The Heisman Trophy is many things. The most prestigious award in college football. The most familiar trophy in sports. The symbol of the most exclusive fraternity in athletics.
This year, it might be something else. A consolation prize. The college football world is still buzzing about Oklahoma making the Big 12 Championship game instead of Texas. When the Sooners finished ahead of the Longhorns in the BCS standings and claimed the South Division title, it set off a firestorm. Cries of injustice have been heard from one coast to the other and everywhere in between. The headlines screamed the scorn. From Fort Lauderdale: ’Horns Hooked? From New York: A Texas-Sized Fiasco. From St. Louis: Texas is cheated by flawed system. Plenty of folks believe the Longhorns drew the short straw, and when you perceive an injustice, it’s human nature to try to make amends. The Heisman might be the college football world’s way of doing that. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is the front-runner in the Heisman straw polls, but Colt McCoy isn’t far behind. Might voters look now at the Texas quarterback with a more sympathetic eye? Might that propel him to victory next weekend in New York? Chris Huston believes it could happen. His Web site, HeismanPundit.com, explores all things related to the little bronze statue. Before sharing his expertise with the masses on the Internet, he worked as an assistant sports information director at Southern Cal, where he oversaw the Heisman campaigns of eventual winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. "It is possible that McCoy could get some votes either as sympathy or as a protest against the BCS process,” Huston said. "I’m not sure it hurts Bradford so much as it helps McCoy a little.” But even the slightest advantage could be decisive in a race this close. Bradford is leading every major straw poll, but McCoy is right behind. He is only a few points behind Bradford in a couple polls, and in the ESPN.com poll, he has just as many first-place votes as Bradford. If McCoy gets a few sympathy votes, it could make the difference in the final outcome. The Big 12’s BCS mess might not be the only factor in the Heisman voting either.