- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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You know what makes for great offseason fodder?
Preseason Heisman Trophy candidates!
So see if you can name the Big East players on the first Heisman Pundit watch list for 2012. I will wait.
Looks at watch.
That should not come as a major shock to anybody, what with this looking like another so-so year for offense in the Big East. There are simply no standouts at the three positions that produce virtually every Heisman candidate. The chances are low for any Big East quarterback to reach the 3,000-yard mark this season.
Running back? Ray Graham would be the best candidate, but he is coming off an ACL injury, and we have no idea when he will return to form. Are there other candidates at the position? Crickets.
Receiver? The league doesn't have a 1,000-yard receiver returning. Of course, there were only three who fit the category last season. Two play with West Virginia, off to the Big 12. And yes, the Mountaineers do have Tavon Austin and Geno Smith on that very Heisman Pundit Watch List.
I don't put much stock into Heisman Watch Lists, now or even in-season. But it is a little concerning that this league lacks a superstar at an offensive position. You have to go back to 2006 to find a Big East player to finish in the Top 5 of the Heisman balloting. That was West Virginia running back Steve Slaton. Rutgers running back Ray Rice finished seventh that same season.
Offensive fireworks draw headlines, and attention. Look at all the praise heaped on West Virginia for scoring 70 points against Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl. A few offensive all-stars go a long way toward bringing eyes to the conference. The Big East is not quite there.