Maybe a bobblehead. Yeah, that's always a good knee-jerk reaction, the go-to stunt when promoting your guy for the Heisman Trophy.

Surely the LSU folks could whip out a batch of them on their lunch hour for Joe Burrow.

Or maybe tap the brakes on that.

As I struggle to type this, Byron Leftwich, circa 2002 with the Marshall Thundering Herd, is staring down from a corner book shelf at me, his oversized head still able to bobble on command.

No idea why that bobblehead is still back there. No particular attraction to it. Just never threw it away. Nobody ever stole it.

As I recall, it arrived in the mail way back when, as part of Marshall's Heisman campaign for what, by all accounts, was a fine young man (now 39 and the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Bucs).

He didn't win the Heisman. He had to settle for the MVP trophy from the Motor City Bowl.

But for some odd reason he still stands watch over the accumulated clutter of my cubicle.

No telling what else is behind all the debris. Probably some more Heisman Hopeful bobbleheads.

One from last year, Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, is around here somewhere. It was the only one I ever saw with a football player riding a horse and wearing a cowboy hat.

That creativity, however, didn't help him win the Heisman or even finish the season with the Cougars.

But the publicists keep trying every few years, shipping out bobbling heads to Heisman voters.

I've gotten five or six of them through the years. No idea what happened to all of them or why Leftwich has persevered. Seem to recall there was a Cub Scout group touring the office one time and one of the cubbies took a liking to one of them, so I gave it to him.

He didn't get much of a collector's item.

Best I can recall, all of those bobbing Heisman Hopeful Heads had one thing in common: none of them ever won the Heisman.

It's almost like a curse on the candidates.

So, no, Joe Burrow doesn't need an LSU bobblehead.

The Heisman race long ago quit being a contrived beauty pageant between sports information directors. Sometimes the right guy even wins it these days.

Burrow has a legitimate chance.

The LSU quarterback doesn't need a bobblehead.

He just needs to play.

Right now, Burrow seems to be in the stat-stacking stage of the campaign.

He leads the nation in passing completion percentage (83.3) and is second in passing yards (1,222) and pass efficiency, and is third in total offense (387.3 ypg) and touchdown passes (9).

In Heisman parlance, what they'll tell you is, "That's nice" while patting you on the head.

Keep piling them up. Can't hurt.

But in this voter's opinion, at least, stats don't win you squat in this deal.

Over the summer Burrow was barely on the Heisman radar, although Vegas would give you odds of 400-1 if you were so inclined.

The reason he woke up on the morning of Sept. 8 suddenly at a mere 4-1 odds was because of one game the night before, at Texas.

That is how you win the Heisman.

When you light up the Longhorns for 471 yards and four touchdowns in the most-watched and maybe most exciting game of the season, it gets noticed. It creates the proper buzz.

More so, it takes a certain derring-do, seizing the moment with a flair for the dramatic. Something like converting third-and-17 with the game on the line on a scrambling, twisting, off-balance, side-armed throw for a 61-yard TD.

That play alone is exactly the stuff Heismans are made of. It caught the public's fancy, which is way more important that gaudy stats.

Think of it this way. If Texas had pulled off the comeback in that thriller, then Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger would be the Heisman race intruder playing the role of Joe Burrow right now.

But Burrow probably needs more. Keep in mind it's early in the season.

Those 4-1 odds make Burrow the No. 3 choice behind Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (2-1) and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts (3-1).

Neither has really needed a signature moment or yet had a game big enough to claim one.

Others may join in as the season plays out. There will be other great games, other death-defying stunts and miraculous clutch plays.

It may come down to a season of can-you-top-this?

So nothing Burrow does Saturday morning at Vanderbilt can help him much.

There are some unwritten rules in the Heisman business and one of the strictest is that you can't win the Heisman playing against Vanderbilt.

But Burrow will have his opportunities. If you're circling dates, they key ones are high-profile games against Florida and Auburn next month.

Doing it on the biggest stage seems to be the quickest route to the Downtown Athletic Club.

Oh, yeah. There's another.

But if Burrow would pull off something silly dramatic to beat Alabama, they just might retire the trophy.

At any rate, bobbleheads need not apply.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

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