Tim Tebow wins the Heisman: Can I just point out that back in late August when I ranked Tim Tebow on my preseason Heisman short list -- No. 5 overall -- I took SO much abuse. And it was SO worth it.
I have earned some capital on this issue, and I'm going to spend it, offering at least one more aggressive opinion about Tebow:
Can he eventually -- or does he instantly -- crack that Top 25 College Football Players of All Time list? Between his key role on a national champion team last year (arguably Offensive MVP) and his unprecedented success this year both on the field (sick stats, including the historic "20/20") and off the field (first sophomore to win the Heisman), I think it's not unreasonable to put him there now -- and certainly put him on the watch list for later. (Based on immediate reaction from readers, you all think I'm on crack for this.)
With either a national title or a second Heisman next season (or both), he would move into the Top 10 instantly. If he stays for his senior season, who knows?
Can Tebow end his career as the greatest college football player of all time? That's not me saying it (I already believe he's a contender), but Michael David Smith from CollegeFootballTalk (the college sibling of ProFootballTalk).
A less provocative question is whether Tebow will end up among the Top 5 college QBs of, say, the ESPN Era (since 1980). You've got Vince Young, Matt Leinart, John Elway, Danny Wuerffel, Tommie Frazier... does Tebow crack that group?
At the beginning of the season, I said Tebow played like he was the love-child of Leinart and Frazier. Would that qualify him to join the short-list of all-time-great college QBs of the last 25 years?
Meanwhile, let's praise Darren McFadden, the first player to finish as Heisman runner-up two years in a row in more than a half-century -- itself an amazing accomplishment. He also got a higher share of first-place votes this year than any runner-up in Heisman history.
Speaking of history, I think we will look back (some of us know it now) and realize that in McFadden we have just watched the best college running back since Barry Sanders, and one of the Top 5 college RBs of all time (and certainly one of the Top 5 college RBs of the ESPN Era). A commenter brought up Reggie Bush -- interesting. Bush almost doesn't count as a true running back (see his NFL career). I think Bush is the most electrifying college football player I have ever seen, but he was not a better college running back than McFadden.
Consider that: McFadden, perhaps one of the Top 5 college RBs of all time and, Tebow, perhaps one of the Top 5 college QBs of all time -- on the same Heisman ballot. (With the third-place finisher, Colt Brennan, being a QB who basically rewrote most meaningful passing records.)
Some people are already griping this was a "down year" for the Heisman. I think we'll look back and consider it to be one of its finest.