Heisman race: Big Ten quarterbacks lead Heisman race
By Zach Zeltman
College football fans are witnessing yet another exciting Heisman race this year.
Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson are two of the leading candidates for this year’s esteemed trophy.
Pryor was having a great season leading the Buckeyes to a number one national ranking until they were run over by the Wisconsin Badgers.
Much to the dismay of many in Ohio, the quarterback from the Michigan Wolverines has passed Pryor in the current Heisman running, according to many college football experts.
Robinson, who has led Michigan to a stellar start to the 2010 season, has emerged as a phenomenal playmaker for the Wolverines.
Pryor “could lead the Buckeyes to a national title,” said Dari Nowkhah, an analyst for ESPN.
“But he falls short of Robinson when it comes to being the game’s ‘most outstanding player.’ That’s not a knock on Pryor—he has playmakers all around him. He doesn’t have to make every play. Robinson does.”
The only way that Robinson wouldn’t win the Heisman, according to Nowkhah, is if he gets hurt, which may happen since he does so much of the ball carrying for the Wolverines.
Pete Flutak wrote an article for Scout.com at the end of last season where he rated this year’s top 20 Heisman candidates.
He didn’t even include Robinson, who is having a breakout season, on the list. He threw for 200 yards and rushed for 200 yards for the second time in his career against Indiana earlier this year.
He was only the second player in college football history to do so, accomplishing this feat in just his fifth game as a starter.
Mark Ingram, who won the Heisman last year, is having another great season so far.
He missed the first two games with an injury but has continued his impressive numbers since his return.
If Robinson continues to put up monumental numbers, Ingram has a slim chance to regain the momentum needed to win back-to-back Heisman awards.
According to the ESPN’s Expert Poll released after week five, Denard Robinson had nearly twice as many points as the second highest candidate, LaMichael James.
Pryor was then fourth on this list, but close behind the second and third-place contenders.
However, one game can make or break a college football season.
In week six, when Michigan hosted Michigan State, Robinson faced the best defense he had seen all year.
He had an unimpressive game, to say the least.
He finished the game with one touchdown pass, one rushing touchdown and three interceptions.
To his credit, he had quite a few well-thrown passes, which his receivers dropped, but if he plans on winning the Heisman, he is going to have to find a way to get the job done.
Then a week later, against Iowa, Robinson managed a measly 201 yards of total offense for the game with just one touchdown.
The problem Robinson will continue to face the rest of the season is the defense focusing on him since the rest of the offense is not as remarkable.
He has the ability to make plays with his arm and with his feet, but he needs to start getting more help from his teammates so defenses won’t be able to contain him so much.
Terrelle Pryor had much more success in week six, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
However, his subpar performance at Wisconsin will likely destroy his chances of winning the Heisman this year.
Oregon’s running back, LaMichael James, is starting to gain much more attention. He has led the Ducks to a first place ranking in the Associated Press poll.
James is an explosive player who continues to put up consistently impressive numbers against better competition than Robinson has seen this year.
If Oregon continues to win games with James leading the way, he could end up hoisting the Heisman at the end of the year.
Whether or not the Wolverine quarterback can win the Heisman this year is yet to be seen.
The good news for Michigan fans is that Robinson is only a sophomore. This means if he gets some better players around him in the following two years, he may have a much better chance at college football immortality.