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Landry Jones, OklahomaMy take: They're on point here. Jones is my frontrunner and the Big 12's best shot at a Heisman. I've taken a look at the value of those short passes on the blog before, and it was clear: they're a huge part of what Oklahoma does.
The blueprint for a pocket passer to win the Heisman is simple: put up big numbers and win games. With the Sooners projected to be one of best teams in the country, Jones will have a chance to achieve both.
Jones could lead the nation in many passing categories because of Bob Stoops’ quick-strike offense. In 2010, Jones attempted more passes than any other quarterback, and almost 28 percent of his pass attempts were at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Quarterback Landry Jones should have the Big 12's best shot at winning the Heisman.
These slants and screen passes allowed Jones to increase his yards and completion percentage on relatively easy passes. It also allowed his receivers to make plays and gain yards after the catch.
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma StateMy take: I don't buy that Justin Blackmon is the biggest detriment to Weeden's Heisman chances. For me, the big question is will Oklahoma State win enough games for Weeden to take it home. If the Cowboys are undefeated, he's going to New York, at the very least. I'd bet quite a bit on that. One loss, it will be close. Two losses? No way, no matter what he does.
If Weeden can replicate his 2010 performance, then he’ll put up the numbers necessary for Heisman consideration. Last season, Weeden ranked third in the nation in passing yards, and his career pass efficiency mark of 155.42 is fourth among active quarterbacks.
Yet Weeden may not even be the best bet for the Heisman Trophy on his team.
If he has a big year in 2011, then Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon probably will as well. In 2010, Blackmon was one of the best big-play receivers in the country and Weeden’s go-to guy on third down, in the red zone and when facing added pressure.
Ryan Broyles, OklahomaMy take: Those drop numbers are interesting, and I don't know about you, but I hadn't seen those stacked up against each other before. Stats & Info described Blackmon as a "monster," and I'd agree. The big advantage he has over Broyles is his ability to go up and get jump balls, but Broyles' experience (he's been a major contributor for three seasons already vs. Blackmon's one) may make him an even more difficult cover. I still consider Blackmon No. 1 and Broyles No. 2 nationally for receivers, but like I've said, it's a stretch to see either of these guys actually win the Heisman. Biletnikoff? Yeah, one of them will get it.
This season, Broyles’ numbers could be mind boggling.
Last season, he averaged more than nine catches per game and did not drop one ball. In his last two seasons, Broyles has 29 touchdown receptions, 20 of them have been for 10 yards or more. Both figures are tops in college football.
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Justin Blackmon's big advantage over Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles is Blackmon's ability to go up and get jump balls.
Last season, Blackmon averaged 10.8 yards on receptions made at or behind the line of scrimmage. He also caught 63.6 percent of passes that targeted him 15 yards or more downfield. The ability to turn any throw into a big gain helped Blackmon lead FBS last season in receiving yards per game.
What could possibly haunt Blackmon in 2011? He dropped five passes last season, which may not seem like a lot. But it is when you consider that [South Carolina's Alshon] Jeffery had just one drop last season and Broyles had none.
3. Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&MMy take: Disagree! Fuller's great, and probably a top 5 receiver in the college game, but I don't see him overtaking Broyles in any scenario that involves both Broyles and Jones staying healthy. And what about Blackmon?
If Aggies quarterback Ryan Tannehill continues to progress as he did after taking over in the middle of last season, Fuller could end up vaulting over Oklahoma wideout Ryan Broyles as the best pass-catcher in college football.
4. Roy Finch, RB, OklahomaMy take: Finch has already missed more games in one year than Murray did his entire career. Oklahoma is likely to employ a committee approach at running back, but if Finch proves he can handle 20-25 carries a game and stays healthy, he's got the best chance of any Big 12 back to win it. (If they're both healthy, Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael will siphon too many carries from one another to have a realistic chance to win, even if A&M goes undefeated.)
Finch had a higher rushing yards per attempt (YPA) average last season than DeMarco Murray and, unlike Murray, all of his numbers were posted against Big 12 competition.
6. James Franklin, QB, MissouriMy take: This boils down to winning games. I doubt Missouri's ability to win the 11-12 necessary for Franklin to win it, but if they do, he'll be a big reason why. He'll have a lot of help with his entire receiving corps returning, all of his running backs and four offensive linemen back, and supporting casts can make quarterbacks look great.
This might seem like a complete long shot on its face, but consider this: Over the past five seasons, Missouri's two starting quarterbacks (Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert) averaged the following Heisman Trophy-caliber statistical line: 324 completions, 493 attempts, 3,789 yards, 28 touchdowns/11 interceptions (including more than 3,500 yards each in their debut seasons).