CLEMSON QUARTERBACK IS COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S MVP … WHETHER HE WINS AWARD OR NOT
As fans of the University of South Carolina’s athletic programs, it is not in our interest to lobby on behalf of the Heisman candidacy of a player at our arch-rival.
After all, having a player at Clemson University land college football’s most prestigious award could dramatically enhance the program’s already solid recruiting efforts … which is the very last thing Gamecock fans need right now.
Still, Watson deserves the Heisman Trophy. In fact, we’re somewhat surprised that Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson remains the frontrunner for the hardware.
Sure, Jackson’s numbers are arguably better.
He’s completed 220 of 382 passes (57.6 percent) for 3,390 yards with 30 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Jackson has also rushed for 1,538 yards and another 21 scores.
Watson has thrown the football far more frequently – connecting on 329 of 487 passes (67.6 percent) for 3,914 yards with 37 touchdowns and fifteen interceptions. He’s added 529 yards and six scores on the ground.
Based on data alone, the award should go to Jackson – who enjoys advantages over Watson in all-purpose yards and scoring responsibility.
Here’s the thing, though: Watson’s team beat Jackson’s team head-to-head earlier this year. Which matters.
What matters more, though, is that Watson has played his best football down the stretch – guiding Clemson to its second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championship and its second straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Jackson? His team will play in the Citrus Bowl after dropping back-to-back games against Houston and Kentucky.
Despite this, we’ve seen several late breaking Heisman surveys that continue to give Jackson the edge over Watson … which we simply don’t understand.
Watson deserves this award. Not just because of his numbers, but because of where his leadership has positioned his team.
Also don’t forget the paths these teams took to reach their divergent destinations. Watson’s Clemson Tigers faced the nation’s 34th toughest schedule, according to the latest computer rankings compiled by Jeff Sagarin. Compare that to Jackson’s Louisville Cardinals – who played the nation’s 70th toughest schedule.
Bottom line? Watson put up comparable numbers for a better team against better opponents – and as the season wore on he got better while Jackson faltered.
As much as it pains us to say it, this award belongs to Deshaun Watson …
What do you think? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below.
Who do you think should win the 2016 Heisman Trophy?
(Banner via Travis Bell Photography)