The Heisman Trophy has named its finalists, and it’ll be a crowded house, with FIVE players invited to New York City:
Lamar Jackson, Louisville quarterback
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma quarterback
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan linebacker
Deshaun Watson, Clemson quarterback
Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma wide receiver
And while this one seems like its Jackson in a runaway after the season he put up at Louisville, can we take a minute to acknowledge just how ridiculous this process has gotten? Because if the goal is giving the trophy to the best player in college football, I’m not sure we found the right five. And if the goal is to award this to the most outstanding player in college football — you’re telling me that Oklahoma deserved TWO of the five finalists?
Come on, man. If you’ve got 2 of the best 5 players in college football you aren’t losing by 3 scores to Ohio State and getting run by Houston. If you’re getting two guys invited to New York — the first time that’s happened since Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart — they better be playing for a title, not watching the Final Four from the couch.
Two of Five? Dig into a hat and grab two starters from Alabama’s defense before you go with two guys from Oklahoma. How do you award this trophy without someone from the Tide? What did that defense need to do to get someone invited? Another decapitation? A third touchdown for Jonathan Allen?
You had D’Onte Foreman running for over 2,000 yards for Texas — and doing it in just 11 games. That off year for Christian McCaffrey? He averaged more yards a carry this year than last, 1,600 yards and 16 more touchdowns this season. But 40% of the Heisman finalists are coming from Norman? Did they use a buddy pass for an airfare deal?
And don’t make this sound like I’m picking on the Sooners — I could poke holes in every guy invited, even Jackson, who heads to Manhattan far from the lock he was a month ago. Watson took a step back from last year — two 3 interception games not helping his candidacy.
What was your favorite Jabrill Peppers memory from the season? His awesome punt return against Hawaii that was called back for a clip? Rubbing it in against Rutgers? Coming up big in the win over 9-loss Michigan State? That first career interception in the loss to Ohio State? Michigan honks – I’m not here to pick on you. But I saw Charles Woodson. Jabrill Peppers is no Charles Woodson.
Listen, maybe this was the point. Because we haven’t even talked about the Heisman in weeks — this being maybe the least exciting season for the coolest individual trophy in sports.
And while this thing is still Jackson’s to lose, am I asking too much to at least have some common sense involved with deciding who gets to set there and pretend to be happy for him when he does pick up his hardware.