August 31, 2009
Like ESPN's Tim Griffin, I haven't paid much attention to the Heisman race, although for very different reasons: Where I see the trophy as an irrelevant political award reduced by marginally informed pundits to a handful of arbitrary criteria that automatically eliminates roughly 90 percent of deserving candidates before the season begins, Tim has just been digging the predictability of the whole process:
... all of the neat campaigns developed for most candidates are rather pointless -- at least this season. Because the concentration at the top make it seem that we likely know who will be the candidates who will be appearing in New York City in early December for the trophy presentation.
I would be shocked if Florida's Tim Tebow, Texas' Colt McCoy and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford all aren't at the Heisman Trophy presentation. ... The trio accounted for 875 first-place votes and 4,905 points in the Heisman balloting last season. The rest of the top-10 finishers last season produced 27 first-place votes and 440 points.
That race was boring enough without the sense of inevitability that wasn't yet attached to the Bradford and McCoy campaigns. I hope the Downtown Athletic Club preserved the chair indentations from last year's ceremony.
Not that the anointed trio doesn't deserve their share of adulation, but the total exclusion of other viable candidates only emphasizes again how ga-ga Heisman pundits and voters remain for the classic letterman-jacket type: Seven of the nine winners this decade have been clean-cut white quarterbacks from mega programs, many of them foregone conclusions with halos around their head. In the Detmer/Torretta tradition, milquetoast winners Eric Crouch (who couldn't pass, lost his last game by 26 points and went on to be battered in a national championship rout) and Jason White (who had no knees, lost his last game by 28 points and went on to be battered in a national championship loss) will go down as eternal indictments of the Heisman formula -- especially White, who was voted in over the spectacular Larry Fitzgerald and his scary dreadlocks. Pat White, the only quarterback ever to win four straight bowl games, was never invited to New York, but Brady Quinn, beleaguered punching bag in two straight BCS blowouts, was. God forbid a David Pollack, A.J. Hawk, LaMarr Woodley, Glenn Dorsey or Brian Orakpo ever make their way into the discussion.
It was pointless enough when the equation was only quarterbacks and running backs and the odd receiver/return man on the right team (i.e. Notre Dame or Michigan). Now the spread has funneled the hype into one self-fulfilling vortex of bland insufferability. Even if Tebow, Bradford and McCoy were the greatest set of candidates in the history of the award, that only covers about 10 percent of the relevant conversation.