Just as you can't win a golf tournament on the first day, you can't win the Heisman Trophy in September.
But you can put yourself in a strong position to be named college football's top player at season's end.
That's what West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith has done in leading the Mountaineers to a 4-0 start.
He is the undisputed leader in the Heisman sweepstakes, and rightfully so.
In four games, he has completed a mind-boggling 141 of 169 passes for 1,728 yards and 20 touchdowns without throwing a single interception.
Smith has taken the nation by storm.
While West Virginia likely isn't the best team in the country, few will dispute that it is the most entertaining, especially when the Mountaineers have the ball.
Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense -when run by an athlete as talented and as intelligent as Smith -is a thing of beauty.
It was stunning the contrast between Saturday's WVU-Baylor game, which was airing on FX, and the Penn State-Illinois contest, which ESPN was broadcasting at the same time.
While the two Big Ten teams were struggling to generate offense, West Virginia made it look effortless.
Although Smith is the guy that pulls the trigger, he is blessed with a talented group of receivers led by Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, who literally can make you laugh at loud at some of the incredible plays they pull off.
Once again, WVU produced 70 points, the same total it scored in last year's Orange Bowl victory and the same total it would have had in the season opener against Marshall had kicker Tyler Bitancurt not missed an extra point against the Thundering Herd. This time, the Mountaineers accounted for a stunning 808 total yards.
By any standard, 70 should be more than enough points to put away any opponent, yet West Virginia needed every one of its 10 touchdowns against Baylor. That's because WVU's defense couldn't catch a cold on Saturday. It surrendered 698 yards and turned what should have been a one-sided rout into a shootout that wasn't decided until the final gun.
We've seen this before. During the height of the Rich Rodriguez era, West Virginia was known for its highly-productive and entertaining offense. Yet, the Mountaineers got involved in more than their share of shootouts due to defensive woes.
Just like in the old West, if you get involved in enough shootouts, you eventually will get shot.
While I couldn't be more excited about the prospect of watching WVU's offense for nine more games, I have to temper my enthusiasm at the prospect of the defense facing Oklahoma State, or for that matter, next Saturday's opponent, Texas.
Every West Virginia fan would love to see a Mountaineer win the Heisman Trophy while leading WVU to its first national title.
At this point, the former looks much more likely than the latter.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org