Bradford injury changes shape of anticipated legendary race
If Sam Bradford returns soon and the Sooners win out, he could still have a shot
Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant cracks the top three after a two-touchdown day
The 10 spot goes to a veteran QB over youngsters Blaine Gabbert, Jacory Harris
What many expected to be the most interesting Heisman race in history took a major hit Saturday when reigning winner Sam Bradford suffered a shoulder injury -- and a loss -- against BYU. Bradford will not need surgery to repair the sprained AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder, but will miss two to four weeks. Now, the question is: Can Bradford still repeat if he returns healthy and the Sooners win out?
First, those are both big ifs. Second, don't forget Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon. In 2007, Dixon was neck-and-neck with Tim Tebow before blowing out his ACL and missing the last two-plus games of the season. Despite playing splendidly in nine games that year, Dixon couldn't even sniff an invite to New York City after missing time.
My guess is Bradford will get a little more leeway than Dixon because he's the reigning winner, and because he'll be missing games against Idaho State and Tulsa (if he's out only two weeks) as opposed to crucial conference games (Dixon's Ducks lost to Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State without him). We're a long way from all of these things happening -- Bradford must get well first, and the Sooners must fix the holes on their offensive line -- but it's fun to think about. The Watch wishes Bradford a speedy recovery.
As for the rest of the list...
1. QB Colt McCoy, Sr., Texas
Last week: 21-of-29 passing, 317 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 7 rushes, minus-3 yards in a 59-20 victory over Louisiana-Monroe
Heisman-o-meter: McCoy set the bar so high last year that when he doesn't produce a typical 80 percent passing day, we're shocked. This may not have been McCoy's cleanest effort to date (mainly because of the interception), but there's no reason to move him down after a 300-yard passing day in a game that was essentially a glorified scrimmage. The real Heisman question coming out of this game is: Should Texas receiver Jordan Shipley (8 receptions, 180 yards, 1 TD) start getting some love?
Up next: Saturday at Wyoming
2. QB Tim Tebow, Sr., Florida
Last week: 10-of-15 passing, 188 yards, 1 TD; 2 rushes, 1 yard, 1 TD in a 62-3 victory over Charleston Southern
Heisman-o-meter: After all the offseason talk about Tebow improving his throwing motion, it didn't look all that different Saturday. Of course, Urban Meyer didn't even let Tebow play two full quarters, so there wasn't much to see. Tebow could've gotten a bit more help from his receivers when he was in, though, as they dropped two passes that would have been touchdowns. All told, Tebow looked like Tebow, and that's really all we can take away from this game.
Up next: Saturday vs. Troy
3. WR Dez Bryant, Jr., Oklahoma State
Last week: 3 receptions, 77 yards, 2 TDs; 2 punt returns, 29 yards in a 24-10 victory over No. 13 Georgia
Heisman-o-meter: Bryant didn't get many looks against Georgia, but he made them count when he did. The Cowboys threw to Bryant just six times, but his two touchdown catches were the two biggest plays in the game (aside from the unnecessary roughness penalty on Georgia just prior to Bryant's second score). For Bryant to win the stiff-arm statuette, he'll have to find a way to be more productive even when defenses bring safety help, as the Dawgs did on Saturday. He'll also have to avoid committing mental errors, like costing his team yardage by letting two punts drop.
Up next: Saturday vs. Houston
4. RB Jonathan Dwyer, Jr., Georgia Tech
Last week: 7 rushes, 95 yards, 2 TDs in a 37-17 victory over Jacksonville State
Heisman-o-meter: Dwyer had a spectacular start to the season. On the game's first play from scrimmage, he took an option pitch and, with the help of three crushing blocks, raced untouched 74 yards for a touchdown. Later he somersaulted in from short range for another score. With the outcome never in doubt and the Yellow Jackets set to play Clemson on Thursday, Dwyer did not play the second half. He should be fresh for an early season showdown with fellow Heisman contender C.J. Spiller.
Up next: Thursday vs. Clemson
5. RB Jahvid Best, Jr., Cal
Last week: 10 rushes, 137 yards, 2 TDs; 2 receptions, 23 yards; 1 kickoff return, 18 yards in a 52-13 victory over Maryland
Heisman-o-meter: After rushing for 698 yards and eight TDs in his last three games of 2008, the Bears' gamebreaker picked up right where he left off, taking his second carry of the season 73 yards for the score (thanks, in part, to a little downfield blocking from a helpful receiver). Best, who played a little more than two quarters, wasn't even the headliner Saturday evening; quarterback Kevin Riley was. If Riley plays the rest of the season like he did on Saturday, Best will have a lot of room to run.
Up next: Saturday vs. Eastern Washington
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