Pick 6: Heisman Hopefuls to Like Before it's Cool

Last season, casual football fans found themselves wondering who "that one Baylor guy, something the third," was. Until they were reminded with every huge performance Robert Griffin III put up on his way to the Heisman Trophy. More ardent college football fans, of course, remembered Griffin from his promise-filled first two years as Baylor's quarterback. The guys in this Pick Six aren't on many -- if any -- Heisman watch lists, but if another outsider takes the Heisman, you can say you were totally into him before it was cool.

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KENJON BARNER, RB, OREGON

De'Anthony Thomas might very well be the next Reggie Bush, but there are plenty of touches to go around at Oregon, and Barner figures to get even more than the super sophomore. With LaMichael James gone, Barner is going to be the fulcrum of the Ducks' ludicrous-speed attack. If Oregon is a contender and Barner has James-esque numbers, you can expect to see him in Times Square this December.

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JARED ABBREDERIS, WR, WISCONSIN

Wisconsin and wide receivers go together about as well as indie music and Billy Joel. And, yes, Montee Ball figures to hog most of the touches and touchdowns in Madison. But if the Badgers are going to contend for a national title, Abbrederis will have to provide some highlights. He's a star receiver on a team with an inexperienced QB for whom expectations are modest. So he could be a favorite go-to guy in crunch time. Add to that a few electrifying kick or punt returns, and maybe Abbrederis becomes the first Badger to win the Heisman since Ron Dayne.

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CASEY PACHALL, QB, TCU

The last time TCU joined a conference, it won the title its first year in the league. The Big 12 is a step up from the Mountain West, of course, but TCU has punched above its weight class before. Pachall won't have to improve too much on last year's numbers -- nearly 3,000 yards, 25 TDs against seven INTs -- to see himself in New York as long as TCU can survive a bumpy schedule that involves trips to Oklahoma State and Baylor, and concludes against Oklahoma in Fort Worth.

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KASEN WILLIAMS, WR, WASHINGTON

If the Huskies can fight their way past Oregon and USC (and maybe even Stanford) in the Pac-12, they'll probably do it via one of those magical-seeming runs that involves big plays in big moments. Although he's just a sophomore, Williams will play a much bigger role in the offense led by QB Keith Price this season, and he's already shown a flair for the dramatic, leaping over a Washington State defender in the Apple Cup last year.

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RASHAD GREENE, WR, FLORIDA STATE

Greene is another young WR, but he's on a team that has a good chance at winning it all. He was the leading receiver for an unimpressive offense last season, but he averaged 15.7 yards per catch. He also returns kicks for the Seminoles, who get an excellent chance to stamp themselves as national title contenders in their traditional finale against Florida before the ACC title game. If Greene can put together a couple big games in those, he could be the first Seminoles player to take home the hardware since Chris Weinke in 2000.

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ZAC STACY, RB, VANDERBILT

Yes, a Vanderbilt player has a chance. It's one of those "so you're saying there's a chance" chances, but it's conceivable nonetheless. A year ago, the thought of a Baylor player winning the trophy was pretty outlandish, too. Stacy gets a chance to take an early lead in voter perception with a nationally televised opener on Thursday, Aug. 30 against South Carolina. If Stacy can add to last year's 1,200-yard, 14-TD season -- and the Commodores can finally pull off an SEC upset or two-- he could get feel-good support from voters who want to celebrate a school without a traditional athletic department in the wake of the Penn State scandal.

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EXTRA POINT: LSU's Barkevious Mingo is a terror-inducing defensive end with an excellent name to boot. That will not be enough to win him the Heisman because he is a defensive lineman. No tackle, guard, center, punter or kicker should reasonably expect to win one, either.

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