Saturday, November 24, 2007

heisman trophy winners

Tim Tebow – Touchdown Machine

BY Eli Kaberon

Every season, thousands of arguments between friends occur on the subject of college football. Some quarrel about different teams, others take aim at certain coaching decisions. But no subject in the sport causes more of an uproar than the Heisman Trophy, given annually to the best player in college football. There are several different theories on who is most deserving of winning the Heisman, and since the award's description itself doesn't provide the exact criteria needed to win the statue, it is not always clear who should win.

Some say it should go to the best senior on a good team - kind of like a lifetime achievement award. If that were the case, then this year's winner probably should be Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, who (before a knee injury) led the Ducks to a top ten ranking and accounted for 29 total touchdowns (running and throwing).

Another argument is that the best future pro prospect should win the award. Too many times, as with Jason White and Eric Crouch in recent memory, the award has gone to somebody who hasn't gone on to success in the NFL, or even to any NFL career at all. This, in many people's opinion, tarnishes the award's value. In these people's minds, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden - who has run for over 1,500 yards and is the number one player on Scouts Inc.'s 2008 Draft preview - should be the award winner.

A different theory says that statistics alone should decide the Heisman Trophy. Arguments could then be made for Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree - who has over 1,800 receiving yards and 21 touchdown catches - or LSU defensive tackle Glen Dorsey, who has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks and running backs all season long with 55 tackles and six sacks.

But if the award goes to the best all-around player, regardless of position, age, draft hype or team record, then the only clear choice for the 2007 Heisman Trophy is University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

A year ago, when the Gators were on their way to winning the National Championship, Tebow - then a freshman - was considered an afterthought. When opponents prepared to face Florida, their main focus was shutting down the passing game led by starting QB Chris Leak and receivers Dallas Baker, Andre Caldwell and Jemalle Cornelius. Tebow wasn't completely unknown, but teams understood that Leak was the starter and better passer, and that the only time the freshmen would enter the game was in short-yardage run situations. In fact, he only threw 33 passes all season compared to 89 rushing attempts.

This season, after the graduation of Leak, Tebow became the full-time starting quarterback for the Gators. There were questions about whether he could handle the physical nature of the Southeastern Conference, if he had the arm strength to be successful in coach Urban Meyer's spread offense, and whether the Gators had enough of a running game to allow T-squared (as he is called occasionally by CBS announcer Verne Lundquist) to be successful at quarterback. Despite being a top twenty five recruit and accounting for 121 total (running and throwing) touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons in high school, many people still predicted that Tebow would struggle mightily in conference play and the Gators wouldn't come close to matching last season's success.

While the part about the Gators not doing as well in the standings has been true - UF is 8-3, third in the SEC East - the rumors about Tebow struggling on the field couldn't be further from the real thing. Rather, he has excelled in SEC competition, gaining over 3,500 yards combined running and passing, and participating in an astounding 46 total touchdowns (26 passing, 20 rushing), while committing only six turnovers. That makes him the first player in NCAA history to have twenty or more in each of those categories, and the Gators still have one more game to play. Only four players in the country have more touchdowns scored than Tebow, and only nine have more TD passes. Add to that the fact that the Gators have no other quality runners and they play in the toughest conference in America, and what Tebow has done in 2007 is simply jaw-dropping.

If Florida had a top-flight running back in the backfield with Tebow - as Dixon does at Oregon with Jonathan Stewart - then his statistics might not be as impressive. The argument could then be made that defenses are so focused on the other elite player that they can't contain them both. But the Gators don't have that type of runner. Head coach Urban Meyer called his half-backs "trash" during spring practice, and the number one player on the depth chart (Kestahn Moore) hasn't had more than 12 carries in a game since week two of the season.

So for Tebow to run for 750 yards and 20 touchdowns this season - without a fumble, by the way - is astounding. On third and one in the fourth quarter of a close game, every single person in a stadium knows what is going to happen next. Tim Tebow is going to line up in the shotgun, take the snap, and run behind the left guard or tackle for the first down. He's not going to slide, and he's not going to run out of bounds. Tebow will take every yard he can get, and it is up to the defender to bring down his 6'3", 235-pound body, running at full speed.

