As noted earlier, the Heisman is being set up to be handed to the Florida Gators’ Tim Tebow without a hell of a lot of debate. Despite leading a three-loss team (albeit one where most of the losses can be blamed on a young secondary), it almost seems as if the sophomore quarterback is being anointed, no matter how the rest of the season left plays out. Despite the gaudy touchdown numbers, Tebow shouldn’t be winning if it’s to honor the best player in college football or the best player on the best team — he is neither. Here’s the five I’d go with, in order:
- Chase Daniel, Missouri
- Darren McFadden, Arkansas
- Tim Tebow, Florida
- Pat White, WVU
- Colt Brennan, Hawai’i
The Arkansas Razorbacks’ Darren McFadden is still the best player, in my eyes — he has just had the unfortunate luck to be coached by Houston Nutt, who often suffers from a horrific form of coaching brainlock that will have him out of Fayetteville any day now. Daniel has been an elemental part of leading Mizzou to the brink of the national championship game; if Mizzou beats OU next weekend, the trophy should rightfully be his.
If Daniel falters, there will be even more of a case to give it to Tebow, but the QB’s advocates miss a crucial point that makes him second to McFadden in my book: while Tebow rushing the ball resembles a classic H-back/fullback combo that’s devastating with his passing attack, I view McFadden as the better athlete — the problem is that a QB, by nature, touches the ball more and is given more opportunities to dominate. Watching McFadden operate out of the wishbone/Wildhawg formation is some kind of experience, working it with deceptive hand-offs, carries, and passes down the field.
Now, this is a completely subjective metric, and due to the separate positions, we can’t measure it side by side, but I’m pretty damned sure that McFadden could have been a QB and kept that extra level of blazing speed that leaves defenders with even the best angles in the dust. Tebow, if he didn’t have his arm, would be akin to Peyton Hillis or a slightly slower Jacob Hester. Basically, McFadden could do what Tebow does if he worked on the arm strength; Tebow doesn’t have the speed to do the same.
Again, it all comes down to Daniel keeping up his pace, for me — then there’s no argument. But if it has to come down to Tebow and McFadden, as the experts predicted at the start of the year, I know who I’d like to see hoist the trophy. Besides, Tebow will probably nail it down for his junior and senior year, anyway.
Photo: AP/John Raoux