Breaking up with Heisman contender

Sorry, Tua, it’s not you.

It’s me.

Me and my Heisman ballot.

You certainly did nothing wrong at Alabama this season.

It’s me.

It came time to vote and I just couldn’t muster up the energy to have to spell that last name — Tagovailoa — one more time. Only name I’ve ever seen with more syllables than letters.

No, just kidding. Really. I’m not that petty.

Assuming that everyone did their civic duty — mine was one of 928 ballots — I’m not sure what real effect it had on the best individual trophy in all of sports.

But, sorry, I couldn’t pull the trigger on Ta-Tago-Tavo … whatever.

It’s not you. You seem like a nice young man. Great personality.

You did everything right in this relationship. You were the near-perfect Heisman Trophy candidate almost the entire season.

Almost.

It’s me.

Such a procrastinator. If I didn’t always put off everything until the absolute last minute — last Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline for Heisman voting, for instance — then maybe you’d have been a lock, at least on my ballot.

But the fact is that waiting until that last weekend was over, it changed everything.

Again, it’s not you. It’s not your fault.

Maybe the turnabout was fair play. But Jalen Hurts stole your Heisman Moment.

Yes, your good friend, teammate and backup quarterback.

Shoot. It was hard not to vote Hurts for the Heisman on the grounds of being the Best Jilted Teammate of All-Time and somehow still being at Alabama when absolutely needed to muster a thrilling comeback in the SEC Championship game against Georgia.

It’s a rarity these days.

And, yes, I know, it wasn’t your fault that you and Bama were so dominant that when a Heisman Moment finally presented itself, you were on the sideline with a bad wheel. Those special moments generally happen in the fourth quarter and it took almost the entire season for your services to be needed that late without accusations of running up the score.

Not your fault.

But it happened.

And Hurts took it and ran with it (threw it pretty well, too).

The qualifications for the award don’t specifically mention a Heisman Moment.

In fact, there’s not a lot of guidance from the presenting Downtown Athletic Club.

The ballot reads only to vote for the “outstanding college football player in the United States,” which is a pretty vague description in these complicated days.

The only other qualifier is that “the recipient of the award MUST be a bona fide student of an accredited college or university including the United States Academies,” and “The recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA Student-Athlete.”

That doesn’t narrow down the field too much.

There’s nothing about a Heisman Moment, but they’re nice to have when it comes down to it.

We’ve talked about this before.

A Heisman winner is hard to define. Many resort to the tired, old Most Valuable vs. Most Outstanding war of semantics.

Bottom line: it’s really hard to describe a Heisman winner, but you should know it when you see it.

I could care less about statistics and even less about who the top NFL prospect is, and it’s certainly not about who will eventually be the best Major League Baseball player.

But there’s usually a guy who really captures the imagination of the college football world — the player you can’t take your eyes off, who you always wonder what he might be up to on Saturdays even when you’re not watching.

That’s usually my guy, even if he’s a rascal like Johnny Manziel, and there’s normally a Heisman Moment in there somewhere.

It didn’t help that Hurts’ heroics came right after Oklahoma outfielder Kyler Murray had quarterbacked the Sooners to an equally thrilling victory over Texas in the Big 12 championship game.

Maybe if the Big 12 game officials had noticed the false start in the offensive line on his perfect game-clinching touchdown pass, we’re not having this discussion.

But they didn’t and Murray took advantage.

Murray was already everything you want in the winner — thrilling player, maybe a little undersized at 5-foot-11, always adept at seizing the moment with his own derring-do.

So there’s where my vote went.

But, Tua, it was close. Real close. You did nothing wrong.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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