Is Mark Ingram Just a "Hype-Man Hopeful?"

Robert DentonCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Louisiana State University Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Let me start off by saying that this, in no way, is meant to disparage Mark Ingram, the person. In fact, I think it's fair to say that this isn't even meant to disparage him as a player.  The truth is, Ingram is a solid runningback on a very good team.  His 1,429 yards and 15 touchdowns ranks him 7th and 17th, respectively. However, is that all we demand of a Heisman winner, to be a solid player? Are those "Heisman" quality? Really? Consider this, there have been five runningbacks who've won the award since 1989: Rashaan Salaam, Eddie George, Ricky Williams, Ron Dayne, and Reggie Bush, who, by most accounts, won that as a result of his "all-purpose" numbers.  Salaam rushed for over 2,000 yards for Colorado in 1994 and George went for 1,900 plus.  Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne set back to back NCAA career rushing marks in 1998 and 1999, and the aforementioned Bush was clearly the most exciting player in college football in 2005 with over 2,600 all purpose yards and 18 touchdowns.  The seasons, and careers that these players had set new standards.  By contrast, Ingram's current career rushing total of 2,157 yards ranks him somewhere in the neighborhood of WAY DOWN! Darren Sproles is 15th all time with 4,979 yards, if that gives you an indication.  Now, before you purists start arguing against the fact that the award is not for career achievement, let me just ask, "Why is Tim Tebow on most finalist lists this year?"  Don't get me started on how his numbers this season compare to Case Keenum, of Houston, who most likely will not be in New York for the award presentation, but I digress.

My point is simply that the Heisman trophy should clearly set apart the difference makers in college football.  Mark Ingram is a "good" player on an undefeated team.  He shares time on his OWN team, for tide's sake.  He trails three freshmen in the season rushing rankings, LaMichael James, Ryan Willams, and Dion Lewis, who all play in BCS conferences.  Being a "good" player has never been the standard of the Heisman winner and shouldn't be now.