And it's not as though Tebow and the Gators are playing in a weak conference where the defenders aren't a challenge. According to CBS Sportsline, Florida has the number one strength of schedule in the country, having already faced six teams that have been ranked in the top fifteen at some point during the season. This includes games at LSU (third in the country in opponents yards allowed) and Auburn (seventh in that category). Against this pair of Tigers, Tebow threw for a combined 359 yards, ran for a total of 142 yards, and accounted for five total touchdowns. And as good as those stats sound, they were probably the two worst games Tebow has played all year. On his best day - say, November 10 at South Carolina - the QB practically owns the scoreboard. Against the Gamecocks, Tebow had a total of 424 yards and seven (yes, seven) touchdowns in a 51-31 Gator win.

Of course there are other candidates for the Heisman. Dixon, before he went down with that season-ending ACL injury, was considered the front-runner. Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel is having an incredible season for the fourth-ranked Tigers, throwing for over 3,600 yards along with 33 touchdown tosses. And Boston College signal-caller Matt Ryan is a combination of all three original arguments, as he is a senior with great pro potential on a surprisingly good team. Unfortunately his tendency to throw costly interceptions has probably turned off too many voters.

Really though, the only choice for the trophy is Tebow. His numbers are so good, they aren't even worth being compared to other current college players. But how about other Heisman winners? Here's how Tebow's numbers stack up against the last three statue-winning quarterbacks. (Remember, Florida still has another game left.)

Tebow (2007): 2,871 passing yards, 749 rushing yards, 26 passing TD, 20 rushing TD, 6 interceptions

Troy Smith (2006): 2,542 passing yards, 204 rushing yards, 30 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, 6 interceptions

Matt Leinart (2004): 3,322 passing yards, -44 rushing yards, 33 passing TD, 3 rushing TD, 6 interceptions

Jason White (2003): 3,846 passing yards, -50 rushing yards, 40 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, 10 interceptions

Obviously, the numbers can't tell the whole story. Smith, Leinart and White all played in the National Title game the year they won the trophy, while Tebow will be lucky if his squad gets invited to the Capital One Bowl. But it is also worth pointing out that Leinart played with fellow Heisman winner Reggie Bush, White had future NFL beast Adrian Peterson to hand the ball off to, and Smith's supporting cast wasn't half bad either. Tebow's best supporting talent is wide receiver Percy Harvin, a fellow sophomore who has been hampered all year by tendonitis in his knee. And Tebow still has more passing yards than Smith, more rushing yards than all three combined, and more total touchdowns than any of the others.

This year, the Heisman Trophy will be awarded on December 8 in New York City. Usually five players are invited, and after an hour of highlight-viewing and interviews, the winner is announced. If the envelope is opened and the winner isn't Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, something is seriously wrong. Because despite his team's lack of success - and lack of a running game - Tebow has put up a monster season, and he deserves the Heisman as his reward. KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas and Missouri first met on the football field in 1891 and have played 115 times since. The rivalry has always been fierce. This time around, it's also important. Really important.

There'll be a sellout crowd of nearly 80,000 frenzied fans Saturday night for the No. 2 Jayhawks and No. 3 Tigers, the biggest game ever played in the second-oldest rivalry in college football.

The victor is the Big 12 North champion and knows a win the following week in the conference title game will likely put it into the national championship game. That would be an achievement neither Kansas nor Missouri has ever come close to.

A trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy announcement may well await whichever quarterback — Missouri's Chase Daniel or Kansas' Todd Reesing — trots away a winner. Neither school has had a Heisman winner.

The Jayhawks and Tigers trace the roots of their feud all the way back to pre-Civil War days on the Western frontier when free state Kansas warred against slave state Missouri and each side piled up atrocities against the other.

These two are so quarrelsome, they can't even agree on the overall series record. Ask a Jayhawk fan, and he'll say Kansas leads 54-52-9. Tiger followers swear it's knotted up at 53-53-9.

When they played their first football game against each other in 1891, monarchies still ruled Europe. The NCAA didn't even exist. Young men have butted heads in Kansas-Missouri games and later marched away to fight in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

So many years and so many games encompassing such a broad swath of American history — and never was so much at stake for players, coaches and fans as there will be at Arrowhead Stadium.

