Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Z_CNHI News Service

December 3, 2013

Jameis Winston investigation clouds Heisman voting

The 12-game regular season once again won't provide clear answers as to the best teams in college football - nor will it settle who should win the Heisman Trophy.

On the field, No. 1 Florida State's quarterback Jameis Winston is outstanding. It’s an off-the-field criminal investigation that has Heisman voters wondering what to do with their ballots to pick the season's best player.

The person with the potential to be the biggest game-changer is Willie Meggs, the state attorney in Florida, who will determine whether to pursue criminal charges after investigating a sexual assault complaint involving Winston.

Should an indictment be handed up, Winston, in all likelihood, would be suspended from the team. Florida State policy states that student-athletes charged with a felony “will not be permitted to represent FSU Athletics in game competition until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university and athletics department conditions for reinstatement have been met.”

Answers to the questions of when or if charges are forthcoming rest with Meggs - as they should.

On the sporting side of the discussion, things remain dicey. Heisman voters have until Dec. 9 to submit their ballots. Without some decision from Meggs or a grand jury, the question is whether suspicion surrounding Winston’s actions will be a factor in Heisman voting.

Furthermore, if Winston is suspended, should Florida State play for a national championship when the player who led the team to an undefeated regular season and probable Atlantic Coast Conference championship on the sidelines?

In fairness to Winston, even if he is charged, he still should be considered innocent until proven guilty. At the same time, seeing a person charged or even under suspicion of having committed a serious crime accept an honor like the Heisman Trophy on national television Dec. 14 is disconcerting.

So what’s a voter to do?

Adding to the dilemma is a situation where no other candidate has stepped up to challenge Winston as a serious Heisman contender.

Last year's winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, was poised to make a run as a repeat winner until the Aggies dropped back-to-back games to end the regular season.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron was moving into the favorite’s spot until Auburn all but ended the Crimson Tide’s dream of a third consecutive national championship in last weekend's Iron Bowl.

Boston College running back Andre Williams, who ranked first in the NCAA in rushing, saw his dreams squashed when he was injured in a loss to Syracuse, a game in which he picked up just 28 yards.

The uncertainty in Heisman voting parallels the larger question of who should play for a national championship on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.

Winston's Florida State and Ohio State are both undefeated, and they rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the most recent BCS standings. But arguments can be made that neither should play for a national championship.

Fans and pundits are still clearing their heads following the series of heart-stoppers on Rivalry Weekend. The conference championships next weekend may provide a little more clarity.

What to make of Florida State, for example, is open to debate.

People complain that Ohio State’s schedule was soft, which is true. But the Buckeyes' schedule ranked 61st compared to Florida State’s No. 66 in Jeff Sagarin’s computerized rankings. The Seminoles play Duke in Saturday's ACC championship.

The possibility of a BCS championship game without a Southeastern Conference team has many in the South howling - and with good reason. SEC teams have won the past seven national titles, and three of league’s teams are ranked in the Top Five.

No one seems more upset than Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, who said it would be “un-American” if a one-loss SEC team is left out of the championship. That seems like a position unlikely to gain much support outside the Heart of Dixie, but it's an observation, nonetheless, with some merit.

Thank goodness this is the last year for the BCS, which will be replaced by a four-team playoff next year. How much more interesting it would be to have a showdown that paired, say, Florida State vs. Alabama and Ohio State vs. Auburn, with the winners meeting the following weekend for the national championship.

It’s best when the top teams and the most outstanding players take to the field and settle it between the goal posts. Unfortunately that won’t be the case this year.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.



Tom Lindley is a sports columnist for the CNHI News Service. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com. - See more at: http://www.cnhinews.com/cnhinewsservice-all/x2136379024/Long-gone-basketball-league-leaves-a-costly-legacy#sthash.7er2TZ0O.dpuf

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 4.49.09 PM.png Train, entertain your pets with these 3 smartphone apps

    While they may not have thumbs to use the phone, pets can benefit from smartphone apps designed specifically for them.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 10, 2014