By: Sam Schwartz, KCOU Sports
This past Thursday night Heisman Trophy frontrunner Marcus Mariota and the second ranked Oregon Ducks were upset on their home turf by an unranked Arizona Wildcats squad. The game did not only complicate the race for the first ever College Football Playoff, but it also blew open the door for a number of Heisman Trophy hopefuls.
Heading into the first month of October, it seemed that Mariota and Georgia running back Todd Gurley were the frontrunners for College Football’s most prestigious award. While Mariota played very well in the loss, throwing for 276 yards and two touchdowns passes, along with a 26-yard reception for a score, he looked far more human than he had earlier in the season. His above average, but not mind-blowing performance gave Gurley a hold of first in the Heisman conversation. Gurley has run for 610 yards and six touchdowns on 69 attempts this season.
Even though Gurley has been impressive this year, he is going to have to do a lot to claim College Football’s top individual prize. Reggie Bush and Mark Ingram are the only running backs to have won the award since 2000. Both players also played for undefeated team that played in the BCS National Championship Game. Georgia already has one loss this season and has a number of tough games left to play. Furthermore, the frontrunner after the first month of the season almost never wins the Heisman, as there is still a lot of football to play until the award is handed out in New York City in December.
While both Todd Gurley and Marcus Mariota have put together great seasons thus far, neither player is a lock to even receive votes for the Heisman. Players like Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, and even Mizzou’s defensive lineman Shane Ray are just a few players on the laundry list of candidates for the award.
The best part about college football is that it is so unpredictable. With a little over two moths left in the season, there are endless possibilities for both the Heisman Trophy and the playoffs. I could sit here all day and talk about what I think will happen, but all of that means nothing, as we will not know anything until the games are played.