My Heisman ballot:
1. Tim Tebow
2. Sam Bradford
3. Colt McCoy
I can't give you a quantitative reason why Tebow is my No. 1. His numbers are down from '07. However, after watching him lead that fourth-quarter comeback against Alabama, it's more of a feel, an emotional reaction.
I go back to Sept. 27 when Tebow basically called his shot after the Ole Miss loss and then delivered! Nine wins in a row. Go back and at the quotes from that day. Tebow as Babe Ruth pointing his bad toward the Wrigley Field bleachers.
Until Saturday, Bradford was my guy. I had started hyping him for Heisman back when he was a freshman. How many players ever have led the country in pass efficiency two years in a row?
It's hard to vote Colt McCoy third when he took a team with a mediocre offensive line and led it in passing and rushing. The point is, I can't slide a piece of paper between the three of them.
The voters: John Adams, Knoxville News Sentinel; Tony Barnhart, CBS; Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News; Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Michael DiRocco, Florida Times-Union; Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle; Scott Ferrell, Shreveport Times; Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen; Herb Gould, Chicago-Sun Times; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Mike Griffith, Knoxville New Sentinel; Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Press-Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Mark Janssen, Manhattan Mercury; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Ted Lewis, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Mike Lopresti, Gannett Newspapers; Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger; Ray Melick, Birmingham News; Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News; Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune.
(Two voters did not want their names used)
The rest of the national awards, etc.
There's a difference between the Heisman winner and MVP. McCoy did more with less. Texas wouldn't be in the conversation without him.
Best quarterback: Bradford
This is getting confusing so let's just drop it.
Best running back: Shonn Greene, Iowa
The nation's No. 2 rusher came on in the second half of the season to surpass Michigan State's Javon Ringer and UConn's Donald Brown as the most consistent ground force in the nation.
Best receiver: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Do back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards do anything for you? An NFL star in waiting.
Best tight end: Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma
This was tough. I recently shifted away from Missouri's Chase Coffman who was too injured at the end of the season to back up a spectacular first eight games of the season.
The 6-foot-6 inch Gresham gets opens, is hard to tackle and has speed. Need anything else?
Best offensive lineman: Andre Smith, Alabama.
He is what coaches look for when they recruit left tackles. A case can be made for Smith, the likely Outland Trophy winner, being Bama's MVP. Without him protecting John Parker Wilson and carving out holes for Glen Coffee, the Tide don't start 12-0.
Defensive player of the year: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
From a troubled beginning, this voracious tackler became the foundation for one of the best statistical defenses in history.
Best defensive lineman: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
Ask BYU's Max Hall what he thinks of the nation's sacks leader In their October matchup, Hughes sacked Hall three times.
Best defensive back: Eric Berry, Tennessee.
Lane Kiffin should be at Berry's house right now making sure he's happy, comfortable and ready to take 20 snaps a game on offense.
Best special teams player: Kevin Huber, P, Cincinnati
You won't find many other All-Americans on the best Cincinnati team in history that won 11 games and the Big East. We'll give it to Huber who bombed 20 punts more than 50 yards and dropped 20 punts inside the 20.
Remember when Cincinnati used to be a basketball school?
Freshman of the year: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
How did he get from Texas to Corvallis?
Coach of the year: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
Staff of the year: Penn State
The Broyles Award is doing a disservice to Penn State. The honor goes to the assistant coach of the year. Not only were there no Penn State assistants among the finalists, the Broyles folks didn't do the right thing and pick the entire Penn State staff.
With JoePa ailing, his staff basically took over and led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title. Big ups to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno. They were the glue.
Biggest disappointments: Georgia, Notre Dame, South Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, the ACC, the Pac-10.
Biggest surprises: Oregon State, Ball State, Alabama, Buffalo, East Carolina, Rice, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech.
Sometimes you just live right: Charlie Weis almost got run out of town after a 6-6 season. His reward? A trip to the Hawaii where he can continue to recruit linebacker Manti Te'o.
Don't give me any of this stuff about a dead period. Te'o will be a captive audience as the Irish take over Oahu.
Best games: Texas 45, Oklahoma 35, Oct. 11 in Dallas.
The winner usually wins the Big 12 South and competes for the national championship. Right? Right?
Texas Tech 39, Texas 33, Nov. 1 in Lubbock.
Not to pick on the Horns here but the reason they are playing Ohio State instead of Florida is Crabtree's game-winning catch with one second left.
UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 (OT) Sept. 1 in the Rose Bowl.
Tennessee's defense held UCLA's Kevin Craft to only four interceptions in the first half. Then, in his best performance of a long, long season, Craft rallied the Bruins in the second half.
Rick Neuheisel led a post-game pep rally.
Florida 31, Alabama 20, Dec. 6 at the SEC championship game.
The BCS was smiling as the closest thing to a national semifinal was played out in front of the largest Georgia Dome crowd in history.
Whine of the year: Pete Carroll and USC
You lost to a team you weren't supposed to (Oregon State). You paid for it in the polls. Deal with it. Maybe the difference between that and Florida losing to Ole Miss? Urban Meyer has made a habit lately of winning the big ones <em>and</em> the little ones.
Six teams ranked No. 1 during the season (the most since 1984)
Alabama arriving a year early (at least) under Nick Saban
Utah, TCU and BYU making a huge statement by the Mountain West: The BCS doesn't belong to the six power conferences.
Notre Dame's collapse from 4-1 and Weis barely hanging on for another year.
Oregon State beating USC and chasing its first Rose Bowl in 44 years.
Coaches in waiting.
Coaches waiting in line ("resigning" in the middle of a season).
The end of a Bowden (Tommy).
The continuation of a Bowden (Bobby).
The longing of a Bowden (Terry, to get back in the game).
Nate Davis' gloves.
Jay Jacobs' "shock" over Tommy Tuberville's "resignation."
Tennessee goes from old school to youngest coach in the country.
The (sad) state of Washington. (Combined records of the Huskies and Cougars, 2-22).
Big 12 quarterbacks.
Big 12 offenses.
Big 12 top 10 games each week.
The Big 12 surpassing the SEC, if only for a moment, as the best conference in the country.
The tie in the Big 12 South.
The cry that followed.
The high road.
Running it up.
Calling off the dogs.
"To me that's a little ridiculous," Bradford said.
That's a good way to end it, for now.