Its been a long time since I put any stock into the Heisman balloting. When Orlando Pace didn't win the award for most outstanding college player (which the Heisman claims to be) I knew, at a young age, what many had know for years. The Heisman is worthless as an award.
Since then I have only gotten excited once for a Heisman trophy ceremony. That was the Year that Charles Woodson won over Payton Manning. Being a Michigan fan I was rooting for CWood to win, feeling that Manning was over hyped due to the bloodlines I was rooting against him, and finally I hoped by giving the award to a primarily defensive player, that it would open up the competition to all players, and not just QB's, RB's and WR's.
Well I was wrong. Looking back Woodson may have been the most exiting player to watch that year, but he was not the best. Manning was by far the best overall player in College football that year. We are still waiting for another QB with Payton's mastery of the game to come through the college ranks. Thats right college, not pro, we all know what these guys have done as Pro's and we need to through out the potential as Pros from the Heisman equation.
So if I don't give a rats ass about the award, and feel that it does not adequately represent the best player in college, than why am I writing about it? Because it's my blog and I want to.
Ok the real reason is that I have heard and read in multiple places over the past week that BC quarterback Matt Ryan should be a Heisman front runner based on his performance against VT. Now if you read my column on the 1 game to watch last week, you knew that the VT game would be the first real test under fire for young Matt this year. I pointed out how he needed to show that he could handle the pressure of VT's rush and the crowd noise to prove himself.
For 3 and a half quarters Matt failed miserably. He threw two picks and should have had at least 2 more had the VT defenders shown some hands. He looked lost and confused against a match-up zone. It was not until VT went into prevent mode that he moved the ball at all. I will give him credit for his moving around in the pocket to buy time... when VT was only rushing 3. So if you rush 3 defenders and give him 7+ seconds to find an open reciever in a soft zone coverage, Matt Ryan is a hell of a quarterback.
Those pundits who are now falling all overthemselves to anoint Ryan as Heisman canidate are obviously showing 1 of 3 things.
1 - They only watch the highlights on Sportscenter (which may be as the game was up against some baseball contest).
2 - They know jack shit about football, and can't recognise what is actually happening on the field, they just watch the QB.
3 - They have the mythical "East Coast Bias" and want nothing more than to further stroke the Boston ego by convincing them that they have the best Baseball team, Football team and college player.
All that said, the overhyping of a college QB based on 1 game is to be expected. And due to the Heisman being awarded on the basis on hype, its no surprise that Ryan is now a front runner. So instead of complaining about it. I want to fix it. Here is how I would start.
1 - You have to win another major college award to be elligible. What awards am I talking about, easy
1st, I through out the Walter Camp and the Doak Maxwell. Both fine awards, but they are really just Heisman light and do nothing for getting the Heisman to truely be for "most outstanding player" (plus you have to go to New Haven, CT to accept your Walter Camp award, New Haven is a shithole and no one should ever go there).
Now we are left with the following "Major" awards:
For QB either the O'Brien or the Unitas. Since the O'Brien is reserved for senior QB's and nobody knows who O'Brien was, it's out.
For RB we will take the Doak Walker award winner. (As a sidenote, how badass a name is Doak, I'm thinking my firstborn son should have this as his name. Or maybe my next dog, since the wife may let me name a dog, but never a child and for that any child of mine should be greatful).
For WR, its the Biletnikoff, its named after Freddy B., nuff said.
For the Oline we will go with the Outland Trophy winner. (This award will now be limited to offensive lineman, they deserve their own award).
For the D I'm going to have to get a little creative since the awards seem to overlap. I'm going to take the Lombardi, the Butkus and the Thorpe winners. The Butkus and the Thorpe are for LB's and DB's respectively so that helps, the Lombardi is for both LB's and DL's but their is no pure DL award... the media loves pretty boys. So to even things out I'm also going to through in the Nagurski.
So how would our potential Heisman field look this year (based on my opinion)?
Unitas - ANDRE’ WOODSON, KENTUCKY (the fact that Dennis Dixon isn't a finalist is bull)
Doak Walker - DARREN MCFADDEN, ARKANSAS
Biletnikoff - DESEAN JACKSON, CAL
Outland - JAKE LONG, MICHIGAN
Lombardi - CHRIS LONG, VIRGINIA
Nagurski - GLENN DORSEY, LSU
Butkus - JAMES LAURINAITIS, OSU
Thorpe - ANTOINE CASON, ARIZONA
Of these players I would argue that the two Longs have been the best two players in college football this year, but under the old system neither of them is likely to get invited to the Downtown Athletic Club. Under my new system for selecting the finalist, they would at least get a 30 second ESPN montage (and who doesn't love a Montage narated by Stu).
2 - Move the ceremony to after the National championship game. The dinner tour that the Heisman finalist go on before and after the ceremony is stupid. At least wait until the season is over. Now I know this would result in the Media hyping whomever had the best bowl game to the trophy, but I'm less concerned with the actual winner than opening up the pool of finalists.
There you go, the Heisman is fixed in 2 easy steps. I know that either a QB, RB or WR is still going to win every year, but at least this will force the media machine to recognise some of the other positions.