Any other year, Mississippi State’s run-away fire hydrant of a running back, Josh Robinson, would be slam-dunk favorite for the C Spire Conerly Trophy.
Robinson has bulled, bounced and swerved his way to 887 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in seven victorious games. He has annihilated some tacklers, broken free from several more.
Any other year, State linebacker Benardrick McKinney, the insanely muscular leading tackler for the No. 1 ranked Bulldogs might be the Conerly favorite.
Any other year, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, who has personally acounted for 20 touchdowns and put his signature on the Rebels’ celebrated conquest of mighty Alabama, would be almost a Conerly lock.
Any other year, Ole Miss’s Sherman tank-turned-left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who will one day reap NFL millions upon millions, would be another leading candate, along with Rebel receiver deluxe Laquon Treadwell, a matchup nightmare. Alcorn State quarterback John Gibbs, Jr., personally has accounted for nearly 2,400 yards and 20 touchdowns and would have been a Conerly favorite in past years. Any other year any of several Ole Miss defensive stalwarts might be the Conerly Trophy favorite.
There exist so many other not just merely good — but really great — players in this Mississippi football season gone berserk.
But now more than halfway through the season, Dak Prescott, the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy also would appear the candidate-to-beat for the Conerly. Every Heisman Trophy poll leading into last weekend showed Prescott as the clear leader. Stands to reason if you are the leading candidate for the best player in the nation you are also the leading candidate for best player in Mississippi.
That’s what 1,684 yards and 15 touchdowns passing and 664 yards and 10 touchdowns passing will do for you. That’s what guiding your team to three straight victories over top 10 teams will do for you. That’s what being the quarterback and leader of the No. 1 team in the nation will do for you. Prescott threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and ran for 88 yards and two more touchdowns against Kentucky this past weekend.
This is not to say the Conerly, much less the Heisman, definitely will wind up in Prescott’s trophy case. So much can change not only in one game but on one play. Witness what happened in Baton Rouge last Saturday night. Change one play — in a number of situations — and Ole Miss would still be unbeaten, ranked in the top three and Wallace would be one of those right on Prescott’s heels in the Heisman (and Conerly) race. And that’s the point. Should Wallace have a stellar game against No. 5 Auburn this Saturday — and Prescott unexpectedly falter against unranked but dangerous Arkansas — things could change quickly. There’s still so such football to be played, including the Egg Bowl on Nov. 29.
We’ve seen so much change in the finals weeks before in these Conerly Trophy — and Heisman Trophy — races.
Only two factors seem certain presently:
- If the balloting were today, Prescott would win both the Conerly and Heisman trophies.
- And, never before have the Heisman and Conerly Trophy competitions been so inextricably linked. The closest we’ve ever been to this year: In 2003, Eli Manning won the C Spire Conerly and finished third in the Heisman.
For your calendars, the Conerly Trophy presentation will be on Dec. 2, five days before the SEC Championship Game. The Heisman Trophy presentation is set for Dec. 13. So much can — and certainly will — happen between now and then in this most memorable of Mississippi football seasons.