It seems as though we’re in a Hawai’i state of mind around here lately. Maybe it’s the injustice done to them by the BCS. Maybe it’s lingering hatred/jealousy of Phillips and his family spending every Thanksgiving on Maui. Or maybe it’s the myriad stories that are coming to the mainland with the undefeated Warriors, the best of which is their Heisman-candidate quarterback, Colt Brennan. He is not only the best quarterback in the nation, he should win the Heisman trophy. Yet there are those out there who would say that he has no business even being at the ceremony in New York. Let’s take a look at some of the arguments against him to prove that they’re crap.
Colt Brennan is a “system quarterback”
I hear this one used the most often. The talking heads like to say Brennan’s numbers are only so good because he’s in a system that makes them that way. The answer to that is: you’re an idiot. Of course he’s in a system that lets him throw a lot and spread the ball around. He’s a good quarterback. Shouldn’t coaches be putting their players in the best possible situation to succeed? I highly doubt June Jones would be running that offense if he had a terrible quarterback. And, as Hawai’i's coach said, they’re all system quarterbacks, even Tim Tebow.
Colt Brennan won’t be a good pro quarterback
This one is hard to even dignify with a response, since the Heisman Trophy is a college award, but this particular criticism is worth examining. Why would it matter whether or not he’s NFL-ready? Most often, this particular criticism is used to against players in unconventional systems, playing for non-power schools, who put up amazing numbers that dwarf those of the major conference players. At heart, it’s just snobbery. People love to believe that the BCS conferences get all the good players and the only reason anyone would play at a WAC or Mountain West school is because they’re terrible at football, they had to go to a JC out of high school because of grades, or they’re some type of criminal.
First, Brennan went to the same high school as Matt Leinart and originally got a full ride to play at Colorado, before getting into some off-field trouble. He’s a big conference quarterback playing at a small-conference school. Second, what pro system wouldn’t want to give a guy with a strong arm, experience throwing the ball against all kinds of defenses and a former NFL head coach guiding him, a chance to play in the NFL? Saying Brennan won’t be a good pro quarterback and dismissing him out of hand is just a way for major conference teams to dismiss his success.
His numbers are down from last season
Yes, in fact, they are down from last season when he set several records along the way. This year, Brennan has thrown for 4,174 yards and 38 touchdowns. Last season, he threw for 5,549 yards and 58 touchdowns. The difference this season? He missed one game entirely, only threw two passes in another and got a bad concussion in a third game – in which he only threw 25 passes (completing 19), well under his usual average. So yeah, I would imagine his stats would be down. If not for the majorly overrated Troy Smith last season, Brennan may have even won it last year.
Hawai’i doesn’t play a tough enough schedule
does not play a tough schedule. Part of that is due to the fact they play in the Western Athletic Conference, which is not a member of the all-powerful This is the only argument that has a grain of sense to it. Hawai’i usually does play a tough out-of-conference schedule, just not this season. They apparently had issues finding teams that could fit into the schedule and some teams don’t like the prospect of traveling all the way to Hawai’i, dealing with jet-lag, the exhaustion of travel and the Warriors’ wide-open offense on top of it all. In recent years, Hawai’i has played, and even lost to, USC (blowout loss), Alabama (a loss, though Brennan threw for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns), Purdue (win, Brennan had 434 yards and 3 touchdowns), and Arizona State (also a win, Brennan threw for 559 yards and 5 touchdowns). So yeah, this year, their schedule cost them a shot at the title and maybe even rightly so, but Brennan can produce against anyone. He’s that good. Besides, though Brennan will be gone next season, Hawai’i opens in Gainesville, at The Swamp, against Tim Tebow and Florida. Would that Colt Brennan had another year of eligibility.
Major conference snobbery may affect the BCS games, but it shouldn’t matter in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Want to know the real reason Brennan isn’t more of a candidate? No one sees his games. The notoriously lazy, self-righteous Heisman voters (much like the poll voters, no?) don’t stay up late to watch Hawai’i games or, alternatively, use Tivo and watch them later. They, like everyone else, believe the best players can only come from BCS schools. Watch what happens next year when Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell has an unbelievable season and gets no respect, and Tech is even in the Big XII!
So this is my plea, Heisman voters and college football fans, for you to support Colt Brennan for the Heisman Trophy. A vote for Brennan isn’t just a vote for the best player, it’s a vote against the system that already favors the rich, powerful schools in college football. A vote for Colt Brennan is a vote for the guy who, despite his circumstances, still competes with the big boys doing the best with what he has. Is there anything more American than that? A vote for Colt Brennan is a vote for America and all that is good and right and true about her. A vote for Colt Brennan is, quite simply, a vote for the best possible player. Except maybe Darren McFadden. Christ, that guy is good. Um, er, Vote Colt!