Heisman Saturday

This evening in New York City, the biggest names in college football will gather to hand out one of the more notorious trophies in all of sports and celebrate its winner. The Heisman is a unique award in that the voters are a mix of media, fans, and previous recipients. The true deciders of the outcome are the 870 sports writers from six geographic regions, but every living winner also has a vote (it sounds like 57 of them will be present) and there is a mechanism through which fans can “have a say.” The three finalists this year are Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, Stanford RB Bryce Love, and Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, last year’s winner.

There doesn’t appear to be much mystery surrounding the 83rd annual ceremony as most assume Baker Mayfield will win the vote in a runaway. This theory is certainly supported by a quick look at a couple recent trends. First, only one man has won it twice and that was Archie Griffin back in the mid-70s, so that probably counts Jackson out even though his stats were phenomenal again this year. Second, the award almost always goes to a QB these days which works against Love. In fact, since the turn of the century, 14 quarterbacks have won compared to just three running backs (and that includes the 2005 award that was technically vacated by Reggie Bush).

There are a couple other elements working in Mayfield’s favor too. There is precedent for the voters caving to the “lifetime achievement” award mentality and this will be Baker’s second straight year as a nominee. He’s had a tremendous career so it’s easy to feel like he “earned it” even though it’s supposed to be a single season award. Another factor is that Lamar hurt himself by setting the bar so high last year. His numbers this season are off the freaking charts, but they’re “down” compared to last year. Furthermore, his team wasn’t nearly as good in 2017, finishing the season 8-4 and unranked. The team dynamic also works against Love as Stanford was good but not great.

If indeed Baker Mayfield is the man this year, I hope we can count on former Oklahoma running back and 1978 winner Billy Sims to make an ass of himself like he did when Sam Bradford won in 2008. BOOMER! SOONER!

In closing, I would like to express my sincere disappointment that Rashaad Penny from San Diego State was not invited to New York. I’m sure the argument for excluding him centers around the level of competition in the Mountain West, but it’s worth noting that San Diego State beat Stanford this year as Penny and Love both performed very well. I am not saying that Penny should be there instead of Love, but rather that he should be there with Bryce and the others.¬†Below is a statistical comparison of the two dynamic running backs. I implore you to take a look at the stats and tell me that Rashaad shouldn’t be on the ballot.

Rushes Rush Yards Rush TD Rec. Rec. Yards Rec TD Return TDs Total TD
Rashaad Penny 275 2,027 19 18 142 2 3 24
Bryce Love 237 1,973 17 6 33 0 0 17