The topsy-turvy Heisman race reach finally gained some order on Saturday night as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston took home the trophy in a landslide.
Lost in the shuffle, however, was the fact that Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron was a surprise runner up.
It’s not the first time a McCarron achievement has been downplayed. His 36-3 record as a starter, his school-record 8, 243 passing yards and 72 touchdown passes, his nation-leading pass efficiency rating as a junior — it didn’t really seem to resonate with a lot of the punditry who cover college football.
Nonetheless, Heisman voters seemed to understand, viscerally, what he meant to his team.No other Alabama quarterback has finished this high in the Heisman standings before. His recognition by the Heisman electorate is a fitting testament to a remarkable career that is coming to a close.
McCarron’s support in the Heisman vote was solid. He received the most second-place (162) and third-place votes (143) and the second-most first-place votes (79). He finished second in three of the six voting regions and third in the other three.
One wonders how the vote might’ve changed if the Tide hadn’t fallen in freaky fashion to Auburn. McCarron would’ve had another chance to show his stuff in the SEC title game and maybe a gallant performance there would’ve swayed more voters his way. At the very least, the race would’ve been a lot closer.
McCarron will go down as perhaps the greatest quarterback in Alabama history. It’s not going to be easy to replace him.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah