TUCSON AZ - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Nick Foles #8 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates with fans and players after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 18 2010 in Tucson Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 34-27. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
With the release of EA Sports' NCAA Football 13 and its theme, we've been thinking a bit despite the trend that it's hard for anyone in Wildcat Country to talk about Heisman Trophies. For the Arizona Wildcats, it's difficult to draw local interest in the Heisman debate, but just a few years back and even one year ago, Nick Foles' name was being thrown around as a legitimate candidate.
Foles represents a newer era of UA football that's all about offense, and offensive stars are those that appear on watch-lists. While Willie Tuitama was the pioneer in this new-found, high-scoring school of thought in Tucson, it was Foles who was the face of Arizona's return to legitimacy after a near Rose Bowl berth in 2009.
OK, maybe it was overblown a little bit. The Tucson media never gets to cover Heisman candidates because historically the Wildcats have been a defensive-oriented football team. And then there's the whole failing to the get to the Rose Bowl thing.
But maybe it wasn't overblown.
The Heisman talk all started with Foles' junior year, when he led UA to a 7-1 start in 2010 behind some eye-popping numbers. National Heisman rating trackers put Foles in the conversation early that season. Early in the 2011 season that went awry, Foles was even considered a top-25 Heisman candidate.
The thing to note here is that it wasn't a Tucson fantasy that Foles could win the Heisman. His numbers were there and watch-list nerds noticed. As for the local media members who got to know the guy and listen to what coaches like quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo would say about him, it was hard to bet against Foles.
Sure, while people like me might've been down on him as an NFL prospect (of course, I could still be completely wrong about him), there was no doubt he could rule the college game.
Of course, you know the story. The Wildcats never got over that hump and to no fault of Arizona's best quarterback in history.
Put an older Foles on the 2009 team and have a single ball go the Wildcats' way instead of Jeremiah Masoli and the Oregon Ducks, and you've got a Rose Bowl appearance and potential Heisman Trophy winner in the UA quarterback.
That's a lot of what-ifs, but just throw a junior or senior Nick Foles on a top team that plays with a spread offense -- like the Oklahoma Sooners, for example -- and you're talking a prolific quarterback and a winner.
The talent was there and so was the leadership. Unfortunately, the framework of the team behind him didn't quite hold up for Foles to be a legitimate candidate, but that doesn't mean that the potential wasn't there.
Do you think Nick Foles could have won a Heisman Trophy if he played for a better football team?
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)