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Bodog Nation - Heisman Hopeful Rundown

Bodog Nation Articles

A shot at a national championship brought quarterback Brian Brohm back to Louisville. A Heisman might be in the "Cards" as well

Aug. 7th, 2007

By Jason Brough
Bodog Nation Contributing Writer

On Jan. 7, the outlook for college football in northern Kentucky was anything but rosy.

Five days after the Louisville Cardinals defeated Wake Forest in the 2006 Orange Bowl came news that coach Bobby Petrino was leaving to become the new head man with the Atlanta Falcons.

Making matters worse, in the wake of Petrino's departure, speculation grew that the team’s standout quarterback, Brian Brohm, would skip his senior year and opt for the NFL.

So not only was Louisville losing the coach that guided the Cardinals to a 41-9 record over four years, it also stood to lose its biggest star.

Fortunately for the team's fans and players, the opportunity for Brohm to lead his hometown to glory in 2007 was too juicy to pass up. Thus, his decision to stay.

Of course, a shot at individual glory was undoubtedly another factor. The Bodog Sportsbook has handed Brohm 7/2 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, second to only Arkansas running back Darren McFadden at 3/1.

"I think you'd be lying if you said you didn't think about it," Brohm said of his Heisman hopes. "It's probably the most prestigious individual award in sports. It's a great honor to even be mentioned as a preseason candidate."

Under new head coach Steve Kragthorpe, Brohm expects to build on a 2006 season where he led the Cardinals to a 12-1 record and earned MVP honors in the Orange Bowl.

"I think we definitely have the potential to be better than we were last year," Brohm said. "Just to have another shot to maybe get in that national title game is something that really intrigues me."

Only a devastating loss to Rutgers prevented the Cardinals from playing in the 2006 BCS Title game.

Despite missing two games with a thumb injury, Brohm threw for 3,049 yards, 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions last season. Meanwhile, Heisman winner Troy Smith of Ohio State racked up 2,507 yards and 30 touchdowns through the air.

Of course, it’s not just stats that make a Heisman winner. A healthy dose of buzz is needed, too. And that’s where Brohm might fall short.

Big East teams Louisville, West Virginia and Rutgers put together amazing seasons in 2006 and all should be contenders in 2007. That said, games involving the Cardinals, Mountaineers and Scarlet Knights don't (and still won't) get the same nationwide attention that traditional powerhouse schools receive.

One of those powerhouse schools is USC.

Booty on Display

Every year, University of Southern California football fans get their schedule and look for one date: Notre Dame.

The Trojans have played the Fighting Irish every year since 1926, save for 1942-44 during World War II.

Like Ohio State-Michigan, Florida State-Miami and all the other great annual rivalry games in college football, USC-Notre Dame is a must-see for every pigskin junkie.
John David Booty - Bodog NationJohn David Booty. (AP Images)

USC travels to South Bend on Oct. 20 at which time Trojans quarterback John David Booty will have a national television audience to make his case for the bronze, stiff-arming trophy.

Getting 5/1 odds to win the Heisman, Booty will receive no shortage of attention from voters. However, it’s his supporting cast that might let him down. With receivers Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett having left for the NFL, coach Pete Carroll may well turn to the ground game more than he did last year when Booty threw for 3,347 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Odds to Win the BCS National Championship
The Top Five

  • USC - 5/2
  • Michigan - 7/1
  • Florida - 8/1
  • LSU - 8/1
  • West Virginia - 9/1

Complete National Title Odds

A Razorback With Real Edge

In 1981, Georgia’s Herschel Walker was the runner-up in the Heisman voting, losing out to USC’s Marcus Allen. The next year, Walker beat out John Elway to win it.

Twenty-five years later, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, the aforementioned 3/1 favorite to win the Heisman, is looking to follow in Walker’s magical footsteps. Last year, McFadden rushed for a school-record 1,558 yards, scored 15 touchdowns and even threw for three touchdowns. As a result, he finished second to Ohio State’s Troy Smith in the Heisman voting.

"Saying he's great doesn't do him justice," Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said.

"He's not just a great runner who has the best hands, who can throw it like a quarterback, block, run inside, run outside and can stiff-arm. He can do most everything."

Mr. Everything led the Razorbacks to a 10-4 season in 2006 and their first winning record since 2003. Arkansas went through a number of offseason issues surrounding coach Houston Nutt’s future with the school, but McFadden should have the Hogs’ faithful excited for 2007.

Three More to Think About

Steve Slaton (9/2)

West Virginia’s running back earned 1,128 yards on 205 attempts with 17 touchdowns in 2006. Slaton rose to national prominence in the Sugar Bowl where he was named MVP after gaining 204 yards on 26 carries and scoring three touchdowns.

Colt Brennan (7/1)

Operating out of the pass-happy University of Hawaii offense, Brennan threw for a NCAA Division 1-A record for most touchdowns in a single season with 58. He finished sixth in the 2006 Heisman race.

Ray Rice (8/1)

Last season, the Rutgers running back gained 1,794 rushing yards with 20 touchdowns. Rice ran for over 200 yards in a single game on three separate occasions and finished the year with a 170-yard performance in the Scarlet Knights’ 37-10 drubbing of Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.

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