I got to vote for the Heisman Trophy this season.
It was an honor – something pretty cool for a guy who’s passionate about college football and has watched it for years and years.
So I put a ton of thought into my choice – and that was especially necessary this season with plenty of players who could make a case for the award.
I studied potential candidates, watched as many games as I could and read as much as I could. I argued the merits of candidates with my buddies who watch tons of college football both for a living and a hobby. And I even asked some coaches without a dog in the fight for their opinions (something I used to do all the time when picking all-county and all-met teams as a prep sports reporter).
I struggled with it, sweated it and adjusted my ballot numerous times. But then late Monday morning, just a few hours before my ballot was due, I reminded myself that this was a simple task. Throw out all the hype, the discussions about who “deserves” it and who had a “Heisman Moment,” and just pick the best collegiate player.
Once I thought about it that way, the choice seemed pretty simple. It was a boy named Suh.
Nebraska nose guard Ndamukong Suh was the best player in college football this season. Not just because of what he did against Texas – dominating the game and leading the Cornhuskers to the brink of an upset (which would have thrown the BCS into chaos). It was what he did all season. He changed the way teams played against Nebraska and he changed the way Nebraska played defense (allowing the Cornhuskers to play nickel and dime almost exclusively).
So here’s my official ballot. I only submitted the top three (that’s all the Heisman asks for – top choices receive three points, second choices two points and third choices one point), but I thought I’d put my top five up there because there were some pretty deserving candidates.
1. Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)
2. Toby Gerhart (Stanford)
3. Mark Ingram (Alabama)
4. C.J. Spiller (Clemson)
5. Golden Tate (Notre Dame)