Heisman Trophy Finalists: Graham Harrell Was Snubbed

Andrew KahnCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2008

The Heisman Trophy committee has a lot of explaining to do. A lot more explaining to do, I should say, considering it already issued a statement regarding Graham Harrell's non-invite to the ceremony.

The Texas Tech quarterback will not join the three other QB's—Florida's Tim Tebow, who won last year, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, or Texas' Colt McCoy—in New York City this Saturday, and that's just not right.

"It's not a mathematical formula that determines the number of invitees. It's just wherever there is a natural breaking point in the voting," coordinator of Heisman Trophy Trust Tim Henning told ESPN's Joe Schad.

If you're buying this for even a second, you haven't looked at last year's voting results. Tebow won the award with 1,957 total points. Arkansas' Darren McFadden was second with 1,703. Fairly close at the top, but here's where it gets fishy. In third place, with 632 points, was Hawaii's Colt Brennan.

He was invited, despite receiving 54 first-place votes, over 400 fewer than Tebow. So was Missouri's Chase Daniel, who got only 425 points.

Seems like the "natural breaking point in the voting" came after McFadden, though maybe they had to extend more invites because they prefer at least three candidates at the ceremony. Fine, that explains Brennan, but why invite Daniel, too?

Sure, there was a nearly 250-point drop-off between Daniel and the fifth-place candidate, but all were so far behind the top two that it didn't really matter who else got invited.

Listen, I'm not arguing against Daniel, Brennan, or any of the 2007 finalists receiving an invite. I'm simply using last year's voting results as evidence that Harrell should've been invited this year.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said earlier this week that, "if Graham is not invited to the Heisman, they ought to quit giving out the award."

I disagree. But if they're not going to invite a player as deserving as Harrell, then they might as well just invite the winner. Seriously, the only "natural breaking point in the voting" that really maters is the gap between No. 1 and No. 2.

In case you're a fool who doesn't think Harrell is deserving (though I doubt anyone from the Heisman committee is reading this) here are some numbers for you to digest.

  • 4,747 passing yards; second in the country and more than the other finalists
  • 41 passing touchdowns; Bradford is only finalist ahead of him
  • 71.5 completion percentage; McCoy is only finalist ahead of him

Obviously numbers don't always tell the whole story, but in Harrell's case, the more you know about him, the more you like. Such as Texas Tech's 11-1 record, which includes a win over McCoy's Longhorns.

Say what you want about Tech's blow-out loss to Oklahoma, a game in which Harrell still managed to complete 33 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns. The fact remains that the Red Raiders lost only one game all season, and Harrell was the leader of the one of the the best offensive units in the country.

I'm not saying Harrell should win the award—besides, it's clear that's not going to happen—but he sure should've been invited. It's a slap in the face to a Texas Tech program, and a quarterback, that achieved so much this season.

Harrell deserves his highlight reel to be shown in the Downtown Athletic Club in New York just as Brennan and Daniel did last December.

Hopefully fans won't overlook his accomplishments just because the Heisman committee did.