Gator fans may be disappointed to find out that Tim Tebow will not repeat as the Davey O’Brien award winner, awarded to the top quarterback each year, because he has been left off of the list of finalists.
The Davey O’Brien selection committee announced Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, Graham Harrell of Texas Tech, and Colt McCoy of Texas as this year’s finalists. On the surface, this may seem like a snub. However, a closer look at the award and its history reveals the reasons for Tebow’s exclusion.
Daveyobrien.com describes the award as follows: “The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) honors the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious quarterback award."
"Candidates are evaluated on their quarterback skills/athletic ability, academics, team spirit, character, leadership and sportsmanship.”
Obviously, Tebow is eligible, so why is he not being given the opportunity to defend his title? The short answer is that he was given the opportunity. Tebow’s numbers are down quite a bit from his stratospheric sophomore season. This is not to say he’s underachieved; he has matured as a leader and as a quarterback this season.
Unfortunately, The O’Brien only selects three quarterbacks each year as finalists. This year, the Big 12’s offensive giants were too great for the O’Brien selection committee to pass on (no pun intended). While it feels a bit unfair, Bradford, McCoy, and Harrell are all having magical seasons and deserve recognition.
It is important to note that this isn’t a pure numbers award. The Sammy Baugh Trophy is awarded to the nation’s top passer; The O’Brien is handed out to the top quarterback.
The best way to look at the O’Brien is as a Heisman for quarterbacks. However, the factors that would boost Tebow’s position aren’t very useful this year, as all three finalists are team leaders on national championship contenders.
With a deadlock in team relevancy, the numbers begin to separate the creme of the crop. I’ll use the statistic that I feel best describes why Tebow is outmatched this year: points accounted for per game.
Bradford is accounting for an outstanding 25.1 points per game. Harrell is right behind him at 24.9 points per game. McCoy is down a bit at 21.1, but still good enough for sixth in the nation.
Tebow is managing 18 points per game. That's a respectable number, but clearly off of the finalists’ mark. The reason for Tim’s exclusion is quite clear: He’s not carrying his team like he did last year.
Luckily, Tim Tebow seems to be more about winning than about personal stats, and win the Gators have. Honestly, the best news for the Gators and Gator fans is that Tim Tebow was not announced as a finalist for this award. That means someone else on the Gators has stepped up and taken a little bit of the load off of our star.