The game being at Arrowhead has also added to the once-in-a-lifetime excitement that's been building for weeks. The schools agreed 11 months ago to bring their game to Arrowhead in '07 and '08 because Kansas City is the epicenter of their historically impassioned rivalry. Between them, Missouri and Kansas have about 90,000 alumni in the metropolitan area.

Now, although Kansas City Chiefs officials don't want to hear it, this has become the biggest game in Arrowhead's history, too. Besides the nearly 80,000 people inside, as many as 15,000-20,000 could be milling about in the parking lot.

"At this point in time," Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young said, "this is the biggest game there ever has been."

Without a doubt, it's the most important football game Kansas (11-0, 7-0 Big 12) ever played. Until now, the Jayhawks' major claim to athletic fame has been the NCAA basketball championship banners that hang in Allen Fieldhouse.

For Missouri (10-1, 6-1), which has never won an NCAA basketball title, it's the most important sporting event of any kind.

"Everybody's going to remember the 2007 Missouri-Kansas game. Forever," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. "This is what you do this for. It's going to be quite a night."

Kansas, not even ranked until after the fifth game, is a 3-point favorite.

The quarterbacks are undersized Texas natives having tremendous seasons in yardage-gobbling spread offenses.

Reesing, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, has amazing quickness, vision and poise. While leading the Jayhawks to their first 11-win season, he's thrown for 2,910 yards and 30 touchdowns and been intercepted only four times.

Daniel, a 6-0 junior, has thrown for 3,590 yards and 30 touchdowns and been intercepted nine times while leading the Tigers to their first 10-win year since 1960.

"I just see two winners," Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. "Everybody has been talking about their height, but you can't really measure the heart. Chase is out there playing hard every week making plays. Todd Reesing is leading his team and making plays. I see similarities. They're both real good quarterbacks."

With such efficient, accurate quarterbacks, both teams have stayed remarkably mistake-free. Kansas leads the nation in turnover margin at plus-21 and is tied for fewest penalties per game at 4.18. Missouri ranks second in the nation in fewest penalty yards per game with just 32.82. Missouri's plus-10 turnover margin is 13th nationally.

Kansas is second in the nation with a 45.8-point scoring average and second nationally with a 14.2-point scoring defense.

Missouri is sixth nationally with a 42-point average and the only school in the country to score at least 30 points in every game.

The Tigers also have a spectacular weapon in Jeremy Maclin, who's broken the NCAA freshman record for all-purpose yards and had a 99-yard kickoff return last week at Kansas State.

"It's a dream come true to play in a game like this," Missouri wide receiver Will Franklin said. "A bowl atmosphere against your rival. There's no better way that you can finish than that. We're ready for it."
Unranked Arkansas stunned top-ranked Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, La., yesterday, further scrambling the national championship race and continuing a season-long pattern of upheaval in college football.

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Matterral Richardson stepped in front of Demetrius Byrd to make the final interception.
The Razorbacks squandered a late lead in regulation and needed three overtimes before seizing a 50-48 victory. When Arkansas cornerback Matterral Richardson intercepted a 2-point conversion pass by L.S.U. quarterback Matt Flynn, the reverberations were felt throughout college football.

"Right now, there's a goal of our football team taken off the board and it's sad," L.S.U. Coach Les Miles said, according to The Associated Press. "Tonight, we'll be sick."

Not only did the victory again rearrange the top of the Bowl Championship Series standings, but it could have an impact on the Michigan coaching search.

It also lifted the Heisman Trophy hopes of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for another. Peyton Hillis added three touchdowns for the Razorbacks, and tailback Felix Jones ran in the decisive 2-point conversion.

Arkansas finished its 8-4 regular season with an exclamation point, bolstering Coach Houston Nutt's chances of retaining his job.

"Hey, we were the best team in the country today," Nutt said, according to The A.P. "To come down here in Baton Rouge and win is huge."

McFadden rushed for 206 yards on 32 carries, often taking direct snaps in Arkansas' Wild Hog formation.

"Certainly, he had a Heisman performance today," Miles said.

