Heisman Trophy Finalists
Editor David Hershorin
Owner Todd Helmick maintains an Official Heisman Vote
6, 2010 - Without a doubt, this is the most
difficult Heisman ballot this voter ever had to submit.
Sadly enough, the decision to leave Auburn quarterback
Cam Newton completely off the ballot is one not made
with haste, abhorrence or lack of information. Based
strictly with what has transpired on the football field,
Newton has run away with the nation's most prestigious
award. The candidates chasing Newton are also far short
of the lofty status required to hold this hardware,
thus making the decision that much more cumbersome.
details pertaining to the Cam Newton pay-for-play accusations
off of the field need not be rehashed while assuming
anyone reading this would be doing so under the premise...we
already know what's been printed and spoken aloud, true
or untrue, opinion or fact. The decision here to leave
Cam off the ballot is based on the fact that his father
Cecil Newton did ask Mississippi State University for
money in order to obtain his son's commitment to play
in Starkville. The NCAA has stated this much as fact
just this week. The decision is also based on my own
personal belief that Cam Newton knew about it. Whether
actual money ever changed hands is relevant on so many
future roads explored, but not with this current decision.
believe Cam Newton has had more than three weeks to
address this situation. The silence implemented by Cam
Newton and Auburn spoke volumes. Yes, unfortunately
in a court of law that is the right of the accused,
especially at the recommendation of legal council, to
remain silent...your so-called "gag order".
My distain for where lawyers, NCAA included, fit into
a football decision is fodder for another day. Fortunately,
the Heisman voters are the jury when it comes to doling
out the nation's most prestigious award. The Heisman
is nothing but a court of opinion.
say it ain't so Cam, say it ain't so. He can't simply,
directly deny the allegations, for whatever reason.
And when the SEC Championship Game came to a close Saturday
evening and as Cam Newton stood in front of the eyes
of a sports nation to give his post game remarks, he
was thankful for his family.
can't imagine where Pastor Cecil Newton must have been
at this moment and what might have been running through
his mind. The fact that he might not have even told
his son about the pay-for-play money requests makes
it far worse from a father standpoint. Through the past
two weeks of sorting through the hate mail, I have come
to one conclusion - after hearing what the NCAA had
to say last week, we now know that Mississippi State
officials were not lying about Cecil's request for money.
We also now have allegations from the same people that
Cam Newton himself called recruiters to inform them
that he regrets not being able to play at Mississippi
State because "the money was too good" for
his father to pass up at Auburn. Somebody is not being
truthful again and I am willing to presume it's not
the same people the NCAA just stood up on a podium and
said were correct the first time around.
deepest and darkest side of this issue permeates the
already unfair stench of the NCAA. When the NCAA decides
to come after someone, history clearly shows they do
it with both barrels. Full on. No holds bar. They reach
into a situation, and extract facts at will, regardless
of brevity and usually prior to getting past levels
of conjecture to founded truth. Participants are sidelined
often for months, held in a stasis of non-competing
as the NCAA decides whether to play judge/jury and moral
loudspeaker after doing true due diligence, or to just
merely dole out a penalty for whoever they deem fit
with no explanation. Cam's list of marginal behavior
reaches way beyond this current scenario of pay-to-play,
and past cases like this of players sequentially breaking
multiple rules - especially in areas of scholastics
- have earned those players instant exclusion from team
activities until all facts have been revealed and evaluated,
as well as often earning those institutions penalties
that impact scholarship players who come after them
treated equally (like others before), Cam doesn't finish
this season, period. Ask the thousands of players who
have been sidelined first, and allowed to play only
once the proverbial air has been cleared - fairness
isn't part of the NCAA's profile. The NCAA power tree
won't fall anytime soon, but somebody needs to continue
to swing the axe of discontent. Whether discussing the
Cam Newton affair or the possibility of a playoff system,
there is no fairness here, never has nor will there
ever be until multiple people on multiple levels keep
swinging that axe.
painful as a true fan – of both the game and Newton
himself, who is a sharp, likeable kid – that Cam
had to be dealt these cards. But don't feel sorry for
him. The argument that these young men are being treated
unfairly due to the fact that major universities are
making millions of dollars off their name and all the
poor ole college kid gets is a free education doesn't
wash. Amazingly enough, how many reading this were given
a chance for a free education and how many of you are
currently unemployed/struggling financially while trying
to pay off a 10-year old college loan with interest?
Don't feel sorry for these kids, not one of them. Sarcastically
speaking, too bad the millions of dollars they make
the university has to be spent building more university
buildings of higher learning while giving other student-athletes
of both sex a chance to play sports and get a free education.
