The University of Iowa University of Iowa

The Heisman Race Heats Up


Two weeks ago, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith topped everyone’s list as the favorite for the Heisman Trophy. Fast forward two weeks and everything has gotten a little more complicated. After posting back-to-back losses against Texas Tech and Kansas State, Smith’s candidacy has taken a huge hit.

It’s not even just the fact that the Mountaineers have lost these past two games, but the way that they have lost them. The defense has allowed 104 points in the last two games. This isn’t too out of the ordinary considering West Virginia ranks 118th in the FBS in points allowed. However, the big surprise has come on the offensive side of the ball.

Smith had his team on a roll through the first five games of the season including a game against Baylor in which he threw eight touchdowns with just six incompletions. Many people, including myself, were pretty much willing to hand him the trophy right then and there. You could probably say that it would have been a mistake.

The Mountaineers have only posted 14 points in each of their last two games. Smith’s production was down in both games, and he threw his first two interceptions of the year against the powerful Kansas State defense.

Collin Klein has most definitely passed Smith as the Heisman favorite, at least for now. Klein has been the key to all seven of the Wildcats’ victories. His ability to balance the use of his legs with an accurate arm (70.5% on the season) has pulled his team all the way up to #3 in the BCS standings.

Klein put all of his talents on display in the Wildcats 55-14 thrashing of West Virginia. His four rushing and three passing touchdowns helped Kansas State cruise to victory and place him atop the Heisman watch lists.

Geno Smith still has a very legitimate shot at winning the Heisman due to some pretty astronomical numbers including a 25-2 touchdown to interception ratio, but Klein’s performance in a head-to-head match-up was simply dominant. Plus, Klein’s candidacy is strengthened by one very important statistic: wins. The longer the Wildcats stay undefeated (they have a strong chance of staying that way until bowl season) the stronger Klein’s candidacy becomes.