Mighty Mountaineer

Torpedo for Geno? Jalapeno for Geno? Steno for Geno? There may not be a Suck for Luck this season, but the returns could be just as fruitful for whoever ends the pro season with the worst record. 

Had Matt Barkley committed for the draft this year, he would have given RGIII a run for his money as the second pivot taken in the draft. The hype surrounding the So Cal product since he days in prep school were percolating to the boiling point. But instead he put on a big show of staying for his senior season and trying to win those bowl games that Pete Carroll prevented from ever happening.

But as Jake Locker before him, and countless others, returning for his senior season did not end up being the wisest possible decision. He was the Heisman favourite coming into the season, as Luck was last year, and the microscope has done its best to crush him. USC has struggled at times this year – and with another season of tape on him, teams have been able to disrupt his timing and frustrate the pivot.

So who has stepped in to fill his shoes on the national landscape? Well that would be none other than Geno Smith. You may have heard some whispers about him a few weeks back when he threw more touchdowns in a game than incompletions against Baylor. Then he went into Austin and ran it up on the Longhorns. The hype is just building, but Smith has firmly supplanted himself as the odds on favourite at this point to be the top pick in the draft.

This is music to the ears of teams that have struggled out of the gate – Browns, Chiefs and Jaguars. Each team has something in place that they could quickly rid themselves of if they ended the season with the leagues worst record. Matt Cassell surely cannot survive much longer in Kansas, Brandon Weeden is just keeping the chair warm in Cleveland and Blaine Gabbert is a nervous wreck in the pockets every time he drops back. New CBA rules for top picks make life much easier on the Jags and Browns should they chose to move towards Geno.

So about this Geno character. He has been deadly accurate this season, but none of collegiate seasons saw him ever throw below 64%, and that number has jumped to 81% this year. He is not afraid to take the ball himself and run with it, but that is not his game. He is an athletic player, but he can drop back and spread 'em out with the best of them. West Virginia does not run a classic pro-style attack, but a lot of pro teams are moving away from the classical sets as well.

The microscope is now going to be firmly placed on Geno for the rest of the season. He has led the Mountaineers to a 5-0 record to start their first season in the Big 12. They still have Kansas St. and Oklahoma on the schedule, so the pressure will be on him to show that he is really as good as he has shown us early this year.

If Geno is able to take the reigns of the season and run with it all the way to a Heisman and possibly a major bowl game, there is no reason to believe that he won't be the first player selected in the draft. The class of pivots is fairly deep this year and we could see five or six go in the first round. We see every week how quickly a solid pivot can turn a team around. Indy and Miami just this year. Minnesota has allowed Ponder to be the leader that he is and Dalton is making plays in Cincy. RGIII makes not only headlines, but plays as well.

Geno Smith was certainly not the Heisman favourite coming into the season. Few, if anyone, would have thought he had a chance to go first overall with so much talent available this year, but he has proven us otherwise. The accuracy, vision and playmaking ability simply cannot be found anywhere else in this years class, and this will certainly not be the last that we hear of Geno.