It’s great to have a new design and new server. Makes sense to start fresh and look back at some of the thoughts we’ve had here over the years.
For those of you who are new to the site, most of the talk here is in regards to the race for the Heisman Trophy. Some people who claim to be fans of college football also claim to have no regard for the Heisman. Usually, this mentality comes from the type of fan who loves to hate, or who has never experienced the thrill of seeing a player from his own team up on that podium come December.
To me, the Heisman is just like college football–imperfect, mythical, traditional, regal and a fertile subject upon which to argue, debate and persuade. It is a never-ending constitutional convention. Just as the game’s most outstanding team is every year left to the whim of often-shallow-minded, unqualified voters, so to is the trophy given to the season’s most outstanding player.
Over the years, we’ve tried to provide a guideline for how to determine the winner of the Heisman. You can read about the Heismandments over on the left sidebar. Using the Heismandments, we were the first to call the race for Matt Leinart in 2004, Reggie Bush in 2005, Troy Smith in 2006 and Tim Tebow in 2007.
Critics of the Heismandments note that Tebow violated one of the tenets yet still won the Heisman. I offer to you in rebuttal that there is an exception to every rule and that Tebow was still the player to whom most of the Heismandments best applied in 2007. I think if you use a political analogy, most would say it is a quite safe assumption in presidential politics that someone with an exotic name like Barack Obama could never win the Oval Office. Even should Obama win in the fall, the efficacy of such a rule would still remain fairly solid, despite the once-in-a-lifetime exception. And like a good politician, I did hedge my bet a bit when explaining Heismanment No. 2, adding in a little caveat:
Whatever the case, the first underclassman to win it would most likely be a physical phenom who played for a national title contending team in an otherwise weak year for Heisman candidates.
While it is true that Florida was not a national title contender last year, Tebow was a physical phenom who had produced a ridiculous season in an otherwise weak year for Heisman candidates. And so he won. Will his trailblazing produce more underclass Heisman winners? Don’t count on it.
So overall we are very happy with how the Heisman has been analyzed here. In general, I will pull no punches and will look at the race as it is, not how it should be.
A couple other areas in which we like to dabble: the debate over which conference is best, scheduling, offensive trends and innovations and the history of the sport.
In 2005, the college football blogosphere came alive with a battle over the effect of the spread offense on the game. This site noted that offenses were moving inexorably in the spread direction and that, for instance, the introduction of Urban Meyer’s scheme to the SEC would change that league forever. This produced quite a bit of guff from many blogs out there, many of them wedded to the notion that SEC football was the be-all and end-all. Many scoffed at the notion that the SEC had any issues on offense and that, indeed, the reason for the rather stodgy performance on that side of the ball was due to the strength of that conference’s defenses. It did not help that I made a rather foolhardy prediction that Boise State would punctuate that schematic gap by beating Georgia in the 2005 opener.
Of course that did not happen. But what has happened since is that 10 of the 12 teams in the SEC have changed their offenses, moving away from the standard I-formation or pro set and towards spreads of various types. As a friend of mine once said, never has an unacknowledged problem been solved quicker than the last couple years, when the SEC decided to transform its offenses and hire better coaches. As a result of these changes, it really is the best league, hands-down, in the country. No other league comes close.
What of scheduling? We believe that there needs to be real scheduling reform in college football. You won’t solve the dissatisfaction with the BCS until this occurs. And no, a playoff is NOT the answer.
It’s going to be a great season. Georgia is leaving the old confederacy to play a game for the first time since 1965. A rising junior is going for a Heisman repeat. Many stodgy, conservative, NFL-centric programs have finally succumbed to exciting college-style schemes. Change is afoot.
Stay tuned. We’re off to the races.