For the past three years, I have hosted the Bloguin Heisman Poll at this site’s previous incarnation, the now-retired Crystal Ball Run. Starting this week, the weekly poll of Bloguin writers begins again, now in its new home here at The Student Section.
We are approximately one-third of the way through the season in terms of the number of games most teams have played (four to five). While the Heisman picture is far from clear, there are some players who are starting to distance themselves from the competition.
The 80th Heisman Trophy race promises to be an interesting one as Jameis Winston tries to win the award for the second straight year. Will his off-the-field controversies hold him back and allow for someone else to step up?
What you’ll see each week in the Bloguin Heisman Poll:
* The top five total vote getters, with quotes from the voters in support of their candidate
* A list of all players receiving votes
* Poll notes that look at some interesting facts, figures and trends of the poll
* The BHP Roll Call of voters, with links to their respective blogs and twitter accounts
Without any further ado, the first 2014 installment of the Bloguin Heisman Poll:
1) Todd Gurley (RB – Georgia): 12 points, 23.53% of votes, 3 first-place votes
Last week: 25 carries for 163 yards, 2 TD, 2 receptions, 1 for 1 passing for 50 yards
Season: 94 carries for 773 yards, 8.22 ypc, 154.6 ypg, 8 rushing TD, 11 receptions, 1 for 1 passing for 50 yards, 1 kickoff return for TD (3 KO returns on the year)
This week: at No. 23 Missouri (4-1)
A dual threat, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. A nice effort against a leaky Vanderbilt defense helped him pad his stats, but he’s still a beast in the rugged SEC.
– Scott Halasz, Buckeye Battle Cry
Gurley has done everything he can do to help his team win this year. He’s run the ball with ferocity, he’s returned a kickoff for a touchdown, he’s caught passes out of the backfield, and he’s even thrown a 50-yard pass (who knew he was left handed?). At over 8 yards per carry and 194.6 all purpose yards per game, all Gurley needs is the ball in his hands when the game matters. If anybody can stop the current run of quarterbacks winning the Heisman it’s Gurley, but somebody has to give him the damn ball.
– Kevin Causey, The Student Section
2) Dak Prescott (QB – Mississippi State): 11 points, 21.57% of votes, 1 first-place vote
Last week: 19 of 25 passing (76%) for 259 yards, 2 TD, 23 carries for 77 yards and 3 rushing TD, 1 reception
Season: 77 of 121 passing (63.6%) for 1,223 yards, 13 TD vs 2 INT, 85 carries for 455 yards and 6 rushing TD, 2 receptions, 1 receiving TD
This week: vs No. 2 Auburn (5-0)
I am not sure Dak Prescott is the best player in college football, but I feel confident in suggesting no player has been as valuable or vital to his team’s success at this point in the season. No other quarterback has led his team to two top-10 victories. His numbers may not compare to some of the other quarterbacks out there, but Prescott has been tremendous so far this season.
– Kevin McGuire, The Student Section
3) Ameer Abdullah (RB – Nebraska): 7 points, 13.73% of votes, 2 first-place votes
Last week: 24 carries for 45 yards, 1.88 ypc, 2 rushing TD, 2 receptions
Season: 138 carries for 878 yards, 6.36 ypc, 146.3 ypg, 10 rushing TD, 7 receptions, 2 receiving TD
This week: Bye
While his team dropped a game on Saturday and he wasn’t great, he’s been amazing all year round. He should be over the 1,000-yard mark in his next contest, impressive stuff for sure.
– Andrew Coppens, Madtown Badgers
4) Jameis Winston (QB – Florida State): 6 points, 11.76% of votes, 2 first-place votes
Last week: 23 of 39 passing (59%) for 297 yds with 1 TD and 1 INT, 36 yards rushing, 1 rushing TD
Season: 96 of 144 passing (66.7%) for 1,288 yds with 8 TD and 5 INT, 44 yards rushing, 2 rushing TD
This week: at Syracuse (2-3)
Bring me your feigned outrage. I’ll put it in the circular file cabinet with the rest. We’ve seen how much Winston means to this team directly, a bad Clemson fumble from losing without him. He’s still the best player in college football. I won’t participate in the “we don’t want a guy to win twice in a row” witch hunt.
