The Heisman Trophy voting that will be unveiled Saturday evening in New York City is about more than who has been the most outstanding player in college football in 2010.
It could reveal something about human nature, and the climate surrounding college football, most notably swirling around Cam Newton and Auburn University.
Newton not only fits the criteria as the runaway Heisman winner, but as the most controversial player to set foot on any field.
How the scrutiny that cross-haired him about a month ago affects the voting could help define the current culture, and we can take comfort that Cecil Newton doesn’t have a vote for sale.
It’s Newton’s honor. He has earned it, as just about anyone with access to a television set in this part of the country already is aware. There undoubtedly are voters elsewhere, especially on the West Coast, who have seen more of Andrew Luck, Kellen Moore and LaMichael James and would like to stake varied claims, but theirs are vacant shares.
Luck, Moore and James merely will serve to divide the Far West vote, while Newton will dominate in the South, and most likely the Midwest, Southwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, sections of the country that presumably did have players don shoulder pads this season.
The only factor keeping this from being the largest landslide in Heisman history is the pay-for-play scandal. There is little need in recapping the statistics and particulars. Newton could put up an unprededented vote total — unless.
Unless there are those who feel that there is no way the 6-foot-6, 254-pound standout athlete could not know about his father’s scheme. There is more than some validity to that. One even could probe whether or not a young man staking that claim indeed belongs in a college classroom.
But this much in fairness to Newton: What shred of information is there at this point that links him to any wrongdoing? Reggie Bush’s unprecedented forfeiture of the 2005 Heisman is weighing heavily on the minds of some voters, and they are nervous about the 2010 statue being revoked in the future. Yet is that a compelling enough reason to bypass Newton?
It shouldn’t be. The evil sin wouldn’t be Newton handing back the trophy, but denying him in the first place if no further evidence surfaces to stain his eligibility. We’ve vacated a presidency in this country, after all. This is a football statue.
The previous landslide Heisman winners were Bush in 2005 (by percentage) and O.J. Simpson in 1968 (by vote disparity, the number of votes since changed). Hardly envious company.
But one more thought on the annual trophy, named by the way, for a man who once coached at Auburn.
“As long as Cam Newton is eligible to play, he gets my full consideration. And if the season were to end right now, he’d get my No. 1 vote. The Heisman Trust can take away a trophy, but as voters, we’re not in that business.”
Obviously a voter with a mighty allegiance to Southeasrtern Conference football. No? Try the recent comment of John Hunt, a Heisman voter from The Oregonian newspaper.