This was an especially tough year for Heisman voters
I haven't voted for the Heisman Trophy winner in so long, it's amazing they still let me cast a ballot. And this year was no exception.
Most of the fall, our staff kicked around as many candidates as there were upsets on the major college landscape, but no consensus ever emerged. Had each of us been allowed to access heismantrophyballoting.com and fill in the appropriate blanks, it's likely none of us would have had the same top three.
Not until the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with the breeze howling through Kaaawa Valley and right through my bedroom windows, did I finally choose who I thought were the three most deserving for the 2007 Heisman Trophy award.
"Who'd you pick?" my wife asked, awakened by a particularly angry gust of wind that shook the house like the earthquake of '06. "If you didn't pick Colt, there's a couch with your name written all over it."
It was best not to answer, and anyway, she was back asleep before I closed my Mac. Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was certainly deserving. So were the other finalists waiting in New York last night to be told what everyone already knew -- Tim Tebow won the Heisman. But I get ahead of myself.
In recent years, it was fairly easy to choose the three finalists. Opinions differ as to the winner. It often comes down to whether you believe the award is for the best college player or the MVP of his team. That's where you can get into trouble deciding, especially if you mix and match the two points of view.
Choosing my three finalists was difficult enough because I had a half-dozen guys who were equally talented on the offensive side of the football. Like most voters, I waited until the final second ticked off the clock of the Hawaii-Washington game before delving into all the names and numbers that go into the selection process.
MY TOP FIVE going into Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning were, in no particular order, Hawaii's Colt Brennan, Arkansas' Darren McFadden, Florida's Tim Tebow, Missouri's Chase Daniel and Oregon's Dennis Dixon.
I could sit here and reel off all the names and numbers that went into the selection process, but you'd doze off by the end of the paragraph. So let me just get right to it. The reason I didn't vote for McFadden was because he ran behind one of the best O-lines in the country -- two of the big men were named first-team All-SEC -- and Arkansas lost four times.
Tebow posted some remarkable numbers, not unlike Brennan last year, but if a player is to be judged on wins and losses, dropping three games hurt the sophomore's cause. Daniel was judged harshly in his two losses to Oklahoma, even though his passing numbers are as good as anyone's.
And as valuable as Brennan was in Hawaii's remarkable 12-0 run this year, he had a better season in 2006 against much tougher competition than this year. You have to believe his ankle injury hurt him early and his blow to the noggin jarred him late. He got off the deck to lead a remarkable comeback against Washington, but it wasn't enough to vote him No. 1 in the land.
For me, that choice landed squarely on the shoulder pads of Dixon. Had he not been injured, the senior quarterback would have led Oregon to the BCS promised land. As good as the SEC may be, it wasn't better than the Pac-10 this season. Dixon was a dynamic Duck, a big-time talent destined to lead his team to greatness, not unlike what Vince Young did for Texas. He had quality performances in wins over top-10 teams Southern California and Arizona State, and plastered Top 25 Michigan in the Big House as well.
Tebow came in second on my ballot and Brennan a close third. In five years, who knows which one of these five guys will have the most success at the next level. Tebow could wind up like Alex Smith and Brennan like Tony Romo.
As for me, I guess I'll be sleeping on the couch.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org