Big game trophy hunt

One matchup can turn Heisman sleepers into favorites and front-runners into also-rans

Updated: September 20, 2011, 2:08 PM ET
By Ryan McCrystal | ESPN The Magazine
WilsonMark J. Rebilas/US PresswireTyler Wilson can enter the Heisman race with a Razorbacks win over Alabama on Saturday.

This story appears in the October 3, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Based on his Heisman Predictor formula (posted every Tuesday), Ryan McCrystal successfully picked seven of the past eight winners of college football's biggest honor. The Mag asked him to analyze five midseason games that feature both a Heisman front-runner and a long shot. His goal? Determine how much award momentum the favorite would lose with an L and the underdog would gain with an upset.

• For the favorite, "Projected final points" equals his projected final Predictor points, assuming his team wins out. "With a loss" equals his projected points with a loss in the matchup assuming no subsequent losses.
• For the underdog, "Enters game" equals his projected points entering the game. "With a win" equals his projected end-of-game Predictor points if he gets the win.

Note: Average Heisman winner's final points is 145.9.

Sept. 24 -- Arkansas Razorbacks at Alabama Crimson Tide

Heisman favorite: Alabama RB Trent Richardson
Projected final points: 142.0
With a loss: 124.5
Points to lose: 17.5

Heisman underdog: Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
Enters game: 98.0
With a win: 111.0
Points to gain: 13.0