College Football's Crazy Strategies: Individual Awards Need Serious Overhaul

Eric LawheadCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2008

Why is it that college football just can't seem to get things right? The BCS is one thing, there are so many arguments for so many different things that no one will ever be happy. But the fact that they can't get their awards right is really a shame.

What I'm writing about is the three awards given that are in essence the same award. The awards in question: The Heisman Memorial Trophy, The Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Award. 

According to ESPN.com's college awards page, the Heisman Memorial Trophy is given to the "Most Outstanding Player." The Maxwell Award is given to the "Most Outstanding Player." Finally, the Walter Camp Award is the "Player of the Year Award." Now tell me how three different awards are pretty much one in the same? What is the difference between the most outstanding player, twice, and the player of the year? I don't see much.

Now, if the awards were given to the Player of the Year, MVP and Most Outstanding Player, then there may be a difference—a small one, but a difference. Once again, college football has screwed up something. 

But, really, what is the difference? The difference lies in who votes for the awards. According to a CBS Sportsline message board, the Heisman is voted on by various media representatives and past Heisman winners. The Maxwell is voted on by sportswriters and NCAA head coaches. The Walter Camp Award is voted on by NCAA head coaches and athletic directors. So why so many people voting on so many awards, and how can different players win the awards in the same year?

Well, normally there are at least two players winning any of the three awards. This year already you have Tim Tebow winning the Maxwell Award (back to back) and Colt McCoy winning the Walter Camp Award. So is this leading us to having Bradford winning the Heisman tomorrow, so that all three can have their glory?

Last year, Tebow won the Heisman and Maxwell Awards, but Darren McFadden won the Walter Camp Award. In 2002, Larry Johnson won the Maxwell and Camp awards and lost the Heisman to Carson Palmer. You actually have to go back to 1999 to find the last time one single player won all three awards—Ron Dayne.

So which award is the best at picking the right player?

I will say that the Heisman is the worst representation of the best player. The Heisman is chosen based on what ESPN wants and who is playing for the national championship.

This season the real winner of the award wasn't even invited—Graham Harrell. In 2006, Troy Smith was not the best player in college football. He won solely on the fact that his team was top ranked and playing for the national championship. The Heisman used to be a real award for the real best player in the nation. Now it's too publicized and too much determined on how good your team is.

I actually believe that the Maxwell Award is the best representation of the best college football players for that year. Guys like Brady Quinn, Vince Young, Eli and Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Larry Fitzgerald have won it recently.

What college football needs to do is slim down its awards. Most Outstanding Player is not the only award that is given that has two awards representing the same thing. The O'Brien and Manning Awards are for best quarterback. The Bednarik and Nagurski Awards are for the best defensive player. Also, there are multiple Coach of the Year awards. There should be one award for each position category: POY, QB, RB, TE, WR, OL, DL, LB, DB, K, P, Coach.

College football needs to listen to its supporters and figure out better ways of crowning awards and championships at the FBS level. It's ridiculous and hard to understand.