Houston’s Keenum continues strong comeback
Pretty soon we are all going to start recognizing Houston Cougars quarterback Case Keenum as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but for now we’ll focus solely on the Detmer Award consideration.
This year I am participating in a voting panel for the first annual Detmer Award, organized by Saturday Blitz. The purpose of the award is to single out the top college football player form a non-AQ conference (excluding Notre Dame). The award is named after former BYU quarterback Ty Detmer, the last player from a non-AQ conference (or Notre Dame) to win the Heisman Trophy. The voting panel includes a number of college football minds who pay attention to the overlooked schools in the sport.
Writers from The Upset Blog, Navy Bird Dog, College Football Zealots and some of our friends such as Matt Elder and Pat Johnston and more are all contributing to the process this season. It is a fine bunch of writers and each week I will be posting my official ballot here for you every Monday.
Now that you know what we are talking about, here is my official ballot for the week.
1. QB Case Keenum, Houston Cougars
Keenum is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, but he has some work to do in order to get back in the collective minds of college football fans and experts. Not quite the case for this panel of voters of course, but look for Keenum to continue with a great comeback story. Keenum abused the North Texas defense for 458 passing yards and five touchdowns a week after getting some revenge against UCLA. I look for Keenum to have another solid game this week against Louisiana Tech and the following week against Georgia Southern. Big numbers are on the way but he needs Houston to keep winning in order for Heisman (and BCS?) talk to start building. Having Keenum gives Houston a favorable chance to win every game on their schedule.
2. WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International Golden Panthers
Anybody who decided to tune in Friday evening to watch Florida International’s victory against Louisville (I checked, our friend Mark Ennis is alive today) got a chance to witness the T.Y. Hilton show. Hilton had seven catches in the game and had 201 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the defending Sun Belt champions to a win in Big East country. Sure, Louisville has plenty of room for improvement but let’s not discredit Hilton’s performance one bit. Any receiver who records 200 yards does not get them by luck. I still say Justin Blackmon is the nation’s top wide receiver, but Hilton may be in the conversation by the end of the season.
3. RB Bernard Pierce, Temple Owls
Temple’s Bernard Pierce rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns in Temple’s road blowout of Akron. Pierce is now tied for the nation’s lead in rushing touchdowns with Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham and if not for the blowouts in the first two games of the season, who knows just how many yards Pierce may have on the stat sheet under Steve Addazio’s offense. Pierce and Temple have a big game this weekend, at home against Penn State. Pierce had a good game last year in State College, but let’s see what he can do against a Nittany Lions team looking to rebound from a home loss against Alabama.
4. QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois Huskies
I admit, I may have missed out on Harnish in week one of the season while the rest of the panel did not. SO I paid particularly close attention to this week’s game at Kansas. Harnish and the Huskies came up just short against the Jayhawks but it certainly did not happen because of Harnish. Harnish was 27-of-33 (81.8%) for 315 yards and two touchdowns. After two weeks the Huskies quarterback has seven touchdowns and just one interception. This week Harnish will get a chance to play well in the national spotlight, as Northern Illinois hosts the Wisconsin Badgers in Soldier Field in Chicago. The stage is set for a breakout performance.
5. QB Bryant Moniz, Hawaii Warriors
Bryant Moniz may not have led the warriors to a road win at Washington, but he did put up some big numbers in the passing game (not so much in the running game). Moniz completed 31 of 45 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown as Hawaii put up 32 points in a losing effort. We won’t kil Moniz for not having a defense unable to keep Washington off the scoreboard here.