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Eagles soar, kick off season with 6-0 Start

By Denebola
Published: October 2007
By Nadav SwartzAs most college football fans have noticed, the quarterback of Boston College, Matt Ryan, is playing the best football of his life. He has led the Eagles to their first 6 – 0 start in 65 years. His Eagles are ranked 4th in the country behind college football powerhouses LSU, California and Ohio State.

Normally, Boston College is not mentioned in the same s entences as such great schools; however, Ryan’s incredible play has elevated BC to the apex of the college football world.

Ryan is one of two quarterbacks at the head of the current Heisman trophy race, the other Hawaii’s Colt Brennan. Their numbers are very similar as well, Ryan’s quarterback rating is 139.4 while Brennan’s is 168.2. Ryan has seven more passing yards than Brennan with 1,857 while Brennan has one more touchdown pass than Ryan with 16.

Ryan has five interceptions to Brennan’s six because both Boston College and Hawaii are 6 – 0, one might think that the two quarterbacks are just about even in the Heisman voting, but there is one more factor: Boston College is in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) while Hawaii is in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference).

The ACC is a much stronger division overall than the WAC. BC must play number 12, Virginia Tech and then number 21, Florida State. BC’s last three games are against Maryland, Clemson and Miami; all of which are solid teams.

Being in the WAC, Hawaii’s toughest opponent is arguably Boise State and they are not even currently ranked. There are no ranked teams in the WAC other than Hawaii. Therefore, even though both quarterbacks have close numbers, Ryan is performing the same against much better teams.

Ranked ACC teams are clearly much better than unranked WAC teams, which gives Ryan a very large advantage in the Heisman race over Brennan. The difference in conferences and opponents should give Ryan the edge over Brennan.

The next player who stands in the way of Ryan winning the Heisman is Arkansas’s Darren McFadden. The running back from Arkansas finished in the top three for the Heisman race last year and is having another great season.

He has 130 rushing attempts so far this year for 779 yards, with an average of 6.0 yards per carry. To go along with all that he has seven rushing touchdowns. McFadden is also only a junior; Ryan and Brennan are both seniors. Arkansas, however, is in the SEC (South Eastern Conference) which is a very strong division, which should help McFadden’s Heisman chances.

Arkansas, however, is currently 3 – 2, losing to Alabama and number 17, Kentucky. Two losses look very bad on a Heisman candidate’s resume. The worst part is yet to come; Arkansas has yet to play number seven, South Carolina, then number 25, Tennessee and finally number one LSU.

Most likely, Arkansas will lose at least one of these games, all three will be extremely hard games for them, and three, if not more, losses for a Heisman candidate do not look good at all. One would assume that those losses would ruin McFadden’s Heisman chances regardless of his own personal numbers.

The last player who may challenge Matt Ryan for the Heisman trophy is California’s DeSean Jackson. He is an excellent wide receiver for the Golden Bears who are simply electrifying. To go along with good numbers, 28 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns, Jackson has great speed and even better moves, making defenders miss on every play. Also, like McFadden, Jackson is only a junior.

His one major problem that jeopardizes his Heisman chances is his position. Wide receivers, while very important to a team, do not have as big an impact on teams as a quarterback or running back. They do not get the ball enough, only 28 receptions for Jackson, and only two touchdowns. Two touchdowns in five games is nowhere near Heisman caliber.

Jackson would need to get the ball more and definitely score more to secure a Heisman victory. While he may be a great receiver, he cannot compete with the likes of Ryan, Brennan, and McFadden for a Heisman trophy at this point in the season.

Matt Ryan has led his BC Eagles to an undefeated season so far. He is having the best season of his college career, making him a solid NFL prospect. Ryan has compiled great numbers that can compete with any of the top quarterbacks in college football.

At the half-way point of the season, six games, he is the leading Heisman trophy candidate. Things can and will change between now and the end of the season and Ryan must continue to dominate and play at his current level if he wishes to secure the title.

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