This Saturday evening, at 8pm in New York, six young men will walk into the Downtown Athletic Club in New York. Each of them will eagerly await the announcement of this year’s Heisman Trophy, the most coveted individual award in college football. Each will have opportunities to shake hands with previous recipients. Each will enjoy a bit of relaxation off the field with folks they’ve competed against on the field.
However, only one of these young men will walk away with the hardware and forever be a part of this sacred fraternity. The rest will merely be a memory and a few will dream of hoping for another season of a lifetime to have a chance next year.
The candidates are freshmen and seniors, quarterbacks and running backs. They are an extremely talented group. Now, suffice it to say, all six of the candidates who have been invited to this ceremony (tied for the largest number of invitations ever) have amazing ‘stats’. Each can have a case made for them to win the trophy.
But who are these guys and who should you pull for? To me, that’s personal. It’s the one whose story speaks to you. The one who you think just feels right. The voters will analyze film and statistics and feel what is in their gut, you can do the same (minus the film and statistics). Just pull for someone.
In the next bit, I’ll try to do a quick synopsis on who these Heisman Trophy finalists really are, not just who they are on paper with the numbers of yards gained, percentage of completions, blah blah blah blah blah. Stats only tell one part of the whole story.
The front runner is Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. He is the only leader of a team who is actually still undefeated, an amazing accomplishment in this day and age of competition. He has amazing stats (as do the rest of these guys) but he does not have the ‘best’ stats of all the quarterbacks in the group. Additionally, he has had the off-field controversy that hangs over him like a dark gray cloud following Eeore. This is one of those things, where as a female, I want to believe where there is smoke there is fire and he may be as guilty as guilty can be. It is also where I understand some who want to bring down others, regardless of the cost. I have no idea what really happened that night. I have to trust the investigators did what they could to charge him and did not find enough evidence to do so. Our justice system is setup to be innocent until proven guilty and I’m glad it is. With all of that, Jameis Winston is my pick to win the Heisman.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch had an amazing season. He almost ended the season undefeated as well but his team could not support him enough in their loss in the conference championship game to Bowling Green. Lynch did everything he could to secure that victory and really should not be penalized for the defense. What I like about Lynch, beyond his obvious incredible talent, is the great ‘underdog’ story of a small school in a small conference. This guy can do it with his feet and his arm and deserves the invitation.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman last year. He has arguably the best stats of all the quarterbacks again this year but A&M ended the season with 4 losses!! This kid is truly amazingly talented and his off-field antics and escapades this past summer were non-existent during the season as he focused on his job. Johnny Football should not be penalized for his defense not being able to stop just about anyone, but 4 losses is tough to overcome. Add to it that Johnny’s desire to make something happen out of nothing means he makes a lot of bad mistakes with the ball and he has thrown too many interceptions this year. I would be shocked if he repeats as the winner, even with him being able to vote for himself.
Boston College running back Andre Williams might have been a part of a 7-5 BC team but he leads all of the running backs in the FBS with rushing yards. Running backs don’t take the ‘blame’ of a loss like a quarterback does but he sure can take the credit for BC having the season they did. This guy is amazingly talented and will likely have a stellar career in the NFL. We’ll see if his amazing statistics and the big social media blitz by Boston College sway the votes for the Heisman. A good underdog story but probably not compelling enough.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron is the quiet and consistent leader. He had a great but understated season this year and each of the last three years as well. It seems that a quarterback that has been as successful as he has been over an entire career should win this trophy. He’s not flashy. He’s not fast. He’s a leader. He’s reliable and he’s damn good. This is his last year and it would be a fitting end to his college career. However, sometimes, nice guys just don’t finish first. Maybe this time he will. John Heisman himself would love to personally pick a McCarron type to honor his name and the spirit of the trophy “…whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity”.
Auburn running back Tre Mason had a huge part in the Cinderella season that has been for Auburn. Tre really wasn’t considered a front-runner in the Heisman all year, but after Auburn’s defeat of Alabama and his huge game in the SEC championship, he gained a lot of attention. He’s a double threat running back who catches the ball well and gains a lot of yards. Auburn folks compare him to Bo Jackson. Although very talented, I think he’s not quite ready. He has one more year if he stays at Auburn, maybe next time.