Mailbag: Non-Big 3 Heisman hopefuls 

July, 17, 2009

I'm leading this week's mailbag with some reaction to the backlash against college football's resident Big 3 QBs. Also, you can send questions for the blog through my Twitter feed (BFeldmanESPN):

From Diane in NYC: I'm already so sick of reading about (Tim) Tebow, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford. It's beyond overkill. We get it. They're great quarterbacks who do good things off the field, but it's not like they're the only ones helping people. Who else has a realistic chance of breaking that media stranglehold of getting into the Heisman race?

A realistic shot? There are a few guys out there who are already on the radar. I have been speaking with a lot of players this offseason, and one of the guys they talk a lot about is Cal's Jahvid Best. I think he has a shot. Clemson's C.J. Spiller has the style to get people fired up, and if he runs wild in a Thursday night game at Georgia Tech on Sept. 10, he could burst into the picture, although I have my doubts whether the Tigers have enough of a passing game to keep the heat off him. There are some great receivers (start with Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant), but they are receivers, and those guys rarely even get to the presentation. LSU's Charles Scott is a bruising back behind a good line, and he intrigues me. He's the type of back who could make a run at 30 TDs, and he has a two-week stage with a game at UGA and then against Florida. If the Tigers win those and he carries the offense, he'll be in the mix.

The Heisman Pundit makes a good case for BYU's Max Hall:

The big reason for this: BYU's schedule. It's a high-risk/high-reward opportunity for Hall. He'll get a chance to go up against the reigning Heisman winner, Sam Bradford, and Oklahoma in the opener on Sept. 5 in Dallas. If BYU somehow pulls off the upset, Hall will be instantly vaulted into the Heisman conversation. Of course, if the Cougars lose, he'll be instantly relegated to the Heisman ash heap.

Beat the Sooners, however, and two weeks later Hall again has a chance to shine against Florida State. The Seminoles may not be the elite team they once were, but they are still a "name" opponent. If BYU wins again, then Hall would have to be considered a serious Heisman contender.

I guess that's possible, but I just don't see BYU and that O-line being able to cope with Oklahoma. In the same spirit, Illinois' Juice Williams has a chance to get in the race early when the Illini play at Ohio State. Williams has a terrific crew of big, physical, athletic receivers and will put up big numbers.

In thinking about a possible backlash among Heisman voters, if it would have any real effect, I suspect it would be to the benefit of Colt McCoy, as people would deem it "his turn" to win the trophy. Assuming, of course, that he had a season similar to 2008.

From David in Southern California: I was wondering if you could list the top 10 largest college football fan bases. Not largest revenue of stadium, just the number of fans.

To read about Bruce's top 10 biggest fan bases in college football, thoughts on Washington QB Jake Locker, and how Utah might fare in the Pac-10, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider