Before this football season started we as Louisville fans had high expectations. We heard Robert Patrick Petrino say the goal was to win a national championship and he wanted to get back to lighting up the scoreboard. Petrino’s words did nothing to temper expectations. Most realistic Louisville fans knew that winning a national championship was a long shot. Making the college football playoffs seemed like a long shot also but most believed that we had a better shot to make the playoffs than Kentucky had to make a bowl game. So you’re saying there’s a chance.
While all the preseason talk and debate was over whether or not we could beat FSU and/or Clemson, nobody was talking about Lamar Jackson winning the Heisman Trophy this year. Actually, there was one person who believed.
My good friend Brandon Scott Davis, who currently lives in Atlanta, is a huge Cardinal fan. Like myself, he is also a big horse racing fan. Back in January he reminded me to bet the Ky Derby future wager, where I placed a wager on the eventual Derby winner, Nyquist, at odds of 9-1. Shortly after the Derby he asked me what I thought about dropping a few dollars on Lamar Jackson to win the Heisman Trophy at 100-1 odds. Brandon believed in Lamar. He wanted my opinion as to whether I though it was a waste of money or not. I was honest and said I didn’t think he had a great chance with McCaffrey, Fournette, Cook and Wastson all coming back. Also he had not started 2 games in a row and I questioned if his passing accuracy could improve enough to be a Heisman contender. I advised him to save his money. Well I look like a jack*** as it appears Lamar is the clear choice to win the Heisman.
As great as it would be for him to win the Heisman, he doesn’t need to win it for this to be the the greatest accomplishment by a single Louisville football player. No player from the University of Louisville has ever gone to New York as a finalist for the award. In fact, the highest any Louisville player has ever finished is tenth. In 2005, Elvis Kool Dumervil received 9 third place votes giving him the most Heisman votes of all time for a Louisville player.
Even though Lamar doesn’t need to win the Heisman, he should. Only things that could stop him is an injury, a loss or a media bias. Please take note of the cautionary tale of one Theodore Andrew Bridgewater Jr. Teddy was tabbed as a early Heisman finalist but he fell out of the race after a loss to UCF. Teddy put up good numbers in the loss, going 29 of 38 for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those numbers are in line with the other Heisman candidates from 2013 but a loss to what was perceived to be a lesser team was enough to completely remove Teddy from the voting all together. Also, Teddy is an example of how the media can build you up till they run out of good things to say then they try to tear you down. Teddy was projected as the number one overall pick in the NFL draft but then we started hearing things like his hands were too small or his legs were too skinny. He dropped all the way to the end of the first round. Lamar faces the same type of media scrutiny. He may have been too good too early. Just like in horse racing, you don’t want the lead at the halfway mark unless you can finish strong. Everyone has been amazed by his gaudy video game type statistics in the first 5 games. The moment those numbers start to come down to just above average, everyone will jump ship and look for a new media darling. Writers want to be the first to break new news or start a new trend.We are already starting to see it. On the bye week, Lamar did not receive all the Heisman first place votes.
Filed to CBS Sports, Heisman Week 6: 1.Browning, UW;
2. J Peppers, Mich
3. L Jackson, Lou
4. JT Barrett, tOSU
5. Donnell Pumphrey, SDSU.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) October 10, 2016
I’m sorry Mr. Dodd but a bye week should not cause you to drop Lamar to third. So you see folks, it has already begun. The media trying to tear him down because they ran out of compliments or just trying to get a reaction out of us so we will click his link. Well, I believe all this did was poke the bear. Louisville is coming off of a heartbreaking loss in Death valley. The Cards will take out their frustrations on the Blue Devils this Friday night in PJCS. There is a chance that the Cards football team will score more points against Duke than the basketball team will. I’m guessing 90 points, Lamar has 6 more touchdowns and sits the 4th quarter.
I always keep it real with you, my friends. I took a little heat for predicting that we would win 11 games and just miss the playoffs. I stand by my predictions. What I did not predict was a Heisman run by Lamar Jackson. I am truly amazed at how much he has grown since last season. I am rooting for him to continue his record setting pace and hope he wins the Heisman Trophy. I trust in Petrino to mange his playing time so that he plays long enough to get his statistics but pulls him early enough to avoid injury.
If I told you before the season started that we would win 11 games, play in a new years bowl game and have a Heisman finalist, you would have traded almost anything for that. Now that we are halfway through the season would you still be happy with that outcome or have you raised expectations to playoffs and Heisman or bust? For me, Lamar doesn’t need to win the Heisman, but he should.
As Always. GO CARDS!