I don’t have a Heisman ballot, but I’m willing to make this prediction: Tim Tebow will walk away empty-handed on Saturday night.
The fact that Tebow is a finalist is a testament to the spectacular season that the Florida Gators had this year. Ever since his mea culpa following the Ole Miss loss, Tebow has been nearly flawless. But it won’t be enough.
Some other Florida sportswriters have suggested that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford will win because ESPN televises Big 12 conference games and has promoted the heck out of Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech etc. But that’s a naive and simplistic argument.
If you look at the slate of known Heisman voters that stiffarmtrophy.com has put together you can quickly deduce that many voters probably DIDN’T EVEN watch most of the games that Bradford, Tebow and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy played in. That’s because a good number of them are sportswriters from across the country.
Take Steve Ellis, who is the Florida State beat writer for the Tallahassee Democrat, and is listed as Heisman voter. To put it bluntly: I used to work with Ellis and he’s a workaholic. He’s spending each day breathing and living FSU sports and FSU football. Now because of his job Ellis watched Tebow whip up on the Seminoles. It wouldn’t surprise me if he votes Tebow first because of that performance.
But that’s just why Tebow won’t win. Too many Heisman voters will have only seen limited flashes of the Gator quarterback this season. Sportwriters west of the Mississippi were probably way too busy watching the teams they cover.
Instead the Heisman will be awarded primarily due to statistics. And when Heisman voters look at the stats, they probably will defer to Bradford. Bradford has passed for 48 tds and nearly 4,700 yards compared to Tebow’s 40 tds and combined 3,079 yards of passing and rushing.
If Tebow were going for his first Heisman, I’d say he would have a much better chance even though his numbers were much better last year. Tebow is chasing the legend of Archie Griffin and there will too many voters who feel he didn’t do enough to deserve a second trophy and join Griffin in the pantheon of college football greats.