Bryce Young wins the Heisman Trophy

For this year’s 928 Heisman Trophy voters, the rules were as straightforward as before: Choose three candidates for the most outstanding player in college football.

Members of the news media (145 in each of the six geographic regions) and former Heisman winners (58 now living) who cast their ballots electronically at 17:00 on Monday, were not told to think about how much a player’s contributed to his team’s success. has been worthwhile, to think. whether a player has played at the highest level – an Oberlin College player is as eligible as one from Oklahoma – or value a position or one side of football over another.

There was no suggestion that academic competence, community involvement or questions of moral failure should be part of the equation.

Only select the most prominent player.

Yet, when voters in the information age have more data points than ever before to think about how they have changed the success of the Heisman Trophy over the years: Quarterbacks dominate, take matters into their own hands, and the working body needs time Heisman to be supported. the more viral it is, the better.

So it was again Saturday night when quarterback Bryce Young became the second Alabama player in a row – and in the last 13 seasons – the fourth – to win the Heisman Trophy, comfortably ahead of the other finalists who were invited. ended for New York: Michigan Defense. most recently Aidan Hutchinson, Pittsburgh Quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State Quarterback CJ Stroud.

Consider that Young, an early student who played behind a line of attack that often featured skillfully and provided a consistent performance last Saturday in Alabama, Georgia’s title game in the Southeast Conference, may not be the best player on his team. good. That honor has been given by many to Will Anderson, a dangerous accelerator who leads the nation with 32. Measures behind the battle line. (Anderson finished fifth in the vote.)

The same can be said for Stroud, a new quarter that, after a few initial struggles, made him the top crime director in the country, built around three elite recruits who often open themselves up. Pickett, the old man, puts numbers of video games like this and can certainly claim to have had an impact on the game: The sextet-slide-and-touchdown-run game he used in the Atlantic Coast title game within a week was banned.

Hutchinson, who owns 14 bags – including three from Stroud in Michigan’s win over Ohio State – is only the third defensive player to finish in the top four since another Wolverine player, Charles Woodson, became the sole player. the defense that Heisman acquired in 1997. Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o also finished second in 2012.

Still, for one of the most prestigious awards in American sports, there is little progress in voter selection. In these last ten years, sophisticated statistical analyzes have dramatically changed the way baseball awards are determined, with old standards such as average hits and onion wins in favor of other metrics declining which may also take the ball into consideration. .

And in basketball, points and backs are placed in a larger frame to detail the usefulness with which they are collected.

Ryan Jones, former editor of SLAM magazine, said: “Young people who are perfect and make important points, 10 years ago it was easier to make a case for them,” said Ryan Jones, former editor of SLAM magazine, and noted that high-volume shooters, like Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant, would be viewed a little less positively today.

“You do not have to be a strict analyst to evaluate Steph Curry, or what Jokic did – or evaluate Giannis,” he added, referring to the NBA’s best player and two of his former players, Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. kir. , both are well-rounded games. “Some of them are really obvious, but advanced statistics sometimes tell you in a different way how effective some of those things are.”

There has been an even bigger re-examination of baseball.

In 1990, Bob Welch, who set a 27-6 record for Oakland Athletics, won the American Cy Young League Award, easily beating Roger Clemens, who was 21-6 to the Boston Red Sox. But Clemens scored the league’s best 10.4 in the above transfer wins, or WAR, a new metric that measures a player’s value to a team based on more detailed data. Welch, which recorded far fewer hits and allowed more home runs to be made, had a low 2.9 WAR, the lowest among the top seven voters of that season.

Now, the winnings in the interest of other benchmarks have been so low that Jacob deGrom will receive the last Cy Young awards for the Mets when he sets a 21-17 foot record in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

A more sophisticated lens has also changed how baseball Hall of Fame voters gave a new lease of life to candidates like Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker who have gone through stages like 3,000 hits, 500 wins or 300 wins.

Ryan Thibodaux, who oversees the Salon of Fame vote when the writers cast their ballots, said: “Young voters rely more on those standards than older school voters.”

Football has taken longer to use performance data to describe other sports. Of course, as long as there is a box number, the numbers have become part of the baseball net, and tracking the total points has always been fundamental to basketball. Metrics that may better explain the offensive line performance or the line-up of a lineman or the quarterback performance framework in today’s game are far from a common currency.

Anthony Treash, who analyzes college football players for Pro Football Focus, said the Heisman Trophy – like other awards – was basically a team award. His message to voters: Go beyond the box office and what you see on the internet.

“I do not want to question voter confidence, but do we really have the best information to know who the best players are?” he said. “Keep an open mind to new ideas in player evaluation.”

Until that happens, players like Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, who was awarded the top 5 Power Center convention by Pro Football Focus in eight years, or Cincinnati corner Ahmad Gardner, who allowed 12 games. to get 96 yards – almost all. in a press release – an Alabama-based Anderson will be forced to watch Heisman’s funeral from home.

And a lesser defensive player, like Michigan’s Hutchinson, who receives an invitation to New York, has to be content with using his first seat to applaud the winner.

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