This has been the most entertaining–and challenging–Heisman race to follow since I first started this site back in 2004.
Making the final call has always been an easy one for me. That was the case in 2004 , in 2005 , in 2006 and in 2007 . I never went into the ceremony unsure of who would win. Sometimes, it was clear weeks in advance.
Not so this season.
I think I know who is going to win, but I’m not 100 percent sure.
The Heisman invariably goes to the player who best symbolizes the season as it was played. He is the player who, when all is said and done, best captured the zeitgeist of a given year.
This season has been, for the most part, about the weekly battles in the Big 12 and the quarterbacks who were at the center of it all. Four Big 12 quarterbacks led the Heismanpundit.com/Orlando Sentinel Heisman Poll at some point in 2008.
This leads me to believe that the winner of the 2008 Heisman will come from the Big 12.
However…it’s not that simple. The main challenger to the Big 12 narrative is one of the greatest players (yes, already) in the history of the sport. He is a larger-than-life figure standing astride the college football world like a colossus. How can I deny his impact?
Then there is the influence of the Heismandments which, frankly, could be in need of some Heismend-ing after this season is over. Usually, the Heismandments would point to Colt McCoy winning the Heisman. In any other year, he’s a no-brainer. But the forces arrayed against him appear to be too powerful for him to overcome. While he is going to get a lot of support in this race, his candidacy likely ended when the Big 12 tiebreaker relegated him to the sidelines while the others got another chance to shine.
That leaves Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford .
I think that if you want to win the Heisman a second time, it had better be a slam dunk. Is it so clear cut that Tebow is the most outstanding player in college football this year and not Bradford or McCoy? A case can be made, for sure, but I don’t think it’s that slam dunk that he needs.
That’s why, in the end, I believe just enough voters will take a step back and keep him from once again making history (until next year, perhaps).
Therefore, I think the Heisman will go to Sam Bradford. He is more than worthy of being called the ‘most outstanding’. He is a third-year player on a traditional power that is about to play for the national title. He has thrown 48 touchdown passes. His school has a rich Heisman history. What’s not to like?
I think that Tebow may well get the most first-place votes, but that Bradford will carry the day based on his overall strength up and down the ballot.
So, my final prediction, which I make without my usual 100% confidence (let’s call it 75%):
1. Sam Bradford
2. Tim Tebow
3. Colt McCoy
4. Graham Harrell
5. Michael Crabtree
6. Shonn Greene
7. Javon Ringer
8. Percy Harvin
9. Andre Smith
10. Max Hall
Get your speech ready, Sam