With the Heisman trophy presentation tonight, the sports stories today have been focusing on the four candidates that will be in New York. At the beginning of the season, would anyone have put together a list of Heisman candidates that include Chase Daniel, Colt Brennan, Tim Tebow, and Darren McFadden? Okay, well that last one would certainly have been included but not too many people would have picked the first three. The names being tossed around in the early part of the season included names from the big football programs, such as John David Booty from USC, Mike Hart from Michigan, Colt McCoy from Texas. Funny how it seems that people didn't really know what they were talking about back then, and just picked their favorite big-name school and chose a player.
In the end, it came down to these 4 players that all had amazing seasons. As a Mizzou fan, I'd like to see a Missouri player win, but I don't think Chase Daniel has much of a chance. Sure, he put up ridiculous numbers like 4100 yards en route to leading the Missouri team to its best season in recent history and a temporary #1 ranking in the BCS. On the downside, he never really had much of a "Heisman moment", that kind of play that get shown all year long in the highlight clips that really impresses you. He was just very consistent each week an put up great numbers. Secondly, I think that their humiliating loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship pretty much eliminates his chances, just as Missouri's chances of a BCS bowl were eliminated with that loss. I don't think that's much of a valid reason, but that's just the way it seems to be.
Colt Brennan, the quarterback from the University of Hawaii, also had an excellent season, putting up over 4100 yards with 38 touchdowns, en route to leading his team to an undefeated season. In my opinion, Hawaii should have been selected for the championship game. They are the only undefeated team, so how could they not be there? Well, I think the same reasons that keep them out of the BCS championship will keep the Heisman away from Brennan. First, Hawaii isn't a traditional football powerhouse so he automatically doesn't have the same recognition as a player at a school like Michigan. Secondly, its always tough for Hawaii to get good teams to play them. They aren't in a great conference, and when the Hawaii team is good, other strong teams are hesitant about playing them in a preseason game. Plus, the distance doesn't help either. This distance also means that a bunch of their games are on tv much later than most people will be watching, so Brennan loses exposure. So while he might be deserving, I don't think he'll get the Heisman either.
As much as it pains me to admit it, I think the Heisman will go to an SEC player. That brings it down to Tebow or McFadden. Tim Tebow seems to be the favorite right now. He's playing for Florida, perhaps the strongest football school among all of the current candidates. He was the first player to put up 20 passing and 20 rushing touchdowns (he actually had 29 and 22, respectively), including 3900 passing yards, and he really helped to carry his team. He also has the coolest Heisman website of the 4 listed above. In the end, he does have some negatives too. First, he's a sophomore. Its a stupid reason, but no underclassman has ever won the award and this might keep him away from the award. If you don't fit the mold, then its tough for you to go all the way. Much like how the Missouri team was bounced from the BCS entirely a day after they were #1 in the nation but lost to Oklahoma. Also, some people wonder if his rushing touchdowns should really be much of a consideration. Should other quarterbacks that have a legitimate running back be penalized because they utilize other players? Its an interesting point and although it doesn't make Tebow any less exciting, it might keep him from the Heisman. Also, he's playing on a team that had 3 losses.
Finally, there's McFadden (Highlight video). An excellent running back from Arkansas that finished second in the Heisman voting last year. He's definitely the spark in the Arkansas offense and really helped carry his team at times this year. The knock against McFadden, however, is that he didn't have a very consistent season. He kind of slumped in the middle of the season, and his team had its ups and downs too. The team ended with three losses on the season, which always makes it tough for a player to be truly Heisman-worthy. Also, he's a running back. The Heisman typically goes to a quarterback. Not that its a requirement, but its usually much easier for a player to be considered a leader of his team when he's a quarterback. For example, McFadded had 20 touchdowns on the season, which is GREAT for a running back, but really doesn't compare to the touchdown totals of the other 3 candidates, especially Tebow's 51 touchdowns.
In the end, I think that the award will go to Darren McFadden. Despite the facts that he slumped for a little while, his team had 4 losses on the season (and didn't make it to the conference championship), and that he's not playing for one of the big-name football programs, it just seems that he has less to overcome than the other players. Like I said before, all 4 players had great, award-worthy seasons, but in the end McFadden has fewer obstacles to overcome. Plus, I think he had the biggest "Heisman moment" of them all, when he carried his team to a 3-overtime win over then-number 1 team LSU. If it was up to me, I think McFadden gets the award, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't end up that way.