By Pete Fiutak
The problem with the Heisman vote – especially this year
It’s my annual rant, and I’m going to be proactive this time so there’s no Tuesday morning quarterback on January 13th in case there’s a problem.
It’s fine that college football has its big awards thing now – go ahead and give away the honors for the best receiver, defensive back, running back, etc. after the regular season. But the Heisman is a different animal since it’s the MVP, the MOP, and sometimes, the defining moment in a college football season that trumps even the games themselves. Once you’re a Heisman winner, you’re put in a category of American sports immortals – the word Heisman will appear in the first sentence or two in any winner’s obituary.
Yeah, it’s sort of silly to make such a big deal out of one individual award, but it matters. Out of all the things I get to be a part of doing what I do, being a Heisman voter is one of the honors I love to talk about the most, because it’s the easiest thing the average sports fan relates to.
I understand what I’m asking for just isn’t going to happen, but it would be really nice if we could vote for the greatest individual annual award in sports after the entire season is over and we have all the facts.
I don’t regret voting for Reggie Bush in 2005, but I certainly would’ve voted for Vince Young if I had a do-over after the 2006 Rose Bowl. If I had to do over again, based solely on the regular season, I would’ve voted for Manti Te’o as the signature player of the 2012 regular season, but after the bowl season, I would’ve obviously voted for Johnny Manziel. And now, more than ever, with a four-team playoff and several terrific stars in the equation, the Heisman voting should be done on January 13th.
In today’s day and age of automated voting, it’s simple. The Heisman voting is done the day after the national championship, and the award comes out in a big ceremony a few days later.
This season, Marcus Mariota is going to come up with the landslide of landslides, but what if he wets the bed against Florida State? What if Jameis Winston goes off against the Ducks and is brilliant in the national championship, making the inaugural College Football Playoff his magnum opus? What if Amari Cooper tears up Ohio State and the Rose Bowl winner for 20-something catches for over 300 yards and five scores as he turns out to be the playoff MVP? What if Mariota, Cooper and Winston all stink it up, but Melvin Gordon tears off 300 yards in the Outback Bowl against Auburn?
I’m sure it’ll all turn out fine, and I’m hoping all the stars shine bright in the playoff. I just feel like I voted before the candidates had their final say.
By Pete Fiutak