Home / Notre Dame Football / Jimmy Clausen Heisman Watch

Jimmy Clausen Heisman Watch


Jimmy Clausen has thrust himself into the heart of the Heisman debate with three straight fourth quarter comebacks.

Welcome to UHND’s Heisman Watch. We are now five games into the season and Jimmy Clausen has firmly planted himself as one of the top three Heisman candidates in country according to most college football pundits. And while Clausen is arguably the best quarterback in the nation statistically, the life of this column, his invitation to New York City and receipt of the greatest individual trophy in sports rests on his performance and the outcome of the matchup between Clausen’s 4-1 Irish team and #7 USC on October 17th.

According to The Heisman Pundit, one of the foremost authorities on the Heisman Trophy, there are four candidates who still realistically have a chance to win the award. This week, we’ll compare those candidates up to this point in the season.

2009 Heisman Watch Statistics

Att Comp Pct Yards YPG (Rank) Yds/Att TD (Rank) Int Rating (Rank) Rush Yds Rush TD Sagarin SOS
Jimmy Clausen 148 100 67.6 1544 308.8 (6) 10.4 12 (7) 2 179.3 (1) -45 0 36
Jacory Harris 112 69 61.6 1008 252.0 (24) 9.0 8 (32) 5 151.9 (24) -61 1 1
Colt McCoy 145 103 71.0 1145 286.2 (12) 7.9 9 (21) 5 151.0 (25) 61 1 90
Tim Tebow 68 44 64.7 643 160.8 (NR) 9.5 5 (56) 1 170.3 (3) 271 5 107

Florida and Texas are the top two teams in the country and Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy are the best players on their teams. The Heisman Trophy mission is to present the award the most outstanding player in college football. While a healthy Tebow might be considered one of the best college football players of all-time, 2009 has not been healthy for Tebow and his strength of schedule is abominable with bouts against Sun Belt foe Troy and high school Division II opponent Charleston Southern.

McCoy’s candidacy seems more like a career achievement award and if the statistical trend continues as it has, then awarding McCoy the trophy would only diminish the integrity of the award.

Jacory Harris is an intriguing candidate because his team has played the toughest schedule in the country thus far, opening the season against four ranked teams. The last team to open a season with four ranked opponents was Notre Dame in 2000. But in Miami’s only loss against Virginia Tech, Harris was 9-for-25 (36%) for 150 yards and an interception – certainly not a Heisman-type performance.

Which is why Clausen’s performance against USC is so critical. In 2005, in a losing effort, Brady Quinn vaulted himself into Heisman consideration with a performance against Southern Cal leading the Irish on a go-ahead touchdown drive and scoring himself with just over two minutes to go in the game. Quinn’s numbers were a little better than average in that game, but it was his poise and leadership that got him the attention. Clausen already has four, fourth quarter, go-ahead drives this season (Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Washington). He has also been playing while battling turf toe since the Michigan State game. If Clausen can produce like he has all season, especially if the Irish win, he is in the driver’s seat for the trophy. If Clausen struggles like Harris did against Virginia Tech or if the Irish get blown out, this column will die along with Clausen’s Heisman chances.

Taking a look around the national media this week, I’ve gathered the following Heisman coverage.

Jon Saunders said on today’s College Football Live on ESPN that Colt McCoy is his number one candidate so far. He said his problem with Clausen is that their schedule is not strong enough to get him the trophy. As noted above, Clausen’s strength of schedule is 36 and McCoy’s is 90. Also on College Football Live, the following analysts gave their votes.

