5 Thoughts - An Open Letter To Heisman Voters
Florida QB Tim Tebow
Florida QB Tim Tebow
Posted Nov 25, 2007

Should Georgia be in the national title picture if it didn't even win its own division? Does the big season from Kansas mean other teams should schedule non-conference cupcakes? These topics, an argument why the Heisman race should be over, and more in the latest 5 Thoughts.

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An Open Letter To Heisman Voters

By Pete Fiutak   

1. Dear Heisman voters,

You're thinking too hard.

I know you’re unable to wrap your arms around the idea of Tim Tebow winning the Heisman. Maybe it’s the sideburns. Maybe it’s that he’s annoyingly peppy. Maybe it’s the three losses. Whatever it is, the discussion appears to still be open, and now you’re thinking that Darren McFadden has been the “most outstanding college football player in the United States for 2007.” Not only are you wrong, but there’s no case whatsoever that can be made for McFadden over Tebow on any level. If you want to argue for Pat White or Chase Daniel on some sort of a MVP level, that's different. It's wrong when it comes to this year's Heisman race, but it's a different sort of debate.

First of all, if you’re not going to vote for Tebow because he’s a sophomore, then relinquish your privilege to someone smarter. We’ll make sure to find something shiny to amuse you, get you a helmet, and cover all the corners in your house with foam so you don’t injure yourself. You’re a silly, silly person.

If you’re voting for McFadden because you think he’s the most talented player, then you’re not voting for the Heisman for the right reason. McFadden is the better pro prospect than Tebow. So is Glenn Dorsey. So is Jake Long. It’s not about who the most talented player is, it’s about who the most outstanding player is in a college football season. At this point, an argument could be made that Tebow isn’t just the most outstanding player in 2007, but history will remember his last 12 games among the greatest ever put together.

So how does McFadden have Tebow beat in the Heisman race this year? I'm looking for anyone to provide one cogent reason why and how No. 5 has been better than No. 15. A monster game against LSU isn't enough.

Tebow set the SEC record with 22 touchdown runs (take a second to think about all the great SEC backs Tebow has passed by) while McFadden finished with 16. Remembering he's a quarterback, Tebow has rushed for 838 yards to McFadden's 1,725. Along with one of the greatest rushing seasons in the history of college football for a quarterback, Tebow was No. 1 in the nation in passing efficiency for a while, and now is No. 2 with 3,132 yards and 29 touchdowns and just six picks. He hasn't thrown more than one interception in a game this year.

Sure, McFadden went nuts on LSU and went ballistic against South Carolina, but where was he against Auburn when he was held to 43 yards? How about the pedestrian 88 yards against Mississippi State? Seven of his 15 touchdown runs came against Florida International, North Texas and Chattanooga, and he has averaged a nice, but not unbelievable, 5.66 yards per carry. While Tebow has lost three games, McFadden has lost four.

Tebow, who has a 3.77 GPA, has been consistently terrific from Western Kentucky on through Florida State with at least one rushing and passing touchdown in every game, two or more rushing touchdowns in seven games, and two or more passing scores in ten games. He’s the first player in the history of college football to run for 20 touchdowns and throw for 20 (read that again and let it sink in for a moment), and it’s not like he did it in Conference USA. He had an all-timer of a season in the SEC while gutting it out through an injured shoulder and now a broken thumb …and the race is supposedly wide open?! (Heavy sigh.)

This is nothing against McFadden. He's one of the greatest talents to ever play college football and he had a phenomenal season. This isn't an anti-Run D.M.C. debate. It’s an argument to hope voters finally recognize one of the greatest performances in the history of the sport. 

Stay handsome,


P.S. No, I didn’t book a room. Why do you ask?

If You Want To See The BCS Blown Up Real Goooood ...

By Pete Fiutak   

2. If you want to see changes made to the current BCS format and want to see the debate really get rolling, get out your Pitt and Oklahoma cheerleader outfits.

Let’s nip this one in the bud right now. No, Georgia doesn’t deserve to be in the national championship discussion and shouldn’t be even be considered. Not now. That dream died, or at least should've, when Kentucky QB Andre Woodson came up short on a two-point conversion attempt in the Wildcats' four overtime loss to Tennessee.

Georgia is one of the hottest teams in the nation and might be, at the moment, the fourth best team in America. If Pitt beats West Virginia and Oklahoma beats Missouri, then theoretically, Ohio State and Georgia, currently third and fourth respectively in the latest BCS rankings, would move up into the top two slots if nothing else radical changes.

The BCS powers-that-be aren't above making changes on the fly, and it needs to quickly throw in an anti-2001 Nebraska and 2003 Oklahoma rule into the mix. If you're not going to have a playoff, then the regular season has to mean everything, and that means you cannot play for the national title if you can't even win your own conference. Double that if you can't even win your own division. If the regular season serves as a playoff, then Tennessee knocked out Georgia by winning the East, just like Colorado should've knocked out Nebraska in 2001 and Kansas State should've booted Oklahoma out of the discussion in 2003.

If you can’t even prove that you’re the best team in your own division, how can you even be considered among the two best teams in the country?

Want to put Georgia in the BCS? Yeah, absolutely. The Dawgs deserve one of the big ten spots. But that’s it.

