Why does everything in college football need to be drenched in controversy like a bad soap opera with no ending in sight? We can't even get through hearing the nominees (the nominees!) for the Heisman Trophy without a slew of debates and arguments breaking out.
The solution seems as clear-cut as a college football playoff, but as usual, what might make the most sense doesn't always seem be as obvious to the suits pulling the strings.
Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell was snubbed when it came to the nominations for this year's Heisman Trophy and there was no reason for it.
Harrell has thrown for 4,747 yards this season, more than Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Texas' Colt McCoy and defending Heisman winner Tim Tebow of Florida. He also led his team to the same 11-1 regular-season record as those three quarterbacks, but unlike them, he will not be in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
Despite being the Heisman frontrunner and in the driver's seat to play in the BCS national championship game for a month prior to a late-season loss to Oklahoma, Harrell was punished as harshly as the Red Raiders in the Heisman ballots for that one loss and finished a distant fourth. That still deserves a trip to New York and an opportunity to be recognized for the season he had.
"It's not fair to that player who has no opportunity to win," said Robert Whalen, Executive Director of The Heisman Trophy Trust, who explained that there was "a natural breaking point in the voting" and a large gap between the third place finalist and Harrell, the fourth place finalist, this year.
No, what isn't fair is snubbing a senior quarterback like Harrell while three underclassmen, who will no doubt be returning to New York next year, are recognized instead. Harrell probably knew he wasn't going to win the Heisman after the loss to Oklahoma, but to not be invited and share the moment with the three players he has been compared to all season isn't right. How hard would it have been to invite one more player and avoid the controversy you knew was coming by slighting a deserving candidate?
Who cares about "a natural breaking point in the voting"? Whalen and everyone else at The Heisman Trophy Trust are smart enough to know that the Heisman ceremony has become an event far more important than the announcement of the winner. It's an hour-long show honoring the candidates as the nominees, their parents and their coaches are interviewed. It's a time when they can hobnob with past Heisman winners before the ceremony and tour New York with their peers as they go on various national talk shows. It's like an actor in an independent film being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Sure, you know you're probably going to lose to Tom Hanks, Daniel Day-Lewis or Jack Nicholson, but wouldn't it be nice be sitting among those guys in Hollywood and be recognized for the work you've done?
Not only would it have been fair to invite Harrell to the ceremony, it would have been the right thing to do.