Which Heisman Candidate Has the Best Resume?
I wonder which three poeple made the short list on Sam Bradford's Heisman ballot?
Did he vote for his buddy Colt McCoy?
How about his nemesis from last year's national championship game, Tim Tebow?
Did he go old school with Stanford's Toby Gerhart?
Maybe, he decided to make it three sophomore winners in a row with Mark Ingram?
Or did standing on the sidelines watching Ndamukong Suh rip up part his Oklahoma teammates make him decide that it was time, once again, to see a defensive player win the award?
The case for and against each candidate is stated below (in a alphabetical order) with a prediction of how the votes will come out this weekend at the Downtown Athletic Club.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
Making the Case for Gerhart––The senior running back for the Cardinal led the nation in rushing touchdowns with 26 while running for 1,736 and an average of 5.6 yards per carry. He had 10 catches for 149 yards as a receiver.
Heisman Moment––The last game of the season against Notre Dame in prime time in which Gerhart rushed for 205 yard and three touchdowns, threw a pass for an 18-yard touchdown, and even had one 33-yard reception.
Gerhart’s best game of the season was on Nov. 7, when the Cardinal beat the Oregon Ducks in a shootout, 51-42. Gerhart had 223 yards rushing on the day on 38 carries for 5.9 yards a carry. He also scored three touchdowns.
Game To Forget––The Wake Forest game because his team lost 24-17, he failed to score, and he failed to rush for 100 yards.
Why He Will Win the Heisman––He had the most consistent and productive season of any running back in the country in a year in which no quarterback distinguished himself from the rest of the field.
Gerhart ran for 200 yards three times and ran for over 100 yards 10 times. Gerhart's lowest production for the year was an 82-yard effort against Wake Forest, when he averaged 4.8 yards.
Why He Will Not Win the Heisman––Heisman marketing campaign got off to a slow start. The nation believed for several weeks into the season that California’s Jahvid Best was the best running back in the Pac-10 conference.
Who could blame them, as Best ran roughshod over the Minnesota Gophers for five touchdowns in early September.
Gerhart’s Heisman moment came against Notre Dame, which will not be viewed in the same light as the Heisman moment of the other candidates because every team that was committed to running the ball ran well against the Fighting Irish this year.
Did the voters notice Gerhart, or did they see further confirmation as to why Coach Charlie Weis was the wrong guy to coach Notre Dame? Probably, the latter.
Also, are Gerhart’s numbers a reflection of his excellence or the poor run defense in the Pac-10?
Consider the performance of two younger running backs in the Pac-10: Jacquizz Rogers rushed for 1,377 yards, 20 touchdowns, and averaged 5.4 yards as a sophomore for Oregon State; LaMichael James rushed for 1,476 yards and 14 touchdowns, while averaging 6.9 yards a carry as a freshman for Oregon, a team that didn’t mind throwing the ball.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Making the Case for Ingram––The sophomore tailback rushed for 1,542 yards, scored 15 touchdowns, and averaged 6.2 yards per carry. He also caught 30 passes for 322 yards and three scores.
Heisman Moment––In the SEC Championship, the game which most Heisman voters and nation watched, Ingram ran for 113 yards and caught two passes for 76 yards against Florida.
The best game for Ingram, however, occurred on Oct. 17 against South Carolina. Ingram put the team on his back, rushing for 246 yards on 24 carries; he took five direct snaps on the final drive in the fourth quarter on his way to scoring a touchdown to seal the game, 20-6. Ingram’s performance that night may have been the best game of the year for an offensive player.
Game To Forget––The “Iron Bowl” against Auburn is the game he would like to erase from Heisman voters' memories. Ingram rushed for only 30 yards on 16 carries for a 1.9 rushing average. As a receiver, Ingram caught three passes for a measly 21 yards.
Why He Will Win the Heisman––In a year in which no quarterback established himself as the frontrunner, Heisman voters tend to gravitate to running backs on the elite teams.
He has been the most consistent offensive weapon on the team that most fans consider to be the best college football team in the land.
His game against South Carolina was the third-highest yardage total for an Alabama running back in school history and endeared him to the SEC faithful.
Why He Will Not Win the Heisman––His statistics as a running back are not quite as good as fellow candidate Toby Gerhart's.
Most notably, Ingram played in five games this season in which he failed to rush for at least 100 yards, and he surpassed 200 yards on only one occasion. Gerhart reached 100 yards 10 times and ran for more than 200 yards three times.
In the SEC Championship game, he was not the best offensive player for Alabama; the best player for Alabama that day was quarterback Greg McElroy who threw for 239 yards, a touchdown, and made a key scramble near the goal line, which ultimately resulted in touchdown for the Crimson Tide.
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
Making the Case for McCoy––Colt has been incredibly accurate this year, completing 70.5 percent of his passes, throwing for 3,512 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only 12 interceptions.
He has done what is necessary to keep plays alive, rushing the ball 128 times for 348 yards and three touchdowns.
He has been the best man the past two seasons seeing pals Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, and Tim Tebow, Florida, walk away with the big prize.
Heisman Moment––The 49-39 Texas win over Texas Tech in the last game of the regular Big 12 season was McCoy’s best game of the year and possibly the best of his career.
McCoy threw for four touchdowns, 304 yards, and completed 24-of-40 passes.
McCoy ran the ball 18 times for 175 yards, including a tremendous play scampering 65 yards for a touchdown.
Game To Forget–-The Big 12 Championship against Nebraska is the game that almost infamously defined McCoy’s career at Texas.
McCoy was sacked all night long and was harassed into throwing three interceptions.
