Well It's not Thursday like I promised but I did get back for a final post for the week and it comes on FRIDAY!!! Gotta love Friday's.
THE HOT LIST:
1. Heisman Watch: Who should win vs. Who will win
2. Ndamukong Suh: What will his legacy be?
3. Coaching hire at Norte Dame: Can He Succeed?
1. We begin with talk about who should win the Heisman tomorrow night and who I feel will actually take the hardware home...Yes both of these are very different.
Who SHOULD win:
It's clear this season that this season produced a few more solid candidates than in years past when clearly one person was considered the front runner and his to lose. This season provides us with five quality candidates all with outstanding resumes for staking their claim to the award. We have to remember exactly what this award was intended to do...name College Football's most OUTSTANDING player. In years past this award has lost its luster as its has been awarded to the best player playing on the best team. This year I feel that only 2 guys are deserving of the award. They are Toby Gerhart and Ndamukong Suh. Both of these guys have had amazing seasons and when you look at the nuts and bolts of it...these two guys mean more to their teams than a Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, or Mark Ingram. All those guys can be replaced with equal talent and their teams wouldn't lose a stride. I do recall Tim Tebow sitting a game after his concussion and I do believe that Florida still won handily without him. That just shows that really these guys are good but the talent around them makes them outstanding players. Pretty easy to sling the ball around everywhere like Sam Bradford did last season with the talent he had around him...what happened when he didn't....he folded. Suh and Gerhart mean everything to their teams. They are the leaders, the lifeblood, and the identity of the two programs they play for. Think about this: How many games would Stanford or Nebraska win without those guys on their teams? Stanford would be hard press to win 6 games where Nebraska may still lose the same games it did this season, but those margins of loss are likely bigger and does Nebraska beat Oklahoma and come ooo so close to beating Texas this season without Suh. I don't think so. Who should win this years Heisman should go to a player who despite the average talent around him, responded in a manner that would make him the most outstanding player in the country. Traditionally this award has gone on an offensive player so Suh's chances diminish on that note, leaving Toby Gerhart as the player who SHOULD win the Heisman on Saturday.
Who WILL win:
As I've stated before this award has become a reward to the best player playing on the best team by everyone's opinion. That has lead guys like Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Troy Smith to win the award in the last three years. All were the best player playing on the best team at the time they won the award. The last player to actually win the award and not be on the best team (i.e. ranked #1 or #2) was Carson Palmer in 2002. In the last ten years, 7 players won the Heisman that were the best player playing in the national title game (i.e. the best team). Should Leinart, Weinke, Smith, Tebow, White, or Bradford have won the award...arguments can be made that year for each of them, but you still can't deny that they were the best player playing on the best team at the time. I will defend Reggie Bush's Heisman, because he was an unbelievable dynamic player that we had never seen since the days of Charles Woodson, Rashaan Salaam, and Johnny Rogers. Those type of players deserve the Heisman for the plays they can make in a single game, and each of those guys had a signature play that defined their careers when they played College Football. With that said...what does that leaves us for who WILL win this year. Well it only leaves us with two: Mark Ingram and Colt McCoy. If you look at the formula for how people have been voting for the winner the past few seasons, it makes sense to expect to see these guys go 1-2 tomorrow night. They are clearly the 2 best players on the two best teams in the country. Oh it also doesn't hurt that they'll face each other for the national title in January either. With that said I expect to see Mark Ingram named to the 2009 Heisman trophy as clearly the voters showed 2 seasons ago that they weren't afraid to name a sophomore to the award. He clearly has consistently put up the numbers against in the best conference in the country. The competition he faced week in and week out is far above the level that Colt faced only twice all season. If you look at how the country voted last night for the Maxwell Award, which has been a pretty good precursor to who has the early lead in the Heisman votes, that was Colt McCoy. Look I don't think that he's even gotta shot to win after he looked pathetic against Nebraska last weekend, oh that same day we saw Ingram gashed Florida leading his team to a rout in the SEC Championship game. With that said the player who WILL win the Heisman trophy is Mark Ingram from Alabama.
2. I decided I wanted to spend a quick second talking about what I think the legacy of Suh will be when he is finally finished at Nebraska. Last night Suh collected the Outland Trophy and the Bednarik awards last night. This is the first time I can ever remember seeing on lineman win both the Lombardi, Outland, and Bednarik in one season. Clearly he has been a catalyst to the success of this season. He can go out into a bowl game and snag a 10 win season for this program. He has shown the resurgence of this defense and the national impact it will have in future seasons to come. He'll be missed but when we look back on it we will all remember the never ending motor that he played with. We'll remember the unbelievable strength and speed he showed on the field. But I think what I'll remember most of all was how much of a team player he was. No matter how well he played or how much attention from the national media he got, he always talked about the team and how the team could get better. As he said this season, we win as a team we lose as a team. He clearly put team ahead of self which is very humbling in a day and age where showboating is looked at as being cool. He'll likely fall into the legend lineman category that have come of this program and likely will have a long and successful NFL career. I expect that in 20 years we'll be retiring his #93 from Nebraska when he becomes an NFL hall of famer. Congrats again Suh, you have represented Nebraska proud. Thank You for all you have done and will do in the future.
3. Norte Dame announced late last night that Brian Kelly will take over at Norte Dame. The announcement came late after the team's banquet last night where Kelly broke the news to his players. The Coach of the Year in the country now takes over a program struggling to find an identity and get back to national prominence. Can Kelly's system actually win at Norte Dame....my answer is NO. Here's why...traditionally Norte Dame has been more of a running team that predicated itself on the play action pass. Now Norte Dame will likely move to the spread offense and as we've seen with Michigan and a few other programs moving to it, it doesn't just spell success right away. The Cincinnati teams he's coached have had great offenses but their defense has always faltered when they needed them to pull through. That doesn't bode well at a program that has been gashed numerous times on defense. There's no question that in a few years the Irish maybe able to score more points that a few teams, but I don't feel that the Irish faithful wanna see Norte Dame winning games 45-44 as Cincinnati did this season. Its a risky hire, because like Charlie Weis I feel Kelly can recruit talent to Norte Dame but he'll likely settle for below radar kids and try to make them stars. If you gamble too many times like that you'll likely fall flat on your face (i.e. Frank Solich knows all to well about that). I think we'll see him at the helm for about 5 seasons, and when he hasn't gotten them back to the elite again Norte Dame will move once again in another direction. It's a shame it'll be like that, but in this day and age, winning is the only way to keep your job.
Enjoy the weekend, watch the Heisman presentation, and I'll return next Wednesday to do some bowl breakdowns before the bowl season kicks off next Saturday. Till then...Skocz Out!!!