Never feel sorry that a college football player doesn't
get his share of the collegiate football money pot.
Everyone knows the deal up front, and it’s pretty
good considering the miniscule amount of players who
go on to the next level.
the majority of Heisman voters that feel Cam is eligible
and deserves this award, their side of the argument
is certainly due some respect and holds plenty of legal
merit. That's the way it always has been in this court
of opinion, and that is the way it should always be.
We don't always agree. I don't regret that voters have
Newton will likely still win the Heisman. Cam Newton
will play in the BCS National Championship Game. He
will move on to the NFL and make his millions. But no
one will ever be able to convince me he didn't know
what his father was out there doing during recruitment.
That is based on common sense. This Heisman voter does
not buy into the high priced politically tendered legal
setting being used to hide what most hopefully, on a
common sense level, easily see. The NCAA has a (in)vested
interest in playing the situation through this legal
guise we now see, to protect themselves and the valued
parties from the assured future fallout once the hypocrisy
surfaces over time to ultimately reveal itself. With
no one to police the college football police, we see
enough wiggle room for all involved to find a viable,
legally face-saving way out… no actual accountability
for those at the highest levels, the 21st century American
it ain't so Cam. Say it ain’t so.
--- Comparing statistics versus their toughest opponents
will create and utilize another approach to selecting
our Heisman winner, which no other publication attempts.
Each candidate will have his statistics from the three
toughest opponents played in 2010 added and totaled.
We'll put them side-by-side.
FINAL BALLOT - December 6, 2010
If this year's race were
based solely on statistics, Kellen Moore would likely
be tops on this ballot. When using the Big Game Comparison,
Moore also takes top honors. What hampers Moore when
comparing his wares to other BCS-aligned contestants
is that the back end of his schedule was too light...an
argument that haunted his team’s chances much
the same. A Big Game Comparison does yield another important
fact. Moore's opponents in the big games were just as
highly regarded as those of Andrew Luck and LaMichael
James. In fact, Stanford has not beaten a ranked team
this year. The Pac Ten is in a down year, and Oregon
is also a huge benefactor of their conference’s
downturn. Moore's chances were dashed just last week
on Thanksgiving Saturday - his Broncos lost everything
in Reno as Nevada got a game winning field goal in overtime
to subdue the improbable hope of another Boise State
undefeated regular season and an argument they belonged
in a National Championship discussion. In the process
of this game - more importantly, in the second half
- Moore failed to move the football. Just getting a
first down proved awkward and the leadership abilities
of the Bronco three-year starter get called into question.
Boise State lost everything that day, and being that
the loss came late in the season and given the way the
college football cookie crumbles, his struggles are
the last thing people now remember. Looking at the whole
process however yields a superior case for Moore.
Oregon running back LaMichael James
is the nation's top rusher, averaging 153 yards per
game. His team is 12-0 and headed to the BCS title game,
which in any given year translates to an automatic invitation
to the Heisman ceremony in New York City. The adage
that James is a product of the crazy, wide-open offensive
system being run in Eugene probably holds some water.
They were capable of plugging a new quarterback in for
the touted Jeremiah Masoli, and team production never
missed a step. They could just as well plug in back-up
running back Kenjon Barner and produce similar results.
But when watching James run with the pigskin, the naked
eye sees the story. Few, if any, across the country
can hit the perimeter with the speed and precision of
James while seemingly leaving defenders running in slow
motion. He averaged an amazing 6.5 yards per carry in
his Big Game Comparison. While the young sophomore James
has put up similarly impressive numbers the past two
seasons, what holds him back is the fact the other two
candidates on this ballot are more of a proven MVP structure,
one where their teams cannot do well without them. Truly,
a marginal tie-breaker
Ultimately, the choice for the 2010
Heisman goes to Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. His
numbers are substantial, maybe not quite on par with
those of Moore in regards to throwing the ball. But
he does have a significant advantage in size, speed
and using it all running with the football. The race
is very close between these three. When a situation
like this occurs it's better to ask, "If I were
coaching a team, which one would I select first?"
The answer always comes back to Luck despite the fact
he tossed four interceptions in his Big Game Comparison.
Luck has an extremely bright future at the next level.
Although that has nothing to do with this college award,
it's a good indication his physical presence is tough
to deal with at any level. Opponents cannot just drop
and cover when defending this junior. He can also beat
teams with his feet. This dimension and the fact his
schedule was tougher from top to bottom awards him this
voter's selection over runner-up Kellen Moore.