Stand Boston College quarterback
Ryan is the anonymous quarterback playing on an anonymous team in a region that prides itself on its colleges but pays little attention to their sports -- at least when there is a professional alternative. If Matt Ryan were playing in Gainesville, Fla., or Eugene, Ore., there would be national clamor to see his name etched on the Heisman Trophy, not just a locally based
Consider his numbers: The senior is the ACC leader in total offense and ranks nationally ahead of the uber-hyped
He is a survivor by nature, which is why, much like his professional counterpart in New England, his team is never out of it. It's a quality he may have acquired as a teenager, when his Jetta was rear-ended and shoved into the path of a military truck. The accident left Ryan with a broken ankle and the collateral damage nearly ended his football career. His older brother,
But the primary reason Matt Ryan has my vote for Sportsman of the Year is that he has almost single-handedly turned a tiny Jesuit university (undergraduate enrollment: 9,019) in eastern Massachusetts into a football presence again. In the past, BC was considered a nice story. The Immaculate Reception in '84.
So don't think of him as Matt Ryan, college quarterback. Think of him as Matt Ryan, a college quarterback trying to lead his team over a centuries old hump.
Is he a more worthy candidate now?