlight-reel moments, the sort that could remind the voting public why he remains one of the most dangerous players in college football; beyond that, he needs wins. A run to Pasadena would put the bloom back on Robinson’s rose. Before getting to the list, another installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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        P.S.R. 2012 Heisman Watch: Preseason

        Remember when Andrew Luck was a lock for the Heisman? His Heisman campaign took off roughly midway through his sophomore season, when Luck led Stanford to its first major breakthrough, and then reached a fever pitch once he opted to return for one more season with the Cardinal. At this point a year ago, Luck was the odds-on favorite to not only win the Heisman but to win it with ease – going wire-to-wire unlike any Heisman winner in recent memory. That Luck didn’t was not a reflection on his own level of play, which was superb, but rather an illustration of just how hard it is to maintain your grasp on the top spot while dozens of other qualified candidates state their case over the three months of the regular season. Last fall, Luck’s early lead evaporated once Robert Griffin III led Baylor to its finest season in decades, if not the finest season in school history. A year later, Matt Barkley finds himself in a similar situation. Before getting to the leading contenders, the first installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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          No. 6: Georgia

          If football games were 15 minutes long, Georgia would have been the best team in the country. If football games were 30 minutes long, Georgia would have worn the SEC crown for the first time since 2005. The Bulldogs allowed only 27 points in the first quarter all season: Boise State, Florida and Auburn scored one touchdown apiece; Mississippi State and Kentucky added a field goal; and the rest, the other nine teams, were held scoreless. In the first half of games, Georgia outscored its 14 opponents by a score of 275-111. Against Auburn on Nov. 12, the Bulldogs put together the program’s most dominating first half of SEC play since… when? But it was a different story in the second half, with this fact illustrated no better than in the two biggest games of Georgia’s season. In the opener, Boise State left Georgia in the dust with back-to-back touchdowns to open the second half. In the SEC title game, Georgia’s 10-0 second-quarter lead was followed by 42 unanswered L.S.U. points, 35 of which came over the game’s final 30 minutes. Georgia has already proved it can play with anyone for 30 minutes. But to be the best in the SEC, the Bulldogs need to round into 60-minute form.

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            The Year in Review: Georgia (10-4, 6-2)

            If football games were 15 minutes long, Georgia would have been the best team in the country. If football games were 30 minutes long, Georgia would have worn the SEC crown for the first time since 2005. The Bulldogs allowed only 27 points in the first quarter all season: Boise State, Florida and Auburn scored one touchdown apiece; Mississippi State and Kentucky added a field goal; and the rest, the other nine teams, were held scoreless. In the first half of games, Georgia outscored its 14 opponents by a score of 275-111. Against Auburn on Nov. 12, the Bulldogs put together the program’s most dominating first half of SEC play since… when?

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              So Yeah, Richt Isn’t Going Anywhere

              The stories were written in September. They came too easily; they rolled off the fingertips, with a little background and an empty space for quotes. There are deadlines to meet, remember, and it seemed like many wanted to get in ahead of the curve in ending Mark Richt’s tenure after an 0-2 start to his 11th season in Athens. Those stories, written in September in advance of December, need to be rewritten — it not deleted altogether. Richt isn’t going anywhere. Not in 2011, not in 2012 and not until he opts to step down on his own volition, in my opinion. His team, written off in September, is in the driver’s seat in the SEC East; his team, after being written off, is firmly in the B.C.S. hunt.

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                Nightmare Scenario Enters Stage Two

                Alright, so we’re entering the nightmare scenario. You know, the opposite of the dream scenario, which was 2-0, ranked high in each poll and America’s new darling, complete with a seat devoid of significant heat. You couldn’t blame Georgia for dreaming that big when looking a season-opening pair of Boise State and South Carolina: intimidated, perhaps a bit, but also excited about the potential of reversing a two-year slide by notching two impressive wins. One down, one to go, and Georgia now needs a win in the worst possible way.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.