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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Why Andrew Luck Should Win Heisman Trophy Over Cam Newton

I understand the concept of integrity means little to many of you. I understand that the idea of amateurism means even less. But for some people, most notably the Heisman Trophy Trust, those two ideals are incredibly important and they’re the reasons why Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck should win the Heisman Trophy over Cam Newton, who was the most outstanding player in college football.

Because most people don’t bother to do the research and understand what the significance of certain awards are, here is the Heisman Trust’s Mission Statement:

The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country.

Cam Newton was an incredible player for Auburn and led them to a 13-0 season and appearance in the National Championship Game. Newton threw for 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions while rushing for 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was a one-man wrecking crew and the best player in college football. The problem is his pursuit of excellence was not done with integrity, and it undermined amateur athletics.

We know that Cam Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, shopped his son to Mississippi State. The NCAA has ruled Cam eligible saying he didn’t know what his father was doing. That’s fair because we don’t have enough information to determine whether or not Cam knew. The problem is the child is still supposed to be responsible for what the parents do because that’s the only way to prevent parents from undermining the amateur status of players. And yes, although many people argue that college players should be paid, I’m emphatically against that idea.

After Cam Newton, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was the next most outstanding player in college football. Luck threw for 3,051 yards, 28 touchdowns, and seven interceptions and led Stanford to an 11-1 season, their best year since 1940. Stanford scored at least 31 points in all but one of their games, and he helped the Cardinal run through rival Cal 48-14.

LaMichael James and Kellen Moore both had excellent seasons, but neither player was as outstanding as Luck. As fantastic as James is, Oregon’s offense would have allowed other backs to have similar levels of success (backup Kenjon Barner averaged more yards per carry in the same system). With Moore, he had a great year but his team’s success was due to the defense at least as much as the offense. Additionally, Moore played against the weakest competition by far, allowing his numbers to be better than they likely would have been if he played in a different conference.

Cam Newton was the most outstanding player in college football, but his accomplishments do not fall within the mission of the Heisman Trust. That means for the second year in a row, the Heisman Trophy should have gone to a Stanford player.

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