Updated: September 1, 2009, 2:57 PM ET
ESPN Experts Poll
Each week, ESPN.com's panel of experts casts its votes for the top Heisman candidates. The panel consists of analysts, former players, former coaches and ESPN.com's college football staff. Votes: 1st place = 5 points, 2nd place = 4, 3rd place = 3, 4th place = 2, 5th place = 1.
|Dez Bryant||WR||Oklahoma State||Jr.||0||0||0||1||3||5|
|Daryll Clark||QB||Penn State||Sr.||0||0||0||0||2||2|
|Jonathan Dwyer||RB||Georgia Tech||Jr.||0||0||0||0||2||2|
|Terrelle Pryor||QB||Ohio State||So.||0||0||0||1||0||2|
Editor's note: Each week this season, ESPN.com will ask one of its Heisman Watch voters to explain his/her picks. Heisman Watch will return Sept. 8.1. Colt McCoy, Texas: The top three guys from my Heisman ballot last year return and I'm beginning 2009 with my No. 1 guy from 2008, Colt McCoy, in the same position. McCoy is a great leader, a dangerous runner, has a quick release and is incredibly accurate (77 percent in 2008.) He also performed at an incredibly high level throughout the season and didn't have any subpar games. Better still, he has the benefit of having his O-line back (unlike Sam Bradford) and his top playmaker back (unlike Tim Tebow) in Jordan Shipley. Plus, I think there will be a feeling among the Heisman electorate that will cause them to side with McCoy if it's a toss-up in the voting, feeling like it's "his turn." 2. Tim Tebow, Florida: Tebow is definitely in the mix, especially since his team is the preseason No. 1 and there is a huge celebrity quality about him now. I'm intrigued to see this Tebow Version 2.0 with the arrival of new QB coach Scot Loeffler. Tebow was already pretty accurate. Will his tightened-up delivery enable him to take the next step as a passer? Tebow figures to put up a lot of yardage both on the ground and through the air but I wonder if Urban Meyer will try and not have him run quite as much. 3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma: I'll put Bradford No. 3 going into the season. Truth is, it's splitting hairs between the top three guys, but we've seen how hard it can be for an offense breaking in almost an entirely new O-line and I suspect those growing pains will affect the Sooner offense at times this season. Bradford still has a lot of weapons to throw for a ton of yards, especially relying on TE Jermaine Gresham. Plus the Sooners will be in some compelling early-season matchups (BYU and at Miami) to get generate some buzz. 4. Jahvid Best, Cal: Best is the most exciting player in college football and he's also the leading returning rusher. He's my No. 4 guy at this point, but it's almost like he's the fifth Beatle right now because of the sport's fascination with the Big 3 QBs. Best, though, will generate a lot of highlights and that will help keep him relevant in this discussion. I'm curious to see how much better he can be now that he's 10 pounds heavier and determined to show he can get tough yards inside. A big thing for him to overtake the Big 3 QBs is to have a great showing against USC this year. He has been a non-factor against the Trojans the past two years. Without him going for over 100 yards at least against that name-brand heavyweight, I don't think he has a legit shot to win. He could probably get to NYC for the ceremony, but lots of folks would see it as a hollow 2,000 yards if there really is such a thing. 5. Eric Berry, Tennessee: Berry is the wild card of the whole Heisman race. If this award is truly about "the most outstanding player" (and by now, it's really not, it's more most outstanding offensive backfield guy) Berry deserves consideration. He is a playmaking machine, equal parts big hitter or interception magnet. The guy is also a lethal return guy, as he comes into his junior season just 15 yards short of the NCAA record for most interception return yards. There are two big snags with Berry's candidacy though: defensive guys, even ones who do dabble in other aspects of the game rarely get serious consideration. Two, an even bigger hindrance could be that in the BCS era, there's been an even greater premium put on being on a great team. And few experts are predicting UT does even as well as 8-4 this season. But maybe Berry steals the show when UT visits the Swamp and all eyes will be on that supposed rout.
Recent Heisman Trophy Winners
|2006||Troy Smith||Ohio State|
|2000||Chris Weinke||Florida State|
For the complete list of Heisman winners, click here.