Handicapping the Big 12 Heisman race

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
11:15
AM ET
Heisman Pundit is exactly that. Chris Huston knows his stuff about the Heisman, and famously penned The 10 Heismandments, which outline what has to happen for players to earn the greatest individual honor in sports.

He looked at his top 10 candidates from the Big 12, ranking them from top to bottom.

Topping the list?

West Virginia's Geno Smith. Huston pegged Oklahoma's Landry Jones as the No. 3 candidate, but had a moderate surprise at No. 2 with Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein on his list of "Contenders"

"Klein was probably the toughest player in college football last year, pound for pound," wrote Huston. "I can’t remember the last time I saw a player improve as much as Klein did between his sophomore and junior seasons."

No arguments here. The guy carried the ball 317 times, 67 more times than anybody else in the Big 12 and third-most in the nation. He took a beating every week and kept improving, kept running and kept growing as a passer.

I might have Jones ahead of both Klein and Smith, but it's definitely close. Klein needs wins and production to gain some more name recognition, but he's everything to Kansas State's offense.

I liked Huston's picks as the three dark horses, too.

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall topped that list, ahead of running back Joseph Randle at Oklahoma State and receiver Tavon Austin from West Virginia.

I think it'll be tough for Austin to legitimately win as a receiver, but if OSU and TCU start racking up wins by the bushelful, Randle will make an appearance on the short list, as will Pachall, who has three outstanding targets in Josh Boyce, Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter.

Check out Huston's blog for his list of longshots, which includes four boys in burnt orange from Texas.

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