The 2012 Heisman Trophy race is looking for several new candidates.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – These are the seven college football players that Sports Illustrated promoted as Heisman Trophy-worthy before the 2012 college football season opened.
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball; Landry Jones, the Oklahoma quarterback; Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina tailback; Oregon tailback De'Anthony Thomas; Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, Geno Smith, the quarterback at West Virginia and Mr. Golden Boy himself – USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Grab your Sharpie and your Wite-Out. It's audible time. There are at least two names to scratch as well as one to add – Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Robinson couldn't win the Heisman Trophy now if the voting requirements were restricted to members of the Wolverines' Letterman Club. He'll never earn a single vote from SEC territory after Robinson only completed 42 percent of his passes and averaged 2.7 yards per carry against Alabama. He's a talented guy. He's just not Heisman-worthy.
You can also scratch Ball. You can't blame Ball that the performance of the Badgers' offensive line has been so patty-cake that the Wisconsin line coach has already been fired. But you also can't give the Heisman to a back who ranks 27th nationally in rushing with two touchdowns in three games, like Ball. Nice try, Montee.
We're also waiting for Heisman highlights from Lattimore (66th in rushing at less than 79 yards per game) and Thomas (69th, 76 yards per game).
Then there is Barkley, who fumbled his first Heisman moment game at Stanford Saturday. Barkley had more interceptions (two) than touchdowns (zero). His coach, Lane Kiffin, said that Barkley made "two of his worst decisions in our three years together on back-to-back plays."
Difficult to interpret that comment as – "Rent your tuxedo, we're going to New York City to strike the Heisman pose in December."
Yes, there is 75 percent of the season to play. Yes, everybody can rally (except Robinson and Ball. They're done.)
But, yes, the Heisman hype parade is always searching for fresh faces to spotlight. Bridgewater will get consideration. He's already been mentioned on several Heisman Watch lists – and he should be, considering Bridgewater has completed nearly 82 percent of his passes. He has five touchdowns without an interception in 88 passing attempts.
Getting the chance to return home to play Florida International in Miami this Saturday will stir more coverage for Bridgewater in SEC territory. Then Louisville needs to be 7-0 when Cincinnati visits for its Friday night game against the Cards on ESPN2 Oct. 26.
That's a lot of moving parts. Is it a longshot? Absolutely. It's always a long shot for any player from this area. Ask Tim Couch. Bridgewater is probably a year away from serious consideration.
But the 2012 Heisman Watch List is looking for replacement parts. After three games, Bridgewater deserves a look. If U of L keeps winning and he keeps completing passes, he'll get one.
*The Southeastern Conference is the Augusta National address in college football. It comes with the platinum-level ID card. You don't have to worry about respect. It's a fringe benefit of membership.
But with league play ramping up this week, remember this about life in the SEC: It's like dancing with a jackhammer.
I ran the numbers on the remaining games that Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana and Western Kentucky face this season. Better to present them without further editorial comment.
Combined Records of Future Opponents
Kentucky: 21-6 .778
Indiana: 17-9, .654
Louisville: 13-11, 542
Western Kentucky: 10-15, .400
Future Opponents Currently Unbeaten
Kentucky: 5 (Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Georgia, Samford)