Heisman would make Tide’s season perfect

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2009

There’s no end in sight to the dream season for Alabama football fans.

As if a second consecutive unbeaten regular season and then a vengeance-filled Southeastern Conference Championship Game dismantling of Florida weren’t enough, now the awards come rolling in.

Four Alabama players were named All-Americans by the American Football Coaches Association, and eight were named first-team All-SEC by the league coaches—both totals were more than any other team in the country.

Junior Rolando McClain was given the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker, by the trophy’s namesake. McClain had already been announced as the winner of the Jack Lambert Award, which also recognizes the top linebacker. And defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has received the Frank Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football.

While the ultimate goal of any team should be a national championship—and the Crimson Tide will get its chance when it meets Texas in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 7—only one thing would make 2009 possibly the most historic season ever for Alabama football: sophomore running back Mark Ingram smiling and standing beside the Heisman Trophy this Saturday at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York.

Alabama now has 22 SEC championships and plenty of national titles (how many depends on who you ask), but never has the school had a Heisman winner.

So, it would be good to see Ingram win the award, but does he deserve it? If I had a vote, it would come down to Ingram and Stanford senior running back Toby Gerhart because of Texas senior quarterback Colt McCoy’s poor performance in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Strictly looking at the numbers, Gerhart has outgained Ingram by about 200 yards (in one less game played) and has 11 more touchdowns. Ingram averages 6.2 yards per carry compared to Gerhart’s 5.6.

The decision, as it usually does, might come down to more than just statistics. Ingram has been the most outstanding player on the country’s best team, according to all the major polls, and Ingram has been at his best in the most significant games—against notoriously tough SEC defenses.

But here’s where McCoy comes back into the discussion. Though the Heisman is not a career achievement award, McCoy has won more games than any other quarterback in college football history.

This one’s too close to call.