There are so many Heisman hopefuls out there right now. From Oregon to Florida and Michigan to Texas. Most of these guys will never face each other, but in the end, only one will walk away with the Heisman Trophy, given annually to the nation’s best college football player.
All of the Heisman Hopefuls have people supporting them in their chase for this coveted prize. But these people support their players in different ways. Completely different ways, even if they’re in the same state. Consider this: Oreogn QB Joey Harrington has a huge poster of himself put up in New York by the university for a cost of $250,000. This in promotion of his Heisman run. Oreogn State RB Ken Simonton’s athletic directorhas vowed to call each and every one of the Heisman voters. Quite a different way of promoting their canididate, huh? One spends a quarter-million dollars while another will be using his long distance calling plan to its fullest extent.
Although these promotions will help, the Heisman will be won on the college football field this season. I feel the following 6 players have the best chance of taking home the gold. Take a look, from 1 to 6, with 1 having the best chance, in my opinion:
Damien Anderson - RB - Northwestern: Northwestern has been picked by many to win the Big Ten, but to do that, Damien Anderson must have a big year. The Wildcats went 8-4 last season, and they will probably have to improve by at least 1 game to win the Big Ten. Anderson will be a senior this season, and he neees only 65 yards to become the all-time leading rusher in Northwestern history. He had 23 touchdowns and 2,063 yards in 2000, and every starter returns on the offensive line, along with QB Zak Kustok. If the Wildcats have an impressive season and win the Big Ten, Damien Anderson will no doubt by in New York for the Heisman presentation. Big-Time chances to play on TV: UNLV (9/7), Ohio State (10/6), Purdue (10/27).
Eric Crouch - QB - Nebraska: Nebraska will again contend for the Big XII title (what else is new?) and the national championship. Led by QB Eric Crouch, the Huskers could make it to Pasadena in 2001. They must get past Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Colorado, first, though, and each of these games should give Crouch a chance to show off his ability on national television. Crouch has already broken the Husker record for rushing yards as a QB and needs less than 200 yards to be the UN all-time leader in offense. If the Huskers, led by Crouch, are successful in 2001, Crouch should make the trip to New York for the Heisman presentation.
Ken Simonton - RB - Oregon State: Oregon State is picked at or near the top of the PAC 10 in almost every poll out there. They’ve even been picked to win the national championship by Sports Illustrated. The success of the Beavers largely depends on senior RB Ken Simonton. If Simonton can again rush for 1,000 yards in 2001, he can become only the 5th person in NCAA history and the 1st in the PAC 10 to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first 4 seasons. In his first 3 seasons, Simonton has averaged 1,415 yards each year on the ground. If Simonton stays on pace with these impressive numbers and Oregon State has an impressive season, the state of Oregon could have only its second ever Heisman trophy winner. Oregon State will have a chance to show off their star RB when they play UCLA, Southern Cal, and Oregon, as each of these games should be on primetime television.
Ken Dorsey - QB - Miami: Ken Dorsey, the junior QB of the Miami Hurricanes has lost only 1 game in his career, yet he has not played for the national championship. If his team can accomplish that feat in 2001, Dorsey will likely be a guest of the Downtown Athletic Club for the Heisman presentation. Dorsey threw for over 2,700 yards in 2000, and he threw only 5 interceptions while throwing 25 touchdowns. This year, Dorsey must find new WRs to throw to, but if he can, the Hurricanes and Ken Dorsey should be right where they want to be heading into December. Games against Penn State, Washington, Pttsburgh, Florida State, and Virginia Tech should give him a chance to show his skill on national TV.
Lee Suggs - RB - Virginia Tech: Lee Suggs, last year’s NCAA Divison I-A scoring leader with 15.27 points per game, will have to pick up a bigger share of the load in 2001 after the departure of Michael Vick. Suggs, who was named Big East Co-Offensive Player of the Year, will have numerous chances to shows his skills when they play big-name opponents such as Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Miami. If Suggs has a good year, so should the Hokies.
George Godsey - QB - Georgia Tech: George Godsey returns for his senior season to lead the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. In 2001, the Jackets were among the nation’s top 20 in scoring, total offense, and passing. He threw for over 2,900 yards in 2000, and he also threw 23 touchdowns. Even better news for Godsey is the fact that the Jackets return five of their top six receivers, including 5-11 all-America candidate Kelly Campbell. This seems to be the year GA Tech will catch FSU, if they ever will. If the Jackets do have big success in 2001, they’ll have to win big games with Syracuse, Florida State, Clemson, NC State, and Georgia. Success from Godsey will likely mean success for the Yellow Jackets in 2001.
Here is a list of 10 other guys who have a chance to win the trophy as well (in this order): (1) Woody Dantzler (Clemson), (2) Antonio Bryant (Pitt), (3) DeShaun Foster (UCLA), (4) Joey Harrington (Oregon), (5) TJ Duckett (Mich. St.), (6) Philip Rivers (NC State), (7) Carson Palmer (So Cal), (8) Antwaan Randle El (Indiana), (9) Chris Simms (TX), (10) Jason Thomas (UNLV).
Finally, I believe there is one surprise contender from each conference that could be a sleeper in the Heisman race. Here they are:
ACC: Kelly Campbell - WR - Georgia Tech
Big East: Andre Davis - AP/WR - Virginia Tech
Big Ten: Kurt Kittner - QB - Illinois
Big XII: Roy Williams - WR - Texas
C-USA: Dave Ragone - QB - Louisville
PAC 10: Joey Harrington - QB - Oregon
SEC: Wayne Madkin - QB - Mississippi State