We were asked today to compile our Heisman Ballot for the SportsBlog Hesiman Trophy, hosted over at BlueWorkhorse. I asked for Edge and RV to chime in, and they did, and I promptly ignored their advice. They can make their case in the comments, as can you. But my mind is made up.
For me, the Heisman comes down to a simple equation. Value to the team plus winning on the field plus competition. With that formula, you can knock out the one-trick ponies who play on losing teams and compile mad statistics. It knocks out players on teams that play a weak schedule and boost stats and scores. It is a total award. An award that means you are not only the best player in all of college football, you are also the most valuable to your team, and have put them in positions to win ballgames... the ultimate goal of any competitive athlete.
When you look at the award as I do, the choice for the Heisman becomes extremely clear.
#1: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida: Statistics aside, and his are silly good, Tebow is easily the most valuable player to his team. He changes defensive strategies, rallies his team emotionally, and lest we forget, promised no more losses after the Ole Miss game, which he delivered on. Like him or hate him, Tebow plays in the meat grinder of SEC defenses week in and week out, and he's a consistent winner, leader, and most importantly, the most valuable player on the field at any given time.
The knock on Tebow is that ESPN loves him. I admit, it does grow a little bit tiresome to listen to the weekly ballwashing they lay on him, but I for one find it a bit refreshing to have someone in the national forefront that is responsible and mature enough to be there. Tebow is well-spoken, never in trouble, does all the right things, says all the right things, and just works his ass off. That's award worthy if anything ever was.
#2: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: Bradford puts up unbelievable stats, but I'm of the opinion that those are a bit skewed because this new fangled "defense" that teams in the SEC speak of hasn't really made its way to the Big 12. The only decent defense in the Big 12 (Texas) beat Oklahoma. Sorry, Sam, competition matters. I'll be honest, it was nearly a dead hear between Bradford and Tebow. The difference, in my eyes, was the quality of defense they each played against. Knock out Texas and Oklahoma and the best-ranked defense in the Big 12 is #66 in the country. The entire SEC ranks above #73, with 4 in the top 11 and 10 in the top 37. That's defensive football, and Tebow navigated it well.
Is Bradford an amazing college qb? Of course. But the fact remains that the statistics cannot be used in a vacuum to measure prowess. The teams Oklahoma and Florida played were not equal. They each have a loss, they each are playing in a national championship game. The difference, quite simply, comes down to who each player played through the year, and Tebow has a clear cut advantage.
#3: Colt McCoy, QB, Texas: McCoy exemplifies the V in MVP. He is as valuable to Texas as Tebow is to Florida. Unfortunately, however unjust it seems, leading your team to a national title game breaks the McCoy/Bradford tie. Had McCoy made it to the title game, he would be flipped with Bradford. McCoy is a fantastic player, and the frontrunner for next year's Heisman should Bradford and Tebow not stick around.
Honorable Mention: MiQuale Lewis, RB, Ball State: In the year of the QB, and overshadowed by his own team's pass happy approach, Lewis was the straw that stirred the undefeated drink for the Cardinals. A small, but tough back (think Noel Devine and Jerome Bettis' offspring) Lewis got most of his yards between the tackles. He leads the NCAA in rushing TDs with 22, and coupled with 1701 yards, he's a special player. And only a junior.