28 September 2009
This article isn't really about why Greg McElroy should win the Heisman. It's really about the odd mindset of some Alabama fans.
However, before I get to that I'll say a few words about the title subject:
Based on watching a few decades of Heisman races, here is how the Heisman is usually determined:
(1) If some guy on a major college team is going hog-wild-crazy with rushing or passing stats and blowing the competition away, it's probably his no matter what else happens.
(2) Unless there's a runaway of that variety (think Barry Sanders at OSU), then the voters consider a combination of who had the best rushing/passing stats and who played on the best team.
(3) Unfortunately, pre-season media expectations are a strong factor. That winds down a bit as the season goes on, but often sticks around enough to make a difference at the end.
(4) Levy all that with a super-hefty dose of Notre Dame/Big Ten bias.
Leaving out (4), which I refuse to consider, and figuring that (1) is inapplicable this year, let's go straight to (2). Based on that, Greg McElroy is 3rd in the nation in passing efficiency and playing on the team that a lot of analysts (like me, for example) think has been the best team in the nation so far.
Folks, he's not just a candidate, based on (2) he should be the leader. The only guy arguably in the running is Tebow, whose stats are a bit behind McElroy's. If you take (3) into account, which you really shouldn't, Tebow probably edges him.
But even if you do take (3) into account, the reality is that it should be a 2-man race (at this early point in the season), and one of the two guys is OUR GUY. Yet I have seen a tremendous amount of agnosticism amongst our fan base about whether McElroy is a Heisman candidate, and whether we should support him.
In terms of not getting a great deal of Heisman press, I will put the blame straight on our Sports Information Department, which is a favorite whipping boy of mine. Our players just do not benefit from getting the press kits sent out to the media like other potential stars on big programs do.
As for whether we should support him for the Heisman, HELL YES WE SHOULD SUPPORT HIM!!!!! Now, I'll admit there's an exception there for people who don't like the state of Alabama nor the idea of higher education in the state, but if you DO like those things, this is simple.
(1) The football program provides a great deal of money to the University. Directly as a result of our football success, the University is constantly expanding and improving at a healthy pace. There is no other reason this is happening, because the state treasury does not really provide adequate support for higher education.
(2) The Heisman trophy is a major award, unlike any other award in college football. In fact, if there is any overall performance individual award in sports that rivals it, I would say it is major league MVP awards, but even those don't come with a trophy that is so famous a schoolgirl could recognize it.
(3) The positive publicity given to schools and individuals who win the award is enormous, and would cost tens of millions of dollars to purchase. Trust me, if you were running a for-profit business and had an opportunity for one of your employees to get an award like that, you would not start a bunch of theological arguments about whether it's right or not, or in the spirit of your company's tradition, you would go for it.
(4) What do you think will be more impressive when the 2013 recruits are coming in for their visits, a bunch of words about team spirit blah blah blah that everybody else says too, or the opportunity to possibly hang with a recent Heisman winner, or at least talk to the coaches who coached him up?
(5) The Heisman, like everything else about college football, is a popularity contest. If a guy's own supporters aren't holding him up, it hurts his chances badly. You may not like it, and I may not like it, but in the words of a great American it is what it is.
I know there are counter-arguments, but they are weak.
(A) Alabama is a team school, and we don't care about individual awards.
Bonus grin points to the first individual who tells me how having a Bama player win the Heisman is going to hurt our ability to win as a team. We sure haven't complained about all our All-American and All-SEC players, and we brag like heck on our Outland Trophy winners. But suddenly we win a single Heisman, and that means we're all me me me??? I just don't see it.
(B) Never having won the Heisman is part of the Alabama tradition.
There are traditions and then there are traditions, and if you go back to the pre-1964 era of University of Alabama history, I think it's pretty clear that some traditions are bad. I don't think I need to go on about that.
The reason we have never won a Heisman is not because we have never had a player who deserved it. It's because the stinking Big Ten-biased media has not given us our due. I don't like that, I'm not proud of it, and I don't want to celebrate it. I want it to end.
So please. Let's stop arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and other irrelevancies and philosophical side arguments. Let's do the simple thing, the right thing and support our guy.
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