It’s been almost 9 months since the 2008 Heisman was awarded, which should tell you what a nightmare the college football offseason is. That one went to Sam Bradford, who’s on the Oklahoma sidelines and ruefully eying Matt Stafford’s mammoth rookie contract as we speak. And hey, Bradford set a record for passing efficiency, and anyone who watched the season knows the performance wasn’t exactly a fluke; kid can ball.
But that, of course, means the Heisman didn’t go to eventual champion Tim Tebow, and after the shameless, near-fellatial fawning that Tebow enjoyed, some broadcasters obviously thought Tebow deserved the trophy in what was a remarkably close ballot race. One broadcaster for CBS - who held the rights to most of the Gators’ games last year - still hasn’t forgiven the voters for, in his mind, robbing Tebow of the Heisman.
Per FLORIDA TODAY:
Gary Danielson, who stopped voting for the Heisman after Charles Woodson beat out Peyton Manning for the honor, took a shot at voters in a teleconference to promote CBS’ coverage of the UT-UF game.
He called last year’s voting “an embarrassment.”
Danielson noted that a large group of voters left Tim Tebow off ballots, to try to force him out of the running.
“Tim Tebow — as the returning Heisman Trophy winner — and out of 904 votes, 154 didn’t have him as first, second or third,” Danielson said of a group of voters mostly from the Southwest, that included Big 12 media (which includes Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Texas’s Colt McCoy). “Clearly people were trying to make their vote count twice by not voting for him and he lost by 151 votes. It’s ridiculous.”
Danielson has a bit of a point - Tebow did have the most #1 votes in the Heisman balloting, and one would assume that the Southwestern bloc would split their votes between Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford - to say nothing of Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell.
But that homerism is hardly, hardly new. In every single Heisman race, candidates win a greater share of their votes in their “home” region than elsewhere. It’s the nature of sports coverage.
[For the next paragraph, the part of Italics Man will be played by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.]
Further, Danielson acts as if Tebow was left off of 154 ballots and Bradford was left off of none. That’s not true! Or that it would have been fair if Tebow were given the third place votes on each of those ballots while Bradford and McCoy kept the same vote totals. That ain’t true either!
Here are the vote totals, courtesy of RIVALS.COM. Turns out that while Tebow was, indeed, on only 750 of 904 ballots, Bradford was on only 811 of the 904, and second-place McCoy was on 784. Yes, it’s fishy that Tebow received the most first-place votes bu still got third. But Bradford won five of the six regions; in only the South was Tebow the preferred winner.
So one can reliably infer that if Danielson were to gripe about regional bias threatening to overturn the fairness of Heisman balloting, he would have a much better case to put that on the Tebow-dominant South than on the Bradford-dominant Southwest.