As I pointed out in a column I wrote yesterday, the 2007 Heisman Trophy belongs in the hands of one of the nation's many great quarterbacks. A field general that seems to be generating a lot of gossip lately in the Heisman talks is none other than Hawaii's Colt Brennan, the 6'3" sandy blonde out of Laguna Beach.
When wrapping your head around Colt's individual stats and team record, one may get the impression that Brennan is a serious Heisman contender. After all: while other quarterbacks have posted equally dazzling numbers, only Brennan has led his team to an undefeated record. Right?
Cold Brennan should not be considered for the Heisman trophy—period.
Let's start with his numbers.
Statistically speaking, Colt Brennan is one of the best passers in the country. His 69.9% completion percentage is quite impressive. His 33 touchdowns and 3732 passing yards are stunning. And his quarterback rating of 163.4 is downright extraordinary.
But those numbers are nothing compared to the stats he put up last year.
Colt's quarterback rating last season was an astonishing 185.96. He threw for 5549 total yards, with a 72.6% completion rate and 58 touchdowns. Despite his aggressive play, he only threw 12 picks throughout the season.
Yes, you read that right: 58 friggin' touchdowns. Colt posted Superhuman numbers in 06' that can only be explained by raw talent and a weak schedule.
The point I want to stress is this: Colt threw 25 more touchdowns last year than he has through 11 games this year, and two fewer interceptions. He has been great this season—but was even better last season.
If he was going to get the Heisman, 2006 was the time. But he only finished sixth in voting.
Now I know what you're thinking: individual statistics don't tell the whole story.
Indeed, there's another stat that is perhaps more impressive than Brennan's individual feats this season. And that, of course, is the Hawaii Warriors' 11-0 record.
Perhaps this is where the thinking behind considering Brennan for the Heisman lies. While Colt had a great season in 06', his performance this year was nothing short of magical—as shown by Hawaii's undefeated record.
But a closer look reveals that the two seasons weren't as different as one would imagine.
In both seasons, the Warriors lined up week after week against awful competition. When all is said and done, the Warriors will have played eleven non-elite opponents this year—the exact same amount as last year.
The only ranked team the Warriors played both last season and this season was Boise State. In 2006, the Warriors lost to the Buster Broncos early in the season by seven points. Last weekend, the Warriors were 12-point victors.
As I think you all know, last season's Boise State team turned out to be something quite special. All things considered, a narrow loss to the 2006 boys of Boise State isn't anything to be ashamed of.
In both cases, the games were close. But this year, the Warriors happened to sneak out a win—which really doesn't come as a surprise considering that last year's Boise State team turned out to be stronger than this year's.
The Warriors lost two other games in 06'. On opening day of the season, they went down to the Crimson Tide 25-17. And on the second to last week of the season, Oregon State squeaked a 35-32 victory passed the Warriors.
In total, the Warriors lost their three games in 2006 by a combined 18 points. Granted, a loss is a loss is a loss—but it's not Hawaii ever got blown out of the water.
Let's now turn our eyes towards the Warriors' wins within the WAC in each season.
In 2006, the Warriors stomped Louisana Tech into the ground 61-17. This season, they beat Tech by a single point.
The Warriors taught San Jose State a lesson in pain last year, demolishing the Spartans 54-17. In 2007, they pulled out a competitive 42-35 victory.
Same story with Fresno State—an easy 68-37 victory in 2006 was slimmed down to a 37-30 win in 2007. Ditto with Utah State—63-10 compared with 52-37.
All in all, the Warriors scored 242 more points than their conference opponents in 2006.
That total has been reduced this season to 109, with one game left to play.
So: what does all of this mean?
It means that the Warriors really aren't much better this year than they were last year. In point of fact, last year's team may very well have been the more impressive squad.
Thus—if Colt Brennan finished sixth in Heisman voting last year, after putting up perhaps the best numbers of any quarterback in college football history, and last year's Warriors team was just as good—if not better—than this year's team, how can you justify calling Brennan a Heisman contender in 2007?
There's only one logical way I can think of. And that would be if last year's other candidates were more impressive than this year's candidates.
Let's go through the 2006 list of candidates: Troy Smith, Darren McFadden, Brady Quinn, Steve Slaton, Mike Hart
Now compare those guys to this season's candidates: Tim Tebow, Darren McFadden, Chase Daniel, Pat White, Todd Reesing.
Seems pretty even, huh?
No one should hesitate to admire Brennan and the Hawaii Warriors for their excellent season. But saying Brennan's name in the same sentence as "Heisman Trophy" is truly unfair to those candidates who are actually deserving of the honor.