Originally published November 7, 2012 at 12:30p.m., updated November 7, 2012 at 01:19p.m.


Opinion: Quarterbacks dominate Heisman voting based on value, not hype

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein escapes linebacker Ben Heeney for a carry during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein escapes linebacker Ben Heeney for a carry during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.


A disturbing trend in its infancy stages, if unchecked, threatens to send the Heisman Trophy electorate down a similar path that has tainted Pro Football Hall of Fame voting and taken sizzle out of induction ceremonies.

Canton voters in recent years determined that a disproportionate number of skill-position players were getting inducted at the expense of All-Pro grunts.

Hence, less famous players gained induction instead of more recognizable, deserving, household names such as former Lawrence High halfback, Kansas University All-American halfback/quarterback and AFL/NFL superstar quarterback John Hadl.

Now the unofficial college football intelligentsia platform states that defensive players don’t get nearly enough Heisman Trophy love because the Heisman voting is all about hype, and since the quarterbacks get all the hype, they win all the trophies.


Football is all about quarterbacks and that’s why they win most of the Heismans.

KU coach Charlie Weis recruited linebacker Manti Te’o to Notre Dame and is his biggest fan, but if given the chance to steal one player from another college football roster for his 1-8 team, does anyone of sound mind believe that Weis would rather add Te’o to his defense than Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein to his offense?

NFL general managers blessed with the first pick in the draft don’t make their selections based on hype, not when in many instances their jobs are on the line. History reveals the risky nature of drafting quarterbacks first, yet the decision-makers still do it because they know nobody can reverse the fortunes of a franchise as can a quarterback.

All but three of the past 15 overall first picks have been quarterbacks, including Manning brothers Peyton and Eli and big-time busts Tim Couch and JaMarcus Russell.

Quarterbacks are this important: With a healthy Todd Reesing standing in the shotgun, KU went on a 25-6 run. Starting with the game in which Reesing suffered a groin injury and continuing through games started by five other quarterbacks, Kansas has gone 6-34.

It’s value, not hype, that wins trophies for quarterbacks.

As a Heisman elector, I am obligated to keep my completed ballot a secret, but since I won’t fill it out for a few more weeks and so much can change between now and then, there’s no harm in sharing opinions on the most worthy candidates.

Quarterbacks Collin Klein of Kansas State (17 rushing touchdowns, 12 TD passes, two interceptions, No. 1 in QB rating), Texas A&M;’s Johnny “Football” Manziel (16 passing and 15 rushing scores), Alabama’s A.J. McCarron (19 TD passes, no interceptions) and Oregon running back Kenjon Barner (coming off a 321-yard, five-touchdown day against USC) rank ahead of any defensive player.


clevelandjayhawker 5 years, 6 months ago

"Texas A&M’s Johnny “Football” Manziel (16 rushing and 15 rushing scores)" Needs corrected.

I have mixed emotions in rooting for and against k-state's run at championship. Prob best they dont play for it and Klien wins the Heisman or something.

dansmullet 5 years, 6 months ago

Either way, the defensive players are getting screwed. Heisman should be voted on by PRODUCTION, not value, or hype. Heisman has ZERO to do with who you would start a team with, or pick 1st in the draft. Good article, Tom.

Ron Prichard 5 years, 6 months ago

How would you differentiate production from value? To me, there may be a difference, but they are very, very similar. The Heisman should have zero to do with who you would pick first in the draft, but I do think it should have some basis on who you would start a team with. If I'm going to pick someone to start a team with, I'm going to pick a player with the most value to my team, someone who I think can be the most productive, and in turn, give me the best chance to win. If I'm going to pick someone for the Heisman, I'm going to pick the player that has been the most productive for his team, and his value has meant more to his team than to someone else. He might not have the most TD's statistically, but his value will have meant more to his team than anyone else.

This is the exact argument for Klein. He hasn't thrown the most TD's in college this year, and he probably hasn't run for the most yards. His combined offensive numbers might not even be the best. But does anyone for a second think that without Klein the Wildcats would be undefeated and in the NC hunt? He brings the most value to his team. His production is great, but his value is greater.

If Notre Dame finishes undefeated and wins a NC, I'm guessing Te'o will get lots of consideration for the Heisman. At the same time, I'm guessing he won't have the most tackles of any defensive player in Div. I. He probably won't have the most interceptions or tackles for loss or sacks. But, he may be the most valuable player on ND's defense.

With all that said, I think you can consider the occasional linebacker or defensive player, but I have to agree with Keegan that QB's get the most consideration because they are, by far, the most valuable players when it comes to fielding a successful team. When it comes down to it, I think that's how it should be.

clevelandjayhawker 5 years, 6 months ago

+1 If it were based on stats it would be a texas tech QB every year winning it, on hype there would be a lot of costal bias, but you stated it well...its based on value added (which in a team game is often difficult to do). I would love to see an o-lineman get some love for the Heisman, but it will probably never happen.

dansmullet 5 years, 6 months ago

Production and value all come down to the playbook. a 1000 yd rusher in a passing offense is more "productive" than 1500 yd rusher in a running offense, but will be less "valuable" because of the offensive scheme is based around passing. Production isn't based on straight up numbers. It's more do to with the chances you get. Who would you say is more productive between a RB going for 80 on 20 carries against a defense with 8 in the box, or a RB with 100 yards on 20 carries with 6 in the box? Just because one player is the most valuable, doesnt make him the most productive.

The Heisman is called "the most outstanding player in collegiate football". Outstanding does not equal valuable, which is why the Heisman should not have anything to do with value OR hype

Ron Prichard 5 years, 6 months ago

I think I understand your argument, but I still disagree with it. I would say that the 1500 yard rusher is more productive but less valuable. The 1000 yard rusher in the passing offense keeps the defense honest, so he is valuable as he allows the passing game to flourish. The 1500 yard rusher in the running offense may be less valuable as any back may be able to run for 1500 when he is getting 30 carries a game. Still, from a production standpoint, 1500 yards is definitely more production than 1000 yards.

For your second example, I would say the running back who gained 100 yds on 20 carries is more productive than the one who gained 80 yards on 20 carries even if he was going against a stacked defense. 100 is greater than 80. Five yards per carry is more productive than 4 yards per carry. However, the back that got 80 tough yards against a stacked defenense may be more valuable to his team.

The Heisman should be based on production AND value. That is why I think Klien is such a great candidate. As cleveland said above, if production was the only consideration, a TTech QB would win every year.

If you don't think value comes into play, who would you pick as the Heisman winner this year? I would give it to Klien, but he clearly is not the MOST productive player in college this year, but he may very well be the most Valuable.

dansmullet 5 years, 6 months ago

production has to do with number of chances, not just base numbers. Klien has the best QB rating in the country (a stat that calculates QB production). Just because a TTU QB has the most yards doesnt mean anything. Of course youre going to have more yards when you throw more than anyone else in the country. a 4000 yard passer on 600 attempts isnt nearly as productive as a 3000 yard passer on 350-400 attemtps. same for rushing, 1000 yards on 200 carries is more productive than 1200 on 300 carries.

Nathan Scholl 5 years, 6 months ago

I think the main question everyone should be asking here, is, "How in the world does Tom Keegan get to vote on the Heisman?" What is the criteria?

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