College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit and recently-named host Rece Davis made a Wednesday appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, providing their expert opinion on the upcoming 2015 season including their take on where the SEC stands nationally and the Heisman race.

Herbie’s picking one of Ohio State’s key players to win college football’s top award and attributes a minor shift in the balance of Power 5 power to the game’s philosophical change offensively.

“To me, it’s between two running backs, Leonard Fournette from LSU and Zeke Elliott from Ohio State, and I think Zeke Elliott from Ohio State will wind up winning the Heisman Trophy,” Herbstreit said on the ESPN radio show. “We’re seeing it filter down to the SEC as far as tempo and spread (is concerned). The SEC used to be an I-Formation, whoever has the best defense is going to win that conference.

“We’re even seeing Alabama now going to cards on the sideline to get plays in. The fact the game’s evolving and changing is impacting the SEC.”

Herbstreit believes the SEC is still the conference to beat, but several are closing in.

“Listen, we put (the SEC) on a pedestal because of the way they performed in the postseason. Last year, those teams ranked in the Top 10 didn’t do well collectively as a group. If you’re asking me to look across the whole country, they’re still the top conference top to bottom in the country. I think the Pac 12 is closing in, but I think the Big Ten, there’s a big opportunity for the Big Ten.”

Davis agreed with Herbstreit’s Heisman pick, but likes quarterbacks Trevone Boykin (TCU) and Cody Kessler (USC) to finish behind Elliott.

When asked if he thought the SEC was taking a step back nationally, Davis implied that the league’s quarterback play is the reason for the conference’s perceived lack of recent dominance.

“No. 1, the SEC set the bar so ridiculously high and I think people forget that they were 12 seconds away from winning eight in a row,” Davis said. “I don’t know that they’ve lost luster as much as some of other elite programs in other conferences have caught up.

“I think it’s simpler. The SEC is in a little bit of a down cycle in quarterbacks. And they were last year too with the exception of Dak Prescott. He’s the only real proven commodity returning in the SEC and he’s picked to finish last in his division.”