Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT

Down to the wire

Tebow, McFadden make final case with stellar efforts

Posted: Monday November 26, 2007 3:17PM; Updated: Monday November 26, 2007 3:56PM
Print ThisE-mail ThisFree E-mail AlertsSave ThisMost PopularRSS Aggregators
Heisman contender stats
Player Time Pass Yds TDs INTs Rush Yds TDs
Tebow Sat. 262 3 0 89 2
  Season 3,132 29 6 838 22
Daniel Sat. 361 3 0 6 0
  Season 3,951 33 9 258 3
McFadden Fri. 34 1 0 206 3
  Season 123 4 0 1,725 15
Dixon Sat. DNP
  Season 2,136 20 4 583 3
White Sat. 107 1 1 186 2
  Season 1,498 12 4 1,144 14
MAILBAG
Have questions or feedback? E-mail Gene Menez.
Your name:
Your e-mail address:
Your home town:
Enter your question:
ADVERTISEMENT

After Darren McFadden led Arkansas to a 50-48 triple-overtime victory at No. 1 LSU last Friday, finishing another late-season push for the Heisman Trophy, Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt told CBS, "You better put him up there [in the Heisman discussion]. Somebody better look at this guy. He's the best football player in the country, and his name is not being mentioned."

Nutt's wrong about McFadden's name not being mentioned (it was and has been prominently), but he has a point about giving more consideration to the running Razorback. If McFadden's not the most talented player in college football, he's on the short list. And he has two of the most sublime individual efforts this season (against South Carolina and LSU). But this season he hasn't always played like the most outstanding player (three games with less than 100 yards rushing, two fumbles against Chattanooga).

So do you give the Heisman Trophy to a player who, when he was at his best (which wasn't always the case), was maybe better than anyone else? Or to one of two quarterbacks who were brilliant all year long with not one bad game between the two? There's no right answer since everyone has a different definition of the "most outstanding" college football player. (By the way, colleague Phil Taylor tackles that question in this week's issue of SI.)

With only one week of games remaining, the list has been narrowed to five candidates. Next week, the Watch will unveil its final ballot.

The ballot if the season ended today:

1. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB, Soph.

Last week: 19-of-28 passing, 262 yards, 3 TDs; 13 rushes, 89 yards, 2 TDs in a 45-12 victory over Florida State
Season: 217-of-317 passing, 3,132 yards, 29 TDs, 6 INTs; 194 rushes, 838 yards, 22 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Ho-hum. Another five-touchdown game for this Florida superman. With all of the other Heisman candidates playing well last week, Tebow finished the regular season like a potential Heisman winner should with his fifth five-touchdown game this year. And for good measure, he made a couple highlight-worthy plays (the spinning escape for a 23-yard touchdown and the perfectly thrown 32-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone). Now with ballots in voters' hands, it seems as if the devil's advocates are out in full force, asking whether a sophomore from a three-loss team should be allowed to win. My answer: Yes.
Up next: Regular season complete

2. Chase Daniel, Missouri, QB, Jr.

Last week: 40-of-49 passing, 361 yards, 3 TDs; 7 rushes, 6 yards in a 36-28 victory over No. 2 Kansas
Season: 349-of-495 passing, 3,951 yards, 33 TDs, 9 INTs; 93 rushes, 258 yards, 3 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: After Saturday's win against the undefeated Jayhawks, pundits were awed by Daniel's ability to make plays after buying time with his feet (see: Danario Alexander's touchdown catch). Hello? What have you been watching the last two years? Daniel has been doing that since he was at Southlake (Texas) Carroll High, where he ran virtually the same no-huddle spread offense. (Another pet peeve of mine is that people still call him Chase Daniels. Argh.) Now, for the second straight week, Daniel is playing with a championship game berth and some Heisman votes on the line. Can he can catch Tebow with a victory over the Sooners? Give me a week to think about it.
Up next: Saturday vs. No. 9 Oklahoma

3. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB, Jr.

Last week: 32 rushes, 206 yards, 3 TDs; 3-of-6 passing, 34 yards, 1 TD; 3 kickoff returns, 49 yards in a 50-48 triple overtime victory at No. 1 LSU
Season: 304 rushes, 1,725 yards, 15 TDs; 6-of-11 passing, 123 yards, 4 TDs; 21 receptions, 164 yards, 1 TD; 15 kickoff returns, 283 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Apparently pigs do fly, as McFadden's A-plus, four-touchdown effort on Friday illustrated. He did it all, ripping the LSU defense for 16- and 73-yard touchdown runs, as well as finding Peyton Hillis for a 24-yard touchdown pass. He was terrific, but let's give the performance some perspective. He fumbled three times in his first 10 touches, losing the ball once (on the opening kickoff, leading to a Tigers field goal). And remember that this LSU defense hasn't been the same nasty unit of late, giving up 201 rushing yards the previous week to Mississippi.
Up next: Regular season complete

4. Dennis Dixon, Oregon, QB, Sr.

Last week: Did not play in a 16-0 loss at UCLA
Season: 172-of-254 passing, 2,136 yards, 20 TDs, 4 INTs; 105 rushes, 583 yards, 9 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: It seems unthinkable, but Dixon has a better Heisman résumé now than he did two weeks ago when he was lost for the season with the knee injury. The evidence? The Ducks' once-potent offense has simply crashed without the dual-threat Dixon, culminating in Saturday's shutout at the hands of 5-5 UCLA. I would have no problem with anyone having the Spaldings to vote Dixon No. 1 on his ballot. The question with Dixon, however, is quality vs. quantity. He was brilliant in the 10 games he played and near the top of this list when he went out. But did he play enough games to satisfy enough voters?
Up next: Out for the season

5. Pat White, West Virginia, QB, Jr.

Last week: 9-of-13 passing, 107 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 16 rushes, 186 yards, 2 TDs in a 66-21 victory over No. 20 Connecticut
Season: 129-of-187 passing, 1,498 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs; 163 rushes, 1,144 yards, 14 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: No quarterback (and very few college players, period) is as dangerous in the open field as White, whose fleet feet gashed the Huskies for 186 yards. His slalomly 24-yard touchdown run on third-and-15 was typical White, but he showed another side to him when he buried cornerback Robert McClain with a nasty stiff-arm. If the Mountaineers' passing attack could only stay in the same area code with its explosive running game (White threw a bad interception near the goal line at the end of the third quarter), White would be near the top of this list.
Up next: Saturday vs. Pittsburgh

Search