COMMENTARY: West Coast gets jobbed in trophy race

Alabama, despite its glorious football history, never had a Heisman Trophy winner until Saturday night.

Mark Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Trophy Award ahead of quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.

I wasn't surprised that Ingram won the award. I was disappointed that Gerhart, who finished second 28 points behind, didn't.

All the Stanford star did was lead the nation with 1,736 yards and score 26 touchdowns. He put Stanford back on the national stage. The Cardinal hadn't had a winning season in since the early 90s.

I listened to the various talking heads say that Gerhart wouldn't win because Stanford lost four times. What difference does that make? I know Ingram plays for the best team in the country, and I'm sure that had a big bearing on him winning the award. He dominated the voting in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Midwest regions, none whom had a finalist.

I've always felt that West Coast candidates don't get the exposure, especially when they play at night. Many people have turned off their television sets at 10 p.m., thus missing some good West Coast performances.

Boise State's Kellen Moore got 10 first-place votes, and it wouldn't surprise me if he's a Heisman finalist next season. He is, without question, one of the top five or six quarterbacks in the country.


I applaud Tiger Woods' decision to take an indefinite leave from the PGA Tour to repair his marriage, which is obviously on very shaky ground because of his infidelity.

You have to wonder what Tiger was thinking. Being one of the most recognizable names in professional sports, he is always under the microscope. What made him think that he could get away with an affair? Eyes are on him everywhere he goes.

How long will it take Woods to convince his wife, Elin, that he has cleaned up his act? Six months? A year? Two years? You have to wonder whether Tiger will be the same guy when he comes back.

The PGA has embraced Woods' decision even though it knows that the longer Woods stays away from the game, the worse it will be for the tour. The PGA really has no choice. Woods is the man. He is the face of the PGA Tour. As long as he stays away I would expect the TV ratings to take a big hit. When Woods missed several months with his knee injury, ratings were 50 percent lower.

Woods' endorsement deal with Gillette has already taken a hit. It won't feature Woods while he is away from golf.


The biggest pitching name on the free-agent market is the Angels' John Lackey. If Randy Wolf can get $9 million a year, then Lackey will be able to get $12-$13 a year. Lackey is the real deal, but he only threw 174 innings last year. He keeps suffering nagging little injuries, and that could hamper him in upcoming negotiations.

It seems to go in cycles. A year ago, pitchers were the marquee free agents. This year it's guys like Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.


In last week's column, I said that Douglas running back Johnny Pollack gained 1,054 yards. Apparently, the Tigers' two playoff games weren't turned in to MaxPreps. He ended up with 1,277 yards.


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