Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Come join the fun
and games on the
Heisman Chang Gang

I'M reminded of a scene from that cinematic masterpiece "Three Amigos" (think "Citizen Kane" with sombreros), in which our heroes are huddling up for their big moment, facing the evil El Guapo for the first time.

"Now remember," Steve Martin says, "let's just go out there and have fun with it."

"Let's just have fun with it," Martin Short says.

"Just have fun with it," Steve Martin says.

"I'm just going to have fun with it," Chevy Chase says, definitively.

You just knew they were going to have fun with it.

And that's the attitude I've adopted, for this Tim Chang for Heisman campaign.

I'm just going to have fun with it.

What the hell.

Oh, you could look at this bandwagon from a number of different ways.

But taking it too seriously would be wrong, and I mean that in a number of different ways.

Is Chang a serious Heisman contender?

Why not?

Who is, really?

Last year I got fliers and testimonials from Miami (Ohio) and Middle Tennessee State.

We've seen Gino Toretta win it (and while we're at it, Chris Weinke, too) and Jim Brown finish fifth.

Let's take a quick look at a couple of things schools have done -- let's just pull one out of the air randomly, let's say, um, BYU -- in search of these football awards:

>> Jason Buck had "Monopoly"-style fake money $1 bills sent to sportswriters with his face on it. ("Buck" -- get it?)

>> Brandon Doman had a poster sent to sportswriters, which -- I'm not making this up -- proclaimed him "the Domanator."

>> Ty Detmer didn't play against the Hawaii defense until all the votes were already in.

This is college football we're talking about, not quantum physics.

This is the Heisman! The Heisman Trophy. It's all hype.

Why not jump in the pool?

Why not Chang?

Why not have fun with it?

No, I don't think he has much of a chance of getting invited to New York, but let's face it. Do you know how a player becomes a Heisman Trophy candidate? Because someone -- anyone, really -- is bold enough to say so.

And few are bolder in what they say than Chang's coach, June Jones.

And so here we are, Chang is a Heisman Trophy candidate.

I love it!

It's the American dream!

(It's like running for president. True, you may end up being Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich, but they were on CNN too, weren't they?)

Yes, you, I, anybody, if we were taking this whole thing too seriously, could point out that Chang's main appeal to voters would seem to be inflated numbers (more than four full seasons in a pass-first offense against watered-down competition), exotic location (you put "Hawaii" on anything, and peoples' ears perk up).

That he's been talented but inconsistent, that he's often been a nice player but rarely a dominating one, that he's been yanked as recently as last season and never been named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference (and that's in the Western Athletic Conference).

True, but all that misses the point.

This is about a journey.

This is about "what if?".

This is about a dream, a crazy, ridiculous, absurd dream, the kind everyone is allowed to have before the season starts, at least for that first September afternoon, while every team is 0-0.

This is about hype and hoopla and absurdity and fun.

This is college football.

The Heisman Trophy.

This is wild, wild stuff.

Oh, I'm not buying the hype -- not yet, not until he shows me something he hasn't shown us yet. But I'm not bashing it, either.

A Heisman campaign is a ride, and I can't wait to see where it goes. Or if it even starts.

If this is a circus, then send in the clowns.

I'm just going to have fun with this.

I think it will be fun. I hope so.

You know, I don't have a Heisman vote, but the boss, Star-Bulletin sports editor Paul Arnett, does, and Jim Leahey, too. I think you should write them every week.

I know I will.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at


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