Reasonable minds can differ on Heisman winner

Posted at 2:54 pm on 12/11/2015 by Buddy Martin
I guess I’ll be mailing my letter of resignation to the Heisman Trophy committee next week after more than 30 years of voting for the nation’s most outstanding football player.

Sorry, Trevor Matich, I guess I don’t measure up to your standards as a Heisman voter because I wasn’t able to watch every play made by Stanford’s amazing Christian McCaffrey. At least that’s what I heard you say on TV.

It sort of reminded me of the people who try to tell me I shouldn’t talk about the NFL because I never played in it. Or that I can’t talk about war because I never fired a gun in combat.

Most of the people I know who vote for the Heisman are extremely diligent about keeping up to speed on the progress of the best players. But I’m pretty confident that none of them watch much more college football that I do.

My Saturdays usually start with ESPN’s College GameDay at 9 a.m. and last until just before midnight. And on those days or nights when I’m away, I listen to XM radio to and from, and catch up on the games by DVR when possible.

Since I do spend time traveling to and from those games and can’t always see the Cardinal live — and really don’t have time to wade through a dozen games every Sunday or Monday because of something called work — I confess I only saw two of McCaffrey’s full games.

Even though I do watch up to six college games a week — and at least a half-dozen games a year live in stadium press boxes — you said on ESPN that if we didn’t watch every Stanford game, that we should be dropped from the voting list. So I guess I failed you.

Down here, we tend to focus on Southern football mostly, with an eye on the SEC and the ACC. And we don’t get all the tapes shipped to our homes and spend hours poring over schematics and hang times of punts. We read stories and stats and listen to all the experts like you, but we also trust our own instincts and eye tests.

And having said that, I would not be shocked or dismayed if McCaffrey won the Heisman. I could argue for or against him because his numbers are mind-boggling and he’s probably the most exciting player in the game. Although there are some people in South Carolina and Alabama who might call for a federal investigation if that happens.

It’s just a hunch, but despite his late rally as a hip choice, I’m not sure McCaffrey made up enough ground to catch the leader; I would expect that to be Derrick Henry, who has the Alabama brand to bolster his chances.

No, I’m not going to say which three I put for on my Heisman ballot because I’ve never believed in doing that. I’d be just fine if the Heisman was won by McCaffrey. Or Henry — or maybe even Deshaun Watson.

Because here’s the thing: Nobody has ever really been able to define what makes the “most outstanding college football player” — best player on the best team, best player with the best stats, best player with the most impact on his team’s success or whatever.

It’s like trying to argue why rocky road ice cream is better that butter pecan or pistachio.

Yes, I watched highlights of McCaffrey. Yes, I read dozen of stories. Yes, I talked about McCaffrey on my daily radio show with some of the sharpest minds in the college football media. But I guess that’s not good enough.

By the way, I was busy watching football teams like Florida State and Florida, plus football players such as Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette and Derrick Henry and Deshaun Watson. And that’s not even counting Florida Gators stars such as Vernon Hargreaves, Jalen Tabor and Jonathan Bullard.

I hoped you saw all their games, too, Trevor. Or we might have to pull your Heisman card.

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