Happy Friday. Welcome to the mailbag.
To the questions!
Gerard in Houston writes: Neat that you take away the 2015 Heisman and give it to Christian McCaffrey and then hand off the 2016 Heisman to Deshaun Watson. Guess we can just skip the season, or erase what actually happened. But just for kicks and giggles, who would you include on your 2016 Heisman watch list other than McCaffrey and Watson?
Ted Miller: This feels like a grumpy question, so let me turn that frown upside down.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Heisman, mostly a quarterback award over the past decade or so, doesn't revert to a QB in 2016, so I'd list Baylor's Seth Russell, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Louisville's Lamar Jackson, Ole Miss' Chad Kelly, Ohio State's J.T. Barrett and UCLA's Josh Rosen as candidates.
If I were guessing right now who gets invited to the ceremony, I'd go with Watson, McCaffrey, Fournette and Mayfield. And I'd rate them finishing in that order.
That said, there's always a candidate who emerges from completely off the radar -- like McCaffrey this year. No idea who that might be, which is part of the fun of anticipating the season.
Elk writes: I'm sure you saw this open letter from Remound Wright to Stanford and am surprised not much has been made of it. While he is not a known name outside of the Stanford fan base, the content of his message is exactly what college football should be aspiring for considering that 95 percent (?) of college football players don't end up playing on Sundays. To paraphrase; I went to college solely focused on football and am leaving with the world at my fingertips.
Ted Miller: Loved what Wright wrote. Wright articulates thoughts and feelings that a lot of athletes feel when their college careers end. Heck, he articulates thoughts and feelings that many regular old college students feel when they graduate.
His open letter also invites some navel gazing...
Writing about college football makes you lead a double life. You love the game. And you hate it. You love the excitement, tradition, personalities and pageantry. And you hate the duplicity, scandals, the health risks and the greed.
But when I look at the big picture, I see a lot of what Wright is communicating, I see a sport that is mostly good. The vast majority of college football players won't ever play in the NFL, but they are enriched by the college experience. Many of them wouldn't have gone to college without football, so that is a good thing in itself. Many will reach greater heights of accomplishment because football operated as a vehicle for them to ride out of difficult or limited circumstances.
While you read more about athletes who get in trouble -- legal and academic -- the vast majority are pretty much average 18- to 22-year-olds, trying to figure things out while having a good time.
What I'm trying to communicate is that Wright's reflections more closely mirror what most college athletes feel as they reach graduation than I think most fans would expect, and that is a good thing.
Keeping it real in AZ writes: You are idiots for ranking (my team) at #(fill in the blank). Clearly you used the overwhelmingly biased "Pac-12 Standings" as your guide in completing these rankings (only making slight adjustments for teams that finished with identical conference records), and didn't take into account how special my team is. That you would use something so trivial as wins and losses in conference play as your compass in a Power Ranking shows what hopeless fools you are.
Thought you could use a laugh.
Ted Miller: Keeping it real in AZ, you complete me.