One coach voted against Tim Tebow, and a whodunit caper ensued.
All week at the 2009 SEC Media Days, the contingent at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Ala., asked coach after coach whether they voted Tebow for preseason All-SEC, determined to discover who would slight the mighty No. 15.
Not only did South Carolina's Steve Spurrier admit to voting for Ole Miss' Jevan Snead during the last Media Days session, he said his director of football operations filled out the ballot.
“I apologize to Tim Tebow,” Spurrier said.
No way Johnny Manziel -- last year's Heisman winner for Texas A&M and, as of today, an All-SEC second-team quarterback as voted by league coaches -- gets similar treatment this week.
To be clear: Georgia's Aaron Murray, who beat out Manziel for first team, is better than Jevan Snead. So is Alabama's A.J. McCarron, who would be a first-teamer by an overwhelming vote in leaner quarterback years.
But let's not act like the Murray vote was all about football, that Manziel's offseason travails and his growing look-at-me reputation in light of the NCAA investigation didn't affect voting.
Maybe some people think it should, but unless he's lost the trust of his teammates, I don't.
When Manziel hookah lounges and autographs and daps-with-Drake his way to 48 touchdowns and another double-digit-win season for A&M, will coaches issue an apology like Spurrier did?
The viral outrage over Manziel's slight has been minimal, and presumably several coaches voted against him instead of one in Tebow's case.
A compelling argument can be made for all three quarterbacks having the best season. Murray is poised to break several SEC passing records. McCarron is far from a game manager.
There's a part of me that thinks Murray will have the biggest year. As MrSEC.com points out, Murray had a ridiculous 20-to-1 touchdown/turnover ratio in the second halves of games last season. Georgia has been too close for too long not to break through.
But my point is this: If Manziel had the same demeanor as Tebow, would we be having this conversation? Would coaches really vote for Murray?
Maybe, but I'm not buying that. Manziel has done his part in tainting his image -- or he's enhanced it, depending on whom you ask -- but making the leap that Manziel's play will suffer as a result of his offseason is a misguided one.
In fact, he could be better.
Word out of A&M camp is Manziel has looked impressive in practices and that the last few months have fueled his on-field performance. It's just practice, I know, but it's worth noting.
This operates under the stipulation that he's actually on the field and not in NCAA detention. If coaches used the NCAA mess as criteria, that's a mistake, because there's no way of telling whether he'll play six or nine or 12 games.
Murray gets it. He's impressive. He deflects attention, is about all the right things, has several playmakers around him and could have a monster year.
That doesn't mean Johnny Football is Jevan Snead.