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December 9, 2008
Olin Buchanan's Week 15 Heisman Ballot
VOTE: Who is the front-runner for the Heisman?
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford had surgery Sunday to repair damage to his injured left hand.
Whether that will affect his ability to hoist the Heisman on Saturday night remains to be seen, because it sure didn't hamper his play in last week's Big 12 Championship Game.
Bradford likely secured his status as the Heisman winner by throwing for 384 yards and two touchdowns in a 62-21 victory over Missouri, which ensured he would lead the nation in passing efficiency and the Sooners would play for the BCS national championship.
Yet even though Bradford had a spectacular season in which he threw at least four touchdown passes in eight games, there is no guarantee that he will be the Heisman recipient.
Usually, by this time of the season, the Heisman recipient is rather predictable. But Bradford, Texas' Colt McCoy and Florida's Tim Tebow - who had a tremendous showing in last week's 31-20 SEC championship victory over Alabama with three touchdown passes against the nation's third-ranked defense - are all deserving.
"I think he's the best football player in America, no disrespect to anyone else," Florida coach Urban Meyer said of Tebow.
He could make a valid argument that Tebow deserves the Heisman. But a valid argument could also be for McCoy and obviously for Bradford.
1. QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma: He capped an exceptional season by throwing for 384 yards and two touchdowns in the Big 12 Championship Game victory over Missouri. He threw for 4,464 yards and 48 touchdowns and led the nation in passing efficiency as well as leading the Sooners to the national championship game. He would be the second consecutive sophomore to win the award.
2. QB Colt McCoy, Texas: No individual meant more to his team's success than McCoy did for the 11-1 Longhorns. He completed an amazing 77.6 percent of his passes – best in the nation – for 3,445 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also led the Longhorns in rushing with 576 yards and 10 touchdowns.
3. QB Tim Tebow, Florida: He didn't post outrageous statistics – and that was a good thing for team success. The only game in which he passed for more than 300 yards was the only game the Gators lost. But he was tremendous in leading Florida to the SEC title and into the national championship game. Tebow accounted for 40 touchdowns. He passed for 2,515 yards, with 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions, and rushed for 564 yards and 12 touchdowns. On second thought, those stats are pretty outrageous.
4. QB Graham Harrell, Texas Tech: Harrell led the nation with 33.8 completions per game and was second with 4,747 passing yards. He finished with 41 touchdown passes and seven interceptions, and led the Red Raiders on a thrilling drive for a last-second, game-winning touchdown against Texas.
5. RB Shonn Greene, Iowa: He rushed for 1,729 yards, which was the second-highest total in the nation. Greene exceeded 100 rushing yards in every game and had 117 yards and scored two of his 17 touchdowns in an upset of Penn State.
Olin Buchanan is a Heisman voter and a senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.