The Heisman trophy. Growing up, the award embodied a sense of prestige. I held the winners in awe. As an Ohio State fan, I was genuinely proud when Eddie George won in 1995. Upon hearing his name called, I remember shouting for joy and delivering such a tremendous fist pump that even the members of the Jersey Shore cast would have been proud.
The next year was just as emotional, only, for the opposite reason. I wanted more than anything for Danny Wuerffel to lose. My dad, being a Florida Gators fan, would not let me hear the end of it. I had enjoyed holding George's Heisman over his head, but, alas, it could not last forever.
(Note: I am skipping the Charles Woodson Heisman... because I can!)
In 1998, we were able to enjoy watching Ricky Williams epic march to the record books. I, for one, had already put him into the Hall of Fame after that season (so had Mike Ditka apparently). (Editors note: Is there a HOF for smoking weed? If so, you were right Nick). One short year later, we saw Ricky's fresh new rushing record go down in flames. And who was it that would surpass Mr. Williams as the #1 all time leading rusher in college football history. You guessed it folks, none other than Ruben Studdard...err, I mean Ron Dayne (sorry, I always get them confused, but to be fair they do have similar body types)! I for one was incredibly impressed that an offensive lineman could move so well!
The 2000 Heisman was the beginning of the end for me. I loathed Chris Weinke. It's mostly unexplainable, but I'm entitled to that as a sports fan. I thought he was the product of an easy schedule and a wealth of talent around him. In the end, I couldn't hold a grudge against the voters. How could they not award the trophy to a QB that put up 33 TD's while being eligible for AARP? (Editors note: I think he got the award because most of the voters could identify with Weinke's hair line).
That brings us to 2001. This is where I came to realize that the Heisman committee were not the sagely masters that I had envisioned them to be. ERIC FREAKING CROUCH?! Really? "But, he put up a thousand yards both on the ground and through the air Nick!" Nope! I won't hear of it! I maintain that fat, injured Byron Leftwich during the final drive of the Akron game could have ran for a thousand yards behind Nebraska's giant offensive line.
Overlook the three years I've boycotted and I think they've got it right since 2004. That brings us to the 2010 Heisman Trophy. Without any further reminiscing on my behalf, here are the candidates.
LaMichael James - RB - Oregon.
James has been nothing short of sensational this year. 1,682 yards rushing, 21 touchdowns on only 281 carries. That amounts to an amazing 6.0 ypc average and 152 yards per game, good for 1st in the nation. If that wasn't enough, he has shined during the big games as well, putting up 257 yards against Stanford and 237 yards against USC. He's been the best player on one of the best teams in the country. If I'm being picky, the PAC-10 is somewhat down this year and I think most of the teams decided amongst themselves not to play any defense. That aside, watching James play, you can tell he is a special talent and has everything to make it at the next level.
Andrew Luck - QB - Stanford
Luck seems to be the complete package. He has everything you look for in a quarterback. He throws a very accurate and catchable ball and can air it out when needed. Luck's efficient stat line includes 3051 yards, a 28-7 TD-INT ratio, and a 70% completion rate. He's also shown that he can tuck it and run, gaining 438 yards and 3 TD's. These stats, and his 6-4 235 lbs frame, will likely result in Luck being the #1 overall pick in the draft.The PAC-10 defenses don't apply as much for me in Luck's case. He had a lot less talent to work with on offense as opposed to the stacked Oregon offense.
Kellen Moore - QB - Boise State
"HE PLAYS FOR BOISE STATE AND THUS DOES NOT MATTER!" E. Gordon Gee
......Well I was poised to write a rave review for Kellen Moore. Then Mr. Gee stumbled upon me in THE Ohio State University library and politely asked what I was doing. I explained that I was writing a Heisman preview. His body seemed to tense up and his casual tone belied his sudden attentiveness "What candidate are you currently previewing?", asked Gee. "Kellen Mo..."; before I had said his full name he moved with a speed that would make Usain Bolt proud, deleted my preview, and typed the above quote.
Cam Newton - QB - Auburn
For me Cam Newton has been the best player in college football by a wide margin. 2,589 yards passing and 28 touchdowns to pair with 1,409 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns! While he's most recognizible for the flashy homerun plays, Newton has been incredibly efficient. He has thrown only 6 interceptions and has completed 67% of his passes. In addition, he has played a much tougher schedule than the rest of his Heisman competition. Obviously, there is some controversy surrounding him. Whatever the truth may be, though, the NCAA has ruled him eligible and he will almost certainly be receiving the stiff armed statuette come Saturday night.