Texas quarterback Colt McCoy takes the Halfway Heisman
McCoy threw for 277 yards and a touchdown in Texas' 45-35 win over Oklahoma
Chase Daniel slipped to No. 3 after Missouri's loss to Oklahoma State
Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark is quickly climbing up the list
For the last two years The Watch has named a Halfway Heisman winner, awarded to the best player in college football through the season's first half. Unlike the real Heisman Trophy presentation however, there will be no trip to New York, no schmaltzy ESPN profiles and no actual trophy. But don't let that diminish the significance of the award; the first two recipients of the Halfway Heisman, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, have gone on to be No. 1 on this list at the end of the year and win the real Heisman.
And now the moment that no one has been waiting for. The winner of the Halfway Heisman for 2008 is ...
1. Colt McCoy, Texas, QB, Jr.
Last week: 28-of-35 passing, 277 yards, 1 TD; 14 rushes, 31 yards in a 45-35 victory over No. 1 Oklahoma in Dallas.
Season: 131-of-165 passing, 1,557 yards, 17 TDs, 3 INTs; 59 rushes, 348 yards, 4 TDs; 1 punt, 44 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: McCoy's play has been as sweet this season as a pint of Blue Bell on a Texas summer afternoon. On Saturday against the top-ranked Sooners he did what he has done all year -- hit receivers in tight windows, make plays with his feet, move the chains methodically and take care of the ball. Perhaps most impressive on Saturday was his play on third downs in the second half. McCoy completed 4-of-6 passes for 59 yards on those plays (including a patient two-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Shipley in the back of the end zone), extending four drives that led to 22 Texas points. Before this week, the only factor that kept McCoy from not being higher on the list was the lack of a big game against a quality opponent. He now has that -- and the Halfway Heisman.
Up next: Saturday vs. No. 11 Missouri.
2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, QB, Soph.
Last week: 28-of-39 passing, 387 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs; 8 rushes, minus-5 yards in a 45-35 loss to No. 5 Texas in Dallas.
Season: 134-of-185 passing, 2,052 yards, 23 TDs, 5 INTs; 18 rushes, minus-28 yards, 2 TDs.
Heisman-o-meter: Bradford backers, there's no reason to fire off emails claiming that the Sooners quarterback and not McCoy should be No. 1 because he threw for more yards and more touchdowns. The following should help explain. First, Bradford was undeniably terrific on Saturday, finding his receivers, some in tight spots (the fourth quarter TD to Manuel Johnson, for one) and giving the Sooners every chance to win. But McCoy makes plays with his feet and, on Saturday, made the plays when it counted. If Bradford had driven Oklahoma to a game-winning touchdown when his team was down 38-35, he would've been atop this list. He still could be at some point this season.
Up next: Saturday vs. No. 16 Kansas.
3. Chase Daniel, Missouri, QB, Sr.
Last week: 39-of-52 passing, 390 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs; 7 rushes, 46 yards in a 28-23 loss to No. 17 Oklahoma State.
Season: 158-of-208 passing, 2,055 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs; 22 rushes, 120 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: Daniel did not look like his usual self on Saturday, and it wasn't only because he was wearing jersey No. 25 to honor former teammate Aaron O¹Neal. The three interceptions were highly uncharacteristic (though the first one should be charged to Danario Alexander, who let it bounce off him), and the second one, a jump ball in the middle of the field, was particularly egregious. Daniel took responsibility for the loss. "Put it all on me," he said after the game. And now the question is Can he still win the Heisman? The Watch believes so, but he'll have to be brilliant from here on out and will need to play great against the Longhorns. Daniel haters may think he should drop further, but remember he has five terrific games on his résumé, and not many candidates can claim that.
Up next: Saturday at No. 1 Texas.
4. Daryll Clark, Penn State, QB, Sr.
Last week: 16-of-25 passing, 244 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 6 rushes, 12 yards, 2 TDs in a 48-7 victory at Wisconsin.
Season: 96-of-149 passing, 1,360 yards, 10 TDs, 2 INTs; 38 rushes, 145 yards, 6 TDs.
Heisman-o-meter: After a slow start (Clark pounded the top of a cooler with his hand after a failed third-down pass in the first quarter), he settled down nicely and got hot to start the second half. On back-to-back plays in the third quarter he threw a great passes under pressure to receiver Jordan Norwood for a 17-yard gain, and on the next play scored on a four-yard run. The Oct. 25 game against Ohio State will be the one that determines just how legitimate a candidate he is.
Up next: Saturday vs. Michigan.
5. Jeremy Maclin, Missouri, WR, Soph.
Last week: 8 receptions, 120 yards; 2 rushes, 6 yards; 2 punt returns, 5 yards; 5 kickoff returns, 92 yards in a 28-23 loss to No. 17 Oklahoma State.
Season: 39 receptions, 600 yards, 5 TDs; 13 rushes, 64 yards, 1 TD; 14 punt returns, 128 yards; 14 kickoff returns, 365 yards, 1 TD.
Heisman-o-meter: The Watch doesn't know what to do with Maclin. On one hand he's possibly the most electric player in college football, but because of the nature of his position, his impact on a game can fluctuate. Not to mention, in a conference with Dez Bryant (who got rocked twice by Missouri defensive backs) and Michael Crabtree, an argument can be made that Maclin is not the best receiver in the Big 12. For now, we'll stick with Maclin.
Up next: Saturday at No. 1 Texas.