I'm not a Heisman voter and have no intention to ever become one. For what it's worth, I think it is possibly the most overrated trophy in all of sports.
But I've been asked to cast a blogger vote - similar to my weekly ballots in the BlogPoll - for the Heisman this year by the Blue Work Horse. So I'll bite. And there is actually a reason for me to care this year. I feel very strongly that Stanford's Toby Gerhart should win the Heisman.
Let's get this first part out of the way. Gerhart went to Norco High School, which happens to be my alma mater (Class of '87). And his daddy is the Cougars' football coach. Yes, I have to admit, it'd be kind of cool.
But Gerhart deserves the trophy, and my admiration, for much more than that. If you're still clinging to the myth of the "student-athlete" in big-time college sports, then he's your Atlas. Besides gashing Oregon and USC on the field, he also carries a mean GPA - not in kinesiology or general studies - but a 3.25 in management science and engineering. At Stanford, where its motto is Die Luft der Freiheit weht.
If you want numbers, Gerhart has those, too. He leads the nation in rushing yards (1,736) and touchdowns (26), and did that against stout competition. In Stanford's five games against the nation's top 40 rush defenses, he averaged 140 yards and three touchdowns per game. (In contrast, Alabama's Mark Ingram played just one game - Florida - against a top 40 rush defense team.)
But will he become the first Heisman winner from Stanford since Jim Plunkett (1970) or the first non-USC player from west of the Rockies since Ty Detmer (1990)? Don't count on it. The SEC media machine has all but locked it up for Ingram after his 30-yard performance against Auburn was quickly erased from the voters' memory (think Minority Report).
So in a bit of exercise in futility, here's my Heisman ballot:
No. 1 Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford) - Without him, Stanford wouldn't be tied for second in the Pac-10 and playing in the Sun Bowl. He had 10 100-yard games and 3 200-yard games. And he's carrying 20 units and on course to graduate in December. He's a beast.
No. 2 Jeremiah Masoli (QB, Oregon) - The Ducks bounced back from the opening game disaster to win the conference, thanks to Masoli's brilliant consistency. Over 2,000 yard passing, 650 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns.
No. 3 Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska) - Probably the most dominant interior defensive lineman in a generation. Who knows what Nebraska could've gone if it just had a little bit of offense.
Honorable mention - Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama), Case Keenum (QB, Houston).