It took five minutes.
To uncover the best Heisman Trophy candidate.
I’d gone to dinner with Joni and had expressed on Twitter that I missed “sitting down and really grinding the numbers, etc., for my Heisman vote. I didn’t do the lemming thing and follow the talking heads on ESPN. I voted for the player I thought truly deserved it. Of course, most of the time the lemmings won, but I slept well.”
I voted on the Heisman in my old sports writing job before joining Wheelhouse Creative.
Anyway, “Barred in DC” followed my tweet by asking, “Without doing your crunching this year, who would have had your vote?”
I could not answer without doing at least a mini numbers crunch. I pulled up the season NCAA statistics from the season on my phone and scanned for five minutes. Then I replied, “Will Anderson, Jr., LB, Alabama.”
It was easy to uncover Anderson. If you simply do a cursory skim of the NCAA stats, you’ll see. His numbers jump off the computer screen.
The man leads the nation in tackles for loss – by a long shot. His 32.5 are 10.5 more than any other player.
He was the Power 5 leader in sacks with 15.5.
He had 92 tackles, 53 solo.
He simply dominated.
Yet guess who isn’t one of the four Heisman Trophy finalists. Because guess who didn’t do their homework.
It’s mind-boggling how many Heisman voters simply vote off the top of their heads without the simplest investment in research.
My belief was always to look at all positions and try to determine if one was truly dominant, special that season, whether defensive line, linebacker, wideout, quarterback or whatever.
This year – surprise! – three of the four finalists are quarterbacks, although I don’t have a problem with any one in particular.
They just didn’t dominate like Anderson. Look at Alabama QB Bryce Young, Anderson’s teammate and the probable Heisman winner. He helped the Crimson Tide to an SEC championship game title. In pass efficiency, he was No. 4 nationally, two notches below another finalist, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
There is also Pitt QB Kenny Pickett, who too had a good year, surpassing Dan Marino’s school record with 48 TD passes. Yet Young and Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe had more.
Again, all three had nice seasons, but did any separate themselves from the field?
The other finalist, Aidan Hutchinson, a Michigan defensive end, had a terrific season with 14 sacks.
Which is less than Anderson.
There are others that could have been finalists as well. Ole Miss QB Matt Corral had 20 passing TDs and 15 rushing TDs. Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker had five touchdowns against Hutchinson’s Michigan team and was second nationally with 1,646 yards to go with 18 TDs.
Heck, look at Pickett’s teammate at Pitt, Jordan Addison. He had 17 receiving TDS and was sixth in receiving yards per game at 113.8.
All good candidates as finalists.
But there was one player’s stats that, again, jumped off the computer screen. Yet Will Anderson Jr. will not be making the trip to New York for the Heisman ceremonies.
Apparently, taking five minutes to research a vote was asking too much of too many.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.