Does Brent Musburger have a Heisman Trophy vote?
If so, McCaffrey — the nation’s leader in yards from scrimmage and Rose Bowl MVP (277 total yards, two TDs vs. Iowa) — might have earned Uncle Brent’s vote for next year’s Heisman competition.
For everyone else, though, they should simply let the race for college football’s most prestigious award play out for a long while — at least until the first Saturday of November, when Fournette (a junior-to-be) draws Alabama for perhaps the final time in his collegiate career.
And as luck would have it … the Tigers will entertain the vaunted Crimson Tide in Baton Rouge, La.
For those with short memories, Fournette bore the look of a Heisman shoo-in for the first two months of this season; but a desultory effort against Alabama (31 rushing yards, one TD) — coupled with LSU’s 30-16 defeat and Derrick Henry’s 200-yard eruption on the same field — knocked Fournette from the ranks of being an unimpeachable front-runner
In fact, five weeks later, Fournette didn’t even garner an invite to New York City, as one of the three Heisman finalists (Alabama’s Henry, Stanford’s McCaffrey, Clemson QB Deshaun Watson) — despite finishing with the nation’s best per-game average for rushing yards.
That snub was the perfect catalyst for Fournette’s easy-to-predict explosion in the Texas Bowl. Facing Texas Tech — one of the country’s worst rushing defenses — the LSU sophomore absurdly amassed 256 total yards (212 rushing) and five touchdowns (four rushing).
Which sets the stage for 2016: McCaffrey vs. Fournette could become the most captivating Heisman battle of the last 30 years. It has all the built-in trappings of a supreme apples-to-apples competition: Speed, stats, power, unlimited natural gifts, superior football instincts, ample TV exposure and prominent schedules.
Of course, nothing attracts a college-TV audience like Alabama; and between McCaffrey and Fournette (1,953 rushing yards, 22 TDs in 2015) … only the latter will have a regular-season shot against historically the country’s premier rush defense.
(We’re assuming Alabama’s Henry will enter the draft after Monday’s championship bout.)
And since LSU’s titanic meeting with Alabama carried so much Heisman weight last season … this should also be the case in 2016.
Jay Clemons, the 2015 national winner for “Sports Blog Of The Year” (Cynopsis Media), has previously written for SI.com, The National Football Post, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports.