Alabama sophomore star Bryce Young wins Heisman Trophy

For this year’s 928 voters for the Heisman Trophy, the instructions were simpler than ever: select up to three candidates for the most o...


For this year’s 928 voters for the Heisman Trophy, the instructions were simpler than ever: select up to three candidates for the most outstanding player in college football.

Members of the media (145 in each of the six geographic regions) and former Heisman winners (58 currently living) who submitted their votes electronically before 5 p.m. on Monday were not asked to consider how good a player is. valuable to the success of his team, whether he plays at the highest level – an Oberlin College player is equally eligible from Oklahoma – or whether to value a position or a side of football over another.

There is no suggestion that academic prowess, community involvement, or issues of moral turpitude should be part of the equation.

Just select the most outstanding player.

Yet while voters in the information age have more data points than ever to consider, the way they select the Heisman Trophy winner has changed little over the years: Quarterbacks rule, wins matter. and all of the work needs to be underpinned by a Heisman moment, the more viral the better.

So it was Saturday night again with quarterback Bryce Young becoming Alabama’s second in a row – and the fourth in the past 13 seasons – to win the Heisman Trophy, finishing comfortably ahead of the other finalists invited to New York. York: Michigan defensive end Aiden Hutchinson, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud.

Consider Young, an early sophomore who played behind an often-pierced offensive line and delivered a great performance in Alabama is upset Georgia last Saturday in the Southeastern Conference title game, may not even be the best player on his team. The honor was bestowed by many on Will Anderson, a threatening playmaker who leads the nation with 32 ½ tackles behind the line of scrimmage. (Anderson was fifth in the vote).

The same could be said of Stroud, a freshman quarterback who, after some early struggles, led the nation’s best offense, built around an elite receiving trio who have repeatedly opened up. Pickett, the eldest, featured similar video game numbers and could certainly claim to have influenced the game: his fake slide and touchdown run in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game was banned within a week.

Hutchinson, who has 14 sacks – including three from Stroud in Michigan wins over Ohio State, is only the third defensive player to finish in the top four since another Wolverine, Charles Woodson, became the only defensive player to win the Heisman in 1997. Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o in 2012 also finished second.

Yet for one of America’s most expensive sports awards, there has been little evolution in the way breeders make their choices. Over the past decade or so, more sophisticated statistical analysis has dramatically changed the way baseball awards are determined, with old values ​​like batting average and pitching wins being diminished in favor of other metrics that may even take baseball stadiums into account.

And in basketball, points and rebounds have been put into context to detail how effectively they were compiled.

“Guys who are ineffective and bring out highlights, it was easier to defend them 10 years ago,” said Ryan Jones, former editor of SLAM magazine, noting that high volume shooters like Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant, would be assessed a little less favorably today.

“You don’t have to be an analytical expert to appreciate Steph Curry or what Jokic has done. Or Giannis, ”he added, referring to the best shooter in the NBA and his last two most valuable players who have well-balanced games, Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. “Some things are really obvious, but the advanced stats sometimes tell you in a different way how awesome some of these things are.”

There has been an even bigger reconsideration in baseball.

In 1990 Bob Welch, who recorded a 27-6 record for the Oakland Athletics, won the Cy Young Award of the American League, comfortably edging Roger Clemens, who was 21-6 for the Boston Red Sox. . But Clemens has a record 10.4 league wins over substitution, or WAR, a more recent metric that assesses a player’s worth to the team based on more detailed data. Welch, who has recorded far fewer strikeouts and allowed many more homers, had a modest 2.9 WAR, the lowest among the top seven voters this season.

Nowadays, the wins have been reduced so much in favor of other measures that Jacob deGrom has won back-to-back Cy Young for the Mets despite compiling a pedestrian record of 21-17 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

A more nuanced goal also changed the way Baseball Hall of Fame voters breathed new life into candidates like Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, and Larry Walker who were ignored for failing to reach goals. milestones such as 3,000 hits, 500 home runs or 300 wins.

“They’ve been on the ballot for a long time, but have been overtaken by voters who watch the new measures and give them more weight,” said Ryan Thibodaux, who follows the Hall of Fame vote as the writers made their bulletins public. . “Young voters trust these measures more than old school voters. ”

Football took longer to catch up with other sports using data to explain performance. Of course, numbers have been a part of the fabric of baseball since box scoring has been around, and tracking point totals has always been essential in basketball. Metrics that might better explain offensive line performance or a linebacker’s playing ability or the background to a quarterback’s performance in today’s game are far from a common motto.

Anthony Treash, who analyzes college football players for Pro Football Focus, said the Heisman Trophy – along with other awards – has essentially become a team award. His message to voters: Go beyond the score box and what you see on the internet.

“I don’t want to question the credibility of the voter, but do we really have the best information to know who the best players are? he said. “Keep an open mind to new ideas for player evaluation. “

Until that happens, players like Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, who received the highest rating of a Power 5 conference center in eight years by Pro Football Focus, or cornerback from Cincinnati Ahmad Gardner, who has allowed 96 yards in 12 games – almost all in media coverage – or Anderson from Alabama will have to watch the Heisman ceremony from home.

And the rare defensive player like Hutchinson of Michigan, who wins an invitation to New York, will have to be content to use his front row seat to cheer the winner.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Alabama sophomore star Bryce Young wins Heisman Trophy
Alabama sophomore star Bryce Young wins Heisman Trophy
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