Heisman hindsight (cont.)
Posted: Friday December 7, 2007 11:12AM; Updated: Saturday December 8, 2007 8:56PM
You could make a case for Oklahoma's Josh Heupel (3,392 yards and 20 touchdowns) or Purdue's Drew Brees (3,393 yards, 24 TDs), but Weinke threw for 4,167 yards and 33 touchdowns in a Seminoles offense that still ran the ball an average of 38 times a game. Yes, Weinke was the oldest winner ever at 28, but if we're ripping voters for guys being too young, how can a player be too old?
This is a classic career achievement/age vote. Crouch, a senior who had more than 1,000 yards on the ground and in the air, may have had his Heisman moment with a touchdown catch against Oklahoma, but Grossman, a sophomore, was great week-in and week-out. He had only one game in which he didn't throw for at least 300 yards (290 vs. Florida State) in finishing with 3,896 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 picks.
Palmer easily beat Iowa's Brad Banks by 233 points in what was expected to be a much closer vote. Palmer was more than worthy of the award with 3,942 passing yards (1,369 more than Banks) and 33 touchdowns (seven more than Banks). Palmer backed up voters by beating Banks and the Hawkeyes 38-17 in the Orange Bowl, outdueling the runner-up with 303 passing yards to Banks' 204.
Fitzgerald carried Pitt with a sensational season in which he caught 92 balls for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns -- but he was sophomore. White, who was at the controls of the Sooners offense, passed for 3,846 yards and 40 scores. White turned in a dismal performance vs. K-State in the Big 12 title game, but it wasn't enough to dissuade voters.
The age bias in the '03 voting came back to haunt voters in 2004. White probably would have won had he not taken the award the year before. But even if he had won, White still would have been the wrong Sooner. Peterson, a true freshman, was the nation's best player in '04. He ran for a freshman-record 1,925 yards and 15 touchdowns, but finished second to Leinart, who was the safe pick.
The electric, all-purpose Bush was the sexy pick on the sexy team, but Young was simply out of this world. Bush earned 784 first-place votes to Young's 79 in a landslide victory, but while Bush benefited from a star-studded lineup that included Leinart and backfield-mate LenDale White, the Longhorns' success was largely on Young. Had the voting taken place after the Rose Bowl, the award would have been Young's.
There seems to be a growing number of fans who believe, in retrospect, Arkansas' Darren McFadden would have been the right choice here because Smith seems to be remembered for the debacle in the BCS title game against Florida instead of a stellar senior season. Smith passed for 2,542 yards and 30 touchdowns to win the award by 1,662 points, the second-largest margin of victory ever.
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