Preseason Heisman 'campaigns' no longer an annual staple

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Kent State's clever Heisman "campaign" for Dri Archer has us thinking: What are other schools doing to tout their Heisman candidates?

The answer? Not much.

Probably every college football fan remembers Oregon spending $250,000 to buy a billboard in Times Square promoting quarterback Joey Harrington before the 2001 season, but the only other school mounting a concerted campaign this season is Northern Illinois, Kent State's rival in the Mid-American Conference. That campaign -- Jordan Lynch for 6 -- is for the Huskies' quarterback.

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But Braxton Miller? Tajh Boyd? Jadeveon Clowney? Teddy Bridgewater? Marcus Mariota? Ohio State, Clemson, South Carolina, Louisville and Oregon, respectively, aren't doing anything special for their Heisman candidates. (And, no, Texas A&M isn't doing anything for Johnny Manziel, either.)

Actually, Louisville was planning something, but Bridgewater put a stop to that in May, saying he wanted nothing special done for him. (Of course, there were a spate of stories done in late May about Bridgewater's decision; since Heisman campaigns exist to get people talking about a player, Louisville's plan worked anyway.)

One sports information director at a school with a legitimate Heisman candidate said campaigns of that nature have become passé -- at least for "big" schools. He said TV drives almost all the Heisman talk now.

Still, "smaller" schools such as Kent State and Northern Illinois -- and Memphis, which in 2005 promoted running back D'Angelo Williams by sending out a miniature race car bearing Williams' No. 20 -- are smart to promote their players. Get serious: How many stories mentioning "Dri Archer" and "Heisman" would have been written without Kent State doing the comic strip about its diminutive star?

Besides, if a heretofore overlooked player starts to make some national noise early or even midway through the season, it's a safe bet that his school will begin a publicity blitz. Look at Manziel: At this time last year, only Texas A&M fans knew about him.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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