If you haven't noticed, we've got a bit of Heisman theme going on today around the ESPN blogosphere. And that makes for an apt and timely poll question.
Only we're going to take the obvious out of the equation. I think we can all come to a consensus that as of right now, USC quarterback Matt Barkley is the front-runner -- both in the Pac-12 and nationally. So for the purposes of our poll today, we're going to look at Pac-12 players other than Barkley who have the best shot at winning the Heisman.
Here are your choices:
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon: There aren't a lot of backups who run for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns. Then again, a lot of backups don't get 152 carries. Barner's touches will go up, so it stands to reason his numbers will skyrocket as he takes over for LaMichael James. Will he steal votes from De'Anthony Thomas, or will he steal the show?
Keith Price, QB, Washington: You have to love his athleticism and moxie. And voters love quarterbacks. Will that be the right combination for a Heisman upset? As mentioned earlier Thursday, the first six weeks of the season are likely to make or break Price's Heisman run. If he comes out of that brutal first stretch relatively unscathed and with good numbers, look out.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford: Certainly an argument can be made that Taylor is the best all-around running back in the conference. And he rushed for 1,330 yards and 10 touchdowns as a member of a committee. He'll see more touches this year as the Cardinal break in a new quarterback, but still probably won't exceed 20 carries per game on a regular basis. Will it be enough to sway voters? And besides, if he doesn't win, isn't it mandate that someone from Stanford at least finishes second?
De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon: I guess you could call him the front-runner of the non-front-runners. A lot of people seem to think that if it doesn't go to Barkley, it will go to elusive and electrifying Thomas -- who made a huge splash in his freshman campaign with 2,235 all-purpose yards and 18 combined touchdowns.
John White IV, RB, Utah: He was second in the conference last year with 1,519 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. He consistently fought his way through eight- and nine-man fronts and, quite frankly, was the main reason Utah stayed competitive offensively. Can he repeat those numbers, and is he a big enough name nationally?