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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Reflections on the Heisman

Mark Ingram was a worthy winner. It's hard to believe that Alabama hasn't had a Heisman winner until now.

The Heisman show was a bit indulgent and long-winded. I'm sure that many of us were interested in the announcement and only the announcement (ESPN's documentary on "The U," which followed the Heisman show, was much more compelling).

While I am happy for Ingram and fine with his victory, I would have voted for Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh, who has had an awesome year for Nebraska playing defensive tackle. It's impressive as all get out that Suh was one of the top 5 (he actually finished fourth, inexplicably behind Texas's Colt McCoy, who didn't have as good a year this year as he did last and whom Suh treated as his personal rag doll during the Big 12 title game). That says that a non-offensive player can contend for the trophy. What would make the trophy even more meaningful, though, would be if a defensive player can win it.

And Suh was just the worthy guy to do it. Had about 25% of the McCoy voters (presumably from Big 12 country) not put Texas football and a career achievement sentiment first and voted for Suh, Suh would have been awarded the trophy.

That would have been a great result, a better result, and terrific for a sport that has a significant credibility issue because of the BCS formula. How ironic is it that the most physical game of them all -- a game where the other NCAA divisions have playoffs in football -- doesn't let its championship get decided purely on the field.

Suh's winning the award would have been a creative and innovative result. It's too bad for NCAA Division I-A football that it didn't happen. That said, all five finalists are outstanding players, and three in particular -- Ingram, Suh and Stanford's Toby Gerhart -- were worthy of the award.


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