While Tim Tebow had a masterful dominating performance on Saturday, let me ask you a question.
What should matter more when it comes to the Heisman Trophy and other honors – the number of wins you rack up, regardless of your performance, or how well you play week in and week out?
That’s because I think an argument can be made that Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder is having a much better season than Tebow has so far.
But right now Ponder isn’t anywhere on the national radar screen when it comes to various postseason honors. Tebow’s 4 touchdown performance against Georgia helped brush aside the last few weeks of mediocrity and keep him in the hunt for the Heisman trophy. ESPN, for example, has Tebow ranked 3rd on its Heisman watch list. Tebow, along with University of Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, is also a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.
Yet I think there’s a good argument to be made that the Gators have remained undefeated this season in spite of Tebow, not because of Tebow. The Gators defense has repeatedly clamped down on teams and has kept them in ballgames where the offense has struggled.
Meanwhile, Ponder has racked up 2,453 yards passing, 13 touchdowns and only 3 picks. He’s also rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Ponder is currently ranked 5th in the nation in total passing yards, which is higher than any other Heisman contender except Houston’s Case Keenum. He does closely trail Tebow in overall quarterback rating, but that is a bit of a mystery since Tebow actually has more interceptions than Ponder does. (Tebow has four vs. Ponder’s three.) Ponder also has a much higher completion percentage.
(And to make this QB rating even more mysterious – UM’s Harris score is a .03 points higher yet he has less yards and 8 more picks than Ponder.)
Let’s face it. The fact that FSU is 4-4 is not Ponder’s fault. Now I would agree that the offense had trouble getting revved up in a couple of games this season. But it’s hard for a quarterback to win every week when he’s under pressure to score 40 points because the Seminoles defense is so suspect.
Do I think that Ponder deserves the Heisman Trophy? Probably not. But I think there’s an argument to be made he’s having as stellar a season as his downstate counterpart. Now Ponder’s overall career doesn’t come close to Tebow’s as evidenced by Tebow setting the SEC rushing record against the Bulldogs.
But in this season I think Ponder is getting shorted, while Tebow may be getting more credit than he deserves.