But the worst play for McCoy for his Heisman aspirations occurred when he made the decision to casually throw a pass out of bounds on the second-to-last play of the game, as the clock quickly moved toward zero.
The play by McCoy was beyond dumb, as the officials on the field could have as easily decided that time had expired as finding that one second remained.
Why He Will Win the Heisman––What McCoy did passing the ball was even more amazing, given the lack of any real running game by the Horns this year.
Tre' Newton led the Horns in rushing this year with only 513 yards. Voters may also feel some sympathy for him coming up short the past two years.
Why He Will Not Win the Heisman––The Big 12 Championship and his response to questions after the game about the “play."
When asked if he thought there was more time left possibly confusing the play clock for the game clock, McCoy stated that he knew that there was one second left in the game.
I wanted the reporter to parody SNL anchor Seth Myers “really” bit on him––REALLY, Colt are you telling me that you knew when you passed the ball that it would hit an object beyond the sidelines and that the officials would blow their whistle and signal incomplete before time expired? REALLY?
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Making the Case for Suh––On the season, Suh had 82 tackles (50 solo, 32 assisted, 23 loss), 12 sacks, 10 pass breakups, 24 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one interception, and three blocked kicks. Suh is no one-hit-wonder as he had 76 tackles last year, 19 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks.
Heisman Moment––Suh had the best Heisman moment of all the candidates when he dominated the Big 12 Conference Championship game.
Suh had 12 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks in breaking the Big 12 Championship record for sacks.
Suh’s performance left many in awe as he threw around Texas players reminiscent of the way in which the Minister of the Defense, Reggie White, dominated games.
Game To Forget––None, Suh was a terror all year and Nebraska’s defense earned their black shirts this year.
Nebraska’s defense gave up more than 20 points only once, and, in that game, the opposing coach had nothing but praise for Nebraska’s defense.
Coach Mike Leach said, after his Red Raiders beat Nebraska 31-10, “We were losing yards as fast as we were gaining them there for a while, the offense goes 3-and-out and then 3-and-out. It was like, 'what are you going to do about this, defense?' They just kept stepping up.”
Good thing Texas Tech got an early lead on a fumble recovery by their defense, because their offense managed only 47 yards in the second half.
Why He Will Win the Heisman––He put on the best show of any college player this season in the Big 12 Championship and was the most dominating player of the year, beating constant efforts to double-team him throughout the entire year.
Which Heisman candidate this year caused opposing coaching staffs to lose the most sleep the week before the game? The answer is Suh.
Why He Will Not Win the Heisman––He plays defense, and everybody knows that defensive players don’t win the Heisman Trophy.
Yes, Charles Woodson won the Heisman, but Woodson returned punts for touchdowns and even occasionally lined up as a wide receiver during the year he won.
Besides, some voters will conclude that he has enough hardware already, as the winner of the Bronco Nagurski award as the nation’s best defensive player.
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Making the Case for Tebow––The senior quarterback passed for 2,413 yards and ran for 859 yards. He threw 18 touchdowns and had only five interceptions, while completing 65 percent of his passes.
On the ground, he averaged 4.2 yards a carry and found the end zone 13 times. He is the all-time touchdown leader in SEC history and won the Heisman two years ago.
Heisman Moment––The best game for Tebow on the biggest stage was on Halloween, when he threw for two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns against Georgia on Oct. 31 in a game Florida won 41-17.
Game To Forget–-Last weekend, Tebow threw an ill-advised interception late in the game, sealing Florida’s fate in its 32-13 loss to Alabama. Tebow threw for 247 yards, connecting on 20-of-35 passes, and a touchdown, so his day was not horrendous; it was just not a Heisman-type day.
Why He Will Win the Heisman––He is the best player on the team that won the national championship last year and was ranked No. 1 in the country for almost this entire past season.
The University of Florida marketing department did such a wonderful job extolling the virtues of Tebow as one of the best college football players of all time that Heisman voters mailed in their votes before last weekend.
Why He Will Not Win the Heisman––No clear Heisman-type game this year. Sorry, Dawgs. The most last memory of the season for voters of Tebow was the Alabama game, as it was the “game of the year” and he had an average game at best.
Statistically, Tebow’s previous two seasons leading the Gators were better than this year––a drop of 17 points in his quarterback rating.
Finally, Heisman voters, in awarding the bronze statue to Sam Bradford last year, made it clear that Tebow would have to win his second trophy not on the basis of what he had done in his career at Florida, but what he did during the season.
And the Winner Is . . . . Suh
This may be the closest vote in Heisman history, reminiscent of the year Auburn’s Bo Jackson edged out Iowa’s Chuck Long.
The candidates who will likely finish second and third are Gerhart and Ingram. Stanford had few televised games this year, and the lack of exposure will hurt him.
Ingram has history going against him, as no sophomore running back has ever won the Heisman Trophy.
Suh should also benefit from the work of an offensive player who was not invited to New York.
C.J. Spiller, the running back from Clemson, had an outstanding year and likely pulled votes away from Ingram and Gerhart.
Suh was the best player in college football this year, he was a dominating force in several games, and and made his teammates better.
For example, against Baylor, coach Art Briles assigned at least two players to block Suh on every play of the game.
The attention to Suh resulted in teammate Jared Crick picking up five sacks. But Suh wasn’t satisfied tying up several Baylor blockers––Suh had five tackles, three for losses, and one sack.
The player who finishes second to Suh in the Heisman race should take a heart in knowing that the player who finished second to Charles Woodson––Peyton Manning––hasn’t had a bad NFL career.