Coffee Break: Heisman Hot Lists proved silly
It appears that the Heisman voters were much more astute about the best college football players than the so-called ‘experts’ on ESPN and other college sports outlets.
All season Card fans scratched their heads as the best player in the land was continuously omitted from list after list, left out of the top five. Not one Heisman list included Lamar Jackson in the top three and most excluded him from the top five. That is until the only votes that count were tabulated and Lamar will be on the stage in New York when the winner is announced.
The Heisman voters include media, former winners and one vote from the fans. The media voters are selected on a regional basis so the tally is not stacked toward an ESPN or other national outlet. For that reason when the final votes were tallied Lamar was one of the final three, a position that he did not occupy during the season in any phony ‘watch list’.
One of the earliest ‘watch lists’ compiled by Sports Illustrated included Saquon Barkley, Penn State; Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma State; Rashaad Penny, San Diego State; Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State; Sam Darnold, USC. Which might be one of the reasons SI has to emphasize women in skimpy bathing suits to sell magazines. At that time Lamar was leading or at the top of several offensive categories nationally. In spite of that, SI did not include last years' Heisman winner in its top five list.
Even the gambling odds makers whiffed on Lamar: on the Bovada online site the October 17 top five Heisman list in favorite order was Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love, Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph and J.T. Barrett. Lamar was 6th with a +1800 to win.
On October 24 the top five was unchanged except for Jalen Hurts replacing Mason Rudolph. Lamar dropped to 7th at +3300. The October 31 list had Josh Adams of Notre Dame replacing Jalen Hurts with Lamar still at 7th increasing to +4000 with no change on November 6. On November 13 only three players were listed and did not include Lamar.
On November 5 SBNATION listed the top five candidates as Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love, J.T. Barrett, Baker Mayfield and Josh Adams and proclaimed that Mayfield is a New York lock. On November 19 SI listed their top five as Baker Mayfield, Bryce Love, Saquon Barkley, Johathan Taylor and Kerryon Johnson with no mention of Lamar.
As late as the week prior to the final selection ESPN commentators were ignoring Lamar and by that time everyone was on the Baker Mayfield bandwagon. But in the end the voters looked at facts and not perception as to who was the best player and Lamar is one of three to be selected to be in New York on December 9. He is a decided underdog, but don’t count him out.
Even the NCAA website is a Mayfield cheerleader. Its article declares “Mayfield, who’s likely to win the award” when describing the three finalists. Maybe the voters are a little smarter than the pundits.