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Posts Tagged ‘Montee Ball’

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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    Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

    Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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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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          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. 11: Wisconsin

              At Tennessee, replacing seven assistant coaches isn’t so much cause for alarm as it is a sign of the times: Tennessee has suffered back-to-back seven-loss seasons, so it’s not surprising to see that Derek Dooley and the Volunteers are nearly starting from scratch — because assistant coaches value many things, but no one thing more than job security. But at Wisconsin, with the Badgers fresh off back-to-back trips to Pasadena, the changing cast of assistant coaches is met with some degree of surprise, if not outright skepticism: Wisconsin has been so good over the last three years, was so dominant over the last two years, that you’d almost expect every one of Bret Bielema’s assistants to remain in the fold until a head coaching opportunity opened up, as was the case with former coordinator Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh. While Tennessee and Wisconsin share this overhaul, the similarities end there: U.T. wants to regain some of its lost luster in the SEC; Wisconsin wants more of the same — more wins, more intimidation, more points, another Big Ten title and another shot at the Rose Bowl.

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                O’Brien’s Transfer Path Leads to Wisconsin

                The early leader for Danny O’Brien’s services was Vanderbilt, thanks to O’Brien’s connection to James Franklin, his former offensive coordinator at Maryland. That Randy Edsall and the Terrapins denied O’Brien an opportunity to transfer into Vanderbilt, and then accused the university of tampering with its former quarterback before O’Brien announced his decision to transfer, only lent further credence to the idea that Vanderbilt was the team to beat. More recently, thanks to two visits within two weeks, Penn State seemed to hold the lead for O’Brien’s signature. Eventually, however, O’Brien chose the school that made the most sense for all parties: Wisconsin.

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                  The Countdown

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