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Entries in Heisman (7)


LaMichael James: The Forgotten Candidate?

Picture of LaMichael James

Cam Newton Deserves
Heisman Hype, But
So Does Oregon Star

One Great Season

I know most Heisman voters are leaning toward Cam Newton, but it's surprising the way many are treating the race for sports' most coveted individual honor like it's a foregone conclusion.

Do we not remember a guy named LaMichael James?

The Oregon sophomore leads the nation in rushing yards per game (166) and rushing touchdowns (17). And despite missing the season opener, his 1,331 yards on the ground comprise the second-highest total in the country. If he maintains his averages, he'll conclude the regular season with 1,830 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns, for a No. 1 Oregon team that could very well finish 12-0 and headed for the national championship.

James has scored two or more touchdowns in six of the eight games he's played in this year, and has rushed for 227 yards or more three times. And unofficially, he leads the country in big-play touchdowns replayed on "SportsCenter." I mean, have you seen anyone score on long runs more frequently than James?

Sure Newton has also posted gaudy numbers for a great Auburn team, but James should be getting more consideration. And he just might get it because Oregon's final three games are being played at reasonable hours for east-coast viewers, two of which will be nationally televised.

If you haven't seen James and his Ducks, I suggest you take a look:

+ Sat., Nov. 13: Oregon at California (7:30 p.m. ET, Versus)

+ Fri., Nov. 26: Arizona at Oregon (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

+ Sat., Dec. 4: Oregon at Oregon State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


More Than A Football Field Should Determine Heisman Winner

Picture of Cam Newton

One Great Season

Are you like me? Are you tired of hearing that "the Heisman Trophy is won on the playing field?"

The line was popular a couple months ago when Reggie Bush and his gravy-training family were the talk of the sports world.

The expression has reared its ugly head again the last week or so as Cam Newton and possibly his own gravy-training family now find themselves the talk of this same fickle sports world.

Sure the Heisman Trophy is won on the football field. But there's also a mention of the word "integrity" in the voter guidelines, and while I'm not yet convicting Newton of taking money to play at Auburn, it sure is starting to stink down there.

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Terrelle Pryor: Why He Won't Win The Heisman

Picture Of Terrelle Pryor

One Great Season

Just hours before Terrelle Pryor's Ohio State Buckeyes begin their quest for a national championship Thursday night against Marshall, I've re-evaluated my take on the quarterback's Heisman candidacy.

Pryor, who's somehow spent fall camp going from mere Heisman contender to frontrunner in the eyes of experts, definitely will not win college football's highest honor come December.

During his freshman and sophomore seasons, writers often referred to him as a dual-threat quarterback, but that gave him twice as much credit as he deserved. Just because a quarterback was able to beat you with his feet doesn't make him doubly dangerous. In order to fit that description, he still has to beat you with his arm, and Pryor seldom did that in 2008-09.

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The Heisman Trophy: Which Sophomore Will Win It?

Picture of Dion Lewis

Second-Year Player Could
Earn Coveted Honor Again

One Great Season

Because of the new rule that only a sophomore can win the Heisman Trophy, there are some angry upperclassmen heading into the 2010 college football season.

Obviously that's not a rule, but the last three winners — Tim Tebow in 2007, Sam Bradford in 2008 and Mark Ingram in 2009 — all were second-year players, and there's no reason to think it can't happen again this year.

Certainly Ingram has a chance — maybe two — to repeat the feat, but if he falls short like Tebow and Bradford did, here are a few sophomores who should definitely stay in the mix as long as their health cooperates in 2010:

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Heisman Is Cool, But Stanley Cup Still Best Trophy

Pittsburgh Wins 2009 Stanley Cup

One Great Season

BROOKLYN -- Congratulations to Mark Ingram on becoming Alabama's first-ever Heisman Trophy winner. The talented running back certainly was deserving, and for the third straight year next season, we'll watch a junior try to become only the second repeat winner in the trophy's rich history.

The Heisman is indeed one of the most prestigious trophies in all of sports. But I think I'd rather win a Stanley Cup.

