Voters Love A Great Story
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Last comment by SportsFan31313 1 year, 10 months ago.

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All voters love a great story. This premise applies not only to politics but also to our most popular spectator sports. If there was any doubt that a large part of college football's award system relies on "the story," it's was removed this year. The case in point: Notre Dame linebacker Manti T'eo.

Prior to this year, the highest number of post season "major awards" ever collected by one college football player in a single season was five, by Michigan defensive back/kick returner Charles Woodson in 1997. This past Thursday night, T'eo added three more awards to his trophy case, bringing his current total to six. To date, the voters have awarded T'eo the Butkus Award (top linebacker), Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player), Lombardi Award (top lineman or linebacker), Maxwell Award (player of the year), the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player in the nation) and the Walter Camp Award (national player of the year). T'eo was the first defensive player to win the Maxwell award since 1980, and his win broke a string of nine straight quarterback winners.

Tonight, T'eo has more than an outside chance of adding a seventh post season award to his trophy case when the John M. Heisman Memorial Award (a.k.a. the Heisman Trophy) results are revealed. I say "more than an outside chance" because I believe T'eo may break precedent and garner the award, thereby going where no other solely defensive player has ever gone before. Why? Because not only is history on his side (a Maxwell Award win has been followed by a Heisman Trophy win 23 times before), but also because this season T'eo has been a great story.

Followers of college football have heard the story many times. T'eo plays for a team with an outstanding college football tradition, but for many years has been struggling to remain "relevant" in the NCAA football championship conversation. Notre Dame last won a national championship in 1988, and especially in recent years has rarely been given any shot whatsoever of being a really GOOD team - let alone win a national championship. Cut to this year. While preseason prognosticators suggested that Notre Dame COULD be a decent team, absolutely no one expected them to be where they are today - atop the college football world.

T'eo is undoubtedly the best player on an over-achieving team. That these over-achievers are one win away from winning a national championship would be a great story in and of itself. But then you add the personal trials and tribulations of T'eo (the September deaths of his girlfriend and his grandmother within several days of each other) - which he played through and led his team to victory - his story certainly has woken up the echoes and sent a volley cheer on high for this year's edition of the Fighting Irish.

Regardless of the national championship game results (I personally think there's a good chance that Notre Dame will get waxed by Alabama), this has been a college football season like no other. And a big part of it has been the Manti T'eo story. Tonight, the Heisman Trophy voters have a chance to add to the story. How will they do it? The smart (i.e., Las Vegas) money says the winner will be Johnny "Football" Manziel of Texas A&M, who absent T'eo would undoubtedly be THE story in college football this year. If Manziel wins, he would also break precedent in that no other college freshman player has ever won the award.

But no matter who wins tonight, the 2012 NCAA football season has been interesting and exciting. And in many ways, the best is yet to come with bowl season soon to be underway.

If only pro football was this good.

Latest Activity: Dec 08, 2012 at 12:53 PM

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sebekm commented on Saturday, Dec 08, 2012 at 21:00 PM

....and the winner is: MANZIEL.

JimmyMack commented on Sunday, Dec 09, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Great story, Sebe. Yep...Johnny Football took the trophy. And I agree that Notre Dame is going to get waxed in the BCS championship by Bama.

Jaw-Ja would wax the Golden Domers as well. But....we'll never know. If Wisconsin can hang 70 on the Huskers there is no telling what the Dawgs will do to them.

sebekm commented on Sunday, Dec 09, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Hi Jimmy: Nebraska is wacky - that's for sure. All season on the ESPN "College Pick'em" site, the Nebraska games were invariably the hardest to call. There was little consistency from game to game, and many games seemed to come down to the last few minutes. Their QB was unpredictable - stellar performance (including 90 yard touchdown runs) in one game, and poor performance (fumbles and picks) the next. They are really more a Big 12 team still than a "true" Big 10 team. The Big 10 has been third-rate for some time now.

Manziel certainly looked older than "just 20" last night. I guess that's what made his fake IDs so effective. Looking at his numbers and the Alabama game, the voters got it right in giving him the award, even though he was a freshman (albeit a red-shirted one).

