After Andrew Luck’s poor performance in last Saturday’s loss to Oregon, many have made Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
But the 28-year-old Weeden, a former pro baseball player, is much older than his competitors for the award – like Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who is not even old enough to legally drink.
Does that mean that Weeden has an unfair advantage or is age really just a number? We examine both sides of the argument, starting with …
Against: I hate to be a Debbie Downer after saying that Houston doesn’t deserve a BCS bowl bid, but I also don’t think Brandon Weeden should win the Heisman Trophy at the age of 28 just like I don’t think Chris Weinke should have won in 2000.
Call it age discrimination if you want, but I have a problem with someone who is older than Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers winning an award as college football’s most valuable player, especially since Weeden is a former pro athlete.
And this isn’t like Russell Wilson playing baseball in the summer. Weeden went straight from high school to the New York Yankees farm system. While he never made it to the big leagues, imagine in a hypothetical world if Weeden had been called up in the fall and won a World Series ring. Wouldn’t you have a problem with a World Series champion also winning an award meant for amateurs?
It’s not that Weeden has done anything wrong or doesn’t deserve credit for the amazing numbers he’s put up in Stillwater, but having a former professional athlete – one who wouldn’t even be considered young in the NFL, at that – win the award cheapens the honor, in my opinion.
The fact is, Weeden is a psued0-college athlete. He is 28, married, lives off campus and graduated last May.
What’s next, Scott Bakula winning the bronze statue?
I believe the award should go to Alabama’s Trent Richardson, who has been an absolute wrecking ball for Alabama this season despite a very average offense around him. What makes his season so special is that Richardson is 20-years old and is scratching the surface of his potential for the NFL.
Imagine if Richardson was still playing for the Crimson Tide in a couple years when he fully hit his prime, like Weeden is doing. Would it be fair that he was competing for the Heisman against players possibly five years younger than him? Of course not.
And while Weeden wasn’t playing football during the years he played minor league baseball, he had the advantage of fully maturing physically and mentally plus experiencing competition against other professional athletes – an unfair advantage Weeden had over other candidates.
I think Brandon Weeden’s story is great for college football fans and hope he and the Oklahoma State Cowboys get to play for the school’s first national title. I just don’t think he should be awarded the most prestigious award in college football in the process. – Jim Weber
For: By that logic, Weeden shouldn’t be allowed to play FBS football at all. And we know that’s just preposterous.
Consider his resume: Weeden is the quarterback of a 10-0 Big 12 team that is closing in on a spot in the BCS national title game with a chance to win its first-ever championship. Weeden has 31 touchdowns, over 3,600 yards and nine interceptions as the leader of one of the nation’s most-explosive offenses.
Weeden’s Cowboys won at Texas (never an easy task), hung 59 on Baylor by outscoring fellow standout QB Robert Griffin III and followed that up with a 52-45 victory over a solid Kansas State team.
What did Weeden’s bunch do for an encore?
It went into Lubbock and beat Texas Tech – a team that already had beaten Oklahoma – in a 66-6 rout by taking a 49-point lead at halftime and racking up 637 yards of total offense.
While Weeden has star receiver Justin Blackmon as his top target, the quarterback has been the catalyst of the offense that averages 51.7 points – only second to Houston.
Those are impressive credentials for a man of any age, which, by the way, shouldn’t have anything to do with the Heisman debate.
But since you insist, let’s consider what delayed Weeden’s college football career. He was minor-league baseball player in the Yankees’ organization from 2002 until his redshirt season in Stillwater in 2007.
Do you really think Weeden spending years on buses en route to outposts like Kannapolis, NC, and Rome, GA, for South Atlantic League play really is an advantage?
I don’t. In fact, I think that it’s remarkable that Weeden took so much time off from football and was able to recover to become one of the best players in college and an NFL draft prospect.
Weeden should be rewarded for that with the Heisman Trophy if he can finish out the season strong.
And while we are at it, let’s not narrow the list of possible winners of the award – basically, just all quarterbacks and running backs as it is – by placing special stipulations on those who can walk away with the hardware.
This isn’t the Baseball Hall of Fame; we in the media have the right to debate whether steroid cheats have the right to get in. But being too old?
That’s just absurd. -Anthony Olivieri