It's never too early to start Heisman chatter

Posted: August 30, 2013

SO HOW MANY Heisman Trophy voters knew who Johnny Manziel was at this time a year ago?

Hey, you could say the same thing about Cam Newton in 2010.

And 2 years ago, how many really had Robert Griffin III on their radar? Seriously, nobody from Baylor is supposed to win this thing.

Kind of makes you wonder what kind of surprise candidate the most-hyped race in sports might bring us this time. Or maybe it'll just come down to one or two of the projected suspects, like it generally used to.

It can be fragile. In 2011, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden was pretty much considered the favorite with two games left. Then the Cowboys lost their unbeaten season on a Thursday night in three overtimes at Iowa State. And he didn't even finish in the Top 10. Does anyone remember, or care, that he beat Oklahoma by 34 in the finale and Stanford in OT in the Fiesta Bowl?

But that's how this stuff can work. Fair or even logic sometimes has little to do with it.

Most years, you can begin and end your search with the most visible players on the highest-profile teams. Simple as that. Which this year means Alabama's AJ McCarron, Ohio State's Braxton Miller, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Georgia's Aaron Murray, Clemson's Tajh Boyd and of course Texas A&M's Manziel, now that his problems with the NCAA over allegedly taking money for signing all of those autographs, appears to be behind him.

Eleven of the last 13 winners have been quarterbacks, in case you didn't already know. South Carolina lineman Jadeveon Clowney is trying to become the first defensive player to win. But just because he's projected as the top pick in the NFL draft doesn't mean he can or will. Could be interesting, though.

If I were picking right now, I'd go with Miller. But that can change, quickly. I just think the Buckeyes are going to remain unbeaten for a while, which never hurts.

Looking for a longshot? You could do worse than Miami running back Duke Johnson or Fresno QB Derek Carr.

So let the hyperbole commence.

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