Tag Archives: Heisman Trophy

Week 4 College Football Takeaways

Let’s overreact to another week of College Football.

It’s Sunday, so here’s my overreaction to week four of the college football season.

The B1G should replace a few of its schools with teams from the MAC, and would become a better overall conference. Northern Illinois got all the headlines for playing the defending National Champion Buckeyes close last week, but several of their conference brethren have given Power 5 schools headaches. Bowling Green has two wins against B1G schools (Purdue & Maryland) and played Tennessee out of the SEC close until succumbing 59-30. The Ohio Bobcats pushed the Minnesota Gophers to the final seconds this week, before losing 27-24. Kent State also only lost to the Golden Gophers by 3 points a week ago.

It’s clear the top teams in the MAC have caught up. My guess is that many of the top recruits from the Midwest who don’t accept or receive scholarships to power 5 schools–where they’ll have to sit for two years, behind upperclassmen who are also former top recruits–are getting on the field sooner at the mid major program’s, and it’s finally paying off for those programs. Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue are a few that come to mind that don’t help the B1G case when it comes to football. Check back with those schools later this fall when hoops tips-off.

TCU is not a top 5 team. Look at their defense. They gave up 52 points and 607 total yards, and needed a fluke tip drill to score a touchdown on 4th down in the following seconds to beat Texas Tech. Last week they gave up 37 points and 508 total yards to SMU. Minnesota, a mid level team in the B1G, gave them a scare in week one. The Horned Frog defense will have circles ran around it against their major in conference challenger, Baylor. Who, by the way, just put up 70 points against Rice on Saturday. Number fifteen ranked Oklahoma, number twenty-three ranked West Virginia and number twenty ranked Oklahoma State may dash their playoff hopes soon enough.

Which brings me to this point, if the College Football Playoffs started today, the top 4 teams would be from the B1G Champion (Ohio State or Michigan State), the SEC champion (Georgia or LSU), Notre Dame and Utah. To me those are the four teams playing the best football, even though they aren’t ranked that way in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll.

This means the Big 12 would get left out of the playoffs again. The Big 12 has become Arena Football with their focus on high volume passing offenses. Any champion from that conference would be physically dominated by the top teams in the B1G, SEC and PAC-12. The PAC-12 winner could have two losses because they best teams in conference and beating up on each other. However, the champion from the PAC-12 would still be highly impressive with two losses.

The Heisman Trophy race is a now two-man race between LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Georgia running back Nick Chubbs. I said last week Fournette should win hands down, but Chubbs is making a case while chasing history at Georgia. He just tied 1982 Heisman winner Herschel Walker’s school record for most consecutive 100 yard rushing games. The winner of the 2015 Heisman may be decided the night these two face off in the SEC Championship game. That is, if both teams continue winning.

Michigan just made the B1G a three team race. The “Fighting Khakis” are back in the Associated Press Top 25 at number 22. The FPI gives head coach Jim Harbaugh’s team a 25% chance of entering the bowl season with 10+ wins and a 56% chance to beat in state rival Michigan State. It was only 34% in the preseason. The Spartans and Buckeyes schedule just got a little more difficult. You happy Brett Bielema? I’m going to stay on his case all season.

The Razorbacks are 0-3 since Bielema called out the Buckeyes schedule.

Advertisements

Ezekiel Elliott, Your 2015 Heisman Front Runner

2015/01/img_2122.png

Elliott’s 696 yards, 8 Touchdown post season run has him a favorite to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy.

All this talk that soon to be Junior Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott should shut it down for the 2015 season to avoid injury until he’s eligible for the NFL draft, are absurd. 

With that being said, right now he is the leading candidate for the 2015 Heisman Trophy. He has a once in a lifetime opportunity to win the most recognized trophy in sports.

Sure the voters of the award have been biased towards quarterbacks the last ten to fifteen years, but Elliott, fresh off leading the Buckeyes to capturing the first ever National Championship Playoff by rushing for 696 yards and 8 touchdowns the last three games—setting records in the B1G Championship game, Sugar Bowl and National Championship Game—is the favorite. 

Heisman winners from the past have benefited from a strong finish to the season prior to the one in which they won the award.

2015/01/img_2970.jpg

Troy Smith won the 2006 Heisman by the largest margin in history. Courtesy: Columbus Dispatch.

The last Buckeye Heisman Winner, Troy Smith, became the leading candidate for the 2006 award with his standout performances over Michigan (27-37, 300 passing yards, 1 touchdowns; 11 carries, 37 yards, 1 Touchdown) and out dueling another Heisman candidate, quarterback Brady Quinn of Notre Dame (19-28, 342 passing yards, 2 touchdowns; 13 carries, 66 yards) in the Fiesta Bowl by winning that game’s Offensive MVP to end the 2005 season.

2015/01/img_2969.jpg

Eddie George won the 6th Heisman Trophy for Ohio State. Photo Courtesy: Columbus Dispatch.

Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner, finished the season before his Heisman campaign strong as well. In the last three games of the 1994 season, George rushed for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns in wins over Wisconsin, Michigan and the 1995 Citrus Bowl loss to Alabama.

Elliot’s very impressive finish to the 2014 Season will propel and keep him fresh in the minds of voters across the country throughout spring practice until kickoff of the 2015 season.

There are some who don’t believe he’s the best candidate on his team. They point to the three quarterbacks that will be competing to start the season under center. J.T. Barrett did finish 5th in the 2014 Heisman voting, Braxton Miller was a leading candidate for the 2014 award before his injury, and we all saw what Cardale Jones did in the three biggest games of the season.

