Tomorrow night, the Downtown Athletic Club in New York will award the Heisman Trophy to one of these five young men: Jason White, Adrian Peterson, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, or Alex Smith. This award is supposed to go to the Most Outstanding Player in college football for the season. White is last year's winner, but the conventional wisdom is that he won't win it this year.
By all appearances, it seems that once again a less-deserving USC player (Leinart) will stop an Oklahoma Sooner from winning the award two years in a row (see: Charles White & Billy Sims).
I have nothing against Leinart, and he's done a great job leading his team for the past two years, but what amazes me are the people who say that White just hasn't done anything special this season to justify giving him the Heisman again. If he hadn't won it last year, I'm not sure this year's voting would even be close. Anyone who has watched White (and being in Texas, I've seen him on television a lot this season) has seen a tremendous field leader who rarely makes mistakes that hurt his team.
One argument I've heard is that White may not be the best player on his own team. These folks consider Freshman Running Back, Adrian Peterson, to be better. There is no question in my mind that Peterson is a better athlete or that he will ultimately be a premiere Running Back in the NFL, but there's no way he was a better player this year. Don't get me wrong, I am utterly amazed everytime I see Peterson run, but that doesn't make him OU's best player.
If you took Peterson off OU's roster this year, there is every reason to believe that the Sooners would still be undefeated and playing for the National Championship. I contend that if White had not been the Quarterback, OU would have lost at least one game, and probably more. Peterson is the better athlete, but White was the better player.
My knock on Leinart is similar. Take away Reggie Bush, and Leinart wouldn't have helmed an undefeated team. Plus, he's playing against the weak sisters in the PAC-10.
If I had a Heisman Ballot, I would vote (1) Jason White; (2) Matt Leinart; and (3) Adrian Peterson. If Peterson stays healthy, he should have a few more opportunities to win the Heisman. Leinart will be a front runner next year if he stays for his Senior year. Jason White was the Most Outstanding Player in college football this year, and it will be a shame if voters let other considerations keep them from voting for him.