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Posts Tagged ‘Johnathan Franklin’

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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      Wisconsin, Nebraska Leave the Picture

      Well, when your marquee win comes against Vanderbilt, as highly as we all think of the Commodores, you haven’t had a good day. It was a terrible day for the Big Ten, actually – one of the conference’s worst non-conference weekends in recent memory, trumping last weekend, which was defined by only one bad loss, not multiple losses. It was one weak game after another, beginning at noon, gaining steam around midday and then culminating, at nearly midnight, by an unforgivably bad performance from a program once defined by the pride it took in getting stops on the defensive side of the ball. From this entire group, a clutch of sour showings tinged with feel-good victories, two losses stand out above the rest.

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        No. 58: U.C.L.A.

        It’s the first two weeks of any a coach’s tenure, and it’s the most important two weeks of his tenure: hiring time. It’s absolutely vital. It trumps every single endeavor from that point forward, because every move he makes from those weeks on is directly impacted by the hires he makes over the first 14 days, give or take. How were Jim Mora’s first two weeks? Mora hit it out of the park: His new staff, hired in the weeks after he was named as Rick Neuheisel’s successor on Dec. 10, is so good that it overwrites the most looming concern surrounding his arrival — that Mora, after decades in the N.F.L., knew nothing about the college game. Well, Mora knew enough to hire the right man at nearly every spot on his new staff, and that’s all that counts — for now, at least. And while U.C.L.A. is knee-deep in a painful learning curve, one that will continue in August and through much of this season, Mora brought on the sort of staff that will help him bridge the gap between N.F.L. lifer and F.B.S. neophyte.

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          No. 81: U.C.L.A.

          This is pure ugliness, and U.C.L.A. fans shouldn’t stand for it anymore. I’m not just talking about Rick Neuheisel, though he’s on the list: I’m going back to Dec. 6, 1998, the last time the words Bruins and national picture were issued in the same phrase – that’s the day U.C.L.A. departed the title scene, and we’ve seen only sporadic periods of good play in the years since. Doesn’t U.C.L.A. deserve better? Why not? This is a proud program, one with a nice history and the annual potential for good things, could the Bruins ever get out of their own way. Many thought Neuheisel was the missing piece – a coach who could coach; that hasn’t been the case. Ch-ch-ch-changes: coaching changes, quarterback changes, offensive changes, defensive changes, changes made for the sake of change in an effort to revitalize a program and, perhaps, buy him more time at his alma mater. See, Neuheisel isn’t all that different from the fan annually grasping at straws in an effort to find something, anything to get excited about – “Maybe if I do (strange decision), things will turn around.” Well, they haven’t, and they probably won’t, is my guess, and U.C.L.A. will soon turn to another would-be savior to salvage its spiraling football hopes.

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            The Countdown

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