Not so fast Lamar Jackson, history sets precedent for Heisman upset.
Let’s be clear, Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson is the rightful owner of the 2016 Heisman trophy. Jackson has accounted for 45 touchdowns and there’s at least three game remaining for Jackson to play.
Jackson has passed for 26 touchdowns and 2,753 yards and rushed for 19 touchdowns and 1,181 yards. Jackson ranks first in the nation in rushing touchdowns and fifth in rushing yards.
Statistics alone doesn’t decide who brings the trophy home. Heisman candidates also need to win a lot of games and produce spectacular plays in games. Jackson has both on his Heisman resume.
The Cardinals are 8-1, the lone loss coming against the undefeated Clemson Tigers. As for spectacular plays, Jackson has produced them liberally.
While playing Syracuse on Sept. 9, Jackson hurdled a defensive back on his way to a rushing touchdown. During the stomping of Florida State, Jackson showed off his speed when he knifed through the Seminole defense for a 47-yard touchdown. As he reached the end zone he spun between to defenders and held the ball out away from his body with one hand, providing Cards fans with a memory they won’t soon forget.
Jackson should already have his name on the plaque for this years trophy. However the Heisman trophy is not an award that is handed out, it’s voted on. Voters, especially Heisman voters, have a history of voting for the wrong candidate. Even when the choice seems clear cut.
Last Years Debacle
Last year, Alabama running back Derrick Henry won the Heisman trophy. Henry was arguably the best player on the team that would win the National Championship. Before he won the trophy, Henry rushed for 1,896 yards and 23 touchdowns. When the Tide played their toughest competition, Henry had best rushing performances. Any other year, Henry would have been the rightful winner. It was not any other year.
Christian McCaffrey was the most dominant player in 2015. McCaffrey scored 15 touchdowns before the Heisman ceremony. McCaffrey rushed for eight, caught four, scored another on a kick return and passed for two. McCaffrey racked up 3,496 yards from scrimmage, numbers that resembled Barry Sanders when he won the trophy.
Unlike Sanders, McCaffrey received nothing for his record breaking year. Not the Heisman, the Walter Camp or the Doak Walker. All those awards are supposed to be handed to the nations best player, which McCaffrey was.
West Coast Bias was the main reason McCaffrey lost the Heisman race. None of the voters stayed up late to watch the games McCaffrey played in. Most of the voters live on the east coast and the west coast games start at 10:oo pm on the east coast.
McCaffrey however, is not the first player to be jilted by the Downtown Athletic Club.
Should Be Winners
Darren McFadden McFadden holds the distinction as being the only man to finish second in Heisman balloting for two consecutive years. In 2006, he finished behind Troy Smith and the following year to Tim Tebow.
In 2007, McFadden finished second it was because of Tebow’s popularity, not Tebow’s on-field achievements.
Yes, Tebow scored 55 touchdowns in ’07. Tebow made a strong case to take home the Heisman. But his team did not live up to expectations and he was the main reason why.
McFadden had a tremendous ’07 season. He rushed for 1,830 yards and 16 touchdowns. He tossed four touchdowns passes and hauled in a touchdown reception. McFadden was the best running back on the Razorbacks, despite the presence of All-American Felix Jones. McFadden was also the best quarterback on his team.
McFadden led his team to a win over the eventual National Champions LSU Tigers, in Baton Rouge.
Tebow, a quarterback with a team stacked with future NFL players, lost to LSU in Gainesville, Florida.
Larry Fitzgerald, Darren Sproles Jason White should not have won the 2003 Heisman. He was not the best player on his team, not to mention the entire country.
White played for the Oklahoma Sooners and passed for 40 touchdowns in 2003. White played in a offense that allowed him to put up great stats.
White’s success was just a mirage and his winning of the Heisman is still controversial. It was obvious at the time, White benefited from playing on a great team.
White Heisman wasn’t the only controversy the Sooners benefited from in 2003. After losing to Darren Sproles and the Kansas State Wildcats 35-7, in the Big 12 Championship game, the BCS computers ranked Oklahoma number one. Placing the Sooners in the National Champions vs LSU. A game the Sooners lost.
Fitzgerald or Sproles should have won the ’03 Heisman. Both made spectacular plays and played on winning teams.
Michael Vick, Drew Brees, Peter Warrick The Heisman is supposed to be awarded to the most outstanding college football player in America. In 1999, Ron Dayne did not fit this description. Virginia Tech’s Vick, Purdue’s Brees, and FSU’s Warrick were all better players then Dayne.
Watch this Warrick highlight reel. Warrick’s saucy moves in the open field rendered tacklers efforts futile. His FSU team played won National Championship that year and never lost a game. Warrick was also far more entertaining to watch then Dayne.
Speaking of entertaining, how about Vick. Long before he packed the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Vick was a must see attraction Blacksburg, Virginia. Vick’s open field running, combined with the cannon described as his left arm put on a show every Saturday. He led the Hookies to the National Championship game with an undefeated record.
Brees was the best player in the Big Ten. Brees and Purdue did lose to Dayne at home in ’99. Brees was playing on a team that was far less talented then one a quarterback of his talents deserved. Brees led a passing attack that carved up secondaries all season.
Losing to Dayne was one thing, but none of these guys took second place. Joe Hamilton from Georgia Tech did. Voters got both slots wrong on the ’99 ballot.
Jake Browning Washington QB Browning has been steady all year. If Louisville loses again he has a shot. Browning has tossed 34 touchdown passes and has a 67.7 completion percentage. A gaudy performance in the PAC 12 Championship game could swing voters late in the process.
Jabrill Peppers Michigan Weapon A few things need to happen for the countries most versatile player too take home the Heisman. First, Louisville loses bad. Second, Michigan continues to dominate opponents. Third and probably most important, Peppers needs a punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State. Michigan legends Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson, returned punts for touchdowns against Ohio State the year they won the Heisman.
DeShaun Watson Clemson QB Watson may not have a chance at winning but could play the role of spoiler, like a third party candidate. Clemson and Louisville play in the same division of the ACC. As long as Clemson keeps winning, Louisville won’t be playing on conference championship weekend. A terrific performance by Watson might be able to split the voters in the south and east coast. The argument could be made that Jackson season while memorable, was inconsequential.
Jalen Hurts Alabama QB Keep an eye open for a late surge in his campaign. Hurts leads the best college football team in the nation right now. Only a freshman and Hurts commanded the Alabama’s offense like a senior. This past weekends clutch performance against LSU definitely raised eyebrows. Hurts has played tougher competition than Jackson all season. Don’t be surprised to see Hurts name climb the ballot.