Before I start getting hate mail from all those Red Raider fans, yes, I know he's had a record-breaking season and all that good stuff, and I've seen his stats numerous times. Harrell did complete 408 passes on 568 attempts for 4,747 yards with 41 touchdowns, though he did have more yards and touchdowns last year, by the way.
He'll probably win team MVP. Actually, I'd give that to Michael Crabtree. (Sorry, Longhorn fans! Had to bring him up.)
You are probably wondering how someone could replace one of the heads of the three-headed monster of the Big 12: Harrell, Bradford, and McCoy. Well, that would be the only running back in Division 1 football who has rushed for 100 yards in every single game this year. (His season-low was actually 103 yards.)
He is Shonn Greene of Iowa, the team who upset previously-undefeated Penn State. He also played in a conference where they decided to play defense. I cannot say the same for the Big 12.
The Big 12 had 12 quarterbacks throw for more touchdowns than interceptions—that's every starting quarterback in the conference. No other conference can claim such a thing, with five of the 12 quarterbacks throwing for more than 28 touchdowns. That is just too much for one conference, and it must indicate that the Big 12 recruits great quarterbacks (some are) and that their defenses simply are not very good.
In addition, nine teams in the Big 12 average over 30 points a game, including 4-8 Baylor. Catch my drift? Each team was beating each other up during those high-scoring Big 12 conference games, with Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Texas going 1-1 against each other.
My Case for Shonn Greene
Key Game No. 1 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 20, 2008
Greene came into that game as the second best running back on the field, as LeSean McCoy was ready to go, but the Iowa RB out-rushed McCoy by 69 yards in the loss, 21-20, on the road.
This was Greene's fourth straight game in which he had at least five yards per carry and over 100 yards for the game, going one for eight straight games to start the season.
Key Game No. 2 at Michigan State on Oct. 4, 2008
Once again, Greene was overshadowed during the pre-game, being called the second best running back in the game. Yup, you guessed it, he out-rushed preseason Heisman candidate Javon Ringer 157 yards on 30 carries to just 91 yards in the loss, 16-13, on the road. Yet, he continued to build his Heisman résumé.
Key Game No. 3 vs. Wisconsin on Oct. 18, 2008
Wisconsin had been free-falling ever since their second half comeback against Michigan, but Greene decided to rush for his season-high 217 yards, out-rushing the entire Wisconsin squad that weekend by himself. He led the Hawkeyes to a convincing victory over the Badgers, 38-17.
Greene added a touchdown in each quarter placing him "on the radar" of the Heisman Watch. Yet people were still failing to give him, as they fail today, the respect due a real Heisman contender.
Key Game No. 4 vs. Then-Third-Ranked Penn State on Nov. 8, 2008
With a ticket to the national champion on the line for Penn State, Greene was the man who literally ran away with the game. Scoring the first and last touchdown of the game and rushing for 117 yards, he was a big problem for the Penn State defense. (They knew about the season he was having, yet could not stop him with so much on the line.)
I dare you to go to University Park at Penn State and mention his name. Iowa won the game 24-23 on a FG with :01 left.
The 23-year-old Greene, who was only a two-star recruit on Rivals and did not play at all in the 2007 season, deserves a ticket to New York City. The Big 12 SOUTH already has two other QBs who will be finalists; a third is not necessary. Sorry, Graham.
The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player in all of college football, not just in the Big 12 South. The man, who led the Big 10 in rushing, with featured backs like Javon Ringer, Evan Royster, and Chris "Beanie" Wells all in his conference, deserves some consideration. He finished the season an NCAA-high 1,728 yards on the ground.
I agree that if Texas Tech had not choked the last two games, losing to Oklahoma by 44 points and struggling last weekend against that 4-8 Baylor team, then Graham Harrell would have been the perfect pick to be a finalist. But not anymore.
A Heisman finalist must also be virtually flawless the entire season. Graham Harrell was responsible for seven turnovers (two against 7-5 Nevada) this year, which any other year would have been great. Shonn Greene, meanwhile, fumbled zero times this year on 278 attempts.
By the way, since the Big 12 is responsible for having Oklahoma ahead of Texas in the BCS Standings, I would not be surprised if Colt McCoy won the Heisman over Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford to compensate for that. You never know what surprise College Football will bring next.
Be ready to say that DJ Key is right once again (especially when Florida beats Alabama on Saturday).