Heisman Trophy winner, um…front-runner Cam Newton appears to be a very charismatic and appealing figure.
After each of Auburn’s eight wins at Jordan-Hare this season, the statuesque Newton would stand hovered above the south end zone, entertaining delirious fans while waving his towel in unison with the school band as it blared “Glory To Ole Auburn.”
People seem to gravitate toward Newton. He makes his teammates better. Girls melt in the grips of his smile. Guys at Auburn probably wouldn’t think twice about handing over their first-born or swan-diving over a bridge if it meant Newton would forego the NFL for what could be a BCS title defense.
The 21-year-old Newton is the perfect dream for the vultures in the media world, and he is a certifiable cash cow at the professional level. Marketers and endorsers will covet him just as much for his looks and swagger as his exploits and skills on the field.
Ah, yes, his skills. His speed, strength, elusiveness and accuracy: the very things that have fueled Auburn to an appearance in the BCS National Championship. They are also the things that have Newton worrying about what he’ll say at the podium at New York’s Nokia Theater on Dec. 11, right after his name is called as this year’s winner of the Heisman Trophy.
It seems like a given, doesn’t it? After all, Newton accounted for nearly 4,000 yards and 48 touchdowns for the nation’s best team. He specialized in special moments in which he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. He at times single-handedly kept his team afloat with his versatility, becoming the second player in FBS history (Tim Tebow) to both run and pass for 20 touchdowns in a single season.
Sorry, LaMichael James, Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore: The verdict is final, and the envelope has been signed, sealed and delivered. This will be one of the most anti-climactic Heisman ceremonies in memory.
So, is that why nobody really seems to care?
Think about it. Is it just me or is no one talking about the stretch run of this year’s Heisman race? Is it because there isn’t one? If you ask me, any doubt surrounding who should win was erased on Nov. 26. That’s when Newton, on the road, erased a three-score Alabama lead en route to a 28-27 victory in the Iron Bowl.
That’s also when Boise State spit the bit at Nevada, effectively crippling any chance Moore had at nabbing the Heisman.
I understand why a one-horse race would draw no interest. Everyone likes a little drama. To be honest, most seasons I’m apathetic as to who wins the Heisman, regardless of whether the award is contested or not. But doesn’t embroiling Newton in an NCAA investigation kick up the spice level a little bit?
It appears the answer is "no." And I can’t understand why.
We are expected to believe that Newton had no knowledge of the underhanded dealings of his father, Cecil, and Kenny Rogers. I’m sorry, that’s a little too much to ask.
Lo and behold, the NCAA governing body bought it. Rather than offing his head, the hypocrites at the NCAA flicked Newton in the chest, secretly handing down a one-day suspension after finding out that Cecil Newton and his cohort did indeed shop his son around for cash.
Pending further evidence in the ongoing investigation, Newton has been exonerated. The only word that matters is that of the NCAA. As long as Newton is considered eligible—or until he opts for the NFL draft—he will be allowed to dominate the college game, which is what he has done since September.
I’ll be the first one to admit that Newton should be declared ineligible, but the natural debate of whether he or not he should play should not diminish his heroics. Public opinion should only raise awareness of his accomplishments...and there are many, perhaps so many that some feel Newton should’ve been awarded college football’s ultimate prize a month ago.
This is why he will win the Heisman on Saturday without a fight. Not that many people will notice.