"Strange as it sounds, Tebow's incumbency probably works against him,” Mandel said.
"He's already set the bar so high that the only way he would measure up to peoples' expectations is to exceed what he did last year.”
What Tebow did a year ago was darn impressive.
His passing stats: 3,286 yards, 32 touchdowns.
His rushing stats: 895 yards, 23 touchdowns.
Consider this — only 26 teams
in Division-I football scored more touchdowns than Tebow did last season.
That kind of performance will be tough to top.
Chris Huston suspects Tebow is fighting an unwinnable uphill battle.
For years, he worked as an assistant sports information director at Southern Cal, where he directed successful Heisman campaigns for Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
A few years ago, he started sharing his expertise on his Web site heismanpundit.com.
"As with any product or politician, the freshness of a player's brand only lasts so long,” Huston said, "and then the natural inclination is to try to poke holes in it.”
So it is with the Gator in Gainesville. Fair or not, voters will be judging Tebow 2008 against Tebow 2007, and the early exit polls on this year's version are not good.
He has plummeted in the Heisman straw polls after gaining less than 500 yards and scoring only three touchdowns in his first two games.
Winning the Heisman even once is difficult, but Huston believes that the process is set up to make a repeat difficult if not impossible.
"So if Tebow does win again,” Huston said of the player who was the first sophomore to win the Heisman, "he would once again be defying all college football history and logic.”
This sure doesn't feel like Tebow's Heisman to lose
"It's more like everyone else's to lose,” Mandel said. "It seems like people are more fixated on the other candidates right now.”
None is hotter than Bradford.
He has rocketed up Heisman polls, going from an others-receiving-votes candidate in the preseason to a top vote-getter after three weeks. He even tops CBSSports.com's rankings.
So, who will win this election? Will it be the incumbent Tebow?
Will it be the candidate who missed out last time, Daniel?
Or will it be one of the "change” candidates, Bradford or Sanchez or some other fresh face?
The campaign has only just begun.
This one, as they say in politics, is too close to call.