We are two thirds through the 2011 college football season, and the Heisman debate is heating up. We here at Draft Maven have compiled a long list of votes from quite a few experts (me) to create the official college Heisman standings. Ok, so it isn't an official list, but I (unlike 9/10's of the 'experts') understand who wins the Heisman in the current day and age, and I understand the trending of the players.

Remember when RG3 was 'the' Heisman stud to start the season? Well anyone who had him as a legit Heisman contender was an idiot because RG3 would have had to win essentially every game of the season to win the title, and that just wasn't going to happen. The Heisman in recent history has become less of a title for the best or the most important player, but more for the most viewed player. 

A few years ago I published an article for Draft Zoo where I analyzed what it took to win the Heisman, and since then some people have started to understand the formula. I have updated the recent list to reflect the last two winners, and we may have found some changes.

 

 As you can see, prior to the last few years it was almost a fact that the quarterback that went on to get (and actually lose) in the championship game was the top Heisman contender. Carson Palmer and Tim Tebow were exceptions because there weren't many other (great) options out there to choose from. Bush edged out Leinart because it is a given that the Heisman voters don't want to have another person win it twice (see Tebow and Leinart), and Ingram came out in a year where Bradford, Tebow and Colt McCoy were way too inconsistent (or hurt).

If you look at ESPN's 'expert' Heisman watch, you will see this list:

1) Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2) Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
3) Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
4) Case Keenum, QB, Houston
5) Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
6) Brandon Weeden, QB, OK State
7) Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
8) Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
9) Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
10) Justin Blackmon, WR, OK State
11) Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

The first round of eliminations are easy, because a receiver won't win it. Only two receivers have won a Heisman, and none in the last 20 years. Any voter will realistically take the guy throwing the ball over the guy catching it. So take out the receivers, and slightly downgrade the quarterbacks with great receivers, because the catchers will steal on credit (and some votes) from their passers.

1) Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2) Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
3) Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
4) Case Keenum, QB, Houston
5) Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
6) Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
7) Brandon Weeden, QB, OK State
8) Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
9) Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
10) Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

11) Justin Blackmon, WR, OK State

Next, you have to get rid of anyone that realistically has no chance of winning a title. Unfortunately Clemson's loss recently knocks them out of the title contention. We also have to take out Case Keenum, because Houston won't get to the title game (especially with Boise ahead of them). We do have also discount Kellen Moore a tad because Keenum will steal small school points away from him. Finally Russell Wilson has to go after taking his second loss of the season.

1) Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2) Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
3) Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
4) Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
5) Brandon Weeden, QB, OK State
6) Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
7) Case Keenum, QB, Houston
8) Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
9) Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
10) Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

11) Justin Blackmon, WR, OK State

Given the hype right now, I absolutely believe that Andrew Luck would win the hype bowl for the Heisman. But given the fact that there will be some loses the reset of the way, we absolutely have to look at them going into the equation. If the season ended today based on my general predictions for the rest of the season, I see this as my Heisman list:
 
5) Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

I do like Brandon Weeden, but I just don't see his hype ever getting to the point that he is a Heisman winner. He is an old football player that is playing in a system with Justin Blackmon. On top of that for him to have any chance to sniff the Heisman he would have to win his next four games against Kansas State, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Oklahoma. It could happen, but I just don't see it. Finally, I just don't think that there are many people that are hyping Weeden (or Oklahoma State for that matter).  

4) Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

This will be a slight shock to some, but I just think the QB class this season will be too strong for Richardson to win it. Sure he has been a stud, but I just don't think that he will be able to compete against the quarterback that he will/would face in the championship game.

3) Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

On any given day Landry Jones is the best and the worst quarterback in football. If you look at the recent history of the Heisman too, then you would actually love the chances for Jones. He just might be able to get into the championship, he plays for a high profile team, and he has a lot of great games statistically. But I just don't think enough people will love him over Andrew Luck (even with a loss), or Kellen Moore.

2) Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Ok, so I am reaching here a little bit, but anyone who thinks Andrew Luck is a shoe in for the Heisman might be.... right. Carson Palmer and Tim Tebow were exceptions to the championship rule, but that is because they were overhyped beyond repair. Luck just might be that guy. Luck is phenomenal, but if (and I think when) he loses to Oregon then I think he might fall off the Heisman train just slightly.

1) Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State

Before the season I pegged Kellen Moore and the Broncos into the championship game, and I still think the odds are ok. After this week there will only be four legit undefeated teams left. I do see a loss in the future of Stanford and Oklahoma State, and I'm just not sold that the polls will let Oklahoma or Oregon (0-3 against Boise in the last ten years including two wins by Moore over Oregon) jump the undefeated Broncos. I know I am talking fairly here, but I would think that the Broncos are still in line to get their chance this year, and that might just mean a Heisman for Kellen Moore.