Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Matt Chandik's Heisman Predictions...No.2
Since Bob Stoops took over at Oklahoma in 1999, the Sooners have been a frequent visitor to the top-10 polls and BCS games. Stoops holds a career mark of 129-31 and also boasts a national championship, so yeah, he's done pretty well in Norman.
One of the common themes during Stoops' tenure at Oklahoma has been strong quarterback play. Josh Heupel led the Sooners to the 2000 national championship, Jason White took home the 2003 Heisman Trophy in his 87th year of college eligibility and Sam Bradford won the 2008 Heisman en route to being a No. 1 pick and signing a deal for more money than the national GDP of half of the world's countries. Some detractors claim that the success is a result of a great system, but whatever causes the Sooners to pump out great college quarterbacks, Stoops doesn't care. His teams win and they win a lot.
Landry Jones is the latest to come through the OU quarterback assembly line, and while I don't think he's the best quarterback in the nation, he has all the tools to challenge for the Heisman this year. He's my No. 2 pick for the Heisman, but you'll see why he could overtake my No. 1 when I present my top pick later this week.
Jones is a big guy at 6-4, 227 pounds, and he can sling the rock a little bit. He led the nation with 617 pass attempts last year in what was essentially his second year as a starter, and finished second nationally with 38 touchdown passes against only 12 interceptions. He completed 65.6 percent of his passes to help lead Oklahoma to a Big XII championship and a bitchslapping of Big East sacrificial lamb Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl, where he and his OU teammates probably celebrated the win by throwing down with John Junker and hundreds of Glendale's finest hookers. However, that's neither here nor there.
Oklahoma enters the season as one of the top teams in the country. They're ranked No. 1 in quite a few preseason polls and they have a fairly manageable schedule. There's the highly-touted national showdown with Florida State in week 2, but that should be a great opportunity for Jones to toss his name into the Heisman battle. Other than that, there's not much meat to the schedule. Archrival Texas will still likely start Garrett Gilbert, who has the mental stability of Lindsay Lohan staring at a pile of blow, so OU should take down the Longhorns. Oklahoma State should be okay, but nothing too daunting. In short, Jones and the Sooners should be a strong contender to make the BCS national title game, but luckily for Jones and OU, voting takes place before OU gets embarrassed in a BCS game again.
Another big thing that could actually work well for Jones is the departure of running back DeMarco Murray. Murray was a bit overrated during his time in Norman, but he was still a good option both running and catching the ball. With the running game in question, it's not unrealistic to expect Jones to throw even more this year. With stud wideout Ryan Broyles (131 catches, 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns) and last year's freshman standout Kenny Stills (61-786-5) back, Jones has his pick of two of the nation's best wideouts to sling the rock to, and there's no doubt that the Sooners will see someone step up in the No. 3 and No. 4 roles.
Again, don't be surprised to see Jones actually win the Heisman this year if No. 1 pick, which will be revealed later this week, continues his off the field issues. However, we'll assume that everything works out for the No. 1 guy, so for now, Jones is the No. 2 pick for the coveted trophy. I'll say he completes 67 percent of his passes with 40 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Look for Matt Chandik's prediction for the No. 1 pick for the Heisman Trophy later this week. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org