The Heisman Trophy almost always goes to the best player on the best team in the country, and typically that player comes from a power conference. Could this year be any different, probably not, but there is a case to be made for at least a finalist to come from the Mountain West.
Chris Huston of the Heisman Pundit and CBS Sports put together his post-spring list of 30 candidates for the 2013 Heisman Trophy. He included four Mountain West players to the list.
Below are the four Mountain West contenders, and their full list is here:
Can any of those make a run to New York City, well maybe? Win, that would require a million different scenarios for that to happen.
The key reasons for a Heisman campaign to be successful are brand recognition, presseason ranking, schedule, conference and stats. Possibly in that order, but lets rank the players by the some of the criteria above.
1. Derek Carr: The last name helps for name recognition from his brother David who had an amazing career at Fresno State. The team won a share of the Mountain West title, but the last memory was getting thrashed in their bowl game.
2. Cody Fajardo: The offense is very exciting so there is more school brand than name brand in this scenario. People will want to at least check out how Nevada plays with Brian Polian in charge for Chris Ault who just retired.
3. Chuckie Keeton: Utah State won the WAC, 11 games, defeated Utah and almost upset Wisconsin. Plus, their head coach Gary Andersen made a name for himself and went to Wisconsin.
4. David Fales: San Jose State did win 11 games, but like Utah State the program has been awful for years.
1. Chuckie Keeton: Utah State will have a shot to be ranked in the preseason due to the past two years of playing well.
2. Derek Carr: Again, tri-conference champs last year
3. David Fales: Coming off an 11-win 2011 campaign should give them some respect.
4. Cody Fajardo: Too many losses from last year including head coach Chris Ault and Stefphon Jefferson who left early for the NFL Draft; oh and that defense was less than stellar last year.
1. Cody Fajardo: Non-conference includes Florida State, UCLA and BYU; plus they go on the road against Boise State and Fresno State. Put up good stats against those teams and he has a shot.
2. Chuckie Keeton: Utah State plays both Utah, USC and BYU before their conference slate.
3. David Fales: They go on the road for Stanford and also a less intimitading Minnesota in non-league play.
4. Derek Carr: Rutgers and Colorado do not strike fear in really any school, so no non-conference marquee games for Fresno State.
1. Derek Carr: This is a close one over Nevada's Cody Fajardo, because a dual-threat quarterback numbers can outshine high passing numbers. However, Carr did throw for 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns.
2. David Fales: He put up similar numbers to Carr with 4,193 yards passing and 33 touchdowns last season.
3. Chuckie Keeton: Another dual-threat player, but he makes more passing plays with his legs rather than being used in the running game. He passed for 3,373 yards with 27 touchdowns and rushed for 619 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns.
4. Cody Fajardo: The dual-threat quarterback had 3,907 total yards and 32 total touchdowns, and if he can get close to 5,000 total yards then he has a shot.
Going off of this criteria Fales is probably not going to be the front runner for this league, partly because of the name San Jose State, and the same could be said for Keeton at Utah State. Fajardo at Nevada has too tough a schedule, however if they do manuver that and go undefeated, or maybe 11-1, he has a shot. Look for Carr to be the frontrunner mainly because he will put up very good stats and has a schedule that is not all that difficult.