Today we start with the five guys who I think are most likely to be holding the trophy come December.
John David Booty ----- You always have to like the chances of the quarterback of the best team in the nation, and there's plenty of reason for that in this case. Booty is coming off a superb season in which he threw for 3,347 yards with 29 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. With his top two receivers gone to the NFL, Booty will get even more credit if the Trojans have a big season. With the talent on hand there seems to be little question about that.
Darren McFadden ----- The sensational runner from Arkansas is the nation's top back with 1,647 yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago. He could be an 18-hundred yard guy this season, if not for the presence of teammate Felix Jones who rushed for 1,168 yards himself. Since they are both juniors it would be wise to hold one of them out, but it's doubtful that will happen. He has to perform big in week two against a strong Alabama defense.
Brian Brohm ----- The Louisville signal caller threw for over three thousand yards last year despite missing two games. He has to stay healthy, but the Cardinals' wide open offense will give him a chance to put up much more gaudy numbers this fall. He needs a great start because the Cardinals have a very difficult stretch run at the end of the year when they face Pittsburgh, West Virginia, South Florida and Rutgers.
Ray Rice ----- Since Chris Weinke won the Heisman on his 43rd birthday in 2000 the trophy has pretty much belonged out West. Yes, Troy Smith from Ohio State won it last year, but the Eastern media could really use a strong candidate. Enter Rice, the relentless runner who has carried the Rutgers program to unprecedented heights. Rice gained 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns a year ago and if he can take advantage of a weak early season schedule he'll be right there. There is a pretty big block of voters hoping it happens.
DeSean Jackson ----- Last year the best player in the country was a receiver who didn't get nearly enough consideration for this award. Well Calvin Johnson's loss is Jackson's gain. If the California Golden Bears get improved play from quarterback Nate Longshore, Jackson could post ridiculous numbers this fall. Add in the fact that he is a superb punt returner and Jackson will get the nod from a lot of voters who don't want to see a fourth Heisman at Southern Cal in the last six years.
Those are the five with the best chance to win it. Coming up next, the five guys who are getting a ton of pub that won't be earning the award.