Monday, November 19, 2007

Do We Have To Give Out A Heisman This Year?

The person who drew this picture of Tim Tebow is more deserving of an award than the subject of the drawing.

It's been a wacky college football season (once again). There's a different storyline and favorite to win it all every weekend with upsets galore. There hasn't been a true dominant team from start to finish all year. And every time you think you know who's gonna play for it all, ten minutes later you need to go back to the drawing board. It's all been very entertaining. But lost in the shuffle of the BCS chaos is the game's most prestigious award. No player has stepped up to separate himself from the pack for the Heisman and I'm not sure any player is really worthy. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of good to great players out there, but I don't see a Reggie Bush or Desmond Howard or even a Jason White.

Think about it, can you name a player who has had that signature moment or signature game to set himself apart? No. Take a look at the QBs: Dennis Dixon was probably a late season favorite until he tore his ACL and now that he's out for the season he's pretty much done. WVU's Pat White has had a disappointing season and while he's putting up pretty big numbers and his team still has a shot at the title, he hasn't had quite the impact his candidacy led everyone to believe. The other riff raff including Brian Brohm, Chad Henne and Andrew Woodson were at times terrific but their teams have been so inconsistent that they are well outside of consideration. The three major wildcards in the mix are Sam Bradford of OU, Colt Brennan of Hawaii and Chase Daniel of Mizzou. Bradford has had a great year but has no buzz about him while Brennan has a ton of buzz but no air of legitimacy to his candidacy. I don't think either are being taken very seriously by the voters. Daniel has the best chance to make a mark because he's got two extremely high profile games before the ballots are cast and his candidacy could go skyward if Mizzou makes a push towards the title game or he has a fantastic game. And then there's the leader in the clubhouse: Punishing Prayer - Tim Tebow. Tebow has got to be the favorite, but in his 3 biggest games of the year he had his 3 worst games. In those three losses, Tim Tebow threw 4tds and 2ints. In the other 8 wins (only 2 of which were against ranked opponents) Tebow threw 22tds and 4ints. I'm not saying Tebow beat up on bad teams, or that those losses were his fault, but he didn't step up against the best teams he played. He'll probably win but it's a shame because his weak performances in huge games don't represent Heisman material in my eyes.

Moving onto the RBs, there are 3 that stand out and 5 total worthy of discussion. The two that you can discard immediately are Ray Rice and Mike Hart. Both RBs are outstanding and run as hard or harder than anyone in the NCAAs, but you can't overlook how disappointing their seasons have been. It overshadows their candidacy. The 3 guys who are in the conversation are Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall and Chris "Beanie" Wells. McFadden has had a great season but he really wasn't dominant until the South Carolina game; a game in which he ran for over 300 yards. Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall has been under the radar for most of the season but at 6.2 yards/carry and over 1500 yards for the team who knocked off the No. 1 team in the nation that is now going to a non-lawn product bowl game (he may also be the first RB off the board in April), Mendenhall needs serious consideration. I think he falls well short because McFadden's numbers are more impressive and Beanie's been a bigger game back, but he may surprise some folks with his vote total. The final RB candidate, and in my mind the best player in college football, is OSU's Beanie Wells. If Tim Tebow is the guy who shrunk in the big games this year, Beanie Wells was rock hard and in your face (that's kinda gay). Michigan St - 200+ yards; @ Penn St - 133 yards; Wisconsin - 169 yards; & Michigan - 222 yards (I don't consider the Illinois game a "big game" because it wasn't one going into the game). He's got huge yards, and HUGE games. He's really the only guy with the signature big game in a big spot with the Michigan game (though it is debatable how "big" a game Michigan was in the grand scheme of things). In my mind, that's what a Heisman candidate does. Yes they have huge numbers and dominate all year. But in the biggest game on the biggest stage they step and give their team a chance to play for the national title. That's what Beanie Wells did and it's something that no other candidate can say they've done... yet (see Chase Daniels).

There are a couple more we probably need to mention. The WR crop is very light. Michigan's Manningham is in there, Harry Douglas of Louisville and maybe Robiskie and the very underrated monster, Aaron Kelly of Clemson all have been good but no one stands out. There is one guy who at least statistically blows everyone out of the water but probably won't get more than a sniff, that's Michael Crabtree. If you haven't seen this fucker play, then you are missing out. He's big at 6'3" 220. He's fast at a sub 4.5 40 and he can catch anything thrown his way. His stats this year are comical. 125 catches, 1800+ yards and 21 tds. All of those lead the nation for the Texas Tech Raiders. Yes, those Raiders who just knocked off Oklahoma. And what did Crabtree do against the Sooners? 12 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. The kid is good but he is in no way a Heisman candidate. He's not high profile enough. Moving on to the other nominees from the defensive side and offensive line, they include (but are not limited to) Glenn Dorsey, James Laurinaitis and even Jake Long, Michigan's big nasty OT (the longest of long, no pun intended. Seriously). That's really about it.

I know it seems weird that in one of the greatest college football seasons in recent memory in terms of edge of your seat entertainment that no player stands out to the point where you could legitimately call them a favorite, but it's true. Right now, Tim Tebow is probably the favorite and his team is going to play against the 2nd best team from the weakest conference in the country in a Bowl game named after a credit card company or a purveyor of large fried vegetables. That's not exactly the guy I picture holding the Heisman. Maybe it's fitting that in such a nutty year where no team wants to reach up and grab the No. 1 ranking that the player who wins the Heisman is a guy who did a ton for his team but who didn't do enough in the biggest games to carry them to victory. Or maybe we're still waiting to find the guy who does.

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