The 2008 Heisman Trophy Presented Tonight

Happy Heisman Day !!!

I have never had a vote for college football’s most prestigious award, but I was a credentialed member of the media for the event in 2005 and 2006.  To me getting to attend in person the presentation of the marquee award from my youth, was like a dream come true.  Getting to go to the “Big City” (New York City) while talking with some of college football’s best players from places in the country where I had never been before (Arkansas’ Darren McFadden comes to mind) was an honor.

My favorite part of covering the event, that I like to call the “waiting game”, was getting the opportunity to mingle with national media types like NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayok.  In talking with guys like Mike, I really got the  “true” picture of which Heisman candidates had a legitimate future in the NFL sans all of the hype. Because let’s face it college football now is all about making it in the NFL.

Overall my feeling of the award itself, is that the Heisman has lost a lot of the luster.  You see I was spoiled as a youngster watching every year the must-see golden age of the Heisman Trophy presentation, where all-time great players like Tony Dorsett (1976), Earl Campbell (1977), Marcus Allen (1981), Herschel Walker (1982), and Bo Jackson (1985) culminated their fantastic college football careers before going on to NFL glory by raising the coveted Heisman Trophy. 

Now hype wins over substance — to me this travesty started in 1992 when weak University of Miami quarterback Gino Torreta won the award over immensely more talented and future NFL Hall of Famer, then San Diego State sophomore running back Marshall Faulk.  Are you kidding me when we are talking about scrub players with “No Shot” of making it in the NFL like Florida State old-ass quarterback Chris Weinke (1990) and former Oklahoma busted-knee quarterback Jason White (2003) winning the award.

To me the Heisman needs to go back to the true essence of the award and give it to “The Best Player” in college football.  That means even if the guy is a freshman or an offensive lineman or heaven forbid a true defensive player – sorry Charles Woodson, but played offense too.  The three candidates this year are big-time underclassmen quarterbacks with huge numbers, all of them know ESPN spotlight too well, so you have to wonder if the hype machine is at work here.  Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy, and Florida’s Tim Tebow, already owns last year’s award, all look great now, but naturally my mind drifts to “Can they play on Sundays”.  Of the three, if I had a Heisman vote it would go to Bradford as he is the most suited for the NFL (reminds me Ben Roethlisberger).

But that is a conversation for another time and place as today is all about ESPN college football analyst Beano Cook’s sacred “College Football”.  The winner will be Florida’s Tim Tebow as the future NFL H-back will hoist the award for the second time joining Archie Griffin as the only two-time winner.  Knowing Timmy Heisman, he will probably return to the safe confines of Gainesville for his senior year instead of heading to play with the big boys. 

The hype machine will probably help the player dubbed “Super Man” win his unprecedented third award, however none of that matters until spread-option Tim comes to the NFL.

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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