On Saturday night, the New York City Athletic Club will announce the Heisman Trophy winner.
There are 870 media voters for the annual award, divided into six sections of the country. Fifty-eight living Heisman winners also vote. Voters select three names, ranking them first to third, with the highest receiving three points, then two, and one, respectively. The players with the highest three totals appear in New York City for the presentation. So who’s going to win?
The three finalists are all quarterbacks — Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. The choice will come down to Tagovailoa and Murray. If you asked me a week ago, I would have told you it would be Tagovailoa, but he had a sub-par performance in the SEC championship game against Georgia and Murray has carried the Sooners on his back the entire season. This will be one of the closest outcomes in years. The pick here is Murray, but remember about SEC bias. The interesting thing is their teams play each other in a semifinal college football playoff on Dec. 30 in Miami. Wouldn’t you love to see the game be a winner-take-all, including the Heisman? Wishful thinking.
As most of you know by now, Urban Meyer will not be returning as coach at Ohio State. We said this three months ago. The sad part is Meyer did not go out on his own terms. Clearly, there were health issues here, but the humiliation associated with his lack of honesty regarding the Zach Smith fiasco that resulted in a three-game suspension was a major factor. Remember one thing in life: You are who you associate with. Meyer will never be able to live that down.
Best coach: Mike Leach of Washington State. Finished 10-2 and does more with less than anyone in the country.
Honorable mention: West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen (8-3).
Most disappointing team: Florida State: The Seminoles finished 5-7 with a roster loaded with NFL talent and imploded in their final game, arguing and fighting with each other on the sidelines. 2, UCLA (3-9).
Best game: Texas A&M defeats LSU, 74-72, in seven overtimes. Honorable mention: SEC championship with 'Bama defeating Georgia in the last minute, 35-28. The difference is one team won it (Texas A&M) and the other collapsed (Georgia).
Most disappointing games: 1, Michigan at Ohio State; No. 4 vs. No. 10 for a Big Ten championship berth. The Wolverines got pummeled in the second half losing, 62-39. 2, Alabama at LSU. More pregame hype and excitement than any game in years. Then they kicked off and the Tigers never threatened to compete, losing 29-0.
Best food: 1, The alligator burger at LSU. 2, Barbecued pulled pork at Clemson. 3, Chicken marinated in a pink vodka sauce grilled at Ohio State.
Worst venue: Penn State. The stadium is an A-plus but the worst parking facilities I’ve ever seen. It seems there has been no progress since my original visit 25 years ago. Essentially, they create artificial roads with lanes in a cow field. Unfortunately, as you drive down these lanes, they’re obstructed by tailgaters, touch football games or tents in the middle of the lane, thereby blocking all travel. And I had a parking pass!
Best venue: Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas. In/out in about 15 minutes. All the amenities you can think of. Home to the Dallas Cowboys, it was very impressive and huge. It really is true — everything is bigger in Texas.
Best fans: 1, LSU. 2, Georgia. 3, Penn State.
Worst fans: TCU. The game was played 15 miles from campus and because it was not included in the season package, students and alumni boycotted the game and, in effect, their own team. There were twice as many people from Ohio State (1,060 miles away) as from TCU. A total embarrassment.
* Did you see where former Clemson starting quarterback Kelly Bryant who left the team after four games announced he will transfer to Missouri? Benched in favor of freshman Trevor Lawrence, Bryant jumped ship immediately to maintain another year of eligibility. Contrast that with Alabama’s Jalen Hurts, 26-2 as a starter but playing behind Tagovailoa all year. Never a heard a peep of dissatisfaction and when Tagovailoa went down with an injury in the SEC title game, one had to feel good as Hurts emerged the unlikely hero in 'Bama’s victory. Redemption.
* Kliff Kingsberry was fired at Texas Tech and almost immediately hired at USC as their offense coordinator. Why? Because he’s had a hand in developing NFL quarterbacks including Casey Keenum, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes. That’s what he does best. Unfortunately, his Texas Tech teams played no defense, which ultimately led to his firing. The lesson here? Know your limitations.
* Finally, SEC commissioner Greg Stankey said UCF should look “inward” to address the strength of schedule issues that have held the undefeated Knights back in the CFP rankings. Is he serious? No powerhouse school, including those in his conference, wants to play UCF because there’s no upside. UCF would love to play Alabama, Georgia or Florida but they won’t consider it. His logic, while appearing sensible, is not realistic and he needs to be called out on it.
Keep up with Ken Schreiber at www.followtheschreib.com, on Facebook at @followtheschreib and on Twitter: @ftschreib.