The preseason Heisman love continues to grow for Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey.
Last week, ESPN's Danny Kanell listed him as his top running back in the country. Wednesday SI.com's Kyle Kensing made the case for Carey winning the Heisman in 2013, and explained how he will.
Carey was ranked the 20th-best college football player in the country by Matt Hayes of the Sporting News, and fourth among running backs.
Forgive me for being skeptical, but I don't think Carey will be striking the pose this December.
It's not that I don't think he's qualified. Carey rushed for a school-record 1,929 yards last year and was less than 100 yards of becoming only the 15th player to eclipse 2,000 yards on the ground in a single season. He scored 24 touchdowns -- 23 rushing -- and averaged 8.4 yards in 36 receptions. He's a highlight waiting to happen, the perfect kingpin for Rich Rodriguez's spread option.
As Kensing points out, Carey's talent and numbers are comparable to past Heisman winners Ricky Williams (1998, Texas) and Mike Rozier (1983, Nebraska).
There's just one problem. Carey plays for Arizona.
If you think that has no bearing on his Heisman chances, consider this: Only 11 Pac-12/10/8 players have won the Heisman, and seven of them went to USC; none from Washington or Washington State; one from Oregon State, the Bay Area and Colorado (then in the Big 8); one from UCLA.
None from the state of Arizona.
Blame it on regional bias or a lack of appreciation for the conference. The cards are stacked against Pac-12 teams not named USC.
(The last non-USC Heisman winner from a school that was in the Pac-12/10/8 at the time he won it? Stanford quarterback Jim Plunkett, 1970)
It's hard enough for Pac-12 schools outside of California to produce a finalist. The most recent ones were Oregon tailback LaMichael James (2010), Utah (then in the Mountain West) quarterback Alex Smith (2004), Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington (2001), Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf (1997) and Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer (1996).
Each put up incredible numbers while leading their teams to undefeated or one-loss regular seasons. Each finished no higher than third in the Heisman voting. James even led the nation in rushing like Carey did in 2012.
See what I'm getting at?
Considering this season's returning superstars -- to name a few: Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd, Marqise Lee, A.J. McCarron, Jadeveon Clowney, Braxton Miller -- and the schools they play for, it's going to take nothing less than a Barry Sanders-like season for Carey to win the Heisman, not to mention a near-perfect 2013 campaign for Arizona.
I like Carey as a Heisman candidate. I just don't like his chances of winning.
On to the links:
- ESPN.com's Kevin Gemmell was kind enough to list the Pac-12 players included in the Sporting News' top 25 I mentioned earlier. (Sorry, no Buffs)
- SI.com's Dave Miller gives his Pac-12 summer rankings.
- UCLA stakes its claim as Linebacker U. (Avert your eyes, Penn State fans)
- Utah 'restructures' athletic department leadership.
- Rutgers announces series with Washington State. It will be the Scarlet Knights' first game as a member of the Big 10.
- Speaking of the Cougars, they are among Athlon Sports' Top-10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013.
Follow Scott on Twitter @SJAdams