The last fifteen seasons have been difficult for runners to break through. The only running backs to win the Heisman were USC’s Reggie Bush—it was stripped from him due to recruiting violations at USC—and Alabama’s Mark Ingram. 

“Zeke” has everything he’ll need from the offensive system, great supporting cast as well as the marketing genius and prestige of the Buckeye program to help him become the third running back in a decade and a half to win the award.

Just remember this, the twenty-five pound bronze statue is that of Ed Smith—a running back from New York University and professionally with the Boston Redskins and Green Bay Packers—stiff arming his competitors, not a quarterback dropping back to pass. I like Elliott’s chances to bring Heisman Trophy number eight to the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex. 

Oh, by the way, Buckeye running backs have won the Heisman every twenty years since Howard “Hopalong Cassady” in brought the second stiff arm trophy to campus in 1955. Eddie George won in ’95, twenty years after Archie won his second in ’75. The stars are aligned for Ezekiel in 2015.

There will Never be Another Two Time Heisman Winner

20131214-232411.jpg

Photo Courtesy: Heisman.com

Ohio State Legendary Running Back Archie Griffin is the first and last college football player to win the Heisman Trophy twice and it looks more and more like he will be the only one.

Saturday night, 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel came in 5th place–to Florida State’s Jameis Winston–in his bid to win sports most prestigious trophy. Which is an atrocity If you look at his 2013 season. Manziel isn’t the first defending Heisman Trophy winner to well fall short of repeating, which only proves, those that have a say in whether or not another player accomplishes the feat again, won’t.

Griffin is still the only two-time winner in the history of the award.

Since 1975, when Archie Griffin won his second Heisman after his senior season, seven defending Heisman winners returned to school the following season. Only Florida Gator Quarterback Tim Tebow, in 2008 came close to repeating. He was 151 points behind eventually winner, Oklahoma Sooner Quarterback Sam Bradford, but had the most first place votes–309 to Bradford’s 300. Even still, Tebow finish third overall in the total vote.

Since then, the returning winners have only fallen farther and farther away from hoisting the twenty five pound bronzed statue a second time. Even harder to fathom, is why defending winners are doing worse in the final vote. Since Tim Tebow’s third trip to New York in 2009–when he came in fifth place–the two following returning winners, Oklahoma’s Bradford and Alabama’s Mark Ingram (2009 winner) didn’t even place.

In 2008, Tim Tebow led his Florida Gators to a 13-1 record, a second BCS National Title in three years while throwing for 2,747 yards and 30 touchdowns, ran for 673 yards and 12 touchdowns. That was the season he finished third. He followed that Season with better stats, a career high 70.1 completion rate with 2,895 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, while running for another 14 touchdowns and a career high 910 yards. Yet he came in fifth place.

In 2013, Manziel threw for career highs in touchdowns with 33 and yards 3,732 yards–he threw for 3,706 in 2012–with a bowl game to add to his total. His rushing yards of 686 are well below his 1,410 from 2012, but he has had several signature moments in 2013 and was considered a front runner before the loss to LSU. And don’t give me the argument he lost the Trophy because his team lost four games, so did the Tebow led Gators the season he won the “bronze stiff arm.” So you tell me what’s going on. It’s becoming more clear that the trusted (sarcasm) Heisman voters don’t even want there to be a close call a player wins the award twice.

I’m not saying Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston didn’t deserved to win. When you take in to account individual and team success, he was the clear cut best player in College Football. I’m just saying Manziel and other defending winners deserved a better showing and respect from voters. You won’t find a Heisman voter to come out and say they don’t want to see another two time winner, but the evidence clearly shows they don’t.

I understand the Heisman is a prestigious honor. As a native of Columbus, I’ve seen first hand how Archie Griffin is highly regarded as the “Only Two Time Heisman Winner.” He and The Ohio State University has great pride in it, so does majority of central Ohio. Maybe the voters prefer to keep it like that on a historic level as well, and only want to bestow that honor to one man. As new, younger voters are included in the vote, maybe there will eventually be another to join Griffin’s exclusive room in the Heisman house. Winston will have his chance in the next two seasons, but based on what I’ve seen, I  highly doubt he will. Just like I don’t think we will ever see another defensive player like Charles Woodson win the award, but that’s another story.

AJ McCarron, Claim Your Heisman

As long as the Crimson Tide continue to roll, the Alabama quarterback will win the award.

20131124-162915.jpg

First I must say that Florida State’s Jameis Winston should win, but won’t because of the sexual assault investigation cloud hovering over him. That opened the door for Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel to repeat as the winner and he lost it with his 16-41, 2 interception performance at LSU. So did Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta with another embarrassing, lack luster loss at Arizona. That is why it’s now AJ’s to lose.

Many will say giving it to him would be like giving it to him as a career achievement award. Many will argue he plays with the best collection of amateur athletes in the country in the Alabama Crimson Tide. You could also say he’s not exciting enough, but if you go on statistics, he’s the best player on the best team in college football. His stats don’t lie.

20131124-163736.jpg

He is also now the all time winningest QB in Alabama’s rich football history.

No doubt if you gave me my pick I’d rather watch Johnny Football or Famous Jameis, but if the Heisman voters are going to adhere to the mission statement of the award which is : The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award….. The Trustees, who all serve pro bono, are guided by a devotion to college football and are committed to community service and the valued tradition which the Trophy represents.

McCarron has been a model student athlete for the past four years and exemplifies the Heisman mission. Based on everything that happened on and allegedly off the field with the other candidates, he has to be the next Heisman Trophy winner, unless the Tide stumble—or he plays horiffic—against Auburn or in the SEC Title game. My vote is for AJ McCarron. Now I just have to become an official Heisman voter.

20131126-215759.jpg

Photo Courtesy: Sports Illustrated