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November 25, 2008
Olin Buchanan's Week 13 Heisman Ballot
VOTE: Who is the front-runner for the Heisman?
Until last year, a sophomore had never been named the Heisman Trophy recipient.
Now, it could happen in consecutive years.
Oklahoma sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford appears the best bet to follow Florida's Tim Tebow as the recipient of college football's most coveted award. Bradford moved to the top of the leader board after outplaying Texas Tech's Graham Harrell in the Sooners' convincing 65-21 victory on Saturday.
Positioning in the BCS rankings is the primary topic of conversation in the sport because a championship is at stake. That means individual awards are a secondary issue. With that in mind, Bradford isn't going to campaign for the Heisman. However, he doesn't have to; his coach will do it for him.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops took up the cause after Bradford passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns in three quarters of the showdown for a share of the lead in the Big 12 South.
"The guy's incredible, you have to admit," Stoops said. "The guy makes great decisions. There's not a more accurate guy out there. You look at our yards per attempt – and we throw the ball down the field. He's great at it. His footwork, the way he sets in the pocket – it's what you want."
Bradford has thrown for 3,710 yards and 42 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Eleven of Bradford's touchdown passes have covered at least 37 yards. He can build on those gaudy stats this week against Oklahoma State and against Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game - if the Sooners get there.
"Sam's name has to be up there at the top with everyone," Stoops said. "Like everyone, I'm sure, you've got to finish out the year and a lot of that determines it as well. How he cannot be right there with anyone, I wouldn't know."
1. QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma: Bradford passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns in a 65-21 blowout of Texas Tech. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in nine games. His 42 touchdown passes lead the nation, and he ranks second in the country in passing efficiency.
2. QB Colt McCoy, Texas: McCoy hasn't had a bad game this season. He has thrown at least two touchdown passes in every game but one. The one in which he didn't was a 45-35 victory over Oklahoma in which he was excellent. McCoy is also more mobile than Bradford, and leads Texas with 527 rushing yards.
3. QB Tim Tebow, Florida: Last year's Heisman recipient, Tebow has accounted for at least three touchdowns in each of the past six games. His overall statistics aren't tremendous, but his performance has been.
4. RB Shonn Greene, Iowa: He rushed for at least 103 yards in every game. Greene leads the nation in rushing yardage (1,729) and is second to UConn's Donald Brown in rushing yards per game (144.08). Greene is the main reason Iowa is headed to a bowl game.
5. QB Graham Harrell, Texas Tech: Harrell's stats against Oklahoma were deceiving. He passed for 361 yards and three touchdowns in a 65-21 loss, but most of that came after the Sooners had taken a 42-7 halftime lead. But Harrell's total body of work can't be ignored. He still leads the nation with 4,438 passing yards, and he has 39 touchdown passes.
Olin Buchanan is a Heisman voter and a senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.