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Not just numbers

Stats don't tell whole story about Heisman hopefuls

Posted: Monday October 30, 2006 12:28PM; Updated: Monday October 30, 2006 12:42PM
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Modest stats in a 44-0 rout of Minnesota won't affect Troy Smith's standing this week.
Modest stats in a 44-0 rout of Minnesota won't affect Troy Smith's standing this week.
Thomas E. Witte/SI
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Every week the most popular question to come through my mailbox is: "Why do you have so-and-so ahead of so-and-so when so-and-so has more yards, more touchdowns, more yadda yadda yadda?" Or something like that with a bit more colorful language thrown in. To answer the question, stats alone do not crown a Heisman winner, at least not on my Watch. Production, ability, importance to your team, performance in big games, whom you've helped your team beat are just some of the criteria. If numbers alone determined the winner of the stiff-armed statuette, Hawaii's Colt Brennan would be the run-away winner.

1. Troy Smith, Ohio State, QB, Sr.

Last week: 14-of-21 passing, 183 yards, 1 TD; 6 rushes, 43 yards, 1 TD in a 44-0 victory over Minnesota
Season: 145-of-214 passing, 1,898 yards, 22 TDs, 2 INTs; 42 rushes, 169 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: Ohio State rode a stout defense and running game for a never-in-doubt victory over the Gophers so Smith wasn't needed to perform his usual Heisman-caliber heroics. He still had a nifty 21-yard touchdown run, his first of the season, which shows he can still be a running threat when he needs to.
Up next: Saturday at Illinois

2. Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB, Soph.

Last week: Idle
Season: 151 rushes, 1,059 yards, 9 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: If Slaton hopes to have any chance of winning the Heisman, he'll need a huge finish to the season with a flourish, beginning with a big effort against the Cardinals. It won't be easy; Louisville's rushing defense is seventh in the country (74.9 yards per game). But last year Slaton shredded the Cardinals for 188 yards and five touchdowns.
Up next: Thursday at No. 5 Louisville

3. Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Jr.

Last week: 20 rushes, 95 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 23 yards in a 17-3 victory over Northwestern
Season: 234 rushes, 1,127 yards, 9 TDs; 11 receptions, 114 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Heisman voters may look at the 95 rushing yards and consider this a subpar performance. Hart however hurt his back in the first half after landing on a sideline marker, which forced him to sit out all but one series in the second half. What did he do on that one series? He ran the ball on all six of Michigan's plays, for a total of 36 yards, and scored on a three-yard touchdown.
Up next: Saturday vs. Ball State

4. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, QB, Sr.

Last week: 18-of-25 passing, 295 yards, 3 TDs; 4 rushes, 28 yards, 1 TD in a 38-14 victory over Navy
Season: 193-of-303 passing, 2,233 yards, 21 TDs, 4 INTs
Heisman-o-meter: He was the only leading contender to have a statistically impressive day, going off against a Navy defense that ranked 92nd against the pass. He hasn't thrown an interception in 169 attempts, and the pass protection showed signs Saturday of finally coming around. But many things have to fall his way by the end of the season in order for the Watchman to move him to the top of this list.
Up next: Saturday vs. North Carolina

5. Marshawn Lynch, Cal, RB, Jr.

Last week: Idle
Season: 132 rushes, 907 yards, 8 TDs; 19 receptions, 216 yards, 3 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: He's been playing with two sprained ankles so the off week could not have come at a better time for the most popular man in the Michael Silver household. When healthy, Lynch is the most dangerous running, pass-catching threat in the nation.
Up next: Saturday vs. UCLA


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