It was announced today that Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh was voted the AP National Player of the Year by a board of 59 AP voters. Suh received 26 votes to Stanford's Toby Gerhart's 20.
In a strange and ironic twist though, Suh was voted 4th in the Heisman balloting by many members of the same group of AP media voters. How does that happen when the two awards could be considered essentially the same?
"Player of the Year" or "Most Outstanding Player?"
What is the difference? I don't think there really can be any difference between the two awards.
It's likely nothing more than a word game and a game of semantics.
It seems to me that awards given on the merits of being "Player of the Year" or "Most Outstanding Player" should have a rather symbiotic relationship. Can't we as fans assume that these awards are nearly one in the same? That one player should win both awards especially when the same voters are involved?
Or, if not win both awards outright, at least be a close second?
I understand voting for all awards, especially the Heisman Trophy is very subjective and given to regional biases, uninformed voters, voters that may not see much of a particular outstanding player, voters preoccupied with offense and many other factors.
I also know that this isn't the first time that the AP player of the year has been given to a player other than the Heisman Trophy winner. In the 11-year existence of the AP Player of the Year award, it has gone to someone other than the Heisman winner on four occasions. The last time that happened was in 2002 when Iowa's Brad Banks won the AP award.
Consider for a moment the haul of awards and recognition that has come Suh's way in the last two weeks.
All Big 12 first team by every publication
Big 12 Defensive player of the year
A unanimous and consensus All American
Lombardi Award Winner
Outland Trophy Award Winner
Bronco Nagurski Award Winner
Chuck Bednarik Award Winner
AP Player of the Year Award Winner
All these and Suh comes in a distant fourth in the Heisman trophy voting?
That doesn't really make sense to me.
I didn't have any grand ideas of Suh winning the Heisman Trophy as I know and understand how much of a bias voters have towards offensive players, especially those on highly ranked teams.
In fact, I predicted Alabama's Ingram would win the Heisman but I assumed the battle for the Heisman would come down to a close race between Suh and Ingram.
I was shocked and sick when Suh finished a distant fourth. Did any of the voters not see the Big 12 Title game? Did they not see how bad the Longhorns' Colt McCoy struggled when facing a great defense?
I know NFL general managers and head coaches took note of that performance by McCoy and his draft status took a huge hit.
I am not going to take anything away from Alabama's Ingram, or Stanford's Gerhart but I know who the best player, the "Most Outstanding Player" in the country, was in 2009 and he finished fourth in the Heisman and that is a sham.