  • Kirk Herbstreit’s leading candidates – 1. Clausen, Notre Dame; 2. Gerhart, Stanford; 3. McCoy, Texas
  • Trevor Matich’s leading candidates – 1. Clausen, Notre Dame; 2. Tebow, Florida; 3. McCoy, Texas; 4. Harris, Miami; 5. Pike, Cincinnati
  • Desmond Howard’s leading candidates – 1. McCoy, Texas; 2. Tebow, Florida; 3. Pike, Cincinnati; 4. Harris, Miami; 5. Gilyard, Cincinnati
  • ESPN’s Heisman Experts Poll – A 15 person panel of college football experts currently has Tebow, McCoy and Clausen topping the list.
  • The Heisman Pundit Poll – The Heisman Pundit Heisman Poll consists of 13 Heisman voters and submits their opinions if the vote were held today. The top three are Tebow, McCoy and Clausen. Irish wide receiver Golden Tate earned a few votes as well.
  • Sports Illustrated Heisman Watch – Gene Menez of Sports Illustrated and his weekly watch list has Tebow, Clausen and McCoy.
  • CBS Sports Heisman Hopefuls – A panel of five pundits give their Heisman picks and the overall consensus has Clausen, Tebow and Pike.
  • Sporting News Heisman watch – Matt Hayes of the Sporting News has Clausen outside the top three
  • Winners & Losers – Tom Dienhart of Rivals has Tebow, McCoy and Clausen.
  • Sports Illustrated on Clausen’s Heisman chances – Steward Mandel discusses the Heisman.
  • CBS Sports on Clausen and the Irish – Dennis Dodd takes a look at Clausen’s performances so far and the Irish showdown against the Trojans.
  • ESPN: Clausen should stay at ND – Joe Theismann tells ESPN Radio he thinks Clausen should stay for his senior year.


  1. This blog needs to be updated! Claussen has passed Tebow this week on ESPN’s Heisman watch. He is ahead by 2 votes and #2…..

    • Yeah, whats up with this blog?

      What’s this lying around shit?
      Neidermyer,.. he’s a dead man, Marmalard…dead!
      Who’s with me?
      LETS GO!

  2. Finally USC fans can go into a game against TOUCHDOWN JESSUS (N.D) and expect a contest i hope? I don’t want to start on my HONEY DO LIST at half time like the last couple of years. N.D has been OUTSCORE 76-03

  3. I think this is or best shot at USC in the last 7 yrs for 2 major reasons: Notre Dame’s Offense and USC’s Offense. Our offense is making it happen and if we can just put some points on the board AT HOME AGAINST USC, I don’t think little Matt Barkley will know what to do. He’s just a Freshman and we need to take advantage of it.

    Yes, I think Joe McKnight is going to be a BIG player in this game, but if we can rattle this Freshman just a little bit, our offense will do the rest. Clausen, Tate, Allen, Rudolph, Hughes, even Evans (who showed signs of big things) know what to do with the football. It should only take a few plays to get under Barkley’s skin and we can capitalize on that.

    Now, I don’t expect a blow-out by ND because it is still USC, but I do expect a win. Something like 38-31. GO IRISH!

  4. Bleed – You really need to put your big girl panties on – it is really unbecoming of you. I am simply saying the D has to suck it up and come out and play for crying out loud. Have you not noticed the Irish D is giving up like 400 yards a game??? Without a staunch D – its gonna be a long game against SC. Live in the present man!!!

    • i think all he was saying is enough negativity already. it gets old. its fine on sundays, but then we move on to the next opponent and support our team, esp. this week. we are not blind or choose to be. we know our weaknesses, but we all know our strengths as well. i just hope you are not upset because you claimed that our defense was going to be the good suprise this year, even after nevada. i think you might need to put your big girl panties on – difference is, it is becoming of you.

      • Good call – GO IRISH!

      • Nepachris – You know you’re right I am still smarting that the D has not lived up to expectations. And Bleed – that was a bit uncharitable of me. Sorry. I did say there was a storm front forming in South Bend and I still believe that. I guess it is just a slower moving front. There is nothing I would like better than to see an Irish defense take the field with a real nasty attitude this Saturday. I would love to look at my friends with beer in hand and yell about the Irish D “Who are these guys and where have they been all season!” I truly believe that is what it will take for a win in 3 days. After too many years of hanging onto that hope to see the Irish rise once more – I am hoping really hoping for just another glimpse of past glory on the gridiron in South Bend this weekend! A win here which is needed for all of us is long overdue and will I think serve to take the Irish to an 11-1 record. GO IRISH!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *