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What Montee Ball Is Teaching Us About The Heisman

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The robust RB1 from Madison is quietly, almost eerily quietly, closing in on Barry Sanders’ single season NCAA TD mark of 39. It is a feat once thought to be both statistically and metaphorically out-of-reach. 39 touchdowns in a single season from one guy? No way. Well it’s about to happen again.

Oklahoma State fans will tell you that Ball’s record won’t count for the following two reasons:

1. Barry’s bowl game wasn’t counted (he had 5 TD against Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl, or as one of my followers called it the other day, the “Holliday Bowl”)
2. Ball will end the season with 14 games under his belt. Barry only played 12 and only 11 of them counted.

Somewhere along the way, the NCAA changed the way stats were recorded and all bowl games previously not included are now included.

Mind you, we’re the same folks that love to spout Justin Blackmon numbers and reel off Brandon Weeden stats at the expense of what Hart Lee Dykes and Mike Gundy did back in the 1980s when their bowl games weren’t counted. But that’s neither here nor there.

The point of all of this is that someone, whether the asterisk is included or not, is challenging Barry Sanders’ place in the record books, and he’s an afterthought for the Heisman in a year with no clear frontrunner. That’s insane.

Granted, Barry had more than a 1,000 yards rushing than Ball does this year, but consider this gem dug up by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Ball has scored 34 touchdowns in 265 “touches.”
Sanders scored 39 touchdowns in 394 “touches.”

That’s a heck of a difference, and I think it teaches us something about the Heisman, and Brandon Weeden for that matter.

The Heisman, as it is so vaguely defined, isn’t an award that rewards numbers or importance of a player to a team, or maybe even who the best player in the country is. Otherwise your winners would be Ball, Luck, and Weeden (homer, I know) respectively.

In fact, they should just rename the thing the “most exciting player on a team that’s at least 8-3 and if there isn’t one that blows us away we’ll just quietly give it to whoever the best player on one of the title teams” award. I mean that’s it, isn’t it? Griffin or Richardson? Pretty much sums it up.

And it’s one reason Weeden won’t win and probably won’t be invited to New York even though he’s had the dial on “absolutely sick” for two straight years. He’s “boring”, he’s old, he’s not flashy (unless you think 35-yard darts are flashy, which I do).

He just wins, and that’s not going to be enough this year, just like Ball’s potential record won’t be enough.

Do we even know what we’re voting for anymore?

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