Week seven is said and done and we know a couple of things so far. Nick Saban is in the prime of one of the most beautiful dynasties in sports history and the Big Ten is officially back on the map. The playoffs are starting to set themselves up and we’re getting a pretty good idea of who has a shot of securing a spot. However, with all this, I still have one question. Where have the Heisman Trophy candidates gone from arguably the best conference in college football, the SEC?
Going into this season, people were stoked to watch guys like Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb, Jalen Hurd, and people were even talking about the beast that is Bo Scarborough and were curious to see what he could do. I think it’s safe to say none of these men have lived up to their expectations so far, at least to a potential Heisman caliber of play. The only SEC players that are even being mentioned in the Heisman race are two defensive ends — Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. That’s even if analysts will continue to put Myles Garrett in their top ten, because I certainly wouldn’t.
Even though they both were limited to just one sack in their matchup in College Station, anybody with a pair of eyes knows that Barnett completely outperformed Garrett. Not only did Barnett double Garrett in tackles, but he had one of the most beautiful pass deflections I have ever seen from a defensive end down the field. Garrett was also limited due to a nagging ankle injury.
On another note, it almost seems like the highly-anticipated Leonard Fournette came to a realization (with the help of a minor ankle injury) that his team will be in a mediocre bowl at most and that it’s probably a good idea for him to coast the remainder of the season and not risk an injury. Everyone already knows he’s easily a first round draft pick and most likely a top ten pick.
How is it that Alabama is still the best team in the country, yet doesn’t have an obvious star in the Heisman race? Has Saban just allocated a team with incredible balance and equal talent on both sides of the field? That seems the only real answer to me.
It’s different not having a Derrick Henry, Todd Gurley, Johnny Manziel, or a Trent Richardson representing the conference. It’s almost like the electricity has died down a little bit, even though the SEC still holds dominance throughout the nation. I’m curious to see how the rest of the season will play out after seeing guys like Joshua Dobbs and Trevor Knight starting to get a bit of recognition. But, Dobbs was bullied against Alabama and Knight faces the Crimson Tide this week.
Even if the SEC doesn’t have any standout players, I still think it’s the best conference in college football. Every week, the SEC delivers classics so I don’t believe it when people claim 2016 to be a down year for the conference. I mean, if anything, just watch the Vols’ games against Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M to see how competitive the conference is. Regardless if it brings a candidate to the table this season, the conference remains one of the powerhouses. However, this may be the first time in a good while that an SEC player doesn’t at least finish in the top five of the Heisman Race.
Edited by Dalton King
Featured image by Donald Page, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics