Ka'Deem Carey rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his games this season
The nation's leading returning rusher, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, is one of the best again, yet he is not one of the six finalists for the Heisman Trophy award.
The Pac-12 was shut out from the Heisman field, a nationwide disrespect factor that contributes to this ranking.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota did not receive an invitation despite having a better quarterback ranking than finalists Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois and A.J. McCarron of Alabama (via ESPN.com).
Mariota was the front-runner for the Heisman at midseason. Despite struggling in losses to Stanford and Arizona, the Ducks quarterback still passed for 3,412 yards with 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Washington tailback Bishop Sankey is also not in New York City this weekend for the Heisman presentation. He belongs if Auburn's Tre Mason deserves to be there. Sankey has outgained Mason (1,775 to 1,621 yards) although Mason plays in a run-oriented offense.
In the last two years, no college running back has gained more yards than Carey. He has gained 3,645 yards on 625 carries, mostly against competition in the Pac-12, which is only behind the SEC in terms of quality competition.
The Pac-12 got the shaft in many ways this postseason, from BCS bowl berths (Stanford is the only one with a trip to the Rose Bowl because of its Pac-12 title) to the Heisman finalists.
Other factors particular to Carey's Heisman snub are the perception of Arizona's program, his disciplinary action at the start of the season and the respectable, yet questionable production of his counterparts.
The following slideshow details this topic.
Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey says he is motivated by running angry
Some Heisman voters likely used Ka'Deem Carey's early-season disciplinary action against him.
He was suspended in the season opener against Northern Arizona because of two off-the-field issues following the 2012 season.
Domestic violence charges involving an alleged incident with his then-pregnant girlfriend were dropped against him July (via Arizona Daily Star). He was also kicked out of an Arizona basketball game last January for alleged unruly behavior with campus security personnel (via Arizona Daily Wildcat).
Carey learned his lesson and accepted his one-game suspension against NAU without conflict. Missing that game affected his chance to build upon his season rushing totals of 1,716 yards on 322 carries. Backup Daniel Jenkins rushed 12 times for 139 yards (including a 91-yard touchdown run) in his place.
Lost in all of this is the fact that Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, who is in New York City trying to win his second consecutive Heisman, was suspended by the NCAA for only a half in the Aggies' season opener against Rice because of his alleged autographs-for-profit ordeal (via Yahoo.com).
Manziel was also involved in other offseason embarrassing situations, including leaving prematurely from the esteemed Manning Passing Camp, and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from an altercation last summer (via Los Angeles Times).
Carey and his girlfriend are back together, and he has endeared himself to his son Kaison.
Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez should be commended for sitting Carey, although his star running back was not charged in the legal matter. Rodriguez's move should not have adversely affected Carey's opportunity for a Heisman, especially with how Carey responded by learning from his mistakes and becoming a respected teammate for others and upright citizen in his hometown of Tucson.
“Since spring, since the semester has been over, he’s done everything we have asked," Rodriguez told TucsonCitizen.com after the season-opening win over NAU. "Everything. … But once you make a mistake, you’re held to a higher standard and that’s where we are now.”
Arizona's Rich Rodriguez (shown here with Ka'Deem Carey) is trying to coach Arizona to its first Rose Bowl
The Arizona Wildcats are 7-5 again, matching last year's regular-season record. They have only two double-digit victory seasons in the program's history. They have never been to the Rose Bowl.
That stigma of not being among the elite has potentially adversely affected Ka'Deem Carey's chance to be in New York City this weekend for the Heisman presentation.
To wit: If Carey played at USC, would he be in New York City? Yes. If he played for an SEC school, would there be any question? Not at all.
Voters justifiably look at a team's record to see whether a candidate belongs among the finalists. If that is the criteria, then Carey did not stand a chance against players from Auburn, Alabama and Florida State.
However, what about Boston College's Andre Williams? The Eagles are 7-5. They were 6-18 in the two previous season. Boston College also has only two double-digit victory seasons in the modern era and are without an outright conference title in the process.
The Eagles were 11-0 and won a national title, but that was in 1940.
This is not an argument against Williams because without him Boston College would have a losing record. This argument is suggesting that Arizona's record and lack of elite status in college football should not have been used against Carey.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch is in New York City as one of the Heisman finalists
Everybody loves feel-good stories, especially when we must read about suspensions, transfers, coaches fired or leaving for another school. We always find glimmers of hope for what is right about college football when at the same time, we believe a lot is wrong with the sport.
This is why Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch is in New York City this weekend as a Heisman finalist, taking away a potential spot for Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey.
Again, this is not an argument that Lynch does not deserve Heisman consideration. The Huskies' 12-1 record and his production merits a look. Lynch ranks fourth nationally in total offense (351.0 yards per game) and is second in both rushing yards (1,881) and points responsible for (276).
But on a week-to-week basis, Lynch played a non-BCS schedule of games against Mid-American Conference opponents. Imagine what could Carey have done against those defenses compared to those quality Pac-12 defenses at Washington, USC, ASU, Utah, UCLA and Oregon (of which he gained 1,014 yards on 198 yards, an average of 5.1 yards per carry)?
In last year's 31-10 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl, Lynch had his opportunity to justify his worthiness as a Heisman candidate on a national stage and did not meet the challenge.
He completed only 15-of-41 passes for 176 yards. He had one touchdown and one interception. As a running threat, he gained only 44 yards on 23 carries against the Seminoles.
Love for non-major programs should remain only with the NCAA basketball tournament, when it is a one-and-done shot.
Boston College's Andre Williams is the nation's only running back with more than 2,000 yards rushing
Heisman voters are enamored by Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch and Boston College running back Andre Williams because of their gaudy statistics.
They are certainly impressive matched against Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey.
Lynch has 2,676 passing yards to go with his 1,881 rushing yards (although his passing yards are less than his 3,138 from last season). Most of his production was against non-BCS competition in the Mid-American Conference.
Williams leads the nation with 2,102 yards rushing on 329 attempts, an average of 6.4 yards per carry. He rushed for at least 204 yards in five games, including a career-high 339-yard performance against North Carolina State on Nov. 16.
Williams had only 29 yards on nine carries, however, in the regular-season finale loss to Syracuse. He was hurt in the game and had to leave, but that was in the third quarter.
Williams had three games in which he did not surpass 100 yards, including a 38-yard performance at USC. Carey had at least 119 yards in all of his games, including 138 yards against the Trojans' No. 19 defense against the run.
The Heisman voters have Auburn's Tre Mason in New York City because the Tigers are 12-1 and they won the SEC championship, not because he is the greatest running back in the nation. My, how his 304 yards against Missouri in the SEC title game were impressive, but what about his total body of work?
Mason had five games in which he rushed for less than 100 yards, including a 73-yard performance against Washington State's No. 85-rated defense on Aug. 31. Carey gained 132 yards against the Cougars on Nov. 16.
Auburn running back Tre Mason strikes a Heisman Trophy pose in the SEC championship game
Those three dirty words to those in the West—East Coast bias—is what bears most of the reason why Ka'Deem Carey will not be at the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York City on Saturday night.
Look at the geographical regions of the players who were invited. The farthest west is Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel. No Carey. No Marcus Mariota of Oregon. No Bishop Sankey of Washington. No Derek Carr of Fresno State.
Many Pac-12 games were broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, which is not available in all parts of the country. The league played many late-night games, some starting as late as 11 p.m. on the East coast after the voters were in bed. They spent most of the day watching players excel from other conferences east of the Mississippi.
The media who vote for the Heisman are mostly from areas outside the Far West. The locations of the voters (according to StiffArmTrophy.com):
Mid West: 107
Far West: 97
Former Heisman winners: 57
The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, essentially the entire East Coast, has 157 voters compared to 97 on the West Coast. The city of Boston alone has six Heisman voters compared to seven in the whole state of Arizona, and that's not including three voters from the nearby Hartford Courant.
Judging from all the facts presented, it's impossible to say Ka'Deem Carey got a fair shake when looking at the Heisman finalists. What matters most is what happens on the field, and Carey will get his opportunity to show the voters what they missed when he is matched against Boston College's Andre Williams in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La., on New Year's Eve.
Check out Javier Morales' blog at TucsonCitizen.com