As another exciting and action-packed college football season draws to a close, I am once again wondering if this year’s Heisman Trophy winner is going to be a disappointment.
Before we get into this, let’s take a quick look back at the past five Heisman Trophy winners. Last year it was Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. Not bad. I like him but he is as fragile as Tiger Woods’ marriage right now. The year before that, it was Florida wonderboy Tim Tebow. Cry me a river. The 2006 winner was QB Troy Smith hailing from Ohio State. He was good, but the NFL thought Brady Quinn was better in the draft. Running back Reggie Bush won it in 2005. Good pick; too bad this year his Saints are going to go to the Super Bowl but he will be sidelined with another injury. And then, finally there is QB Matt Leinart, who won it in 2004. Not much to say about this pretty boy other than he is probably the best-rated second-string quarterback of all time. He’s making a living by ridin’ the pine.
Frankly, the past five (and probably 10) Heisman Trophy winners have been real duds. They are either burned out, injury prone running backs or pretty boy quarterbacks who can’t hack it running a real offense in the NFL. Yes, they had great college football years but that’s it.
So here we go into another hyped-up week of guessing who will win this year’s Heisman trophy. It was announced last Monday that there are five players being invited to the award ceremony in New York City, which is scheduled to be aired live on ESPN at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening. And, of course, the world’s most emotional quarterback of all time, Tebow, has once again been invited.
Why Tim Tebow has been named as a Heisman finalist for the third time is beyond me. He was not in the running at all this year, no question. Yes, Florida was undefeated until last weekend’s stomping by the Tide, but we all know this was not Tebow’s year. He passed for 2,413 yards and ran for 859 yards. Good numbers but not what he produced in the past two years. Oh yeah, did I already mention that he got stomped by the Tide in the biggest game to hit the SEC in several years? Right, I did. Check. If Tim Tebow wins this year, I will pay attention to the Heisman award never, ever again.
Texas Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy, like Tebow, has been named again as a finalist. While McCoy may be one of the most winningest college quarterbacks, his numbers have also fallen during his senior year. He passed for 3,512 yards and threw for 27 touchdowns. McCoy was the runner up last year when Bradford won and came in this year as the leading candidate. It’s hard to sum up a candidate’s season in one play but I will go ahead and do it.
The main reason why McCoy can’t be the Heisman winner this year is simply because of his stupid last play against Nebraska in last weekend’s Big 12 Championship game where he rolled out of the pocket, mindless of the expiring clock and threw it out of bounds with barely a second left. After going to the booth for review, they gave Texas one second to kick the game-winning field goal. Because McCoy’s play almost cost them the game, he is no longer a Heisman winner in my eyes. He is the one person that could have thrown his team’s national championship hopes out the window. Outstanding.
And then there is Stanford’s Toby Gerhart, a blue collar, hard-nosed running back. He led Stanford’s 8-4 season by rushing for over 1,700 yards and scoring 26 touchdowns – a number more than any other running back in the nation. Even though Stanford put themselves on the map this season with victories against Notre Dame and Oregon, an 8-4 season just doesn’t cut it for the Heisman. Not outstanding enough. (But watch for this guy in the NFL. He will be one of those unsung heroes blocking for some quick, high priced running back. Gerhart will be good.)
In my mind, the real Heisman race is between Alabama’s Mark Ingram and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh. Suh is the first defensive player to be a finalist since 1997, when Michigan’s Charles Woodson became the first defensive player to win the Heisman.
If you watched last weekend’s Nebraska-Texas lack-luster shootout, you couldn’t miss the 300-pound defensive tackle because when there was a hit on the field, there was Suh. He finished the season with 12 sacks in 13 games. Besides being a Heisman candidate he is also a 2009 All-America, Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy, and Nagurski Award candidate. This kid can win it all. And yes, he will be good in the NFL too. I love seeing defenders in the race for the Heisman. It doesn’t happen very often in today’s pretty boy world.
And finally, after last weekend’s kick-em in the ribs beat down against Florida, Alabama’s Mark Ingram is also a finalist, and probably the favorite to win. When he runs, and follows his blockers, he reminds me of none other than Bronco great Terrell Davis. Ingram is a patient runner who explodes through the hole once it is opened. He ran for over 1,500 yards and scored 15 touchdowns for the Tide. While he has been hobbled a bit from minor injuries, if he can stay healthy, he is the best running back in the country.
All of that being said, I will be happy to see Ingram win this year’s Heisman Trophy and will be even happier if they choose Suh. If it comes down to Tebow or McCoy, the Heisman Trophy will be dead to me.