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Fancred Football Friday Mailbag: Heisman favorites or sleepers, and surprise playoff contender

FancredAs I will be doing on the first Friday of every month, today’s mailbag questions will come from the Fancred community. Not on Fancred? Sign up for an account now and be sure to get connected with me there. Nittany Lions Den and Madtown Badgers are on Fancred as well, for you Penn State or Wisconsin fans reading this.

Anyway, let’s get this week’s mailbag started.

The first question of the day comes from Andy, of Madtown Badgers, who asks…

Who will be the name we aren’t talking about now that wins the Heisman Trophy? Or will it go to a front runner for a change?

I’ll start by saying I will always follow the historic trend and suggest there will be no two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy this season. There has only been one, and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will not be the second even with the kind of numbers I suspect he will put up this season. But we also have to respect some of the more recent trends in the Heisman Trophy race, which suggest there is a young player few people know about or suspect much from in 2014 that will emerge as a strong contender. But I do not think that will be the case either.

Instead, I think one of the giant programs of the game today will be the home to the Heisman Trophy winner. I think Braxton Miller of Ohio State and Marcus Mariota of Oregon are each in the thick of the conversation when November rolls around, and Baylor’s Bryce Petty stays in the hunt as well, especially if the Bears can get in front of Oklahoma in the Big 12 race. Three running backs worth watching will be Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska, Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin and Todd Gurley of Georgia.

I love a player like Chuckie Keeton, but ultimately I do not think he will be able to generate enough votes in the long run even with a successful and healthy season. He could go to New York, but that may be as far as he goes.

Who is a dark horse team that we could be talking about being in the college playoff this year?
AJ from BC Interruption

The team I keep coming back to is Florida. Hear me out on this. Florida may have one of the top three defenses in the SEC, and that defense is likely to put the Gators in position to win a number of games if their offense can just find a way to stay a little healthy and make a play every now and then. The Gators are not asking for much out of their offense, which I suspect should be better in 2014.

Florida returns just three offensive starters this fall, but the offensive line is full of upper classmen across the line to protect quarterback Jeff Driskel, who is healthy heading into the start of the new year.The addition of offensive coordinator Kurt Roper could bring enough of a change to the offensive philosophy and production as well as the Gators look to kick up the tempo at times. Florida also has a somewhat favorable schedule despite having to play at Alabama and at Florida State. Yeah, it’s a lot to ask for from a team that won just four games a year ago, I admit that. But I do consider last year a blip on the radar and not a preview of years to come. Florida gets South Carolina at home and Georgia on the neutral field in Jacksonville. Neither game is impossible to come out with a win. Getting to Tallahassee in the final week of the regular season with 10 wins is not out of reach.

Could Florida play into the College Football Playoff at the end of the season? I certainly think it is not the most far-fetched idea out there.

It was a slow day for the Fancred Football Mailbag today, so I will close up shop right there. Feel free to check out my post on Fancred to submit any more questions, and I will attempt to answer them when time permits. Moving forward, the first Friday of each month will be Fancred Friday here on No 2-Minute Warning, so connect with me and be on the lookout for the next request for your college football questions!

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.