‘Tecmo’ Jackson

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way: the Heisman Trophy is Lamar Jackson’s to lose.  He has been absolutely unstoppable so far.  I’m talking Bo Jackson on ‘Tecmo Bowl’ unstoppable.  We often hear the analogy that when a team or a player is putting up ridiculous stats an announcer or writer will say, “these are video game stats.”  I’m not sure this is the case here with ‘Tecmo’ Jackson (I’m coining that nickname btw).  If college football had a video game character of Jackson, it would be jealous of what real life Lamar Jackson is doing right now.

‘Tecmo’ Jackson has 18 total touchdowns in three games.  Doing the math he’s personally accounting for 36 points per game.  That would put him personally, ranked 46th in the country tied with Clemson, Iowa, and Pittsburgh.  He’s scored more points than Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan St., Tennessee, UCLA, and on and on.

Reiterating if Tecmo Jackson was a team, his FBS leading 10 rushing touchdowns would put him 15th in the nation.  Jackson is tied for 16th with eight passing touchdowns.  Louisville is averaging 65 freaking points per game!  Rick Pitino would call that pretty good game.  Jackson’s personal 459 yards per game (he’s not even playing entire games either) would put him 42nd in the nation, ahead of Oklahoma St, Clemson, Michigan, and so on and so forth.

It seems it would make sense to give ‘Tecmo’ Jackson the Heisman right now and move on with our lives.  He already thumped a top three team in epic fashion.  He is statistically leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else.  He’s not on a traditional powerhouse of a team so subconsciously Louisville has an underdog feel to them.  And we love underdogs, isn’t that right everyone who has ever rooted against Alabama?  ‘Tecmo’ Jackson has taken college football by storm. He’s already being compared to transcendent and legendary QB Mike Vick…by none other than Mike Vick himself.

I like the Mike Vick comparison and statistically Jackson is way ahead of what Vick did at V-Tech, but I don’t think the comparison is entirely accurate.  If you told me Mike Vick threw the ball 70 yards and was able to catch it before it hit the ground, I’d believe you.  That’s how fast Michael Vick was.  Jackson may not be as fast as Vick but his elusiveness is second to none at the QB position.  I see Jackson with the same style of play as Randall Cunningham (google him as an Eagle if you are under the age of 30) who runs with deceptively long strides and power resembling former Texas QB Vince Young.  Or he’s the first ‘Tecmo’ Jackson.  You decide.

Regardless of who’s he’s compared to let’s take a moment to decipher who, how, or what could possibly knock ‘Tecmo’ Jackson off the Heisman podium?

  • Heisman’s aren’t won in September.  This point last year Leonard Fournette would have won the award by an extensive margin.  He finished 6th in the final voting.  This time last year Christian McCaffrey wasn’t on one Heisman radar list. He finished 2nd.  Your Heisman winner last year, Derrick Henry averaged 218* yards per game from November on. *(average does not include a game against FCS school Charleston Southern which Henry barely played a quarter-still posted 68 yards and 2 td’s).
  • Louisville plays in the ACC, a conference split across three Heisman voting regions- South, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast.  Generally one region is dominated by a conference and whichever standout player is from that region receives more familiarity votes.  For example, last season Henry won every region except the Far West Region, aka Pac-12 territory and you guessed it, Christian McCaffrey won that region.  The only region Deshaun Watson finished as high as 2nd was the Mid-Atlantic where, you guessed it, Clemson resides.  In Jackson’s situation he’s in the same conference as Watson but different voting regions.  Similar to having two Heisman contending players on the same team, one’s going to take votes away from the other and vice versa.
  • It’s difficult to assume that in December, Jackson will even be the clear cut favorite in his own region, the South.  Georgia’s Nick Chubb and LSU’s Leonard Fournette could, at the very least take precious votes away from Jackson.
  • The schedule is going to play a vital role in how Jackson’s Heisman candidacy plays out.  On October 1, Louisville ventures in to Death Valley to take on a Clemson team they recently leapfrogged in the rankings.  No longer the hunter, the Cardinals will be challenged in a totally different scenario than they have all season.  If they lose they may be out of the running for an ACC Championship as Clemson will have the upper hand in the Atlantic Region of the conference.  This only means that fellow Heisman contender gets one more important game to be evaluated in before the voting takes place in early December.  Four out of the last five winners played on the last weekend of the season.
  • The tail end of the schedule features another intriguing matchup when Louisville has to travel to Houston and take on Greg Ward Jr. in a non-conference game.  A lot will be riding on that outcome.  But the game following Houston is against an overmatched Kentucky team.  That is Louisville’s last game.  What do you think Heisman voters want to see before they cast their vote; terrific play in a meaningful game against a really good opponent or a cake walk, run-up-the-stats-type-game against an inferior opponent?

To be fair to ‘Tecmo’ Lamar Jackson, these are essentially ‘what if’s?’  They can be created for any player in America.  But not any player is Lamar Jackson.  He’s special.  He’s a blooming superstar.  He’s great for college football.  And if he continues to be unstoppable he’s your 2016 Heisman winner.

Props to this couple for the coolest sign ever assembled.  Great minds think alike.

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