After nearly eight months without college football, you're probably ready to suit up and cover the opening kickoff yourself. So instead of wasting your time with some nonsensical rambling to start the preseason Watch, let's dive right into the football.
2007 stats: 274 rushes, 1,609 yards, 15 TDs; 5 receptions, 21 yards.Heisman-o-meter: Now that we know his friends call him Beanie and not Chris, we can begin the process of Heisman punditry. With a delicious combination of size (6-foot-1, 237 pounds) and speed (see 65-yard touchdown against LSU), Wells is the most NFL-ready of anyone on this list. When you also consider that he'll be the offensive engine for a team that'll be in BCS title consideration for much of the season, he's the one beat. The main question with him is: Will he stay injury-free?Up next: Saturday vs. Youngstown State.
2007 stats: 234-of-350 passing, 3,286 yards, 32 TDs, 6 INTs; 210 rushes, 895 yards, 23 TDs.Heisman-o-meter: Touchdown Tim had a historic season last year when winning the Heisman, but the bad news for Tebow is that all those numbers from 2007 will raise the bar even higher for him in 2008. In addition Florida's suddenly deep stable of runners should probably cut into the quarterback's carries. The blogosphere had a field day in July after Gators coach Urban Meyer called Tebow "the greatest player of our era." A second Heisman would shut that blogosphere up.Up next: Saturday vs. Hawaii.
2007 stats: 248 rushes, 1,334 yards, 14 TDs; 20 receptions, 253 yards.Heisman-o-meter: Moreno is such an electric runner in the open field that Bulldogs coach Mark Richt experimented with the idea of him returning punts this season. A bruised shoulder has temporarily shelved that plan, but there's a chance it could be revived at some point. Moreno's Heisman hopes could use the punt-returning boost, considering all the shuffling that has occurred in the offensive line after Trinton Sturdivant's season-ending knee injury.Up next: Saturday vs. Georgia Southern.
2007 stats: 384-of-563 passing, 4,306 yards, 33 TDs, 11 INTs; 109 rushes, 253 yards, 4 TDs.Heisman-o-meter: No college quarterback knows his offense better than Daniel, who has been running almost this exact version of the spread since his days at Southlake (Texas) Carroll High. What he lacks in height (6-feet), he makes up for with savvy and surprising speed. If he can finish fourth in the voting despite losing twice to Oklahoma last year, imagine how high he could finish if he beats the bullies on the schedule this year (Texas, anyone?). He gets an early encounter with a bully on Saturday.Up next: Saturday vs. No. 20 Illinois in St. Louis.
2007 stats: 134 receptions, 1,962 yards, 22 TDs; 1 kick off return, 16 yards.Heisman-o-meter: Red Raiders coach/offensive madman Mike Leach is toying with new ways to get Crabtree more touches, including running the ball from a direct snap and returning kickoffs. Crabtree was already the most prolific receiver in the country last year -- by about four touchdowns -- so this can only help his chances. But he can't have a great season without his quarterback Graham Harrell, who just may steal enough votes to keep Crabtree from winning it.Up next: Saturday vs. Eastern Washington.
2007 stats: 144-of-216 passing, 1,724 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs; 197 rushes, 1,335 yards, 14 TDs.Heisman-o-meter: This fleet-footed running wizard has been a favorite of this list for many seasons, but mainly because of his ability to get to the edge and slalom through would-be tacklers in the open field. This season, however, the new Mountaineers coaching staff has said WVU will throw the ball more, which hasn't been White's forte. No other contender on this list has had to go through more of an adjustment period than White.Up next: Saturday vs. Villanova.
2007 stats: 121 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 interceptions.Heisman-o-meter: Last year Glenn Dorsey was the defensive player of choice on Heisman lists, and he barely registered on the meter. One of the problems was Dorsey was an interior lineman whose value -- occupying blockers and freeing up teammates to make the play -- was hard to quantify. As a linebacker, Laurinaitis shouldn't have as much of a problem getting noticed, considering his ability to stuff the run and, seemingly, get his helmet in on every play. Defensive players don't win the Heisman, but he has as good a chance as any defender this season.Up next: Saturday vs. Youngstown State.
2007 stats: 94 rushes, 540 yards, 3 TDs; 23 receptions, 203 yards, 1 TD; 19 punt returns, 160 yards.Heisman-o-meter: Shifty, speedy and now solid (He added 20 pounds in the offseason and is up to 200). McKnight joined the discussion for the 2008 stiff-armed statuette after his 125-yard rushing day (on 10 carries) against Illinois in the Rose Bowl. Assuming the finger and elbow issues he incurred this month won't be a problem, McKnight's biggest obstacle to the Heisman may be carries. He shares a backfield with Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford.Up next: Saturday at Virginia.
2007 stats: 276 rushes, 1,328 yards, 14 TDs; 1-of-2 passing, 18 yards; 33 receptions, 244 yards, 1 TD.Heisman-o-meter: I'll steer away from the bad "Real McCoy" references, but there's no doubt the Panthers' exciting runner hasn't received enough Heisman love. The back nicknamed "Shady" is a score-from-anywhere home-run hitter who looks awfully like one Heisman winner from three years ago. If the team can replace three starters in the offensive line and improve on its 5-7 record, McCoy could be an under-the-radar pick.Up next: Saturday vs. Bowling Green.
2007 stats: 237-of-341 passing, 3,121 yards, 36 TDs, 8 INTs; 31 rushes, 7 yards.Heisman-o-meter: Bradford came out of nowhere last year to have the greatest, statistically speaking, freshman season ever for a quarterback. He won't wow anyone with his athletic ability or his arm strength, but he's a highly accurate passer who benefits from having one of the best -- if not the best -- offensive lines in the nation. If running back DeMarco Murray is healthy the whole season, he would actually be the leading Sooner candidate on this list. But considering Oklahoma will likely be in the national-title talk through November, Bradford should be in the hunt as well.Up next: Saturday vs. Chattanooga.