Today marks the biggest day of individual achievement in college football, the presentation of the Heisman Trophy.
This year brings with it an interesting fight for this coveted statue, including maybe the three most compelling arguments for the award I’ve seen in a long time. However, that isn’t the only storyline that has lead up to tonight’s award ceremony. No, there has also been plenty of controversy.
It all started with the controversy of the BCS and the Big 12 Championship. With the extra game, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford showed himself well against a slumping defense and lead the Sooners to their fifth straight 60-point game. But did Oklahoma deserve the extra game over Colt McCoy and Texas? It’s debatable.
Then there is the invitations sent out by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York , and how Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell wasn’t even invited. Instead, there were only three invitations sent out … to Oklahoma’s Bradford, Texas’ McCoy and Florida’s Tim Tebow.
Although there was controversy about the invitations, there is no controversy about whether one of these three would win the award. With that in mind, here’s a look at each one of these three candidates.
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida –
History could be made tonight as Tebow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, looks to become only the second ever two-time Heisman winner. He’s trying to join former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only two-time winners. And Tebow’s case is strong:
Tebow is fifth in the nation in passer rating (176.7) while going 174-for-268 for 2515 yards, 28 touchdown passes and only two interceptions, and he has rushed for 564 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s lead the Gators to the BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma — as he works for his second National Championship as well.
Tebow has become arguably one of the Top five to ten college football players of all-time, and he still has one more year of eligibility left. Just imagine if he were to win tonight, and come back next year … could we be looking upon the first ever three-time winner?
Heisman Moment: Tebow has been relatively quite this season — even with his great numbers and season — when it comes to “Heisman Moments.” No, he doesn’t have a 97-yard run from scrimmage or TD catch against Oklahoma like Eric Crouch did in 2001, but what Tebow does have is leadership. For me, the moment that defines Tebow’s season was the way he reacted after Florida’s surprise loss to Ole Miss. After that game, Tebow was nearly perfect and lead his team to the SEC Championship and a birth in the BCS Championship Game. There’s no one moment for his definition, it was the full season.
Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma –
Bradford probably has the brightest future out of the three Heisman finalists. He stands strong at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and possesses the mobility and laser arm that the NFL scouts drool over. Not only that, but he is efficient and accurate. In fact, he leads all active college quarterbacks in career passing efficiency, and is on top of that stat this year.
Bradford leads the nation in passer rating (186.29) while going 302-for-442 for 4464 yards (third in the nation), leading the nation in passing touchdowns (48) and only throwing 6 interceptions. He doesn’t have the rushing stats that Tebow or McCoy have, but he pushed the piles five times for rushing TDs of his own.
Last year Tebow made history, becoming the first sophomore to win the award, and this year Bradford looks prime to follow in Tebow’s footsteps.
No quarterback can come close to Bradford’s passing stats, and he lead Oklahoma to a record 702 points this season. He orchestrated the Sooners current streak of five straight games of 60 points or more. In fact, if you were to look up Heisman stats in the dictionary, his stats would probably be listed amongst them.
Heisman Moment: Bradford’s Heisman Moment for me came against Texas Tech. There wasn’t one play in that game that set him apart, it was the full game. Bradford did exactly what McCoy and Texas couldn’t, break down Tech’s defense. Bradford didn’t just dominate Tech, he went 14-for-19 for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Tech didn’t even know what hit them.
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas –
McCoy had a very strong season, and probably is the most valuable player in college football this season. Texas has talent, a lot of it, but they aren’t as loaded on the offensive side of the ball as Florida or Oklahoma and it showed this season. However, even though he had a harder go of it, he put together a great season and arguably should be playing against Florida on Jan. 8, 2009 instead of Bradford and Oklahoma.
McCoy is third in the nation in passer rating (179.2) while going 291-for-375 for 3445, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also lead the Longhorns in rushing with 576 yards and 10 TDs. However, the story of his season is his passing accuracy this season.
McCoy has completed an NCAA record 77.6% of his passes this season — in fact he could go 0-20 against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and still set the record. McCoy had only two games this season in which he completed less than 70% of his passes and only one where completed less than 60% of his passes, and that one game happened to be Texas’ one loss — against Texas Tech.
McCoy has already announce he will return for his senior season, and looks to be a Heisman favorite next season no matter what happens tonight.
Heisman Moment: There are a couple moments that stick out in my mind for McCoy’s Heisman resume.
The first moment was against Oklahoma. With his Longhorns down 21-10, McCoy took the game over and lead his team to five scoring drives and a 45-35 victory over the Sooners. McCoy looked as impressive as any quarterback that day.
The second moment came with less than six minutes to go in Lubbock, TX., as McCoy lead his Longhorns down the field for what looked like the winning score against Texas Tech. 11 plays and 80 yards later, the Longhorns had a 33-32 lead with only 90 seconds to go. All Texas needed was a stop to secure a BCS Championship Game appearance, and McCoy’s Heisman. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, the didn’t get that stop.
The ending of that game, however, didn’t change the fact that it was a Heisman moment by every definition of the phrase.
Now comes the time for the “bold” predictions.
I am conflicted when it comes to tonight’s ceremony. On one hand, Tebow and Bradford have both lead their teams to the BCS Championship Game, but Texas wouldn’t have been close without McCoy. I guess it comes down to the definition of the award — which goes to the most outstanding college football player — and then it’s the stats.
So it comes down to two categories; who I’d like to win and who will actually win. And those two categories don’t match up this year.
I would like to see McCoy get the trophy, he deserves it. Oklahoma and Florida both would have had a shot to be where they are now without Bradford and Tebow respectively. Maybe not as good a shot, but still they have the talent to have had a chance. However, Texas needed this season from McCoy to stand a chance. He was a leader and a winner.
With that in mind, I personally believe that Sam Bradford will win tonight, with Tebow being the runner up and McCoy in third. Bradford’s statistics are mind-boggling and his leadership is undeniable. I think the conference championship helped his cause a lot, and probably pushed him over the top. However, we’ll find out tonight if that is correct.
How I’d like it to finish
- Colt McCoy
- Sam Bradford
- Tim Tebow
How I think it will finish
- Sam Bradford
- Tim Tebow
- Colt McCoy