Don’t look now, but Air Force senior running back Cody Getz is currently the nation’s leading rusher. Getz has ripped off back-to-back 200-yard games (three total this season), and he’s averaging almost eight yards per carry. His 177 yards-per-game puts him on pace to have 2,124 yards by the time the Heisman vote is due. Getz ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan, so it’s not like he hasn’t proven himself against high-level competition.
So, why aren’t more voters considering Getz for the Heisman?
“His team is just not that good,” said one voter whom I talked to. “I think if you put another elite running back in that system, he’d run for over 2,000 yards and Air Force would still struggle to get into the Top 25.”
What would it take for this voter to put Getz third on his ballot?
“He’d have to have, like, 2,700 yards,” said the voter. “We’ve just had too many cases where guys piled up numbers against bad competition.”
Of course, this mentality regarding players from the service academies didn’t used to hold sway with Heisman voters.Army has three winners and three runners-up. Navy had two winners in the span of four seasons in the early 1960s. As late as 1989, we saw Air Force quarterback Dee Dowis get invited to New York as a finalist (he couldn’t go because he had a game to play). But the last service academy player to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman vote was Air Force quarterback Beau Morgan, who placed 10th in 1996.
If Getz can crack the top 10, that’d be quite an accomplishment, given recent history.