– Bart Doan, The Student Section
If the goal of the Heisman Trophy is to honor the most outstanding player in college football, then Winston belongs atop the list. Sure, his numbers aren’t what they were a year ago, but the numbers fail to tell the entire story. The fact is when Florida State needed him to come up with a big play this year, he delivered. Whether it was a 50-yard completion to place the final nail in Oklahoma State’s coffin or leading the ‘Noles to four consecutive scoring drives in the second half to erase a 17-point deficit against N.C. State, Winston made it happen. His penchant for coming through when the game is on the line separates him from the other top candidates.
– Terry Johnson, The Student Section
5) Marcus Mariota (QB – Oregon): 5 points, 9.80% of votes, 1 first-place vote
Last week: 20 of 32 passing (62.5%) for 276 yds with 2 TD and 0 INT, 1 reception for 26 yds
Season: 91 of 128 passing (71.1%) for 1,411 yds with 15 TD and 0 INT, 215 yds rushing, 3 rushing TD, 1 reception
This week: at No. 18 UCLA (4-1)
Despite the Ducks’ upset loss at home to Arizona, Mariota has still been the nation’s best player this season. He ranks in the top five nationally in passer rating, yards-per-attempt and completion percentage. The junior quarterback has accounted for 18 total touchdowns without an interception.
– Mike Ferguson, Noled Out
Also receiving votes: Melvin Gordon (RB – Wisconsin) 3 points; Anu Soloman (QB – Arizona) 2 pts; Amari Cooper (WR – Alabama) 2 pts, Connor Halliday (QB – Washington State) 2 pts.
– At this point in the season, the leader in the 2011 poll was Andrew Luck; the leader in the 2012 poll was Geno Smith; the 2013 poll leader after week six was Marcus Mariota.
– Since 2011, at this point in the season, this is the closest race we’ve had. In 2011, Luck had 30.21% of the vote; in 2012 Smith had 48% of the vote; in 2013, Mariota had 41% of the vote.
– Last year at this point in the poll the eventual winner, Jameis Winston, was ranked fifth with just 11.67% of the votes.
– The last running back to win the award was Mark Ingram in 2009. The appearance of Gurley, Abdullah and Gordon in the poll means there is a shot that streak could be broken this season.
– Mississippi State has never had a Heisman Trophy winner, neither has Oregon.
– A wide receiver has not won the award since Desmond Howard in 1991. Amari Cooper is having a fantastic season with 52 receptions. Can he break the streak?
– Someone to keep an eye on? Auburn’s Nick Marshall. If Auburn can beat Mississippi State, he could take some of Dak’s votes.
– The Student Section‘s managing editor, Matt Zemek, has chosen to abstain from voting until the first poll of November.
A Final Thought
The Heisman race is wide, wide open in a year of unprecedented parity, and the front-runner will probably change every week. Saturday’s chaos shows we are all Jon Snow; we know nothing, not when games are won on last-play Hail Marys and kickers miss 19-yard field goals and referees are making up rules interpretations as they go along. Suddenly Mississippi is the capital of football. Out west, Cal is 4-1 and the leader in the Pac-12 North, defying every logical prediction. A quarterback can throw for 736 yards and 7 touchdowns and still lose. It’s a crazy year and the drama is only beginning.
– Dale Newton, The Duck Stops Here
Bloguin Heisman Poll Roll Call
Andrew Coppens – Madtown Badgers (@andyonfootball)
Bart Doan – The Student Section (@TheCoachBart)
Dale Newton – The Duck Stops Here (@DSH_Newton)
Kevin Causey – The Student Section (@CFBZ)
Kevin McGuire – Nittany Lions Den/The Student Section (@kevinoncfb)
Matt Zemek – The Student Section (@SectionMZ)
Mike Ferguson – Noled Out (@Noled_Out)
Scott King – Bearcats Blog/The Student Section (@bearcatsblog)
Scott Halasz – Buckeye Battle Cry (@ohiostatescott)
Terry Johnson – The Student Section (@SectionTPJ)