In fact, I think I'd covet both the Stanley Cup and the Masters' Green Jacket ahead of the Heisman. If you're going to leave an annoying comment about how the Green Jacket isn't a trophy, then let's amend our terminology to reflect these symbols of great achievements, like a blue ribbon at the Science Fair.

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I'm more of a hockey fan than most of my friends, but I'm hardly an expert. I already enjoyed slightly more than a casual interest since childhood, but about a decade ago I spent a season covering the sport for The Cincinnati Enquirer and I absolutely loved it.

Hockey is an underappreciated sport played by the toughest athletes in the world. They grind together for eight weeks of playoffs, stink up locker rooms, grow sweaty beards and play four rugged series against competition just as tough. And after sometimes seven games in 10 days against each opponent, they take their helmets off, form a line and politely shake hands with their battered and bloodied rivals.

YOUR THOUGHTS: What's The Best Trophy In Sports?

I'll never forget choking up after watching New Jersey beat Dallas in sudden-death overtime in 2000, trying to hold off tears while telling my girlfriend sitting next to me at the time that that's why I will always watch a Game 7 in the NHL over a Game 7 of the World Series or NBA Finals every time.

The funny thing about it was that the Devils beat the Stars in only six games, but with the atmosphere in the Stanley Cup Finals, the urgency of an overtime goal and the immediate celebration Jason Arnott's score ignited, you couldn't help but feel more drama than maybe there really was. Wait, I take that back. Drama was on full overload in that series. Four of the six games were decided by one goal and in five games the visiting team won. And two nights before New Jersey's double-overtime win in the clinching game six, the Stars stayed alive with a triple-overtime win in game five.

Speaking of drama, five of the last eight Stanley Cup Finals have gone to seven games. In that same span, the NBA Finals has gone the distance just once and the World Series only twice.

I don't know why I got teary-eyed that night in 2000. I didn't really care whether Dallas or New Jersey won the series. But it's just such a spectacle watching those guys grind, and it seems like a far greater release and a much larger accomplishment when a championship is claimed in the NHL than in any other sport. I guess the release can apply to dorky fans as well.

In fact, I had to effort to keep the water-works at bay last June, when Pittsburgh withstood a furious third-period rally and a last-second flurry to escape with the Cup in a 4-3 Game 7 defeat of favored defending champion Detroit.

And what do the winners do with the Cup? They take it on late-night talk shows, parade around their hometowns in Europe or Canada with it. They pour cheap beer in it at bars and each leaves hundreds of admirers every year with a great story to tell that often begins with some variation of: "I drank out of the Stanley Cup one time."

If you win a Green Jacket, it means you play golf for a living and you do it very well. It also means you've won the sport's most coveted major. It might mean, too, that you get to have dozens of extramarital sex romps in fancy hotel suites in far-away cities.

But seriously, just golfing for a living -- regardless of your level of success -- might be better than winning a Heisman. The country-club lifestyle seems good for the heart and for peace of mind. It would be nice to say the 18th green is just a small part of your office. When you're done with your work there, you go grab a nice lunch and a beer with some of your colleagues, then prance around the hotel pool and figure out which local restaurant hostess you'd like to call for an evening of pleasure.

The Heisman is obviously a great individual honor, and the trophy itself is one of the most recognized symbols of greatness in all of sports.

But because a vote and not a game or series of games is what determines its winner, there's always the possibility that politics are involved. Heisman Night is such a formal affair with a bunch of manners and clean shaves and suits. Being voted the best individual player in the best sport in America is among the greatest of honors, but if I had to pick, I'd want the Cup that I can win directly on the field of play, then drink out of as I celebrate it with old friends and new ones alike.


Five Reasons Why Tim Tebow Shouldn't Win The Heisman

Tim Tebow

One Great Season

BROOKLYN -- Tim Tebow is a great quarterback and I feel lucky that I'll be able to tell my step-grandchildren someday that I watched the greatest college football player in the history of the sport.

Sure I held it slightly against him that he played at Florida, which beat up my beloved Buckeyes in the 2006 national championship game, but I don't care so deeply about sports that I end up hating the rivals who triumph over my favorites.

