A case for the Heisman Trophy

The stage is set for a first in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Yes, Tim Tebow is just a sophomore and it’s true, no sophomore has ever won the trophy, but is this year that the trophy goes to the best player no matter what class he’s in? Is it too early to start thinking Heisman Trophy for Tim Tebow?

Tebow has two games to go and he is certainly the front-runner, particularly after Thursday night when Oregon’s fine quarterback Dennis Dixon reinjured his knee without contact. Dixon had already thrown an interception in the game, but he was looking very much like a player in complete control after running for a touchdown and Oregon’s offense had an unstoppable look about it with Dixon taking the snaps.

It can only help Tebow’s cause that he takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He’s played through the pain of a badly bruised shoulder and has produced big numbers. While a knee injury is certainly more serious than a bruised shoulder, there is this aura of toughness about Tebow that may make him a far more palatable choice for the Heisman instead of Dixon, whose knee buckled under him when he tried to plant his leg.

The numbers favor Tebow, too. Coming into Thursday night’s game, Dixon was 167-246 throwing the ball for 2,074 yards and 20 touchdowns. Dixon had run the football for 549 yards on 103 carries for eight touchdowns. Tebow, who has a Saturday encounter with Florida Atlantic (12:00 p.m., Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Pay Per View), has completed 173-255 passes for 2,532 yards and 23 touchdowns while running for 718 yards on 170 carries for 19 touchdowns.

In accounting for 42 touchdowns, Tebow broke Danny Wuerffel’s SEC record of 41 touchdowns set in his Heisman Trophy season of 1996. That’s more touchdowns responsible than the following quarterbacks had in their Heisman Trophy seasons: Jason White, Oklahoma (41 in 2003); Carson Palmer, Southern Cal (37 in 2002); Matt Leinart of Southern Cal (36 in 2002); Chris Weinke of FSU (34 in 2000); Troy Smith of Ohio State (31 in 2006); and Charlie Ward of FSU (31 in 1993).

With at least three games remaining (two regular season and a bowl), Tebow could also surpass the touchdowns responsible of Heisman winners Andre Ware of Houston (49 in 1989) and Ty Detmer of Brigham Young (45 in 1990).

Tebow has accounted for more touchdowns (42) than Miami (26) or Florida State (25) have scored this season. Miami has only 37 yards more total offense than Tebow has produced. Tebow has rushed for more yards (718) than Notre Dame (556) and he has more than 1,000 more yards of offense than the Irish (2,170).

Tebow’s five touchdowns rushing against South Carolina last week tied him in the SEC record book (with Garrison Hearst, Shaun Alexander and LaBrandon Toefield) for touchdowns in a season with 19. That’s as many or more rushing touchdowns than Emmitt Smith, Herschel Walker, Shaun Alexander, Bo Jackson, Reggie Bush, Adrian Peterson, Ron Dayne or Archie Griffin ever had in their most productive seasons.

The most rushing touchdowns ever by a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is 18 by Eric Crouch of Nebraska in 2001.

If you go by points produced, Tebow has produced more points (252) than 44 Division I teams.

With games remaining with Florida Atlantic and FSU, here’s a look at Tebow against some of the competition:


Tebow: 718 yards rushing/19 touchdowns; 2,532 yards passing/23 touchdowns; 3,250 yards total offense/42 touchdowns

Miami: 1,666 yards rushing/12 touchdowns; 1,621 yards passing/3,287 yards total offense/26 touchdowns

FSU: 1,200 yards rushing/8 touchdowns; 2,475 yards passing/13 touchdowns; 3,675 yards total offense/25 touchdowns

UCF: 2,373 yards rushing/32 touchdowns; 1,771 yards passing/11 touchdowns; 4,144 yards total offense/46 touchdowns

USF: 1,894 yards rushing/23 touchdowns; 2,332 yards passing/14 touchdowns; 4,226 yards total offense/40 touchdowns

FAU: 1,079 yards rushing/9 touchdowns; 2,491 yards passing/20 touchdowns; 3,570 yards total offense/29 touchdowns

FIU: 936 yards rushing/2 touchdowns; 1,188 yards passing/9 touchdowns; 2,124 yards total offense/11 touchdowns


Tebow: 718 yards rushing/19 touchdowns which is more yards rushing than four Division I teams and more touchdowns rushing than 85 Division I teams.

Some notable teams:

Notre Dame: 566 yards rushing/7 touchdowns

Ohio State: 2,186 yards rushing/18 touchdowns

Southern Cal: 1,856 yards rushing/17 touchdowns

Clemson: 1,645 yards/14 touchdowns

Alabama: 1,533 yards rushing/17 touchdowns

Michigan: 1,978 yards/18 touchdowns


Tebow: 2,532 yards passing/23 touchdowns which is more yardage than 78 Division I teams and more touchdown passes than 96 Division I teams.

Some notable teams:

Notre Dame: 1,614 yards passing/9 touchdowns

Southern Cal: 2,220 yards/22 touchdowns

Ohio State: 2,300 yards/24 touchdowns

Illinois: 1,666 yards/13 touchdowns

Auburn: 1,967 yards/11 touchdowns

West Virginia: 1,565 yards/13 touchdowns

LSU: 2,351 yards/21 touchdowns

Alabama: 2,304 yards/15 touchdowns


Tebow: 42 touchdowns accounted for which is more touchdowns than 85 Division I teams.

Some notable teams:

Notre Dame: 19 touchdowns

Auburn: 33 touchdowns

South Carolina: 36 touchdowns

Georgia: 41 touchdowns

Alabama: 33 touchdowns

Illinois: 38 touchdowns

Boston College: 31 touchdowns

Michigan: 40 touchdowns

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.