Thursday, December 10, 2009

Heisman Watch: Although the Competition is Fierce, Vote for Ingram


Oh, the most joyous of days is quickly looming, and a moment doesn’t pass without college football lords discussing the next athlete worthy of the stiff-armed statue. The Heisman race is so intense, occupying the average person’s heart with suspense of which candidate is worthy of hoisting the most special prize in all of sports.

In recent memory—since writing on The Watch —no race has been viewed as tight and tense as the one we have this year. But when several players transcend the culture of college football over the course of a 12-game season, the Heisman presentation becomes must-see television.

What we do know is, that someone will accept the Heisman inside the Radio City Music Hall in New York. If most are unsure of the most deserving athlete, allow me to share my vote on which candidate should be hoisting the Heisman come this weekend.

Rarely, the game worships a tailback as explosive and fiery as Alabama's Mark Ingram. He gets my vote. End of discussion. However last year, at this time, we had spoken prematurely.


I myself even spoke too soon, forecasting that Florida’s Tim Tebow would obtain the honors. In two days, someone’s name inside the envelope could stun us all on Saturday evening. But the truth is, the Southern Eastern Conference had the studs of the year, unless you’re delusional or dislike an abysmal conference.

Armed with tremendous speed, Ingram is excluded from the Heisman picture. Let’s not be cynical by refusing to acknowledge Ingram’s consistency, which helped bolster the offense of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Come on, he’s an essential part on why they maintained leverage and were potent in the SEC Championship Game, a game in which Ingram had a usual performance, accounting for 175 yards and three touchdowns in a 32-13 demolition of Florida.

From there, of course, the Tide reformed into a perennial contender, with the star running back contributing throughout the course of the season. He exemplifies greatness and he has improved mightily from last year, when the Tide finished just shy of a national title appearance.


But this year they have reached the National Championship Game, thanks in large part to the contributions of Ingram. With such a menacing ground attack, the Tide prevailed to reach new heights. I wonder how much of a difference it would’ve been for the Tide if Ingram didn’t post career numbers, which included 1,500 plus yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.

But trust me, he wouldn’t be among the nominees.

There is, believe it or not, high regarded stars and future NFL prospects, all eligible to take home the stiff-arm statue. Because most have given the spotlight to Tebow, he’s favorable to pull off the historic win. In a four year span, he has been invited three consecutive times. No other player has ever been invited three times in a row.

Tebow almost came close to winning it twice, and he try again to become the second player in history, in the company of Archie Griffin, to win the illustrious award twice. His religious beliefs, charitable work, and refusal to leave the campus behind in Gainesville was all it took for the Gators to have large crowds and for Tebow to be cherished.

Despite losing his final game as a Gator, he still can account for a myriad of votes. The passion and intensity Tebow brings to the field are traces of etiquette, in which his inspirational leadership defines sportsmanship. As a result, his unselfishness almost led Florida to its third national title in four years.

However, for the first time in a long time, the Gators finally lost a game. They had won 22 straight ever since his emotionally speech when he apologized for the disappointing loss to Ole Miss.

Although Tebow has won it once, he can win it again. Logic is, a tailback is likely to win, unless Texas’ Colt McCoy is called. However, the typical Longhorns fan residing in Austin still misses Vince Young, the explosive quarterback who led the Longhorns to a stunning and electrifying victory over USC in the 2005 title game.

Never losing out much, coach Mack Brown specializes in grooming quarterbacks within an effective shotgun format. Within the last two seasons, McCoy has conducted the Longhorns, who have been one of the top teams in the nation.


Mind you, it’s not his impressive pass on the shore of Lake Whitney, where he connected with roommate and top receiver Jordan Shipley, who sat on the rear of a boat along with Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones and caught an accurate throw from McCoy. But McCoy has thrown for 3,512 yards, completed more than 70 percent of his passes, and is the team’s second best rusher.

On the downside, he struggled in the first half of the season. Remember, he barely survived arch-rivals Oklahoma and almost stumbled against Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game. When a team suddenly breaks down a bit, automatically you assume McCoy is not worthy of winning the Heisman.

Judging by his last game, the numbers have plunged and even though the senior was only a runner-up a year ago, 12 interceptions may not be innocuous if other talented names had more of a consistent year. I’m sure most have forgotten or plain just doesn’t care.


Either way, being aware of a sleeper is always a good practice. I have Stanford’s prolific tailback Toby Gerhart as a sleeper, though I don’t believe he’ll win. Described as a “warrior” by Stanford’s head coach Jim Harbaugh, Gerhart could be mistaken for a bulldozing linebacker weighing in at 235 pounds. Wow. Has he ever considered wrestling?

But his motions tell us different, ranking second in the nation in rushing and first in scoring touchdowns. In the last four games, he averaged 29 carries and 185.5 yards per game.

On the other hand, defense does win games. So shouldn’t defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska win?

But back to Ingram.

There’s no player in the nation as gifted or who is a better offensive weapon in the game. There’s no player as dominant as Ingram. For the gamblers betting on the outcome, the best advice I could give them is bet on the quickest tailback in the nation. There’s no doubt in my mind. He gets my vote.

Yes, assumptions are the platform of all insightful notions. And indeed, it seemingly is nothing wrong with giving a prediction on your Heisman winner.

America—Vote 4 Ingram!