My Saturday was going great...I ran in a 5K for arthritis, and had finished two papers for a class. I got to watch a little college football with my little brother, and even enjoyed 2 hours of American Ninja Warrior on G4 (I love watching grown ups do obstacle courses.) Then, right around 8:45, it promptly took a turn for the worse.
Let me preface this post by saying that I have no problem with Mark Ingram as a person. He went to school near me and I will always root for local boys in almost every situation. I think he is a fine athlete and a good person, his speech at the Heisman acceptance speech was moving and compelling. He had a very good season, and I will be rooting for his team to kill the Longhorns in the national championship.
However, having established this fact, I just cannot rationalize any way in my head that he should be the Heisman trophy winner.
By now Alabama fans who were about to add me to their favorites lists are now doing the dramatic water spit up out all over their computers I’m sure. But please, before you dismiss this post entirely, read on and give me a chance.
I’m of the opinion that the Heisman trophy is exactly what it claims to be, a trophy awarded to the “most outstanding player in football”. Yet, this year, Mark Ingram, who had a fine season, didn’t even win the award for best running back. That award went to Toby Gerhart, who was another Heisman finalist. I don’t understand how on earth a player who was voted the best at his position then loses to that same player in the award that is for “most outstanding player”.
I tried to look at it from different angles. Statistically it is not even close. Gerhart was 1st in rushes (311), rushing yards (1,736), and touchdowns (26). Keep in mind that he played one less game and had far superior stats to Ingram (249, 1542, 15).
My friends have argued that he was more important to his team than Gerhart. I would agree with them if we were only taking the Florida game into account, but I mean, where would Stanford be without Gerhart? Because of this player, Harbaugh is suddenly the top coaching prospect left on the market, they knocked off two top 5 teams in consecutive weeks including the worst beatdown USC has suffered in some time (maybe ever?). In one less game, Gerhart had 62 more rushes than Ingram…isn’t that essentially saying he meant more to that offense than Ingram? Even more telling, Ingram, who had fantastic stats against ranked teams, only had 30 yards on 16 carries against the mighty defense of Auburn, in a rivalry game with the national championship on the line. I just don’t think that is a Heisman worthy performance.
Another side fact that I wish had swayed the voters more was the fact that Gerhart is a senior , and Ingram is a sophomore…he will have his chance to win this award when he has a season that is more deserving. I know that’s a bad reason to want for someone to win it, but as a senior in college now I sort of empathize with Gerhart.
Now, I’m not going to go out on a limb like some other authors on this site have and say that he wasn’t even the best running back in his conference (McCluster is a name that comes to mind as a rival in that dept) or in his region (Spiller) like a certain columnist here has (*cough*Doyle*cough*).
I’m disappointed in the Heisman voters because it feels like they copped out. I know they did the popular thing and put Texas in the championship (which everyone wants to see more than Alabama-TCU, the two teams I think are best in the country) but for them to do that and then give this award to Ingram just feels like they are giving the best player on the best team the award, which I think violates the spirit of the award. I feel cheated. Instead of doing the hard thing and giving it to the player who plays on a less high profile team who legitimately had a better season. I’m all for giving Ingram an award, heck, we could make our own award and call it the Ingram, and make it for the best player on the best team.
Anyway, I’m sorry if I’ve upset you Alabama fans, but I had to get that off my chest. Congratulations again on getting your first Heisman winner, he had a fantastic season worthy of recognition, I just wish it hadn’t been in a year when there was someone who got passed over while having a better one. Good luck in the BCS championship, and for the record, I have you winning 27-13 against the Longhorns.