In all the publications I have read, all the newspaper articles that have been written and all the television and radio conversations that have been had this college football season, I have seldom not once heard anything about AJ McCarron being added to the list of Heisman hopefuls.
Shame on the establishment.
When it comes to great Alabama quarterbacks, I know you may have to dig a little deep into the memory bank to find Ken Stabler or Richard Todd or the beloved Joe Willie Namath.
But on a team that has won two national titles and three of the last four, how can you argue with the idea that McCarron has something special that not many have in this game?
He isn’t the gunslinger we want him to be at 6’4” and 214 pounds. He isn’t the media circus that Johnny Manziel is or the complete player NFL scouts hope Marcus Mariota and Teddy Bridgewater is. And no, he is not Mike Shula or Jay Barker, two solid quarterbacks for the school who never made it in the NFL and were never going to.
What McCarron is, however, happens to be a winner. And in this case with his play this season, which has been more than expected, he is a better player than most give him credit. He is better than Gino Torretta. He is better than Troy Smith. He is better than Jason White and I think he is better than Matt Leinart. All four of those quarterbacks have hardware.
According to the Heisman website, the mission of the trophy is
“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country. Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted. All assets of the Trust beyond the expense of maintaining the annual presentation of the Heisman Memorial Trophy are reserved for such charitable causes. The Trustees, who all serve pro bono, are guided by a devotion to college football and are committed to community service and the valued tradition which the Trophy represents.”
It is hard not to see McCarron not living up to those standards on the college level. He is everything that is right and good about this game.
We make a huge deal over stats and wins and signature moments that define a Heisman year. It would seem the voters forget who is on top of the college football standings.
Every year, some “Heisman Hopeful” who is not discussed in the early exit polls makes a case for being considered. I am taking that a step further.
If the Heisman Trophy is supposed to be given to the player who is the best in the sport, then shouldn’t it be given to the best player on the best team in the game?
If that is the case, then how can you leave McCarron off this list?