Heisman Hope

heisman-trophy

Here we go again.  Yet another chance for another story of East Coast bias.  This time, it’s an award ceremony at New York City’s Downtown Athletic Club for the best college football player on the land, and while there is only 1 out of the 5 nominees playing on the East Coast, a lot of the time its West Coast” hating.  Case in point:  Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, the most deserving of all the nominees, may very well get overlooked.

Some may point to the fact that Gerhart is heavily rumored to pursue a career in baseball, one in which he may be more talented than football, which is scary.  That may preclude people from voting for him, just like when Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward won in 93.  Ward went on to an average career in the NBA.
Toby-Gerhart
But the award shouldn’t be predicated on “what the athlete might do”.  It’s for the best player in college football, and if you look at who each payer has played, you will see what I mean.  Gerhart’s main competition at running back is Alabama’s Mark Ingram.  Gerhart racked up more rushing yards, touch downs, and yards per game than Ingram.

Gerhart          Ingram
Yards                        1736              1542
Yards per game        144.67          118.62
Touch downs             26                 15

More importantly, Ingram played in one more game, facing a division I-AA school in Chattanooga. Gerhart played a tougher schedule, as evidenced by his average rush defense faced of 59th, when compared to Ingram facing the 67th, and no doubt would have been lower if not for the fact that you can’t even factor in Chattanooga because they are not a D-1 school. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, the other main threat, faced a pass defense that ranked on the average 77th in the nation. And everyone’s favorite Christian Warrior, Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow, already ha the award once.  Losing to Alabama in the SEC championship sealed his fate for a chance at a second award.

large_Mark Ingram 1Certainly, the winner of this award by no means goes on to greatness at the professional level.  In the last 20 years, there have been numerous busts, while setting records in college.  This includes Andre Ware (89), Ty Detmer (90), Gino Toretta (92), Charlie Ward (93), Danny Wuerffel (96), Chris Weinke (2000), Eric Crouch (2001), Jason White (2003), Matt Leinart (2004), Troy Smith (2006).  Four of the above player never started an NFL game.

The running backs were no guarantee either, and besides Eddie George, who was always “good” but never “great”, ’94 winner Rashaan Salaam and ’99 winner Ron “No Gain” Dayne were complete busts. 1998 winner Ricky Williams snagged one NFL rushing title, but his career has been significantly damaged due to multiple retirements, drug use and depression.  2006 winner Reggie Bush is little more than a 3rd down back.

Though it seems the Heisman is more of a curse than a blessing, there can be no denying Gerhart is more deserving of the award.  So lets here it for Toby.  The ward isn’t about who might be the higher NFL draft pick, but who has exhibited the most excellence on college football this year.  And tough Stanford is vastly improved, the fact remains that the PAC-10 is far better than anyone gives it credit for, and has higher rush defense ratings than other conferences thought to be better.

We’ll see if the West Coast Hate continues December 10th.

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