Making The Call

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 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

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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21 Responses to Making The Call

  1. Derrich December 10, 2008 at 5:07 pm #

    So easy, a Bradford can do it… *sigh* I hope you’re wrong.

  2. tracie December 10, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Sam Bradford is so far ahead of McCoy in almost every category that this should be a no-brainer. Bradford should win it. How could he not?

    But, McCoy will, even though it makes no sense. Compare his stats to Bradford and it is obvious McCoy doesn’t deserve it. It isn’t even close.

    Harrell didn’t lose it. OU’s steamrolling of Tech lost it for Harrell. He has had a great year. He won the Unitas Award. Academic All-American. Great year and great career for Harrell.

    Tebow? Not a chance because it is already decided: Undeserving McCoy wins. I promise.

  3. goldenGod December 10, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    It’s funny you sya that Sma Bradford represents the season most.. yet Tebow is the only Heisman candidate that has really been there all season. He was the favoritee in the beginning.. and he was the favorite at the end after his performance.

    IF Tebow loses I feel it will be because people put to much value on the beginning of the season rather than the end and made up their minds too early AND many people appear to be leaving Tebow off their ballot intentionally as a backlash to his popularity to help their guy win, which is wrong.

    It is also strange how people are basing their votes on stats.. but only offensive stats. They aren’t factoring into their votes the defenses in which these players got their stats, which were horrible. Also, if people had done this last season Colt Brennan should have won the Heisman based on his stats.. And I believe Sam Bradford will suffer the same fate as Colt Brennan when he finally faced an SEC defense as well.

  4. Daniel December 10, 2008 at 5:40 pm #

    Just to correct you goldenGod, OU has faced 2 top 20 defenses this year. They beat the #2 defense this year, TCU. 21 points in the first quarter, WHAM

    If you want to argue they got their stats vs horrible defenses, Bradford missed 2 full games this year because he was pulled in the 2nd half.

    Don’t believe me? OU has scored on average about 4 points in the 4th quarter all year. In fact, up until the Big 12 championship game, OU had been OUTSCORED in the 4th quarter.

  5. eric manry December 10, 2008 at 5:57 pm #

    I hope you’re wrong. All three are great but McCoy threw for almost 78%, was the teams leading rusher; with no Harvin or Murray or Grisham and so on and so on………..

    Never seen a kid as in the zone for a full season doing more with less……

    Damn shame because he would have won if the Big 12 would have used every other conferences tie breaker rules!

    McCoy is the best player hands down!

  6. goldenGod December 10, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    Yes, but not only are the Big12 QBs helped by the fact they play horrible defenses.. they are also helped by the fact they HAVE horrible defenses. Tebow was last season, too. Tebow lost many many scoring opportunities because his defense would force turnovers and score or put thm into position to score. Same with Tebow’s special teams. But that doesn’t change the fact Tebow was the best player this season.

    So you will probably say “then Bradford deserves it this season like Tebow last season” when Tebow won because he had no defense and had to do all the scoring himself.

    But I don’t think Tebow deserved the Heisman because of stats last season.. at least not obvious stats. Stats DO tell the real story.. but it’s not always the surface stats that tell the real story.

    That was just how it happened to workout for Tebow last season. Usually it doesn’t work out that way. Usually the best player doesn’t have the best surface stats. Like this season.. Tebow has been the best player this season too.. but opposing defenses are much more focused on stopping Tebow this season.. because they know the Gators supporting cast isn’t likely to beat them without Tebow carrying them. That changed when Tebow’s teammates finally stepped up after the Ole Miss game. And you have seen how dominant the Gaotr shave when his teammates stepped uo and took advantage of the oppotunities Tebow creates for them.. No player makes the players around them better than Tebow for this reason. Greta players make the players around them look great.. not just by their leadership. But by the scoring/offensive opportunities they create. Tebow’s combined ability to run and pass makes his team and teaammtes exponentially better.

  7. tinytim December 10, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    I sure hope you are wrong in your prediction…I can’t imagine why anyone would think of giving the heisman to anyone but Tebow. The award should go to the best college football player in the country right? Tebow is one of the top five college football players of all time, how could he not be the top player this year?

    Everyone talks about the gaudy stats that the Big 12 QB’s put up this year, but check out the stats for the last five years. There are always Big 12 QB’s putting up outrageous passing yards and statistics because they don’t play defense. The stats of C. McCoy and S. Bradford are very impressive until you look at the defenses that they faced. Five of the defenses that Tim Tebow faced were ranked in the top 20 and teams spent all year studying film on how to stop him. But stop him they could not…..and how can we fail to mention the “Heisman Moment”. Yes….every heisman winner has their special moment that secures their legacy in the annals of CFB history. Last year it was TT’s 7 TD performance against SC. This year it was “The Speech” following the Ole Miss loss. He has carried this team on his back since that loss…raising the level of play of his teamates and he has put up extremely impressive stats against top notch SEC defenses. Then there was the SEC championship game against Alabama when TT led his team on a 4th quarter performance for the ages while Sam Bradford led his team against some high schoolers masquerading as a defense from Missouri.

    There it is I’ve said enough — TT becomes the second person to win two straight!

  8. eric manry December 10, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    The SEC has higher ranked defences because 80% of the teams have no offence. Run, run, run, punt…..and again……..

