As promised, the shocking opinion, straight from my Sporting News column this morning:
I do NOT pick Tim Tebow to win the Heisman this season.
In the column, I lay out the reasons (briefly: Tebow Fatigue, Stat Drop-Off, Increased Comp). All together, I just don't see it happening.
HeismanPundit.com (now in partnership with the Orlando Sentinel, in a great move for both) did its preseason straw poll of influential voters -- Tebow won by a slim margin.
Again, I disagree. (I'm sure if we went back, Matt Leinart won the preseason straw poll the season after he won the Heisman. It's even more meaningless than a preseason Top 25.)
That's not to say that I don't think Tebow isn't the best player in college football. Absolutely, I do. But there's a huge difference between that and winning the Heisman.
So, who WILL win the Heisman? I think it will be Ohio State RB Chris "Beanie" Wells. He will be a candidate for 2,000 yards, two dozen TDs and the anchor of an OSU team that will likely end up in the national title game.
(Hmm: What's more shocking -- that I pick against Tebow to win the Heisman in '08? Or that I pick an Ohio State player to win the award?)
The other players I think will end up as finalists in New York will also see their teams spend time up near the top of the polls: Tebow; Chase Daniel, Pat White, Knowshon Moreno -- in that order of finish.
(If Percy Harvin stays healthy, I think he could be Reggie Bush to Tebow's Matt Leinart. But that's a huge "if.")
Regardless, I think Tebow won't repeat. It's fun to consider. He is a one-of-a-kind player -- probably my favorite college football player of all time (not that THAT is a consideration for Heisman-worthiness). He will be in the Heisman mix all season long -- if he can win the Heisman with the Gators going 9-3 in the regular season, what will happen if they go 11-1 or 12-0?
If Tebow didn't win last year, he would be the heavy favorite this year. But he DID win last year -- and that's a big reason why he won't win this year.
"Beanie for Heisman" -- that's a pretty catchy marketing slogan.