When did the Heisman Trophy race become lengthier and costlier than a presidential campaign?
Welcome to this week's column, presented by Jack Link's Beef Jerky ("I
We began this season with three presumptive nominees for the award -- the current Heisman holder,
This is eerily similar to the three-way presidential race in 1912,* contested among the then-White House occupant,
(* Note to Younger Readers: I understand that many of you are unaware of the year 1912. It was part of what was known as "the 20th century" and part of a very different America -- Los Angeles, for instance, was livable; very few people brought firearms to town hall meetings, and there was, I believe, only one ESPN.)
What can we learn from 1912 that applies to 2009? The incumbent, Taft, saw his vice president,
Still, presidential comparisons aside, I am flabbergasted by the nature of Heisman voting these days.
(Memo to Editors: Cue Slouch rant.)
In the old days, you would vote for the Heisman at season's end after seeing virtually none of the contenders' games. Nowadays, you can see all the contenders' games if you wish, but we pretty much anoint the Heisman favorites before a single snap is taken. And after each week, Heisman panels are polled.
Miss America doesn't work this way, does it? Is there a three-month buildup in which we hear that Miss Florida has "great legs," Miss Wisconsin "is a lock for Miss Congeniality" and Miss Rhode Island "plays the hell out of the accordion"?
Not only is the current Heisman hype unceasing and irritating, it denies the un-hyped any chance. I spent two years of my life tirelessly campaigning for Hawaii's
(Colt Brennan was my
This year, I bring Sports Nation the most unlikely, yet most obvious, Heisman Trophy winner ever -- unlikely because he is a freshman, obvious because he plays under the brightest lights.
His name is
Tebow was the first sophomore to win the Heisman; no freshman has ever won it. Barkley will.
He's had a private quarterback tutor longer than
Southern Cal not only produces Heisman quarterbacks (
(As most of you know, only quarterbacks and running backs get serious Heisman consideration. Interior linemen don't count; they're cows grazing on the side of the road.)
In addition, Barkley does volunteer work, plays guitar with a church youth group and went to South Africa last Christmas to help run an orphanage.
Heck, why stop at the Heisman? This kid could be president someday.