Tebow is regarded by many, including this prestigious Web site, to be the best college football player ever. But despite his stellar four years leading the Gators, Tebow should not win the Heisman Trophy because of the following five reasons:


+ Archbishop Tebow Is Right Man For Notre Dame Job
+ Despite Injury, UC's Pike Has Better Numbers Than Tebow
+ Kentucky Coach Compares Tebow To A Baker
+ Who Do You Hate More: Tebow Or Laettner?
+ Examining The Tim Tebow Non-Troversy

1) The Heisman is not a lifetime achievement award. If there was an honor given out to four-year players for their entire bodies of work, by all means, give it to No. 15 and begin calling it the Tebow Award next year.

2) The Heisman goes to the most outstanding player in college football each season. There are several players who had better individual seasons, three or four or maybe five who meant more to their teams than Tebow meant to his.

3) Ndamukong Suh. Um, was any one player more singularly dominant than the Nebraska defensive lineman? The short answer is no. So is the long answer. This should be a lock. Suh's defensive dominance this season was similar to how prolific of an offensive season Troy Smith had in 2006 and Reggie Bush a year earlier.

4) Toby Gerhart. Gerhart was a dominant offensive player for Stanford this season, bulldozing his way to 1,736 yards and shattering by 600 yards exactly his own single-season rushing record at the school. He also scored 26 touchdowns, many of them of the knee-or-shoulder-to-the-opponent's-face variety. The highlight reels showed many bruising runs by Gerhart, but the kid had decent wheels this season as well.

5) Colt McCoy. I bet he actually wins the dang thing, but he doesn't deserve it. That Big 12 Championship Game was a Heisman Final, of sorts, and we all know who got the best of whom in front of a national audience Saturday night. But if a quarterback gets it, it should be McCoy comfortably ahead of Tebow.


Despite Injury, Pike's Numbers Better Than Tebow's

Tony Pike

One Great Season

WASHINGTON, Pa. -- If it were up to Cy Young voters to determine college football's Heisman Trophy winner, you'd probably see Cincinnati's Tony Pike back on the list.

If there could be such a thing as a popular darkhorse, Pike was it by midseason. He was averaging 10 touchdown passes and 4,000 yards a game it seemed, before missing three full games and parts of two others with an injured forearm. Fortunately for the Bearcats, sophomore backup Zach Collaros filled in so splendidly at quarterback that when Pike was rounding back into form, coach Brian Kelly had an embarrassment of riches at the position for still-unbeaten UC.

And while the injury gave fans in Clifton reason to be excited for next season with Collaros at the helm, the missed time cost Pike a chance to become the school's first Heisman winner.


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Baseball writers gave rising superstar Tim Lincecum his second straight Cy Young Award this month, in one of the more intriguing votes in recent history. Lincecum needed only 15 wins to grab the NL honor, while AL stud Zack Greinke won just 16 games en route to becoming the Kansas City Royals' first such honoree.

Tim Tebow

Obviously, those writers recognized quality over quantity, and while Heisman voters will have a hard time ignoring Texas quarterback Colt McCoy's prolific numbers, Pike boasts the kind of consistent dominance that could possibly earn him at least a few votes if he closes with another stellar effort Saturday in a nationally televised Big East championship game against Pittsburgh. Something to tell the grandchildren.

Despite the limited action, Pike's passing numbers are actually slightly better than those of Florida's Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman in 2007.


+ 162-for-249 passing, 2,048 yards and 23 TDs and 3 INTs.
+ Passer rating of 162.22.
+ He's had two games with 30+ completions, and four games with 300+ yards.


+ 162-of-244 passing, 2,166 yards, 17 TDs and 4 INTs.
+ Passer rating of 160.67
+ He hasn't completed more than 17 passes in a game this season, and hasn't thrown for more than 255 yards.

Certainly Tebow is the most dangerous running quarterback in the country, so he's got a large edge over Pike in that category. But Tebow also has one of the nation's top defenses in his own locker room. Pike's defensive mates aren't nearly as dominant, so he's had to earn his unbeaten record this year more than Tebow has earned his.

I'm not saying Pike is a better quarterback or that he deserves first-place Heisman consideration, but it would be nice for his incredible performance this season to be recognized appropriately.