The 2012 Heisman Trophy finalists have been announced, and anyone expecting a Big Ten flavor to the proceedings is going to be disappointed. Despite being a top-five player in many people's eyes this season, Braxton Miller will not be taking part in the Heisman festivities at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York.
Here's the word straight from ESPN's College GameDay Twitter account:
Announcing the 2012 Heisman Trophy finalists: Collin Klein, Johnny Manziel, and Manti Te'o.May the best stud win.— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 3, 2012
Stud? Must we call these guys studs? Ugh. Anyway.
Now, look. It was a pretty well-known fact that Miller wasn't going to win the Heisman long before Monday's announcement. Klein and Manziel started to outpace him in overall statistics, and we're not going to sit here and act like Miller had a better case for the trophy than either of those two.
That said, unless Miller's support nationwide is so bad that he won't even make the top five in voting when this is all said and done (and we can't really figure out two players who would outpace him), he deserves to be able to show up at the Downtown Athletic Club and be lauded as one of the five best players in the sport this season.
Moreover, it'd be nice just to have Ohio State's perfect season feted by the Heisman committee on national television, because even though NCAA sanctions took away the Buckeyes' ability to build on that undefeated mark in the postseason, going 12-0 is still a really big deal no matter what conference you're in. And Braxton Miller was the key to that great inaugural season of the Urban Meyer era.
We do realize that if only three players are being invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, it means there was a big enough gap between the third and fourth players that the folks in charge don't even see the point in inviting a fourth player.
It's not as if they're going to reveal the voting totals and Miller's going to be within a hundred points of Klein or whoever ends up in third place. Miller's not a viable candidate to win the Heisman. We get that.
But we also get that this ceremony is college football's most prominent event to commemorate great players and great seasons, and there Miller qualifies. Why the Heisman committee would voluntarily limit itself to three players to honor when it's got the same amount of time to fill either way is, to put it gently, a mystery. We've seen trophy ceremonies with five players before. They're not exactly rushed.
So even if only being on a couple hundred ballots is enough to get him in the top five of Heisman voting, that should be enough to get Miller to earn a trip to New York. Being a distant fourth or fifth is still an amazing accomplishment, and Miller deserves to be able to celebrate that accomplishment along with the rest of the Heisman finalists regardless of whether he has a prayer of winning the trophy.
Congratulations are in order for a great season no matter what for young Mr. Miller, and perhaps next season's Heisman voting will be more gracious toward the Buckeyes' talented signal-caller.