And for once, it felt meaningful.
I’ve always been one of those guys who really tries to wait until all the games are over, look at all the applicable facts and figures, then pick a winner. When they first added the ability to vote via the Internet a few years ago, I took full advantage, and I know one year, I barely beat the deadline as I was fumbling through everything.
But it usually felt like I was running into a Hurricane or something with the winner seemingly having long been determined — I first voted in 1994 and few years have really had a ton of drama.
But this one does, as there are all kinds of conflicting reports out there on who is winning the straw polls — Mark Ingram? Colt McCoy? Toby Gerhart? Ndamukong Suh?
If my vote has anything to do with it, the winner will be Gerhart.
I thought long and hard about it — as long as hard as I can think about anything, anyway — and decided to give the nod to Gerhart. No, I can’t definitively say he’s the absolute best player in college football. It’s foolish to ever think you can definitively say that about anyone. It’s always as much about the school a guy plays for, how that team does, how that player fits into that system (does Tim Tebow win any Heismans if he doesn’t play at Florida running that offense?) and all that.
So I’m not even sure it’s worth it to try to roll out a bunch of numbers to say this is why Gerhart’s better than Suh or Ingram or McCoy or Tebow.
This seemed like one of those years when it was so tight, you ultimately just had to go with a gut feeling. And when I saw him, Gerhart sure seemed like what a Heisman winner looks like. He came up huge in his team’s biggest games and helped carry a team that had done nothing for almost a decade back to relevance. Does Alabama still compete for the national title if Ingram’s not there? Probably. Does Stanford still stay in the Pac-10 race as long as it does if Gerhart’s not there? Probably not.
I was really tempted to vote for Suh after watching what he did in the Big 12 title game. It’s certainly time a defender win the award again — the most valid criticism of the Heisman, in my opinion, is that it’s basically an award for the best player who handles the ball.
But ultimately I kept coming back to Gerhart. And if you want numbers, there are these — he led the nation in carries (311), yards (1,736) and touchdowns (26).
I had Suh second and Ingram third. I was set to put McCoy third but sided with Ingram after the way the conference title games unfolded.
Judging by all the links Ken Goe compiled today, looks like Gerhart is getting a lot of West Coast support.
No matter who wins it, however, this will be a year memorable for the way the race for the Heisman developed. As Ray Ratto wrote today, this is one year the candidates played their way into it on the field rather than in a pre-season meeting in a Sports Information Department somewhere. That’s a trend that will hopefully continue.
In other news. …
— Greg Biggins has a note on UW commit Micah Hatchie.
— And SuperPrep.com has a story that Lakes DT Sione Potao’e will take a trip this weekend to USC. Not a huge surprise as it’s been thought all along he would take other trips despite being listed as a commit to UW. He is also expected to take his official visit to UW in January.
— Ted Miller predicts that Jake Locker won’t return to UW for his senior season.
All for now.
And for once, it felt meaningful.
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