With all the excitement surrounding the big Ohio State matchup, we didn't get a chance to properly participate in the inaugural Rakes of Mallow MaxwellPundit Award panel. I voted last week, but didn't get to write about it.
Here's the deal: about a dozen of us bloggers that write about this game of college football pretty regularly are going to be voting for our own Best Player In The Land award. And let's be real - there's a need for this. The Heisman voting has become a Media Analysis Award, and what fun is that?
Alongside such esteemed colleagues as SMQ, Deadspin, MGoBlog, and of course, our creative and excellent hosts at Rakes, among others, we'll bring you weekly updates on the players best capturing our attention.
With that said, here's our vote for the Top Five after week two.
1. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State What, you thought we were gonna vote someone else in the top spot? The Texas defense wasn't up to the task, but this wasn't just a case of one team being outmatched - Troy was outstanding. He reminds me of Donovan McNabb a bit - pundits talk about his running abilities, and act astonished that he doesn't use them. They don't seem to notice - I guess because he's a great African American athlete - that he's a pure passer. And damn accurate. Here at BON we were right about one thing - he's no Vince Young. But we were very wrong about the more important point - he can be just as lethal.
2. Ian Johnson, RB, Boise State I'm not hearing much about him (though in my search I just noticed he got an Honorable Mention on SMQ's ballot), but after two weeks, it's pretty tough to find a more statistically impressive player: 35 carries, 329 yards, 9.4 per carry, 7 touchdowns. Those aren't sustainable numbers, but at this point in the season, it deserves a hearty nod. Wow.
3. Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia Another statistically impressive player (7.5 ypc, 4 TDs), but also a blazing fast and fun to watch sophomore that's lighting up CFB defenses. Unfortunately for him (perhaps fortunately for his team), the Mountaineers aren't playing much of anyone right now. He'll have his chance to shine against Louisville, though.
4. Erik Ainge, QB, Tennessee 47 pass attempts, 35 completions. Seven touchdowns. Over 300 yards per game. There's a lot to love here, and it's easy to overlook what he did in week two because of the defensive meltdown. Still, at this point, he's outplayed the more heralded Brady Quinn. He gets our nod here.
5. Chris Leak, QB, Florida Either Leak or Ainge will likely play themselves off this list on Saturday, but for now, it's hard not to admire what Leak's done so far. Seven touchdowns, 68% completion, 300 yards per game. If it sticks, Florida's got a very real shot at glory. I worry about the line protection in SEC play. We'll see.