For most college football fans and almost every football media outlet, Trevone Boykin, Ezekiel Elliott and Braxton Miller are the preseason front-runners for college football's most prestigious award.
After that, the field is a toss up. I mean, for Pete's sake, all three "quarterbacks"(with Braxton Miller moving to WR) for Ohio State have good odds of winning the Heisman. Much of rest of field is made up of potential break out stars, players who excelled last season or the new skill position players at major universities.
The name that intrigues and mystifies the most out of the Top 36 in preseason Heisman odds, though? Mason Rudolph.
The OSU Cowboy's starting quarterback has one of the more unique situations in the country. Having been brought in to start for the second to last game of the regular season, Rudolph has too small a history at quarterback to prove whether he should considered as one of the best players in the country. However, the Cowboys had one of the quickest and one of the more lively turnarounds at the end of the season.
From an impressive showing late at Baylor to willing the Cowboys to victory in Bedlam to closing out Washington in a bowl game, Rudolph showed not only how calm and poised he can be in the pocket but also his potential for stardom at Oklahoma State and at a national level. So does he really have what it takes become college football's best player?
Let's buy or sell:
Buy- Mason Rudolph wins the Heisman
For this to be possible, Rudolph will need to do several things this season. First, he will need to bring Oklahoma State to an undefeated, or at least one loss, season. With winning all other games and taking two of the big three (TCU, Baylor, OU), Rudolph will have an impressive enough showing to launch himself into the discussion. With an undefeated season, Rudolph will almost assuredly be in the top 5.
Second, he must prove himself to be the reason for OSU's success. With plenty of play makers on this year's team, No. 2 will need to separate himself from the field in Stillwater and prove all roads lead through the quarterback position. Lastly, Rudolph will need to have several Heisman moments to show voters that he deserves the trophy. Whether it be 70 yard touchdowns or closing out ranked games with game-winning drives, he will need those moments with consistency and with flair.
Although this task seems insurmountable, what Mason Rudolph does to this team makes anything seem possible. With many of the great quarterbacks in college and NFL history, teams seemed to be attracted and fight until the end for their offensive leader. Whether it was charisma or pure talent, the whole team would be on the same page and firing on all cylinders. With Rudolph, the inklings of this same phenomenon are present.
Oklahoma State looked like a completely different team with No. 10 (now No. 2) at the helm. Not only was there a noticeable energy but a confidence that fans and and media alike noticed.
With a quarterback like that, is the Heisman really that tall of a task?
Sell- Mason Rudolph doesn't win; doesn't make the cut
For many, this is the more believable of the two scenarios. Whether its a sophomore slump or a let down of the anticipation built from too small a set of experience from last season, Rudolph has many things working against him in his pursuit of the best trophy in college football.
The field for the Heisman is stacked with talent that could be and will be considered much better than what Rudolph has currently shown. Stars from perennially great teams will be considered first for the trophy and bias toward players of teams ranked higher will skew the votes in their favor.
Also, the offense for OSU is impressive but not without its weak points. Although it is healthy and coming back with more experience this season, the O-Line is still the weakest link on the Cowboy's offense. Only time can tell if this O-Line can rebuild its reputation as one of the better in the country.
One of the major problems with last season and still a potential nightmare for this season is the running back position. Without a consistent threat from Desmond Roland, OSU struggled with a one-dimensional offense that was targeted specifically because they could only throw. This season, only Rennie Childs, who has the most experience (78 carries for 294 yards) returns with any amount of consistency at the position. Although Chris Carson looks to be a potential star, he along with the other running backs at OSU are still unknowns.
With so many factors working against him, can Rudolph really make it to the top?
What do you think?