View Full Version : JOPO - MU’s Chase Daniel deserves Heisman consideration

Hammock Parties
12-01-2007, 07:06 AM

Today’s question: Does Missouri’s Chase Daniel have a legitimate chance to win the Heisman Trophy?

Today’s answer: Probably not. It looks as if he picked the wrong year to be America’s MVP.


Listening to people argue about the Heisman reminds me of when we were kids and used to argue about that day’s Monopoly game rules. It may have been different in your house, but we used to change the rules daily, especially the Free Parking rules.

One day, if you landed on Free Parking that meant you won $1,000, the next day it meant you got to take one piece of property away from someone else, the next day it meant you had to buy Jawbreakers for everybody in the game.

We would argue about the rules all the time — “No, that was yesterday when landing on Free Parking meant you could hit me in the shoulder 10 times. Today it means you have to have to give me Park Place and Boardwalk and you have to give up the car and be the thimble.”

That’s the Heisman. Every year the guidelines change, usually depending on what people in the great state of Florida want. One year, the Heisman goes to college football’s most exciting player. The next year, it goes to the player with great stats. The next year, it goes to the most valuable player on the best team. The next year it goes to some awkward throwing quarterback who, reportedly, has great leadership skills.

Well, it can’t be helped. The Heisman people are pretty vague about what they want — they only say that they want voters to select “the most outstanding college football player in the United States.” Even the New Oxford American Dictionary is divided about what “outstanding” means — it defines the word as “exceptionally good” OR “clearly noticeable.” If a dictionary cannot make up its mind, we’re probably not going to get a consensus among Heisman voters.

It’s fair to say that pretty often over the last 20 years or so, the Heisman has plainly gone to America’s MVP — that indispensable player (usually the quarterback) on the best team. Quarterbacks from the state of Florida have racked up MVP Heismans — heck, nobody thought Gino Torretta (Miami), Danny Wuerffel (Florida), Charlie Ward (Florida State) or Chris Weinke (Florida State) were singular quarterback talents. Not that the NFL draft is the end-all, but not one of them was drafted in the first three rounds. None of them could start for any extended time in the league.

Of course, it’s not just the Florida guys; there was also Troy Smith, Jason White and Eric Crouch (who just barely beat out another Florida guy, Rex Grossman). None of them had the talent to play on Sundays. But they ran their offenses, and they ran hard, and they made plays, and they led great teams, and the Heisman was their reward.

OK. If this is the Heisman criteria this year, then Chase Daniel — should he lead Missouri over Oklahoma on Saturday night in the Big 12 championship game — is the clear-cut Heisman guy. Missouri is No. 1, and he’s the biggest reason. He has the numbers, too, if you care about those. Daniel has hit 70 percent of his passes, he will throw for 4,000 yards, he has 33 touchdown passes. Against Kansas, in the biggest game of the year, he hit 40 of 49 passes with three touchdowns.

But this year, for some reason, voters seem to be going away from the whole MVP concept. They do that every so often, you know. Sometimes, they go for the most exciting player — like the year they picked Reggie Bush over Vince Young, and Desmond Howard over another Florida-based quarterback, Casey Weldon (remember when Sports Illustrated called Weldon the next Joe Montana? That may have been a slight exaggeration).

If excitement is the criteria this year, then the winner will be Arkansas’ electric back, Darren McFadden, who has run for more than 1,700 yards this year. He ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns against LSU’s supposedly invulnerable defense. Unlike most Heisman candidates, McFadden has NFL scouts drooling.

I don’t think excitement will carry the day this year, though. No, this time around, they seem to be going for those eye-popping stats. That has happened before, too. Ron Dayne, Ricky Williams, Rashaan Salaam, Andre Ware, among others, won because of the big-time numbers they were able to put up.

And this year’s stats guy is Florida’s Tim Tebow, the throwing fullback, who has tossed 29 touchdown passes and scored 22 more, a touchdown combination unmatched in college-football history. Tebow is, by all accounts, an outstanding choice; in addition to his staggering football skills, he’s reported to be a remarkable person, one of those old-fashioned, 1950s Life Magazine, visit-kids-in-the-hospital type of Heisman Trophy candidates. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about him.

