It's time for me to endorse my pick for Heisman. And the choice, among the four finalists (Hawaii QB Colt Brennan, Missouri QB Chase Daniel, Arkansas RB Darren McFadden and Florida QB Tim Tebow), is clear.
First off, let me say that, had he remained healthy, Dennis Dixon should have been the Heisman winner. But Dixon didn't, and the Heisman is for college's most outstanding player throughout the season, so a partial season (no matter how impressive) won't do.
Colt Brennan's eye-popping numbers were generated against WAC defenses, which should give everyone pause. And Brennan is a system QB, regardless of what June Jones says, at least as far as the unbelievable statistics go. When a talented signal-caller throws the ball an unearthly number of times, he's going to throw an unearthly number of TDs. It's logic.
The most compelling argument I've heard for Chase Daniel is that Missouri would have been a different team without Daniel. That's true, but the Heisman isn't an MVP award. It goes to the most outstanding player, and something about Daniel just seems to fall short. He's 12th in passer rating nationally, 4th among quarterbacks in his conference and third among the three Heisman contenders. Daniel does fare better on other categories, such as total passing yards, but that's a function of the number of passes he's thrown. His yards per attempt (7.81) are fewer than Brennan's (8.84) and Tebow's (9.88).
So it comes down, perhaps not surprisingly, to the two SEC candidates: McFadden and Tebow.
Is McFadden the "best player" in college football in some abstract way? Maybe. But the numbers don't even single him out as the best running back statistically in Division I-A. Kevin Smith of UCF is first, with 2,448 yards (5.90 ypc), followed by Tulane's Matt Forte (2,127 yards, 5.89 ypc), Ray Rice -- remember him? -- from Rutgers (1,732 yards, 5.02 ypc), and then Darren McFadden (1,725 yards, 5.67 ypc).
Yes, he did it against SEC defenses, which are better than C-USA and Big East defenses. But there's no way to tell what he would do against C-USA and Big East defenses, particularly since he struggled against a Sun Belt defense, when he didn't play those teams' schedules.
But McFadden was also inconsistent. Of his yards, 527 came in two games (321 against South Carolina and 206 against LSU). In other words, almost 31 percent of McFadden's came in 17 percent of his performances. He also rushed for 43 yards against Auburn (2.5 ypc), 61 against Florida International (!) (3.2 ypc) and 88 yards against Mississippi State (3.1 ypc).
Again, this is not to disparage McFadden. After watching him run all over the South Carolina defense, I have tremendous respect for the young man's abilities. If the Falcons somehow managed to draft him, I'd be ecstatic. But the numbers just aren't at the extra level that makes them Heisman-worthy.
While McFadden breaks single-game records -- and against a pitiful S.C. run defense at that -- Tebow breaks single-season records. More than one.
Tim Tebow became the first player in major college history with at least 20 touchdowns passing and rushing in the same season ... He has 20 rushing touchdowns and 26 TD passes.
His 20th on the ground broke the previous SEC single-season record of 19 held by Georgia's Garrison Hearst (1992), Alabama's Shaun Alexander (1999) and LSU's LaBrandon Toefield (2001).
He is the second-rated passer in the nation, second only to Oklahoma's Sam Bradford. And this for a "system" QB who relies on his legs to make plays.
Consistency? Tebow's got it. He threw for fewer than 250 yards four times, less than 230 yards twice and less than 200 yards once. That one time, when he threw for 158 yards against LSU, was the only time Tebow completed less than 58.8 percent of his passes. He never threw more picks than TDs in a game and had at least one running TD and one passing TD in every game. He scored fewer than three times total in only one game -- against Auburn, when he threw for one and rushed for one.
He even looks the part.
You must give awards on full seasons and on the stated criteria. By that standard, Tim Tebow deserves to win the Heisman this year.