Despite all the good vibes in Fayetteville, Ark., the biggest winners of the day were in West Virginia.

The Mountaineers entered the day No. 3 in the B.C.S. standings and could emerge from the weekend ranked in the top two with the winner of tonight's game between Kansas and Missouri. That is, of course, if they can get past Connecticut today.

Yesterday's result also gave renewed life to Ohio State's title hopes. The Buckeyes have a chance to play for the national championship if West Virginia loses in the next two weeks, or if the winner of the Kansas-Missouri contest stumbles in the Big 12 title game.

Arkansas's win, its first victory over a top-ranked opponent since 1981, put L.S.U. alongside Southern California as the second No. 1 squad to lose to an unranked team this season. It was the 12th time this season that a team in the top 5 was defeated by an unranked opponent.

L.S.U. (10-2) has been tempting fate all season. The Tigers' previous defeat came in triple overtime at Kentucky, but they also won hair-raising victories against Florida, Auburn and Alabama that were predicated on daring fourth-down calls by Miles.

Yesterday's loss dashed L.S.U.'s dreams of a national title, but it could ease the path for Miles to take the head coaching job at Michigan. If he talks to the Wolverines about their vacancy, it will no longer be a distraction on a possible title run.

But Miles's chances to land a job he always found attractive did not dull the pain of this loss — especially the way the game ended.

After the Tigers matched Arkansas's touchdown in the third overtime, they could not match the final 2 points. It is mandatory for teams to go for 2-point conversions beginning in the third overtime, and Flynn's throw to the back of the end zone never had a chance.

"It's disappointing, especially after we came back like that to tie the game up," said L.S.U. running back Jacob Hester, who ran for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. "Two losses, both of them being in triple overtime, is something we don't want to happen. But we have to bounce back."

It was surprising that L.S.U. even got there. The Tigers needed a fourth-down conversion with just over a minute left in regulation to force overtime. The Tigers tied the score with 1 minute 1 second remaining when Flynn connected with receiver Demetrius Byrd for the tying 2-yard touchdown. That play came after Flynn's quarterback draw for a touchdown was taken off the board because Arkansas had called a timeout before the snap.

The Tigers had their best chance to win in the first overtime, when Arkansas faced a fourth-and-10 after L.S.U. took a 35-28 lead. But Hillis caught a 13-yard pass from Casey Dick to extend the drive. Three plays later, he caught a 10-yard touchdown pass on third-and-8.

L.S.U.'s fourth-down karma had finally run out. And its chances of playing for the national title, like the chances of so many other top-ranked teams this season, had disappeared.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award (often known simply as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman), named after former college football player and coach John Heisman, is awarded annually to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the U.S. Although not the only award honoring the best player in college football, it is considered the most prestigious individual player honor in American college football. It is awarded in December before the postseason bowl games.

The trophy serves in part as a representation of a collegiate player's chances in professional leagues, such as the NFL (to which many Heisman winners go after their collegiate careers). Most Heisman winners have amazingly high stock, and are considered among the absolute best players available on draft day in any given year. However, winning the Heisman Trophy does not guarantee future success at the NFL level. Only eight members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have won the Heisman,[1] but four winners have also been named Most Valuable Player in a Super Bowl.

The trophy itself is modeled after Ed Smith, a leading player in 1934 for the now defunct New York University football team. The trophy is made out of cast bronze.

1 Selection
1.1 Balloting
1.2 Age
1.3 Position
1.4 West Coast Bias
2 History
3 Winners and runners-up
3.1 Winners by position
3.2 Trophies won by school
4 References
5 External links

[edit] Selection

Official LogoThe prestige in the award stems from a number of factors. Though balloting is open for all football players in all divisions of college football, the winners usually represent Division IA schools. The closest that a player outside of the modern Division I-A came to winning the Heisman is third place. Steve McNair, from Division I-AA Alcorn State, finished third in the voting in 1994. Gordie Lockbaum, from Division I-AA Holy Cross, finished third in the voting in 1987. Archie Griffin of Ohio State is the only player to receive the award twice, winning it as a junior in 1974 and a senior in 1975. (Although Chicago is now a Division III school and Yale and Princeton are now Division I-AA, all three schools were considered major programs at the time their players won the award.) In addition to incredible personal statistics, team achievements play a heavy role in the voting - a typical Heisman winner represents a team that had an outstanding season and was most likely in contention for the national championship at some point in that season.

