Wow, this thing is hard when you have to give it some thought. I like it better when it’s a no-brainer. That makes it easier for those of us without brains.
I’m going Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Florida’s Tim Tebow and Iowa running back Shonn Greene.
I had four, with Texas QB Colt McCoy as the fourth. You could say I’m being provincial on that No. 3. You could say I’m pandering (I wish you wouldn’t). You could say I’m a homer (please, please, please don’t). But provincial is just the smart way of saying “homer.”
Greene is on my ballot because I truly believe he has had a tremendous season. Best ever for an Iowa running back. Best since at least 1997 for a Big Ten running back. He’s the best player in the Big Ten. But, yeah, I could probably be accused of being “provincial.” I’m OK with that.
Greene’s season is a worthy cause.
The Big Ten offensive player of the year and winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football (MVP) rushed for a school season record 1,729 yards and tied the season record for rushing TDs with 17. He was the only back in Football Bowl Subdivision to rush for 100 yards in every game.
His most impressive performance came against then-No. 3 Penn State. It wasn’t SportsCenter-worthy with flashy moves or long bursts, check the Wisconsin, Purdue and Minnesota tapes for those. It was a gut-it-out Manwich kind of performance — 117 yards and two TDs on 28 carries. He gained 4.2 yards a carry, his lowest of the season, but he did it against the nation’s No. 8 rush defense, on national TV, in a pressure-packed game decided by one point on a last-second field goal.
In other words, every yard really, really mattered.
I went with Bradford because of the numbers, and because he’s shown, in my opinion, some real toughness and determination during high-octane performances the last two weeks with a non-throwing thumb that needed surgery. He played through the Big 12 title game with torn ligaments. I remember Drew Tate going through the same thing a few years ago. It wasn’t a killer, but it was something that certainly affected performance. And those numbers, whoa.
I really, really like Tebow. In my mind, he’s the quintessential football player. I think his dip in numbers this year probably pointed me toward Bradford.