If it seems as though there's been somewhat less emphasis on the Heisman trophy race this year than in the last few, there's a reason for it: there have been fewer compelling candidates than in the recent past.
Last year, Troy Smith blew the opposition away, putting up huge numbers for the only undefeated team in the country. The year before, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush ran a tight race as two of the top talents in the entire NCAA, and two talents who also happened to play for a top-quality, glamourous team, while Vince Young dazzled with his athleticism and leadership ability.
This year, the top candidates at the beginning of the year have largely fallen by the wayside. Darren McFadden, who was the consensus pick entering the season, has continued to impress with his versatility and talent, but his numbers haven't been as mind-blowingly incredible as they need to be in order to overcome the Razorbacks' four losses. Due to the parity of the field, however, McFadden can still elevate himself with a big game this weekend against LSU.
West Virginia quarterback Pat White was the recipient of some preseason hype, and his team has been solid, but his numbers have been dwarfed by those of some other contenders, especially Florida's Tim Tebow.
Tebow, as a sophomore, has been the premier candidate, despite playing on a three-loss Florida team that will in all likelihood not even make it to the SEC title game. Why? His numbers have been absolutely overwhelming. He's 20th in the nation in passing yards, on only the 64th-most attempts, while also being 4th in the country in rushing touchdowns (his total of 20 is an SEC single-season record).
With Oregon's Dennis Dixon being lost for the season, Tebow takes overhe lead in the Heisman race, and has a good chance of winning at least one more before he leaves for the NFL at (one would assume) the end of the 2009 season.