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Latest: Wednesday August 23, 2000 02:46 PM

Head-to-Head
Heisman:
Making the vote more fair

Read both sides, then see what our users thought.
Hack the has-beens

Ricky Williams
Ricky Williams allegedly used his vote last year on a former teammate.Stephen Dunn/Allsport

By Stewart Mandel, CNNSI.com

The Downtown Athletic Club would be well-suited to cut its current electorate -- 922 in 1999 -- by about half.

All those dues-paying club members, those long-since-retired-but-still-on-the-mailing-list sports editors out there will scoff at the thought of some Internet punk telling them what to do with their precious award. It is, after all, their (the DAC's) award, and therefore their tradition to uphold. But, a look at the Heisman Web site shows that one of the six sectional voting representatives is NBC's Don Criqui. Come on. Don Criqui?

The Heisman went long ago from being another date on a New York socialite's calendar to the passion and obsession of millions of college football fans. For the schools of the candidates, there are literally millions of dollars in potential publicity on the line. And yet the winner is at least partially determined by people who watch a handful of games all year.

The easiest way to streamline the voting process would be to take away most votes from -- prepare for sacrilegious statement -- the former winners. Some are still heavily involved with the Heisman. But do you really think Ron Dayne will spend much of his rookie NFL season pondering his ballot? Ricky Williams admitted last year to voting for former Texas teammate Major Applewhite, who didn't crack the top 10.

Consolidate the votes of the club members and former winners. Restrict the media vote to active beat writers and columnists. Let the sport's most important award be decided by people who watch it.

Writers need not apply

Bobby Bowden
Under Trev's plan, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, not his beat writers, would vote for the Heisman. Scott Halleran/Allsport

By Trev Alberts, CNNSI.com

Have you ever seen a golfer standing on the tee box who shanks it so far to the left it almost hits the other guys waiting to tee off? That's how far out of bounds my pal Stewart Mandel is with his viewpoint.

He confirmed my worst fears that people who write about football actually think they know more about football than those who play it. In my opinion, some of the most ridiculous polls you'll ever see come from the Associated Press, where a bunch of Cheeto-eating, Diet Coke-drinking wannabes get to actually determine who's the best football team.

I believe that former winners of the Heisman Trophy, current head coaches and one player representing each team should be allowed to vote. Not a single member of the media. If you're the head coach or a teammate of a candidate, you can't vote for that player.

Let the people who know football vote and it's no longer a publicity contest.

As for my colleague's assertion that current and former players don't pay attention, he has a valid point there. But I promise you that every morning when we were getting taped up, we watched CNN's "College Football Preview" show. You have a respect and admiration for the game, and it doesn't stop when you get off the field.

Believe me, players still pay attention, and maybe with a vote they'll pay even more.

CNN/Sports Illustrated football analyst Trev Alberts and CNNSI.com college football producer Stewart Mandel will debate a different topic each Tuesday during the season.


 
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