Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tebow Heisman Watch: He Will NOT Win

Tim Tebow will not win the 2009 Heisman Trophy.

It might be the most unpredictable voting in years -- maybe ever -- but Tebow is not a part of that drama.

In fact, let's be honest: Given Tebow's projected finish -- a distant 5th -- it is fair to say that if the 5th-place candidate was not named "Tebow," he would not have been invited to New York.

That, by the way, is as much of a testament to Tebow's clout and legacy in college football as anything: He is so important that they make Heisman-sized exceptions, just for him.

(Consider that he is only the third-time finalist in Heisman history, and the first since Herschel Walker from 1980-1982 -- one more reason Tebow is on college football's Mount Rushmore.)

For some people, maybe that makes them more fatigued with Tebow than they already are. But it's not like they are giving him the award itself this year.

I will consider it some voters giving Tebow a nod for his contribution to the sport, this season and this decade. Colt McCoy is in the room for the same reason.

While he has had a largely ceremonial place in the balloting since last weekend, the focus of the Heisman race, appropriately, has not been on Tebow.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have a deserving place in the finalist field.

When we look back to the summer, the Heisman race was going to be one more of the compelling things happening around Tebow this season that made him the most fascinating person in sports in 2009. It's part of the legacy: Awards. Tebow is arguably the most decorated college football player of all time. That made this final Heisman campaign a big deal.

That said: I had projected Tebow not to win the Heisman this season -- even when it was assumed to be a three-player race with McCoy and Sam Bradford.

My reasoning: Voters would want to go with the "guy who hadn't won it yet" -- McCoy. And even as Tebow remained near the top of the straw polls all season long, it seemed like the award was McCoy's to win. (Making McCoy's projected 4th-place finish all the more remarkable.)

Mark Ingram was not a preseason contender. Toby Gerhart wasn't. Ndamukong Suh certainly wasn't. Their projected 1-2-3 finish is a testament to the fact that the games matter, performances matter.

We knew that in 2007, when Tebow won his Heisman. We knew that in 2008, when Tebow earned more 1st-place votes than any other candidate.

And we know that in 2009, when Tebow is honored as a Heisman finalist -- higher than all but a handful of candidates, but falling a couple of spots short, mirroring the way the Gators finished the season.


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  2. How would Tebow's legacy change if he'd had his seasons in a different order? For example, what if he'd had his 2009 season as a Sophomore, 2007 as a Junior, and 2008 as a Senior?