All three finishers return again and they are everyone's leading candidates to win it. If history were to repeat itself, McCoy, 2008's runner-up, is in good shape like Army's Glenn Davis, who returned to win it in 1946. Fenimore struggled with injuries in 1946 and did not make a return trip to New York. The 1945 winner, Doc Blanchard, finished a distant fourth.
McCoy will win it if… the Texas Longhorns go undefeated before the Award is presented. McCoy will earn the benefit of the doubt due to last year's BCS Championship Game snub and the fact that he is the only one of the top candidates not to already have the hardware.
Tebow will win it if…If he returns to the monster numbers he put up as a sophomore for a top ranked Gators team that returns to the national title game or McCoy and/or the Longhorns falter and the Gators are in the BCS Championship Game.
Bradford will win it if…Bradford and the Sooners beat the Longhorns, are in the BCS Championship Game, and Florida, Ohio State, or Ole Miss is not their opponent. Winning back to back is tough, and all of the cards have to fall right for Bradford. Bradford will need a green offensive line to mature in short order.
Best bet to be invited to New York:
Pryor and Snead hold the enviable position of being on Top 10 preseason teams that have a shot to contend without the target on their backs for the full season. Since 2000, quarterbacks who are in the National Championship Game have won every Heisman except for 2002 (Carson Palmer was in BCS game) and 2005 (the two quarterbacks in the NCG finished second and third) and 2007 (Tim Tebow was in NYD bowl). If Ole Miss or Ohio State manages to get to the big game, Snead and Pryor are well positioned.
Big seasons with outrageous numbers give all of these darkhorses a chance. It would all have to fall in place including an implosion by the big three contenders. Of the darkhorses, Dez Bryant has the big games on the schedule and the dual threat as a receiver and in the return game to get in the chase. Big games against Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma leading to the dream season would give Bryant the chance to pull the upset.
1. Colt McCoy
2. Dez Bryant
3. Tim Tebow
4. Tyrelle Pryor
5. Julio Jones
1. Colt McCoy
2. Tim Tebow
3. Dez Bryant
4. Sam Bradford
5. Kendall Hunter