The Heisman Trophy seems almost guaranteed to go to one of two players: Auburn’s Cam Newton or Oregon’s LaMichael James.
Most people expect an easy win by Newton, but James has a very good chance to win too. James’ chance, though, mostly comes from the possibility that Heisman voters wouldn’t want another Reggie Bush situation on their hands.
That’s not to say James doesn’t deserve the trophy. The running back has accumulated 1,682 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in 10 games this season. In only his second season with the Ducks, James leads the NCAA in rushing yards.
But James is no Newton. If voters can get past the allegations of pay-for-play against Newton, then James should have no chance. Voters now have the NCAA’s blessing to vote for Newton, after the NCAA’s investigation found no evidence that the quarterback with the best passer rating had anything to do with any of the allegations against his father.
Newton has 28 touchdowns and 2,589 passing yards this season, and has led his team to a 13-0 record and the SEC Championship title.
It’s sad that it may end up being the actions by Newton’s father, Cecil, that costs the quarterback the trophy. If it’s true that Cecil wanted money from colleges in exchange for his son’s commitment, and that Cam had no involvement then it will be yet another example of an overzealous parent taking advantage of their child’s talent.
Luckily for Newton, the NCAA’s investigation ended early enough for voters to put the scandal behind them and give him the trophy he rightly deserves.