One Shining Moment (but without the dopey song)

By John Harris

3. With all that coaches do – the time they all spend on the road recruiting, the time spent watching film, the time spent game-planning for the opponent – it sometimes takes just one win to change lives.  Of all the games played and coached, one measly win.  Or, in some cases, one loss.  For the past month, rumor had it that Houston Nutt was as good as gone as the head coach at the University of Arkansas.  Play out the string and the right reverend was going to be clearing out his desk.  Well, what’s a win over the #1 team in the country worth?  A game in which Nutt’s staff clearly outcoached Les Miles and his staff on their way to the memorable 50-48 three overtime victory over LSU in Baton Rouge.  So, what happens now, Arkansas – can you fire a guy after one of the greatest victories in Arkansas history?  It’s not been a fun last year and there’s no excuse for Springdale-gate, but look at the body of work, people.  Pretty solid.  However, in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, this one win could help Nutt keep his job.

Then, think about Les Miles.  With the Michigan job hanging over his head like a dark cloud, he was still LSU’s coach.  LSU fans supported ‘their’ guy, not all of them, mind you (c’mon this is the SEC), but a large section of purple and gold did.  Notice the past tense.  After the game, Miles wouldn’t need a packing company to move his stuff to Ann Arbor; a few thousand would show up at his door to help him pack and leave.  LSU wins and Miles remains on a pedestal.  LSU lost, however, and LSU folks turning against Miles might be the reason The Hat is wearing Maize and Blue next season. 

And, it was all because of one game.  One glorious, unexplainable game.

But Greg Robinson Might Be Pushing The Theory

By Richard Cirminiello

‘Tis the season for turnover in the coaching ranks, a natural and necessary process in a business that’s driven by immediate results now more than ever.  No matter what angle you look from, Bill Callahan at Nebraska, Dennis Franchione at Texas A&M, and Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss had to go.  Too much history.  Too many hurdles to overcome.  More firings are on their way, some of which are no-brainers and others that’ll get questioned for months.  When expectations aren’t being met, canning the head coach is about as popular as benching an underachieving quarterback.  However, the best move by an athletic director can sometimes be the one that’s never made.  This was abundantly evident in Saturday night’s epic showdown for the Big 12 North and a possible spot in the National Championship game between Missouri and Kansas.  Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that both Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel and Kansas’ Mark Mangino had squatter’s rights on college football’s hot seat?  Pinkel couldn’t win in November, and Mangino was never getting over the hump.  While the complaints and the cries for change may have been legitimate, the ADs in Columbia and Lawrence saw something that kept them from pulling the trigger…something that wasn’t available to the rest of us.  The two schools have flourished this season, delivering 11 victories and getting a ton of national attention, both of which will pay dividends when bowl bids are handed out and high school recruits commit.  Patience has certainly paid off for the Tigers and the Jayhawks, a lesson that certain schools should consider following. 

If your favorite whipping boy’s head doesn’t roll in December, keep Missouri and Kansas in mind.  There just might be a good reason he’s coming back to a campus near you for one more year.  And it might be because success is just around the corner.

No Need To Break That Non-Conference Sweat

By Matthew Zemek

. Watching Missouri and Kansas Saturday night, it was impossible to deny the fact that two teams were playing a huge late-season game without having quality resumes, especially out of conference. The Tigers and Jayhawks played a generally entertaining game, but when two top five teams have so few non-conference tests on their schedule (Missouri did play Illinois in a neutral-site game, but other than that, UM and KU played nobody outside of the Big 12), a huge backyard Border War loses some of its luster.
When two teams play for a division title at the end of a long season, I want to know that the division and its member conference have fared well against other upper-division teams across the country. But with Kansas having received no tests before Nov. 24, it was hard to compare the Jawhawks to other teams throughout America. If Kansas were to play an SEC team or a Pac-10 team in a bowl game, it would be difficult to make a prediction for the simple reason that the Big 12 and every other conference usually manage to shield their own member schools from showcase non-conference matchups. This creates a college football equivalent of inbreeding that makes honest evaluations very elusive, if not downright misleading.
Remember when Texas and Ohio State played their home-and-home in 2005 and 2006? Those two games told the nation a great deal about both teams in each of those two seasons. Without that kind of non-conference matchup in 2007, it's small wonder that the chase for the national title is as muddled and confused as it is right now.
College football power brokers--especially athletic directors and coaches--need to be willing to stage significant non-conference games throughout each season. Otherwise, you'll have more Hawaiis, more Kansases, and generally more teams who can stay inside the protective bubble of their conference without facing a stern test from the outside world. This is when altered national title debates can feel like rigged political elections. This is when college football's national championship remains in the realm of the mythical, and becomes cheapened to an even greater degree.
College basketball--in just a few weeks, as a matter of fact--will once again offer the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. College football--ideally, with all its FBS programs--needs to provide a very similar event if the sport wants to crown truly deserving and non-controversial national champions.
Kansas did get exposed on Saturday, but the fact remains that if the Jayhawks had won against Missouri, they still would have had a very thin resume for a national title contender. Beefing up every single non-conference schedule--in all BCS conferences--is something this sport so desperately needs. If an event such as a Pac-10/SEC Challenge will improve the reputation of the sport (and I don't see how it won't), everyone should be jumping at the opportunity to make something happen. Maybe someone will get it right one of these days. Until then, however, we'll see more and more teams threatening to play for the national title despite having done precious little to earn just such a chance.