OSU Star Closing Heisman Gap

West Virginia's Geno Smith may be the current favorite but don't count out this explosive QB out of the Big Ten.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

With the college football season nearing its halfway point, the talk is slowly shifting over to who is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. As of right now, the runaway favorite to win the award is West Virginia's Geno Smith.

Smith is the quarterback for the undefeated West Virginia Mountaineers and has been electrifying so far this season. In leading the Mountaineers to a 5-0 record and 5th place in the Associated Press Top 25, Smith has compiled a gaudy 1,996 passing yards and 24 touchdowns.

While those numbers are impressive and Smith should clearly be the consensus favorite for the award right now, there is another quarterback making waves at the college level. That QB is Ohio State's Braxton Miller.

Miller, a true Sophomore, isn't the pure passer that Smith is, but his overall skill set leaves opposing teams shaking their heads in frustration. So far this season, Smith has led his 6-0 Buckeyes with 1,060 passing yards, an impressive 763 rushing yards, and 17 combined touchdowns. Under new head coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have switched to a more up tempo style offense and Miller has thrived under it.

That's right, Miller is putting up this amount of production in an offense he isn't totally familiar with.

"I’m learning every week," Miller said. "They’re throwing new stuff at us every week. I’m just trying to get it all down pat."

Even if Miller overtakes Smith in every way possible, the Heisman may still be beyond his grasp thanks to the current sanctions Ohio State is under. Thanks to improprieties before his time, Miller and the current crop of Buckeyes are under a one year probation that includes being banned from accepting a bowl bid, being ineligible for the Big Ten championship and being unable to receive votes in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll.

While these handcuffs may derail some of his potential votes, most Heisman voters appear to be of the opinion that the team's NCAA situation shouldn't affect Miller's Heisman chances.

Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp says Miller's consideration for the award gives the Buckeyes additional incentive this season.

"Miller's Heisman candidacy becomes Ohio State's bowl game. It becomes their motivation for finding a shred of sunlight from beyond the dark clouds," he says.

With another half of college games left to be played, this whole conversation may end up being pointless as others rise into this debate. But for now, Smith best watch his back. Miller is the real deal and he's getting better each week.

James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: Jason Mowry/Icon SMI