Friday, December 11, 2009

Hunt For The Heisman Trophy

The Heisman Trophy is to be awarded this Saturday night (8 PM ET, ESPN). Five finalists were invited to New York for the presentation at the Nokia Theater: Alabama's Mark Ingram, Florida's Tim Tebow, Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh, Stanford's Toby Gerhart, and Texas's Colt McCoy.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to college football's "most outstanding player", whatever that means. Given that the Maxwell Award is also awarded to the most outstanding player, I'm not sure what the difference is. Too many awards, too few deserving players.

I'm not sure I would have selected those five. If I were given the opportunity to select four players to come to New York, as is usually the case, here are the four I would have selected:

1) Case Keenum - Without Keenum, Houston has nothing. He had two games where the attempted 75 or more passes. Consequently, the ground game was pretty much nonexistent. Keenum had almost 1600 more passing yards than 2nd place Levi Brown of Troy. He also had 43 touchdown passes (4 more than Boise State's Kellen Moore) against only 9 interceptions. It's hard to deny how good this guy is, and it's a shame that Houston didn't do even better this year.

2) Toby Gerhart - Although Andrew Luck is also a credit to Stanford's impressive year, Gerhart is the bruising back that contributed most to their success. He led the nation with over 1700 yards rushing, and he also had 26 touchdowns on the ground. He had three games with over 200 yards rushing (200 on 27 carries against Washington, 223 against Oregon on 38 carries, and 205 on 29 carries against Notre Dame) and only two games where he was held to under 100 yards rushing (82 on 17 carries against Wake Forest and 96 on 20 carries against Oregon State). And he's a white running back at that.

3) Kellen Moore - Moore leads the nation in passer rating (167.3) and is second in passing touchdowns (39). He only had 3 interceptions, the least of everyday quarterbacks, and he had over 3300 yards passing. Moore was efficient also, completing 63% of his passes. Watching this guy play, you know Boise State is going to dominate for two more years as he is only a sophomore.

4) Golden Tate - I know this is a longshot, and since Notre Dame went 6-6, he wouldn't get the consideration, but his 93 catches for just shy of 1500 yards, along with 15 receiving touchdowns, is staggering. Granted I don't like Notre Dame, Tate made some impressive catches this year every time I saw them play. He was Clausen's go-to guy, much like Terry Beasley was for Pat Sullivan.

Here's why I wouldn't have invited the players who were invited:

1) Colt McCoy - 12 interceptions, 4 games under 200 yards passing

2) Tim Tebow - 2400 yards passing, lost big in SEC championship game, lackluster compared to earlier seasons

3) Mark Ingram - according to many Bama fans, not even the best running back on the team; in my opinion, not the best player on the team (Greg McElroy)

4) Ndamukong Suh - 12 sacks is pretty good, but only 82 tackles (I guess he wouldn't get as many tackles as linebackers)

I'd like to see Gerhart win it, but I doubt it would happen. Mark Ingram seems to be getting a lot of hype, but his 30 yards against Auburn on 16 carries takes it from him. McCoy may win it on his career, and many voters probably think it's his turn to win after Bradford and Tebow, which are both cop outs. I really can't believe Tebow is being invited this year, but this is also probably a traditional thing. Whoever wins, I hope that person does better than previous Heisman winners Reggie Bush, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Charlie Ward, Gino Torretta, etc.


  1. Is race a factor in deciding who wins the heisman--"And he's a white running back at that"?

    If Gerhart would have faced some tougher defenses then I think he would be a clear winner. Gerhart faced only 1 top 20 defense (Oregon), while Ingram faced 6 defenses ranked in the top 20!

    Gerhart had 62 more attempts than Ingram, and finished with 194 more yards than Ingram. If Ingram would have had the same attempts as Gerhart, using their Average YPC (Ingram 6.2, Gerhart 5.6), you could tack on an additional 384 yards.

    Gerhart is a great back, but in the end, he didn't face many good defenses to really prove himself...and he didn't catch much out of the backfield (only 149 yards).

    It'll be interesting to see who wins it. Why the hell is Tebow being invited? Wonder if he'll cry if he doesn't win.

  2. What were the Heisman winner's stats against Auburn? 30 yards and a bruised vagina? Trent Richardson deserved the Heisman more then Ingram.

  3. what was the score against Auburn?...That's the character of a champion, to be able to bounce back after a dismal performance. Richardson will probably be better than Ingram...says something about the team when you have 2 potential Heisman candidates at the same position. Say, how is the "best running back in the state" doing?

  4. The "bounceback" occurred with Ingram riding the pine. How does that say anything about his "championship character"? My point isn't that Alabama isn't a great team, they obviously are. My point is that Ingram's INDIVIDUAL accomplishment isn't that great. He won the Heisman for having good stats in a high profile position on a great team.

  5. The "bounceback" I'm referring to is the next game, the SEC championship.

    I know TR performed better and, hence "bounced back" in place of Ingram in the Auburn game.

    I agree he has good stats in a high profile position on a great team, but isn't that the point? There can be arguments made for several players that "should" have won the award, but I think when you take the fact that he was such a difference maker for the team the entire year, minus 1 game, he deserves the trophy.

    His "championship character" showed the following game against the top ranked team in the nation against another Heisman finalist by scoring 3 TDs and racking up 189 total yards. He could have given up and said forget it, I'll just play another game. Instead, he went out and performed like a "champion".

    By the way, Tate had 6 fewer attempts and roughly 300 fewer yards than Ingram. Tate has 22 career TDs and Ingram already has 27 career TDs...who's the best? Not saying Tate isn't good, he's a great runner, but clearly not the best in the state.

  6. To respond to many of the comments here:

    1) Is race a factor? Damn right it is! If anyone tells you race isn't a factor, or we're all equal, I point to the several things dominated by race, affirmative action being the biggest one I see.

    2) I will agree about Gerhart not facing tougher defenses as a detractor for him.

    3) From the Heisman website: "The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." That criterion doesn't really say anything specific, so I'll interpret. If the Heisman goes to the MVP, I think it's hard to give to Ingram. If you took Ingram off of Alabama's team, they still have a great team, so I find it hard. Again, my choice would have been Case Keenum. Houston's leading rusher had about 600 yards this year (50 per game, on average). If you take Keenum off the team, their offense went from incredible to zip. I think that makes him most valuable to his team. I'm not saying Mark Ingram isn't a good player, certainly he is. All I'm saying is that I don't think he was the best player. He didn't win the Doak Walker Award, given to the best running back. If he isn't the best at his position, can he be the best overall?

    4) I also don't know why they invited Tebow. He was clearly the least qualified of the five that went to NY.