The College Football Notebook

December 11, 2010 7:10 AM

Who's Missing From The Heisman Ceremony?

JordanTodman.jpgWho would you invite to a party in New York? That's really the only question worth debating as we get set for tonight's Heisman coronation of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Three players got invites to be with him at the Downtown Athletic Club--Oregon's LaMichael James, Stanford's Andrew Luck and Boise State's Kellen Moore. All worthy candidates, but there are at least two more I'd have had in attendance. The first is Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, the Big Ten Player of the Year. Robinson fell of the Heisman watch after his team faded, but if you watched the Wolverines or just read their box scores it was apparent that Robinson was the only thing standing between them and complete obscurity. He deserved to be a part of this and I'd have voted him #2 behind Newton. The other is one who hasn't gotten a lot of attention, even though in plays in the New York market and right in ESPN's backyard--that's Connecticut running back Jordan Todman.

Todman rushed for 100-plus yards in ten of his team's twelve games. The two games he missed that mark still saw him run for a collective 173 yards. His biggest game came in his team's most important, a 30-28 win over Pitt that turned the tide in the Big East race. Todman ran for 222 in that game and led his team to a Big East tri-championship and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Todman was as valuable as anyone in the country, and I would put him at #3 in the final balloting and given him a free subway ticket into the city for the party.

The Notebook reviewed the five major conferences and handed out Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards for each. Todman's Big East was one of the conferences that didn't get covered, and I also didn't get a chance to give props to Moore. The Boise quarterback didn't pile up the raw amounts of yardage you might think, due to the fact his team was often blowing people out, but he completed 70 percent of his passes in nine of twelve games, and produced solid yardage off this completions. In the Broncos' three biggest games--Virginia Tech, Hawaii and Nevada, he threw for 1,070 yards and had an 8-2 TD/INT ratio. It wasn't the fault of the offense the team fell in Nevada, the regular season's best game, but it was Moore's offense that kept Boise at the top of the national discussion all year. Let's change the bowl system so we can get this guy and his team matching up with someone like Oklahoma State or Alabama a little closer to New Year's, rather than sticking him in Las Vegas Bowl-obscurity. Another quarterback that deserves kudos is East Carolina's Dominique Davis, who threw for 300-plus yards eight times, including challenging non-conference tests against N.C. State and Navy.

So the Notebook's final Heisman ballot is Newton, Robinson and Todman in the top three, with LaMichael James and Moore filling out the 4-5 spots and the banquet invitations. Congratulations to them all for great seasons.

For Coach of the Year, I realized I should probably lend a little more explanation as to why I didn't choose Auburn's Gene Chizik in his own conference, much less nationally. The SEC awards post ran the day after Urban Meyer announced his resignation and that got most of the attention. Chizik obviously did a great job against a great schedule, but I really think Newton is the single biggest difference-maker I can remember seeing. The Auburn defense, especially against the pass is not that good, and any part of the offense that didn't involve Newton was up-and-down. Without the quarterback, I think this team is maybe 7-5 or 8-4. Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, whom I did choose for this honor, played the same difficult schedule and won eight games without the single greatest player in college football at his disposal. Hence, the pick for Mullen.

Nationally, I am going to go with one of the undefeated coaches in the BCS National Championship Game. Chip Kelly of Oregon, for all the reasons given yesterday in handing him the Pac-10 honor. How many coaches could lose their starting quarterback (Jeremiah Masoli) and not only replace him and go undefeated, but do it with a fearsome offensive attack. That's what Kelly did and why his performance this year was tops in the nation.

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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football ,game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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