suntimes
IMPERFECT 
Weather Updates

Jameis Winston has Heisman in the bag with legal issue out of the way

Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: January 7, 2014 6:39AM



Bros, frat boys, jock-sniffers, jerks — call them whatever you like. There stood six of them outside the Leon County Courthouse in Tallahassee, Fla., on Thursday, shirtless and celebrating during the announcement that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would not be charged after an investigation into an alleged sexual battery.

Their minds clearly made up about their hero’s innocence and total awesomeness well before State Attorney William Meggs explained the decision of his office to the public, the six fine young men stood side-by-side with “J-A-M-E-I-S” written across their chests. A photo of them made the rounds on social media, the perfect symbol of another unsavory college-football story.

Oh, well. We can all stick our heads back in the sand now.

It’s a pretty big weekend in college football, as you might have heard. By the wee hours Saturday night, we’ll have a very good idea which teams will fill out the 10 BCS slots in the final postseason before the playoff era begins in 2014.

That information won’t be set in stone, though, until Sunday evening’s BCS selection show on ESPN. Immediately thereafter, the rest of the bowl pairings will be filled in and we’ll be almost out of loose ends for this season.

About some of those loose ends:

J-A-M-E-I-S vs. J-O-R-D-A-N

With another stirring individual performance and a victory for his team in Friday night’s MAC championship game, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch can sew up a top-three finish in the Heisman Trophy race. Maybe even a top-two finish. Surely he’ll get at least 10 times — 20 times? 30? — the first-place votes than the three he got in 2012, when he finished seventh in voting for the award.

Remember, though, there are nearly a thousand Heisman voters out there, including yours truly. And the vote — barring truly unforeseeable circumstances in Florida State’s ACC title game against Duke, which should be a walk in the park for the No. 1 Seminoles — will go overwhelmingly to Winston. On the field, the 19-year-old redshirt freshman has been a transcendent player, making a good offense great and a rising program a huge favorite to win it all. Off the field, how else is there to put it? He wasn’t charged with a crime. Because of that, most voters will choose, correctly, not to penalize Winston.

Including yours truly.

On the other hand

Lynch doesn’t need a Heisman to validate his accomplishments. He’s one of the greatest college players ever in Illinois. Better than anyone in Champaign since Dick Butkus. Better than anyone in Evanston since Pat Fitzgerald. At most big-time football schools, Lynch would be one hell of a defensive back by now. Thank goodness he went to NIU.

Coaches of the year

Realistically, we’re probably looking at a four-deep list for national coach of the year honors: Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, Duke’s David Cutcliffe and Baylor’s Art Briles. It’s possible Arizona State’s Todd Graham or Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio could jump into the running, or that FSU’s Jimbo Fisher or Ohio State’s Urban Meyer will get a surprising swell of support.

The bet here is that it’s coming down to Malzahn and Pinkel, winner take all at the SEC title game in Atlanta.

Ohio State vs. The SEC

Some of us got a little nuts after Auburn’s finish for the ages against Alabama in the Iron Bowl. In that moment, it seemed more likely than it does now that 13-0 Ohio State could be jumped by the SEC winner in the BCS standings.

If the Buckeyes beat Michigan State for the Big Ten title, they’re all but golden to play for the national championship. There’s no scientific proof of this, so we won’t deal in phony absolutes.

OK, fine: How does 95 percent sure sound?

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

Twitter: @slgreenberg



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.