First off, Heisman Winner would have been a better subject heading, but thats all water under the bridge ;).
A couple of links to help you guys read up a bit.
I have confidence in the committee, and I think that most of them are quote qualified to vote. Some likely get lazy and don’t fulfill their duty, but i believe the majority do. Call me an optimist. I certainly think that the past winners “know more about it” than I do. I also think that is easy to keep tabs on all the canidates, I am an avid fan, and watch 5 games or so a Saturday, plus a couple of Thursday games. Now if I had the ESPN Game Plan and could see any game it would help to deflate the regional bias that the broadcast rights create. The trick is knowing who the canidates are.
This is a task taken on by the schools, not the reporters and broadcasters. Each school who feels they have a potential canidate will make up a huge media guide, and a variety of advertisement style toys that they give to the voters and media. These things highlight all the achievements, and talents he has, along with the big game and clutch performances. Presumably a bunch of personal data to sway a sentimetal vote. Based on these items the media begins to select a few likely canidates and adjusts their broadcasts accordingly. This gets the ball rolling. As the season rolls on the canidates get whitled down and the cream of the crop rise. There are always a bunch of great athletes having great years, but to win the Heisman, you need a great year, and school behind you, a good marketing strategy, a good personality, and alot of luck.
Who do I think deserves it so far, tough call. In years with no clear cut leader, it frequently the teams performance which is the tie breaker, that could happen this year.
Pennington has put up great numbers, but the quality of their opponents is suspect, and he has never played in a truly big game. Not a plus from an “intangibles” standpoint.
Peter Warrick is finished, no matter what happens with this crime, the sheer taint of him has ruined his chances, justifiably so IMHO.
Ron Dayne is still in the hunt and has shown up in the big games. He is a victim of the hype and is a rare canidate who is into the running as an underclassmen and senior. His year will need to be great compared to his past seasons, not the average year, and current competition. Thats too bad. The teams big loss to Cincinnati may hurt him, but he had a huge game that day, so go figure. Voters may recall him not playing in 3 full quarters in the first two games where he still had ~150 yards/game. He needs his team to finish strong.
Joey Hamilton has a good shot. He has had lots of turnover problems, and while putting up big totals, he makes alot of mistakes, and when looked at closely one may wonder how great those 12 TD’s are when he had 10 TOs. (stats are just an example) Fact is his team hasn’t be able to win the big game ever in his career. After the last few Charlie Ward type QB’s who got consideration, the voters may want someone who has a chance in the NFL.
Shaun Alexander is the best guy on paper right now, but is likely to fade as his team does in a long conference schedule. Also being a bit of a dark horse may hurt him. Early in the season this matters, but great numbers often speak up in December. If he and his team step up in big games, he will be tough to beat.
Travis Prentice is in the same boat as Pennington, and the small school voters could split and hurt both’s chances. All-time NCAA records do look nice though.
Drew Brees is looking great, and in the toughest schedule for a canidate is putting up great numbers. His team must win though.
Chris Redman could be the best NFL prospect and is close with Brees for best QB so far. Their numbers are close, but a ranked Purdue against a much tougher schudule (and defensively loaded) could overshadow a mediocre Louisville.
Bill Burke may get some consideration if MSU continues to win and makes a BCS appearance. He has gotten little press, but late season action is what is easily remebered. His biggest stumbling block if MSU wins out is going to be Plaxico Burress. He is the stud reciever for MSU, and is putting up huge numbers, and may be as good as Warrick in a more conventional role (no gimmicks like taking snaps and throwing passes in blowouts).
I imagine a couple of new guys will pop up in the coming weeks too.
If I were picking today I’d go with Drew Brees slightly over Shaun Alexander. No good reason other than regional preference and more live game spectation. Its a long season.