I have loved college football for as long as I can remember. Growing up I played football with my friends and do “the Heisman” after scoring a touchdown. It was THE award to win in all of college sports and some would even say it’s a bigger deal than winning the NFL MVP. I used to respect the Heisman as much as any award in all of sports, pro or college. That was until the last decade proved the award doesn’t really go to the best college football player and the rules and “stipulations” for who wins the award changes every year.
In 2009, the Heisman began its campaign of #AnybodyButStanford. Stanford had RB Toby Gerhart and Alabama had RB Mark Ingram. Mark Ingram played for #1 Alabama and that means he played his games when everyone was watching or at least could have watched and many voters only know about their team, a little bit about that team’s opponents and whatever the talking heads at ESPN tell them. Gerhart meanwhile played for a program that hadn’t been to a bowl since 2001 and had 4 losses on the year but was still a better overall player than Ingram.
“The senior is second in the nation in rushing (1,736 yards) and first in scoring (26 touchdowns). He never had a bad game and he had plenty of good ones, especially down the stretch. In the Cardinal's last four games, when the aches and pains of the autumn have accumulated, Gerhart averaged 29 carries and 185.5 yards per game. Want a tiebreaker? He is an outstanding student. At Stanford. Bottom line: Gerhart has the best stats and played the most consistent football of any of the Heisman contenders.”
Just for argument sake, Toby ended up #1 in rushing AND touchdowns and beat Notre Dame single handedly running for 3 touchdowns and throwing for 1 but god forbid he didn’t play for a national championship team. Maybe I’m just sitting too close to the fire and am a little biased. There is no way that Stanford would get screwed again, at least so close in time….. WRONG. Andrew Luck was trotted out to New York not once but twice in 2010 and 2011 and somehow never won the award.
In 2010, Andrew Luck lost the Heisman to Cam Newton. Stanford lost one game and was a national championship contender which was something the voters wanted. Now, it was strictly about being IN the national championship. It didn’t matter that Luck had 3338 passing yards to Newton’s 2854. It didn’t matter that Luck completed 70% of his passing attempts or had 32 touchdowns. And to really drive home the rich absurdity of it all was watching the present Heisman thief fumble away the Iron Bowl and made Newton look like a hero. When it was all finished, the voters said it was Cam who just got the job done in one more game than Luck.
In 2011, Andrew Luck played his worst game in what was the biggest game Stanford had in a long long time and he was punished for it. It didn’t matter that Stanford was a national championship team once again but now Luck was being punished because “he was too good and not living up to expectations” He wasn’t as flashy as RG3 and that is what the voters liked. It didn’t matter that Baylor was a 3-loss team because in 2011, flashy was what it took to become the Heisman.
And last but I guarantee not least, 2015. LET ME PUT THIS IN CAPS SO THE READERS KNOW THAT CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY BROKE BARRY SANDERS ALL-PURPOSE YARDAGE RECORD. THAT RECORD WAS CONSIDERED UNBREAKABLE AND UNTIL 2015, ANYONE WHO COULD TOUCH IT WOULD BE DEEMED HEISMAN….
It is almost November and the Heisman looks to be a two-man race between RB Saquon Barkley from Penn State and Stanford’s own RB Bryce Love. I wish Bryce Love the best and if he wins, congratulations to him, his team, his coaches, family, and Stanford University but everything that has hurt Stanford in the past will hurt them again. Penn State is highly ranked and has a very large fan base, that is great for ratings so the voters will get to see plenty of his highlights. Barkley had one rush for 36 yards last Saturday. He also had another 20 runs that went for a total of 8 yards, seriously, 8 total yards. Barkley ran for 44 more yards than Bryce Love did. In case you forgot, Love was out last week. He did return a kick for a touchdown though which is probably all anyone will remember about his efforts that day.
Bryce Love is flashy but Barkley is a “do it all” running back who can throw touchdowns and return kickoffs (like Gerhart and McCaffrey but different). And let us get into the fun fact that Stanford has played one game before 5 PM EASTERN TIME. It’s funny how everyone saw the 7:30 PM loss but nobody saw the 7 PM victories.
I’m not being negative, I’m just speaking to the fact that Stanford will not get the Love they or he deserves. If you are sitting at the edge of your seat, relax. If you really want Bryce Love to win the Heisman, hope that Ohio State provided a blue print for shutting down Barkley and then Love will only lose by a few hundred votes instead of a few thousand.