Alright, we realize it was a bit low to leave Texas Tech's pair of stars quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree off the finalists list, but maybe all is forgiven when pondering perhaps the closest Heisman Trophy race in several years.
Check around to the pundits with the best record on these things. The Heisman Pundit called this race "soooo close" several days ago before reluctantly calling it for Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, albeit with just 75% confidence instead of his usual pomp and certainty. Elsewhere, StiffArmTrophy.com which aggregates known ballots and projects a winner, shows an increasingly tight race between Bradford, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and hard-charging Tim Tebow, last year's winner out of Florida. And then there's the reputable Scripps Howard straw poll that went with Texas junior quarterback Colt McCoy.
Two things we know -- 1)this race has been exciting, and close 2)the winner will likely reshape traditional thoughts about victory with the award.
Getting back to Heisman Pundit for a moment, several years ago he wrote up the "10 Heismandments", seemingly ironclad rules dictating who qualifies to be a winner. Over time, the award's history shaped these unspoken rules, but last year Florida's sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow helped break through one of them. Heismandment No. 2 stated "The winner must be a junior or senior".
I guess it was inevitable, an underclassman winning particularly in this age where players are seeing success earlier and earlier in their careers. But here comes Sam Bradford, well known yet only a sophomore. If he wins, that will mean success for the second underclassman in as many years.
Then there's Tim Tebow, last year's winner. He'll likely clean up in the award's southern voting region, and may challenge in other parts of the country. After smashing Heismandment No. 2 last year, he may be up for an encore if he succeeds again. That is because Heismandment No. 9 states "there will never be another two-time Heisman winner".
That rule seemed safe until Tebow came along, but then he's a special, special player who has captured peoples' attention in a way few college football players ever have.
The only player who won't realign the planets is Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. He's a junior, he's from a traditional Heisman power, he's a quarterback, his numbers easily meet traditional Heisman benchmarks for a quarterback, he's well-liked, there's a lot going for him on the traditional Heisman scale. Problem is, he may be just a bit boring in comparison to Bradford and Tebow after the last few games they've had. That, and his team was left out of the Big 12 Championship game and thus the BCS National Championship game, leaving him one less chance to impress voters.
Crazy stuff, but that's college football and we're left with a great field of finalists. My hunch is that Bradford wins the award, but like everyone else I'm not quite certain yet that he's for sure the guy.
One thing that should be of special intrigue is the regional voting. At times in the award's history, voters in particular regions have gone for their guy, and then left his challengers completely off the three-player ballot in a high-stakes game of knockout. We could see a ton of that this year with Southern voters sticking with Tebow, and folks in the Southwest going with Bradford or McCoy first and leaving all challengers off the ballot. This could prove chaotic, and throw the race to 2nd and even third place votes, as speculated by Heisman Pundit. Frustrating and controversial, but part of what makes college football and the Heisman Trophy so interesting.
The Heisman Trophy Goes to ... Well, We Don't Know for Once originally appeared on NCAA Football FanHouse on Fri, 12 Dec 2008 01:49:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.