[edit] Balloting
Balloting for the Heisman is selective. The fifty states of the U.S. are split into six regions, and six regional representatives are selected to appoint voters in their states (the regions include the Far West, the Mid Atlantic, Mid West, North East, South, and South West). Each region has 145 media votes, for a total of 870 votes. In addition, all previous Heisman winners may vote, and one final vote is counted through public balloting. The Heisman ballots contain a 3-2-1 point system, in which each ballot ranks the voter's top three players and awards them three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote. The points are tabulated, and the player with the highest total of points across all ballots wins the Heisman Trophy.

[edit] Age
Further prestige is granted by experience: no freshmen or sophomores have ever won the award, and only a few juniors have held the bronze trophy; the rest have been seniors. While no freshmen or sophomores have ever won the Heisman, several have come close. Angelo Bertelli, Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, Doak Walker, and Herschel Walker all finished in the top three of the Heisman voting as underclassmen before eventually winning the award. Clint Castleberry, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Rex Grossman, Larry Fitzgerald, and Adrian Peterson also received top-three placement as underclassmen, but never won the Heisman. In 2006, Darren McFadden came in second to Troy Smith as a sophomore, and in 2007 he will be the only active college player with top-three Heisman placement as an underclassmen. The first junior to win the award was Doc Blanchard ("Mr. Inside") for Army in 1945.

[edit] Position
Finally, the Heisman is frequently awarded to a running back or a quarterback; very few players have won the trophy playing at a different position. Charles Woodson is the only primarily defensive player to win the award, doing so as a defensive back for the University of Michigan in 1997. No offensive linemen have ever won the award, although guard Tom Brown of Minnesota (who went on to be a defensive linemen in the Canadian Football League) and offensive tackle John Hicks of Ohio State placed second in 1960 and 1973 respectively.

[edit] West Coast Bias
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A number of critics express concern about the unwritten "rules" regarding player position and age, as noted above. But over the years, there has been substantial criticism that the Heisman balloting process has ignored West Coast players. From 1982 (Marcus Allen) to 2002 (Carson Palmer), not a single PAC-10 or other West Coast player won the Heisman Trophy. Of course, three USC players have won the trophy in the early years of the 21st century, but a non-USC player from the West Coast hasn't won since Stanford's Jim Plunkett in 1970.

The "West Coast Bias" discussion usually centers on the idea that East Coast voters don't often see West Coast games, due to television coverage contracts, time zone differences, or cultural interest. At Heisman-projection website, commentator Kari Chisholm notes that the Heisman balloting process itself is designed to be biased:[2]

For Heisman voting purposes, the nation is divided into six regions - each of which get 145 votes. Put another way, each region gets exactly 16.66 percent of the votes. (Every living Heisman winner also gets a vote, but that's a good thing we'll set aside for this discussion.) Unfortunately for the Heisman folks, the regions don't break down nicely into 1/6 of the population each. Instead, three regions (Far West, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic) have more population than that - and three have less (Northeast, South, and Southwest). In fact, the Far West has the greatest population at 21.1% of the country and the Northeast has the least - 11.9%. ... What's South Dakota doing in the Far West anyway? Why aren't South Carolina and Virginia in the South?

[edit] History

Rashaan Salaam's Heisman TrophyThe award was first presented in 1935 by the Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan, New York, a privately owned recreation facility near the site of the former World Trade Center. The first winner, Jay Berwanger, was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles but declined to sign for them. He never played professional football for any team.

The first black player to win the Heisman was Ernie Davis of Syracuse. Tragically, he never played a snap in the NFL, as he was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after winning the award, and died in 1963.

The award ceremony was subsequently hosted by the New York Marriott Marquis, the Yale Club, The Hilton New York and as of 2005 is held at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. The award is presented independently from the annual College Football Awards ceremony (where most other related awards are presented). The Heisman Trophy's new home, the Sports Museum of America, is expected to open in 2008.

The Heisman Trophy is currently manufactured by MTM Recognition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[citation needed]


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