Through 7 games this season, Florida State has not had the type of year that many of our fans would consider successful....ok let's be honest, this season has been a downright disappointment. Despite losses to in state rivals USF and Miami, as well as two heartbreakers to Boston College and Georgia Tech, Florida State fans are also witnessing something that many of us have taken for granted while the losses mount; the stellar play of Quarterback Christian Ponder.
There is certainly no debate as to what the highest INDIVIDUAL honor is for a college football player today; The Heisman Memorial Trophy. The Heisman Trophy is awarded each year to, and read closely because this is very important, THE MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER IN COLLEGIATE FOOTBALL. This definition is extremely important in determining the winner of this award, as by its definition, one would be lead to believe that this award is not a team award but rather an individual award that should not be influenced by the play of the team.
This season has been rather unique in a sense as Florida State's offense has been highly successful when looking at the numbers through 7 games. Granted they struggled a bit against USF and Jacksonville St, but they are still ranked 24th in total yards/game, scoring approximately 30 points per game, and this is mostly due to the play of Christian Ponder. The defense, however, has been another story. One of the least effective defenses in the country, few would argue that the 3-4 record is not largely due to Mickey Andrews' squad. With that being said, Christian Ponder cannot be responsible for the record of the Seminoles, and has done everything he can to assist the team in winning as he doesn't line up on defense.
Now remember once again who the Heisman Trophy is awarded to; "The most outstanding player in collegiate football". What exactly does that mean? To me it means the following:
- a) Player has not been the reason for team inefficiency or losses incurred by the team. You could also say that the player has done everything possible to help his team win.
- b) Statistically, the player is among the top in most major categories for their position
- c) The player can be considered an "impact" player
As stated earlier, the number of losses for Florida State can in no way be attributed to the play of Christian Ponder. There's no debate that he's an impact player and one of the top offensive players in the ACC as well as the country. What about the statistics? There have been a few names thrown around thus far as possible Heisman contenders (although none have really pulled away); Mark Ingram-Alabama, Tim Tebow- Florida, Case Keenum- Houston, Colt McCoy- Texas, Jimmy Clausen- Notre Dame, Ndamukong Suh-Nebraska, and Jacory Harris-Miami. Of these players all but Ingram and Suh are quarterbacks. The following is a statistical comparison of the quarterbacks mentioned as well as Kellen Moore of Boise State, who I think will be mentioned more in the race as the season progresses:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Tim Tebow 1159 165.6 466 1625 14 4 151.3 0.528 2 7-0
Jimmy Clausen 2050 292.9 -48 2002 17 2 161.3 0.556 0 5-2
Colt McCoy 1806 258 104 1910 15 8 143.3 0.520 0 7-0
Jacory Harris 1774 253.4 -121 1653 14 10 155.5 0.628 1 5-2
Case Keenum 2734 390.6 64 2798 23 4 153.7 0.500 1 6-1
Kellen Moore 1627 232.4 -15 1612 21 2 172.1 0.432 1 7-0
Christian Ponder 2176 310.9 137 2313 14 1 155.8 0.711 1 3-4
Key for Chart above
8.Combined FBS Opponents Winning Percentage
9.# of FCS Opponents
As you can see from the chart above, Ponder's stats compare VERY favorably to the top candidates currently considered for the Heisman Trophy at this time. Ponder has the second most passing yards and passing yards per game. He leads all of these quarterbacks with only one interception and as you can see he is playing against very good competition as his FBS opponents have the highest combined winning percentage of any of the quarterbacks.
Ponder is on course to have a great season with the current pace he is on. Granted the Noles will face Florida and Clemson who both have good pass defenses, but Ponder should be able to pad the stats against N.C State, Wake Forest and Maryland. On his current pace he should have approximately 3,700 yards and 24 touchdowns. That would exceed the yardage of both Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke in their Heisman Trophy campaigns, however, not the touchdowns as Weinke had 25 and Ward had 27.
With all this said, why shouldn't Ponder be a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate? The only thing I can think of is the record of Florida State, but then I go back to what the award is for....."The Most Outstanding Player in Collegiate Football". Ponder this (no pun intended), Florida State beats N.C State, Clemson, Wake Forest, and Maryland and finishes 7-5 and Ponder continues on his current pace......That quarterback down there in Gainesville won the Heisman trophy in 2007 on a 4 loss team that didn't make it to the National Title game, didn't make it to SEC Championship and later lost their bowl game to Michigan, although that was after winning the Heisman Trophy. Also consider that three of those wins for that quarterback were to Western Kentucky, Troy, and Florida Atlantic. He won the award that year due to his personal accomplishments despite the performance of the team.
With all that said, when considering candidates for the Heisman Trophy this year, I would offer this, Why not Ponder???????
As a follow up to my Ponder for Heisman article I thought i'd pass on this link that shows the 15 semifinalists for the 2009 Davey O'brien trophy. Ponder is not included in this list. I find it hard to believe that there are 15 quarterbacks in the country better than Ponder. This list includes Freshman Matt Barkely and Huskie Jake Locker who has led his team to a 3-5 record. I mention that because i'm assuming they are judging these guys on wins-losses as well as stats. Jacory Harris was selected from the ACC.
In my opinion there is no justification for Ponder being slighted but that's just me. It seems we've got the best known secret in college football. I'll take CP7 over any of these guys.