Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The “Race” for the Heisman

To be honest, this year’s Heisman race has been close to non-existent. Nobody would throw too much of a fit if the award was given the year off for 2007.

In years past, we had drama. We had intrigue. We at least had a conversation or two about it.

Let’s take a quick glance into the past…

1997Charles Woodson, CB (Michigan)
In one of the more publicized races in recent years, Woodson overtook heavy preseason favorite Tennessee QB Peyton Manning down the stretch, due in large part thanks to a fantastic performance securing a Rose Bowl birth for the undefeated Wolverines against Ohio State. Woodson became the first primary cornerback to win the Heisman trophy.

1998Ricky Williams, RB (Texas)
Departing Texas the all-time leading rusher (at least for one season), Williams easily held off QBs Michael Bishop (Kansas State), Cade McNown (UCLA) and Tim Couch (Kentucky) en route to becoming the second Longhorn (Earl Campbell) to win the Heisman trophy.

1999Ron Dayne, RB (Wisconsin)
Leaving Camp Randall as the nation’s all-time leading rusher, Dayne trounced the competition (Georgia Tech QB Joe Hamilton was closest in voting with 94 to Dayne’s 2,042) as he became the 38th running back to secure the Heisman. Add on a Big Ten championship to his 2,000 yard season as well for the Great Dayne.

2000Chris Weinke, QB (Florida State)
Despite being bested by runner-up Josh Heupel’s Oklahoma Sooners for the BCS Title, Weinke led the nation in passing yards (over 350 a game) and followed up a national-title campaign with the nation’s top honor. Also receiving votes that season were names including LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Santana Moss, Rudi Johnson and Mike Vick.

2001Eric Crouch, QB (Nebraska)
Inching ahead of Florida QB Rex Grossman by only 62 votes in one of the tighter races in recent memory (Crouch was only separated by 600 votes from 8th-place Miami OL Bryant McKinnie), Crouch was only the 13th player in NCAA history to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards in one season.

2002Carson Palmer, QB (USC)
As polished a collegiate QB as the west coast had ever seen, Palmer maintained a comfortable voting edge over Orange Bowl nemesis Brad Banks (QB of Iowa). Palmer, owner of at least seven Pac-10 records, was able to overcome Larry Johnson’s 2,000 yard season at Penn State as well.

2003Jason White, QB (Oklahoma)
Struggling mightily down the stretch, White managed to hold off phenomenal wideout Larry Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh) by a hair under 150 total votes. Tossing 40 TDs, 12 straight victories to open the season and securing a spot in the BCS Title game are nothing to push aside.

2004Matt Leinart, QB (USC)
After his Trojan predecessor, Carson Palmer, took home the award only two years earlier, Leinart took home the Heisman trophy (outlasting freshman RB Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma) after leading his Trojans to an undefeated season and a blowout victory in the BCS Title Game over Oklahoma.

2005 – Reggie Bush, RB (USC)
While QB Vince Young (Texas), second in voting, walked away a national champion, Reggie Bush dominated the first place voting throughout the country. Amassing over 1,500 yards rushing, 15 total touchdowns, and countless highlight reel worthy plays, Bush became the 7th Heisman trophy winner out of Southern Cal. Ironically, the sixth was his QB (Matt Leinart).

2006Troy Smith, QB (Ohio State)
Ohio State’s seventh Heisman trophy was easily tabbed thankfully before Smith's all too forgettable BCS Title Game performance, after collecting a slew of other awards en route to an 11-0 regular season and 30 touchdown tosses. Sophomore RB Darren McFadden (Arkansas) would finish second and instantly become a favorite for the award in 2007.

Interesting enough…
-Troy Smith may be the future QB of the Ravens or your insurance broker in 3 years.
-Reggie Bush appears to be the present and future of professional sports in New Orleans.
-Matt Leinart will continue to attempt to overcome being an Arizona Cardinal.
-Jason White is out of the NFL and has been for quite some time.
-Carson Palmer has overcome a devastating knee injury following his first playoff throw to become one of the league’s top-performing (and highest-paid) quarterbacks.
-Eric Crouch managed to finagle being drafted on Day One by St. Louis. He hasn’t played an NFL down of relevance.
-Chris Weinke maintained a backup job in Carolina for several years; however, he was drafted at age 29 and not 23.
-Ron Dayne has a little over 1/3 as many yards in the NFL as he did in Wisconsin. He is destined to be a platoon back (now in Houston) wherever he plays. He’s never rushed for 750 yards in a season, not even as the thunder in the Giants’ Thunder n' Lightning combination of the early millennium.
-Ricky Williams escaped New Orleans (thanks coach Ditka) to put together two fantastic seasons in Miami. However, his little buddy ‘marijuana’ got in the way just a little bit.
-Charles Woodson underachieved at times in Oakland and was plagued by a rather severe foot injury and the infamous ‘tuck-rule’ forced fumble from playoff history. He’s rebounded quite nicely in Green Bay and maintained his presence as a top-flight NFL cornerback and punt returner.

So whether your money is on one of the bigger names: Tim Tebow (Florida QB), Dennis Dixon (Oregon QB), Darren McFadden (Arkansas RB), Ray Rice (Rutgers RB), Andre’ Woodson (Kentucky QB), Pat White (West Virginia QB), or even Colt Brennan (Hawaii QB)
One of the up-and-comers: Chase Daniel (Missouri QB) and Todd Reesing (Kansas QB)

I’d like to see any one of these guys, or a combination, invited to New York:
Freshman WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech): 113 receptions, 1707 yards, and 20 TDs
Senior RB Matt Forte (Tulane): 297 carries, 1,813 yards, and 17 TDs
Junior RB Kevin Smith (UCF): 310 carries, 1,768 yards, and 23 total TDs (22 rushing)
Junior QB Graham Harrell (Texas Tech): 4,876 yards passing, 74% completion, 43 TDs, 12 INTs

As for the ultimate victor? Only the voters will tell. That is, if they care.

Until next time…

1 comment:

O'Brien Pundit said...

I don't want Tebow to win the Heisman - that award is too glamorous for its own good. Tebow needs to win the Davey O'Brien award which takes into consideration both on and off-field achievements. The O'Brien award actually means something.