Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Sunday Feeling

By the time you read this, the Heisman Trophy will have most likely been awarded to Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith. The Heisman is awarded to the young man who is theoretically the best college football player in the country. This is mostly bullshit because because hardly anyone playing any position other than quarterback or running back has won it in recent memory. For all practical purposes they might as well restrict the eligibility to those positions.

The Heisman is still a big deal but it's not the sure-fire predictor of success in the NFL that people still seem to believe that it is. In fact, 3 of the last 5 winners were absolute busts at the next level. In reality, the Heisman Trophy is nothing more than a highly political beauty contest fueled by the Sports Information Directors at the various schools. And believe you me, when it comes to hyping the product nobody does it any better than The Ohio State University (as they grandly refer to themselves) and Notre Fricking Dame (as men of good will everywhere refer to them).

Which makes the fact that Arkansas's own Darren McFadden is a finalist nothing short of amazing. The other finalists this year are the aforementioned Smith, and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. The smart money says that Smith will win in a landslide. Maybe so. He has certainly had himself one hell of a year and is one of the reasons that the Buckeyes are undefeated and will be playing for all marbles next month.

But if you want to give the award to the player that has made the greatest impact on his team I think you would have to give it to McSFadden. And no, I'm not being a homer. Consider this. You could plug anybody in at quarterback at either Notre Dame or OSU and they are going to be OK. They may not go 10-2 or undefeated, but they are gonna be OK.

Arkansas went 10-3 in year in which Darren McFadden did everything but pump up the footballs and fill in at linebacker. He ran for 1,558 yards, he caught 11 passes for touchdowns and threw for 3 more. And this was on a team that had a completely execrable passing game. He put up these numbers in the toughest football conference in the country while wearing a bullseye as well as the # 5 on his back. ND or OSU would have been OK without Quinn or Smith. Arkansas would not have won 5 games without McFadden. But with him in the backfield, and but for a couple of monumental screwups against LSU and Florida, the Razorbacks would have been SEC champs and playing in a BCS bowl. By any observable criteria he was the offense.

It is indeed a testament to what this sophomore from Little Rock has accomplished despite getting a late start due to an injury to his big toe sustained during a fight in a bar just prior to two-a-days. The damn thing had to be practically sewed back on. He was pretty much 100% by the 3rd game. I would still be in a cast. This is living proof that the young heal fast.

He is the best running back I have ever seen at Arkansas and they have had some good ones. He looks for all the world like the second coming of Eric Dickerson. The consensus is that he will be a first round draft pick barring injury. You don't really hear that about the other 2 finalists.

Quinn and White are worthy finalists and good kids. But if you want to give the Heisman Trophy to "the best player in the country" only one of the finalists qualifies and he's the one that his one trick pony of a team couldn't survive without. And his name is Darren McFadden.

See You In Court: The New Orleans Saints lost starting defensive tackle Hollis Thomas for the remainder of the regular season after he tested positive for clenbutrol, a banned steroid. Thomas's defense is that he uses steroidal based inhalers to control a serious asthma condition which was exacerbated when he left the Philadelphia Eagles to play in the more sultry climes of Southeast Louisiana. The NFL said the use of Advair and Singulair would not produce a positive test for clenbutrol and imposed the suspension. Which is good to know, since I have used both of these meds. I wouldn't want to be banned from the Olympics.

However, before the NFL took action on Thomas, it received a letter from his agent that said if the NFL took any adverse action based on Thomas's medical condition, which his mouthpiece described as "severe" and "life-threatening," it would be in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Under the ADA, a disability is defined as a medical impairment that substantially limits one of more major life activities. I don't know about you, but I would tend to think that if one's profession required one to chase down NFL running backs and throw off NFL linemen then the "major life activity" otherwise known as respiration must not be all that damned substantially impaired. It looks like the NFL saw it they same way.

There is a reason people hate lawyers. Making a ridiculous threat such as the above is one such reason.

That is all for now. I must return to the major life activity of Christmas shoplifting.

Until next time, God rest ye, deck the halls, whatever. I am out of here.

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