Frank already visited this issue, but I’d like to add a quick note about Brady 2006 vs. Brady 2005.
We can all agree that Brady Quinn and the Notre Dame offense has yet to hit their stride. They have yet to put on the show and put up the numbers that we came to expect from the 2005 team.
As an eternal optimist, I’ll always try to look at the bright side and the things that can still go very right for the players and team we support without a second thought.
So I got to thinking about Brady and his performance so far this year compared to his performance through three games last year.
ATT COMP PERC YDS TD INT
2005 117 70 60% 851 9 2
2006 122 72 59% 767 6 3
In Quinn’s first three games last year, he faced what ended up being below average defenses in Pitt, Michigan and Michigan State. Pitt was by far the best defense of the three with the 2nd best pass defense and 32nd total defense. But Michigan was 52nd in pass defense and Michigan State was 85th.
In 2006 though, all three defenses Quinn has faced rank in the top 35 in the country in defense. The simple fact is Quinn has faced a much harder first three games this year than he did last. He has put up comparable numbers and is still trying to tweak his game. Assuming he can do so, like he did last year, is it so far fetched to think that Quinn cannot easily get back into the Heisman hunt?
It took until Purdue and then USC last year for Quinn to sneak into the picture where he ultimately finished 4th in the voting. The only caveat is that the three in front of his were all on undefeated teams at the time. But the sports world loves a good story. And fans are pundits are forgiving for early trespasses if an athlete responds in the face of adversity.
Brady and the Irish now travel to East Lansing to face the nations 85th pass defense. Now is the time for him to make his move as the Irish face a stretch in their schedule which this team should dominate each game. If Quinn begins to live up to expectations and the Irish are 10-1 heading into their matchup in Los Angeles, as Frank suggested, Brady could win the Heisman during that game.
The current Heisman frontrunner, Troy Smith, plays his last game on November 18th against Michigan. But Quinn’s last game is November 25th against Southern Cal. This gives Quinn an advantage, because his final performance will be fresh in the minds of voters as Smith will have had some time off.
Should Troy Smith lose a game or Brady Quinn finish strong, it could still be an interesting race for the most prestigious award in sports.