The people have spoken.
Boy, have they spoken.
I'm not sure what I expected a week ago today when I gave my Heisman Trophy vote away to the highest bidder, so to speak.
But I'm pretty sure I wasn't expecting more than 11,500 e-mail votes. Incredible!
We only counted the first 7,500 because:
a) Jimmy Carter wasn't overseeing this election.
b) The state of Florida said that would make it official.
c) It was like the old days in Chicago. We got votes from Chuck Noll and Bob Griese, which may or may not have been legitimate, and some from ex-Heisman winners Jay Berwanger and Tom Harmon, which likely were not legitimate considering they're dead.
d) I got tired of counting the daggone things.
e) All of the above and not necessarily in that order.
Anyway, the first 7,500 votes were more than enough to determine a clear-cut winner and the order in which we will submit “our” top three selections to the Downtown Athletic Club.
Perhaps we should insert something at this point. All those votes weren't necessarily submitted by readers. We suspect some enterprising college football fans caught the column on The Blade's online edition and posted our e-mail address in chat rooms and on fan bulletin boards.
OK, there's nothing wrong with that. The more the merrier. But I don't have a secretary, an assistant or even a gofer. So we cut it off at 7,500 and here's the top three:
1. Brad Banks, Iowa quarterback, 2,856 votes.
2. Carson Palmer, Southern Cal quarterback, 2,287 votes.
3. Larry Johnson, Penn State running back, 1,658 votes.
So that's how we'll submit them, representing the voice of the fans.
“Thanks for letting the peons get a sniff of the voting,” wrote John Gaines, a dentist in Oakland, Calif.
You're welcome, folks.
Not all of you voted for the top three, of course. There were 699 other votes split between the likes of Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey, Miami running back Willis McGahee, Colorado running back Chris Brown and Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich.
“I really like this guy's heart, plus he has serious game,” Kevin Catlett wrote of Leftwich.
McGahee proved the same last Saturday, but his six touchdowns against Virginia Tech may have come too late to drum up many votes.
We received ballots for running backs Maurice Clarett of Ohio State and B.J. Askew of Michigan and, even closer to home, scattered support for local heroes like quarterback Brian Jones and receiver Dont Green of Toledo and quarterback Josh Harris of Bowling Green.
“If Clarett was healthy, he would win the Heisman for sure,” wrote Nate Cohen. “His early-season play gave his team the confidence to win, and now they're playing for the national championship.”
Maybe so, but the Buckeyes' freshman sensation was an also-ran. And none of them, not even fourth-place finisher Dorsey, came close to the Big Three.
Here's what some of Banks' supporters had to say:
“He led his team to a No.3 [national] ranking [after it] was picked to finish eighth in the Big Ten.” - Jenny Sojka.
“Banks is a mistake-free offensive weapon.” - Chad Jacobsen.
“Two of his four interceptions came on a Hail Mary at the end of a half and a deflection. ... Basically, Banks has made two bad decisions all year while throwing 25 touchdown passes.” - Ryan Rader.
“Banks is a great crunch-time player. He led the Hawks on a game-winning drive against Purdue, breaking off a great run and then throwing a fourth-down TD pass. He also threw the game-winning pass at Penn State in overtime.” - Doug Hodgson.
“Iowa had no bye week, meaning Banks was consistently good week after week.” - Ryan Wendt.
“When Palmer played two nationally ranked teams on the road, he lost. Banks not only won, but he shined in road games against nationally ranked Michigan and Penn State.” - B.T.
Palmer's supporters, of course, saw things differently.
“In Palmer's last six games he threw for 2,010 yards, 23 TDs and four interceptions. Basically, those are Banks' numbers for a 12-game season.” - Rod Manser.
“The toughest schedule in the entire nation. More yards than any QB has put on Notre Dame, with a top-five defense no less, in that team's history. No Pac-10 Heisman winner in over 20 years. Vote for Carson.” - Daniel Morgan.
And equal time for Penn State's Johnson:
“No one in the history of college football has run for 8.0 yards per carry.” - Shawn Acker.
“Larry Johnson [gained] 2,000 yards with an offensive line that had zero first-team All-Big Ten linemen and zero second-team All-Big Ten linemen. Enough said.”
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