I must admit that when I sent in my ESPN.com Heisman ballot over the weekend, I had three players from the SEC on it ...
Now that those "homer" calls have died down a bit, I have to say I don't feel as though I've lost any of my marbles over such a decision. There are some great players out there in college football, and my list will probably change by this time next week. But after two weekends of football, I feel like three of the best players in the country reside in the SEC.
No. 1 on my list is more obvious than the sky being blue: Georgia running back Todd Gurley. He's only played one game, but boy was it a game. The powerful yet slightly majestic freight train that is Gurley wowed us all with his 293 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns against Clemson in the opener. We were also wowed at how he looked. He was leaner, yet bigger. He was faster, yet stronger.
Gurley abused Clemson's defense for 198 rushing yards and took a kick return 100 yards to the house. I guess he still needs to work on his receiving skills, since he was left with minus-5 yards on one catch.
But in all seriousness, if you didn't think Gurley was the best overall player in the country before the season, open those eyes. He might have had durability issues last year -- and there's nothing to say he won't in 2014 -- but he looks like a different player on the field. It's like watching a rock ballad in motion when Gurley gets the ball.
But Gurley isn't the only player worthy of early Heisman love. Here are four others from the SEC who deserve a little recognition after two weeks:
Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M: Well, all he's done through two games -- one coming against what was a top-10 South Carolina team -- is throw for 794 yards and seven touchdowns. Now, South Carolina's defense is a shell of its former self and Lamar was just happy to be in town, but you can't ignore what Kenny Trill is doing. He already looks like a more polished pure passer than Johnny Manziel, which means the offense might actually flow better.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Through two games, Cooper leads the nation with 25 receptions and 319 receiving yards. He has just one touchdown, but that came on a nifty 52-yard catch-and-run Saturday against FAU, a game in which he caught 13 passes (tying a school record for a single game) for 189 yards and that touchdown.
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn: I knew Auburn would figure out its running game without Tre Mason leading the pack. Gus Malzahn's system helps running backs flourish, but Artis-Payne is also that talented. He leads the SEC -- and ranks seventh nationally -- with 289 rushing yards. He also leads the SEC with four rushing touchdowns and is averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
Travin Dural, WR, LSU: See, Dural didn't have to do any Heisman poses to make it on this list. All he's had to do is find a way to be in the right place at the right time. He has an SEC-high four touchdown receptions, with one being 94 yards and another coming in at 80 yards. Only two of his catches haven't gone for touchdowns, and his SEC-leading 291 receiving yards are the most in school history for a player after two games.