  9. Daniel December 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm #

    your Teblow hardon is showing kids. “he’s the top 5 of all time, how can he not be #1 this year?” Continue to discount the remarkable things Bradford has accomplished this year, and then enjoy a nice piece of humble pie come Saturday night. I hope Bradford’s left thumb is ok to lift that 35lb trophy

  10. money December 11, 2008 at 1:25 am #

    bradford and tebow benefit from the systems and talent surrounded by them. however, they’ve BOTH performed under the spotlight remarkably. don’t act like one is the CORRECT choice. you can easily make a case for either.

    “your tebow hardon is showing kids?”….ok. so you bet against the gators and got burned? hahahaha.

    obviously you wanna fuck bradford in his ass. nice.

  11. George December 11, 2008 at 1:51 am #

    Luckily the Heisman voting is comprised of over 900 votes across all the regions of the country. So the winner is a true representative of the whole country rather than all the SEC fan boys who love Tebow and the Big 12 fan boys who love McCoy and Bradford.

    I love the psychology of ignoring what you don’t like and focusing only on your own guy. That is normal for humans though, not unique to this. The good news is that the votes are cast and the decision is done. We find out in two and a half days.

    My prediction agrees with the HP. I think it will be Bradford in a very close race with Tebow second and McCoy third.

    If you feel otherwise, I respect your opinion and will even offer to bet you money on the outcome. You take any of the three and give me 2-1. I’ll take all the action you can give.

  12. Jerry December 11, 2008 at 5:02 am #

    The 2008 Tebow “Heisman Moment” was a speech that exemplifies why Tebow should not be considered the best player of this year and definitely not one of the greatest of all time (at least in a “team sport”:

    “You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season and you’ll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season, and you’ll never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season.”

    We should probably add (from the Associated Press):

    “Tebow fumbled on Florida’s second possession of the third quarter… (lead to a tying touchdown)

    Tebow was sacked three times, all the result of holding the ball too long in the pocket. He also overthrew four receivers deep, including two on consecutive plays on the final drive.

    Maybe even more glaring was his final run. Trailing 31-30 with about 40 seconds to play and facing fourth down and about 2 feet at the Ole Miss 32, the Gators called on Tebow to pick up the first down. Just about everyone at The Swamp — all 90,106 in attendance — knew Tebow was getting the ball. It was exactly what he wanted, too.

    But he got hit in the backfield and never even got back to the line of scrimmage.

    ‘I thought we’d get it,’ Tebow said. ‘I thought I’d will myself to the first down. We just didn’t do it.'”

    If he had gotten it- it would have been his will – but he did not get it so notice – “We just didn’t do it”. What an ego – I wondered why Tebow called his own number from the one yard line so many times instead of giving some glory to his teammates.

    Tebow needs to stop watching ESPN – or more importantly stop believing that ESPN is an objective sports news source. It is entertainment! It is the Sports version of the Rush Limbaugh show from the lates 80 and early 90s or the Howard Stern Show – “shock and awe” just to create controversy to talk about.

    Of course I could be wrong and Tebow could just “will himself” to the Heisman – who needs the “team” of voters anyway.

  13. eric manry December 11, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    Heisman order will be:


  14. dax December 11, 2008 at 4:04 pm #


  15. Jerry December 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    45-35, 39-33 oh and 65-21

    Next time Mac Brown might want to complain about rules before the season and not agree to them and then complain.

    Big 12 should just follow suit with the ACC’s or maybe the Big East’s tie breakers from now on. That would put his whole thing to rest!

  16. Daniel December 11, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

    Just don’t lose, that will put it to rest

  17. Pat December 12, 2008 at 9:47 pm #

    Hey Derrich, I agree McCoy should win it but I disagree qith your reasoning. Yes Bradford had better stats but he had a bunch of great receivers and a good RB to help him out. McCoy had at best one good WR and no RB. He led the team in rushing and if it wasnt for the retarded tie break rules in the big 12 we wouldnt even be discusing this. Texas would have whipped Mizzou and be going to the BCS. McCoy will win because he was the ( Most valuable ) player on his team and thats what the heisman is all about.

  18. john December 13, 2008 at 12:02 am #

    Tim Tebow has faced five top 20 defenses.

    Sam Bradford has faced one — ONE! — defense ranked in the top 20. The only team the Sooners have faced with a defense ranked in the top 20 was Texas Christian, which doesn’t even play in the Big 12. The next best defense the Sooners faced this season, according to the national rankings, was Cincinnati’s (No.24). Cincinnati plays in the Big East.

    As for Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, the best defense he faced this season was Oklahoma’s (No.66).

    By comparision, Tebow and Florida defeated five of the top 20 defenses nationally and 10 of the top 50 defenses.

    While Tebow was facing some of the best defenses in the country, McCoy and Bradford coasted to the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Tebow faced just one defense ranked 70th or worse (No.72 Arkansas). Bradford played eight defenses this season ranked 70th or worse nationally. McCoy and Texas feasted off of 10 defenses ranked 70th or worse nationally.

    Top 10 Defenses Faced
    Tim Tebow 2
    Sam Bradford 1
    Colt McCoy 0

    Top 20 Defenses Faced
    Tim Tebow 5
    Sam Bradford 1
    Colt McCoy 0

    Top 50 Defenses Faced
    Tim Tebow 10
    Sam Bradford 3
    Colt McCoy 0

    Defenses Ranked Worse than No. 70
    Tim Tebow 1
    Sam Bradford 8
    Colt McCoy 10


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