The Heisman Trophy goes to the best player in college football. Or, the best player with some preseason hype who makes highlight film plays while putting up numbers you can’t ignore while playing a skill position on a nationally prominent team.
That couldn’t have been made clearer when T.Y. Hilton moved up six spots, from 24th to 18th, on StiffArmTrophy.com’s list this week. Hilton picked up only 36 all-purpose yards -- his total after the opening kickoff against Louisville – against Central Florida. He played, essentially, one half. But FIU beat UCF 17-10 to move to 3-0. So up the list went Hilton. The poll contacts 49 Heisman voters in 29 states.
It’s a shame if this strained hamstring hampers Hilton beyond this week, if it does this week. I say that not because I’m rooting for FIU. I cover FIU but I’ve been in this business too long to confuse the fortunes of the team or school I cover with how well I do my own job. I say that as someone who hates to see injuries cut away the limited time for college athletes. That always makes me think of Kelvin Bryant. The North Carolina running back racked up 15 touchdowns in the first three games of his senior season, then suffered a knee injury. Bryant came back that season, but not with the same form. A season that could’ve rivaled Marcus Allen breaking the 2,000-yard rushing barrier for the Heisman Trophy and could’ve given North Carolina an outside shot at the national title got kneecapped.
Besides, Hilton at speed reminds me of a well-made Long Island iced tea – smooth and cool while it’s knocking you out.
TIME TO BELT THE BELT
Thursday afternoon, the women’s soccer team had landed in Memphis and was bouncing toward its weekend in Arkansas, against Arkansas-Little Rock Friday and their first Sun Belt match, Arkansas State, Sunday. They’re coming off a 2-1 win against Oregon in last week’s Nike Invitational.
Meanwhile, the 8-3 volleyball team gets its first piece of Sun Belt action from 9-6 North Texas Friday and 3-9 Denver Sunday. FIU goes into the weekend with four-match winning streaks against each.
That leaves the men’s soccer team to be the Friday night home appetizer on the home athletic weekend, facing Marshall at 7 p.m. The Sunday brunch I like to fix – eggs, pound or more of bacon, several sausages, biscuits – will be destroyed by the time men’s soccer puts the Sunday brunch finisher on the weekend when they host Howard at 1 p.m.