I've had a while to think about the 2014 "playoff system," and I agree with Sporty, Tiger5 and others that they really ought to have an eight team playoff - instead of just four seeded teams. This is especially evident after reading a recent Sports Illustrated article which discussed a "mock" selection/seeding conference for a four team playoff. See:

After I read this article, the terms "Chinese Fire Drill" and "Goat Rope" came to mind, along with the acronyms SNAFU and FUBAR. With only four teams, the end result could be even more controversy than we now have with the BCS system.

SportsFan31313 commented on Sunday, Dec 09, 2012 at 15:20 PM

Yes Great Story, But it didn't move the voters enough to give T'eo the him the coveted trophy.

sebekm commented on Sunday, Dec 09, 2012 at 15:56 PM

Nope. "Defense wins championships" but not the Heisman Trophy.

SportsFan31313 commented on Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Exactly..... Pardon my typos

sebekm commented on Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM

No problem. The bowls begin on Saturday, and ESPN has all 35 set up to pick winnners with "confidence" levels in their College Bowl Mania feature. You have to have an account with them - my son and I collaborate on the picks using his account. I told him if he wins I want my cut in 10s and 20s. Tens of thousands of people participate in their "pick'em" features for football and basketball, so there's little chance that we'll even get close. But you never know.

SportsFan31313 commented on Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM


I really don't watch those early Bowl games due to the teams in my opinion are really not that great. I will begin watching watching them after Christmas. But I will be watching the FCS Championship game.

sebekm commented on Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Understood. I don't really watch them either, and would just as soon there only be about 16 total bowls where the "best," most competitive teams would play and the stadiums would be full. Those early games really are just "sham-bowls," IMHO. I used to have the same attitude about college basketball, wondering why anybody would watch the games prior to March 1st each year. I do watch some of the "earlier" basketball games nowadays, mainly because after the end of the NCAA football regular season, there isn't much else in the way of "live sports" on TV on weeknights besides college basketball.

SportsFan31313 commented on Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 15:01 PM

You are correct. "Sham Bowls". Consolation Bowls. IMHO as well....

I will give a little credence sometimes on New years Eve that may have a good game going on. But the REAL Bowl Games are beginning January 1, 2013....

sebekm commented on Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 15:11 PM


Tiger5 commented on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 at 22:56 PM

"If only pro football was this good."

Amen. The NFL, although not exactly the same I realize, reminds me of professional wrestling sometimes. It seems to be more TV entertainment than sport these days.

SportsFan31313 commented on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 at 16:15 PM

Now you have Roder Goddell trying to stop kick offs. Time for him to leave. This watering down the sport. I know that he is trying to put into place safety measures for the players. But enough is enough. Football is a contact sport. Players who are in the NFL or any professional sport knows that the potential for injury is imminent. It goes with the territory. This year you can tell that the sport is watering down due to high scoring. This unprecedented in the NFL. This is due to the Defense hands are beginning to get tied on the type of tackles they can do. You can barely make a hit these before a personal foul flag is thrown.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 at 17:48 PM

There appears to be a dust-up coming involving Mr. Goodell and the NFLPA. With Paul Tagliabue's recent action on the Saints NON-bounty program, there may be some heat for Goodell to move on. Condoleezza Rice is waiting in the wings; her dream job is to be NFL Commissioner.

Tiger5 commented on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 at 22:32 PM

It would suit the league just fine if every game ended up 60 to 50. I suppose they are catering to this ADD society though. To me, a TD ought to be a special event. The NFL would love to look like the Big 12. Personally, I find no enjoyment in that style of football. The Big 12 ignores defense. The NFL tries to legislate it out. That's the only difference. The NFL just hasn't been as successful but they will keep trying, you can bank on that. Do not be surprised if they take a defender or two off the field. Honestly, I would not be surprised in the least.

SportsFan31313 commented on Thursday, Dec 13, 2012 at 13:35 PM


Now that is interesting. I do agree that Goddell has really burned some bridges between management and the NFLPA. His time may be up as to the recent events occurred with former NFL Commissioner Paul Taglibue.

SportsFan31313 commented on Thursday, Dec 13, 2012 at 13:37 PM

Tiger 5,

That will eventually make football uninteresting as a sport.

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