Opinion Time: Who are the early Heisman Trophy picks after the first two weeks of the college footba

Chris Magninie

Sentinel Sports Copy Editor/Designer

Christian McCaffrey should have won the Heisman last year, but because his games are aired when East Coast voters are already in bed, they didn’t see everything the Stanford running back does.

McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders’ record for all-purpose yards, racking up 3,864 yards rushing, passing, receiving and returning. He also had 16 overall touchdowns, scoring at least once in every way — rushing, passing, receiving and kickoff and punt returns.

When given the chance to shine for a national audience, McCaffrey delivered. In Stanford’s Rose Bowl win over Iowa, McCaffrey tallied a Rose Bowl-record 368 all-purpose yards, including more than 100 rushing and receiving.

The Stanford junior running back is back at it this year. In the Cardinal’s season-opening win over Kansas State, McCaffrey ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns and added 40 yards receiving. He even had a Heisman-worthy highlight, returning a punt 98 yards for a touchdown, breaking several tackles after catching the punt and then showing off his speed in running away from the Wildcats. A penalty on Stanford wiped out the play, but it showed McCaffrey is still the favorite to win the Heisman.

Hopefully voters will right last year’s wrong and recognize McCaffrey as the best player in college football.

 

Dale Shrull

Sentinel Sports Editor

 

The Heisman is all about West Coast vs. East Coast and the East rarely loses.

I’m a huge Christian McCaffrey fan but I think the Heisman may have been won on Jan. 11, 2016.

In that 2016 National Championship game, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson was brilliant in the loss to Alabama, throwing for 405 yards in the biggest game of the year.

Obviously, he has to stay healthy and play great this season but the advantage he has over McCaffrey is that East Coast exposure. Playing in the ACC and on the East Coast, his TV time will be far greater than McCaffrey’s.

Last year, McCaffrey had one of the greatest college football seasons ever, breaking Barry Sanders seemingly unbreakable all-purpose yardage record. And he was second in the Heisman! Really? This year, the former Colorado high school football legend will be fighting the same exposure battle and east-of-the-Mississippi voting bias that always seems to decide the Heisman winner.

As a double threat QB, Watson is a thrill machine. But so is the electric kid from Valor Christian High School. I’m pulling for McCaffrey but I think Watson will cradle the stiff-arm trophy at the end of the season.

 

Matt Meyer

Sentinel Sports Reporter

 

Follow me for a minute here, because I’m going way, way out there with my pick.

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner will be Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Yeah, it’s early in the season to be crowning a relatively unheralded player best in the land. And yeah, Jackson scored his 13 touchdowns against mediocre Syracuse and cupcake Charlotte.

But I’ll be darned if Jackson isn’t the most electric player in college football through the first few weeks.

He’s insanely athletic with a strong arm and although accuracy can be an issue, plenty of quarterbacks with questionable mechanics have gone on to win the Heisman (see Tebow, Timothy and Manziel, Johnny).

The sophomore isn’t coming out of nowhere ­­— he was waaaaaay down on some Heisman lists to start the season. After a run through the ACC, complete with two preseason Heisman contenders, everyone will know Jackson’s name.

 

Rick Jussel

Sentinel Sports Columnist

 

We’re in Colorado, right? We favor our own, right? When was the last time a Colorado-born-and-bred, Hollywood-looking, bright and bubbly product was even in the Heisman Trophy chase?

Whizzer White (Wellington)? Fum McGraw (Paonia)? Joe Romig (Lakewood)? Bobby Anderson (Boulder)? John Elway (just checking to see if you’re paying attention)?

It doesn’t come around often when one of our very own is in the Heisman hunt, not to mention the Heisman favorite.

If Christian McCaffrey (Valor Christian) doesn’t win the trophy by doing it all for Stanford, maybe little brother Dylan will as a quarterback at Michigan (oops, he’s still at Valor; maybe next year).

Yes, the Heisman has to go to a McCaffrey and Christian is the only one eligible this time around.


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