Tonight, we will learn who has won "the most prestigious award in college football," the Heisman Trophy. The finalists the 2009 season are Toby Gerhart, Mark Ingram, Colt McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, and previous winer Tim Tebow.
At this point, there doesn't appear to be a clear leader for the award, although Gerhart and Ingram seem to be battling it out for the top position.
Fortunately for you, I do have an opinion about who I think should win the award, and I will share my thoughts with you today.
Let's discuss the top candidates:
Colt McCoy: The Texas QB had pretty impressive number overall for the season, but unfortunately not even the best of his career. For 2009, he had 27 TD's and 12 Int's with a passer rating of 147.46. In 2008, those numbers were 34, 8, and 173.75, respectively. If he wasn't good enough to get it last year, he's still not good enough this year.
Note: I will still be pulling for him to have a career game in January, though.
Mark Ingram: Again, we have a candidate with very strong numbers on the year. Running the ball, he amassed 1542 yards on 249 carries. He also plays in what is generally considered to be the premier conference in the country, however the competition this year wasn't quite what we've become accustomed to in the SEC. His 18 total touchdowns for the year are quite remarkable, but I feel they are more a product of the system he runs. His statistics most likely could have just as easily been produced by his backup Trent Richardson if given the same opportunity.
Ndamukong Suh: Being the only defensive candidate in the group (and the first in a while), it is a bit difficult to compare him to the other candidates since his play on the field doesn't ultimately put points on the scoreboard. However, he may be drafted higher than any of the other players in the upcoming NFL draft. Although, he is a dominant force on the field and his individual presence forces offensive coordinators to make constant adjustments, his numbers still aren't quite what needs to be seen for a defensive player to win the award.
Tim Tebow: While easily possessing the best body of work for a career among all the candidates, the Florida quarterback may ultimately fall behind because of his less than "Tebow-esque" performance in the SEC conference game last week. His numbers for the year also aren't quite what we all expected to see from one of college football's greats in his Senior year. Statistically, he is somewhat similar to Colt McCoy in that both players had better numbers last year and still fell short in the final Heisman vote count. His selling point remains, however, that he is still able to make plays at the quarterback position that no other quarterbacks in the country even contemplate.
Toby Gerhart: The Stanford running back proves to be a strong candidate as he leads the entire country in both rushing yards and touchdowns for the 2009 season. While his numbers may have been put up primarily against less than noteworthy Pac-10 defenses, he still did it with a Stanford offensive line blocking for him. Since when has a school more known for its academics been able to claim a player who turns out 1,736 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns? In this aspect, he also possesses the same quality as Tim Tebow in that he is able to make plays that not many other running backs could do in the same situation.
Conclusion: If I had a vote, it would ultimately come down to Tim Tebow and Toby Gerhart due to their abitlities to make the unique and special plays that I mentioned above. When I get this far, I am somewhat conflicted, though. Gerhart was pivotal in leading his team to an 8-4 record with victories over Notre Dame, USC, Oregon, and Washington. This was also Stanford's first winning season in maybe... forever! Tebow also led a team that probably wouldn't have been nearly as good without his presence. However, Florida most likely still could have put out about 10 wins at the end of the regular season without their star. That is why, if I did have a Heisman vote, I would have to check the box next to Toby Gerhart's name. In my opinion, he in undoubtedly the best running back in the country. The main factor going against him is that he performed without all the media adoration that players like McCoy, Tebow, and Ingram received all year long. Hopefully, the Heisman voters can see past this in the end.