Jun 12, 2012; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws a pass at minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
We've been talking a lot about NCAA Football 2013 quite a bit around here over the past week or two because I love the game and always get excited this time of year when the new version is released. If you read any of the other SB Nation college football sites then you have probably seen the series of sponsored posts written this week talking about the Heisman Trophy. This year's game has a new feature where you can place select former Heisman winners onto any team you desire. So we at SB Nation decided to think about what trophy winners we would have play elsewhere.
My thought right off the bat was what Colorado team was just a single player away? I immediately turned to the 2001 Fiesta Bowl team. Now the Heisman winner that year was Nebraska's Eric Crouch. Obviously I would under no circumstances consider having a Husker cross state lines. But you know who else was kicking around in 2001 (well, since you saw the image on the post you probably do)? Junior Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer.
Bobby Pesavanto and Craig Ochs (and none of this is a knock on either of them, we had to pick someone and quarterback is as good a place as any with the Buffs) finished that 2001 season with 2,743 yards on a 59% completion rate and a total of 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Not bad, but not amazing by any stretch. Certainly Palmer could have improved on that and gotten the Buffs over the Fiesta Bowl hump right? No, not really. This was the year before Palmer became the QB he had the potential to be. Palmer finished that season with 2,722 yards on a 58% completion rate and 12 interceptions to 13 touchdowns. That's not any better than the production the Buffaloes got out of their tandem. So that's a no go.
But what about the next season? It certainly wasn't quite as great a season for Colorado. They finished the season 9-5 in what turned out to be somewhat of a let down after the previous years successes, even with another Big 12 North title. Meanwhile Carson Palmer was going off the rails. Just under 4,000 yards with a completion percentage hovering near 64%. A whopping 33 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Palmer's Heisman season came out of nowhere. What if we could take him off that Trojan team and make him a 2002 Buffalo? Certainly he would improve on the combined 1,900 yards that Ochs and Robert Hodge managed. You'd have to think he wouldn't have a problem getting the Buffs past Colorado State in a game they had lost 19-14. Would the quarterback switch be enough to overcome a 40-3 loss that CU suffered to USC at Folsom? Probably not, but it sure would be a lot closer. After that it's just two losses to Oklahoma that would have been a hell of a lot of fun to watch and an opportunity to win a better bowl game instead of falling to Wisconsin in overtime at the Alamo Bowl.
Would Palmer's presence have delivered a title? It's fun to think about, but there probably still wasn't quite enough. But it sure would have been a lot of fun to have a Heisman-caliber quarterback leading those Buffs.
What Heisman winner would you have liked to see taking the field in black and gold at Folsom?
**Disclaimer** - I dislike Carson Palmer with a fiery passion.
This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.
EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)