But I will say that I sure wish we Heisman voters could make up our minds about what the Heisman Trophy is supposed to reward. Is it statistics this year? Because if that’s it, then you do have to look a little closer and say that those 22 touchdowns might be a bit overblown. Consider that 12 of Tebow’s 22 touchdown runs are from 3 yards and in. You would hate to think that Tebow would win the Heisman just because Florida doesn’t have a running back. Missouri gave those 12 short touchdown runs to backs Tony Temple and Jimmy Jackson. I’m not sure that statistic makes Tebow more outstanding than Daniel.

The larger point is this: If the situations were reversed — if it was Tebow with the excellent stats and leadership for No. 1 Florida and Daniel with the eye-catching touchdown numbers on a three-loss Missouri team — you know the Heisman criteria would suddenly be different. You know all the talk would be about Tebow’s intangibles, his ability to run the offense, his value. Nobody would even be talking about Daniel.

(You know how I know this? In 2003, Kansas State’s Ell Roberson threw 24 touchdown passes and ran for 15. That was impressive, no? Missouri’s Brad Smith, in his senior year, threw for more than more than 2,000 yards and ran for 1,000 and set the NCAA career rushing record for quarterbacks. Do you know how much Heisman hype they got? Zippo).

I just hope the Heisman voters watch Daniel on Saturday before deciding. If Missouri beats Oklahoma and gets into the national-championship game, it’s one of the great college football stories in memory. Daniel is at the heart of that story. He has been outstanding all year long. I’m not saying he’s better than McFadden or Tebow or Pat White or Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey or dozens of other great players — how do you really make such decisions?

I’m just saying that right now he’s America’s MVP. That has meant something to Heisman voters before. The rules shouldn’t change every year. Free parking should always mean free parking.

12-01-2007, 07:16 AM
Pretty much sums up how I feel about the Heisman.

the Talking Can
12-01-2007, 07:17 AM
"the throwing fullback"


12-01-2007, 07:47 AM
I feel the same way. Every year they say about someone "couldn't win the big games." Florida has 3 losses. I'm pretty sure such seasons have disqualified other QBs.

Mile High Mania
12-01-2007, 08:43 AM

Mile High Mania
12-01-2007, 08:49 AM
"The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award (often known simply as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman), named after former college football player and coach John Heisman, is awarded annually to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the U.S."

That leaves a lot up for debate with stats... but, if you're talking "most outstanding" ... gimme McFadden. The top trio of Chase, Tebow and McFadden certainly all qualify...

McFadden ranked 3rd among NCAA rushers (behind guys from C. Florida, Tulane and Rutgers), but I'm quite sure those guys didn't play with a #2 RB that also topped 1,000 yds rushing with 11 TDs.

McFadden is an exciting triple threat who finished #2 in the balloting in 2006 and his numbers in 2007 are better than in 2006.

QBs do get all the glory (and the blame when things go wrong), so I'm fully expecting a QB to get the Heisman this year.

12-01-2007, 08:55 AM
He's getting attention.

But Tebow will get and deserves the prize.

dirk digler
12-01-2007, 09:01 AM
Excellent article by JoPo and I totally agree with him. If MU wins tonight it should be a no brainer

12-01-2007, 09:05 AM
He's getting attention.

But Tebow will get and deserves the prize.No he doesn't. The losses can not be blamed on him but those games he did have his worst games. Chase and McFadden have been lights out every game.

Skip Towne
12-01-2007, 09:12 AM

Bob Dole
12-01-2007, 09:20 AM
No he doesn't. The losses can not be blamed on him but those games he did have his worst games. Chase and McFadden have been lights out every game.

McFadden has definitely not been "lights out" every game.

Mile High Mania
12-01-2007, 09:25 AM
McFadden has definitely not been "lights out" every game.

And, that's why HDN is gone... :# The Hogs had issues with some guys being hurt and DMAC struggled in some games b/c of it, that's likely going to hurt him... but, he did do better than in 2006.