On a sports day made famous for incredible upsets in the NCAA basketball tournament, we have a surprise to share in our own Big Ten players tournament.
Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El, the No. 7 seed, knocked off No. 2 seed Troy Smith, the Ohio State star signal-caller and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner. Randle El, the 2001 Big Ten MVP and a transformational dual-threat quarterback in the league, earned 53 percent of the votes to Smith's 47 percent. Some blog loyalists often wonder where the Indiana fans are, but they evidently showed up for this vote. Perhaps Smith is still paying the price for his poor performance in the BCS title game against Florida, or, as one commenter suggests, it could simply be Buckeye bashing.
Here are some comments from those who voted:
Rich from San Antonio: Randle El, easy. I look at it like this, Randle El achieved so much on Indiana. Smith did his on OSU. At no point in my lifetime has Indiana matched the talent on OSU's roster. Even in OSU down years, they still outmatch Indiana at almost every position. I just don't think Smith would have accomplished what he did if he played for Indiana.
Dillon from Ubana, Ohio: I'm having a tough time narrowing my argument down to a comment in regards to the Troy Smith/Antwaan Randle El vote. So I'll keep it very short and sweet. If one player wins a Heisman, and the other's crowning achievment is the tribune's silver football, the argument is over there. Not to say that the silver football isnt important. It's not the Heisman. It's just not. Nevermind the rest of the one sided bodies of work.
Nathaniel from Champaign, Ill.: I voted for Antwaan Randle El over Troy smith because Antwaan Randle El is the only player I have seen that made Indiana a consistently tough team to play against, while just about every QB does that at Ohio State.
Justin from Atlanta: Hey Adam your blogs are awesome. I wanted to ask what your thoughts were regarding the increasing hate that teams seem to have against Ohio State (Most notably BIG teams). This has been show true even most recent ESPN match up between Troy Smith and Randle El. Grant it, Randle El was a great player in his own right, his college career did not compare with Troy Smith and all of the accomplishments that he received while at Ohio State. At the end of the day Indiana was still Indiana and Randle El did not transform Indiana football into a good team. Great players have the ability to to take mediocre players and make them better simply by their hard work and presence. Troy Smith did this where Randle El failed to some degree. If we were comparing NFL careers He beats Smith by a long shot, but we are discussing the college resume's of two great players, who smith clearly beats by a longshot.
So Randle El marches on to the semifinals, and the tournament field has only one Heisman Trophy winner left (Wisconsin RB Ron Dayne). Randle El will face the winner of No. 3 seed Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh and No. 6 seed Michigan WR Braylon Edwards.