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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

How To Spell Heisman
September 1, 2008

Richard L Gale breaks down how to win a Heisman. But not a spelling bee, apparently!

So, we head into another season of Heisman hoopla. Another season of gratuitous numbers, florid poses, over–reaction to statistical aberrations, and commentators foaming at the mouth as we try to anoint one player the very best football player in the nation just before they get selected as the 174th most desirable player in the NFL draft. But what combination of talents is the formula for Heisman success? Let's spell it out...

H is for HYPE. The legend of last season, plus all the fuss from preseason, and all the media buzz as the season plays out. The Heisman race never starts from a level playing field. Last year's stats are always an influence, and some colleges spend considerable time and money promoting themselves through a Heisman contender. They can't pay him for playing, but boy, can they ever try and buy him a trophy!

E is for EXPOSURE. Playing in the right conference helps. Being in a 'big six' conference is a step up over the non–BCS schools, and being in the highly–respected Big Ten or SEC is a major boost. Being in the SEC, ACC or Big East can take advantage of 'East Coast bias' as well. If a team isn't lucky enough to be in a big conference, does the schedule offer some big league opponents here and there? Put simply, are there enough national or prime time TV games?

1 is for ONE. Okay, I'm cheating a little here. But a successful Heisman run means a player having the limelight to himself when his team wins, if not at first, then at least by voting time. Featured backs have it easy. Quarterbacks have it harder if all that flinging is to one key receiver who's racking up record numbers himself, and of course, every touchdown scored by a receiver is just part of what the quarterback fed him.

S is for SENIORITY. Despite Tim Tebow's win last year as a mere sophomore, every other Heisman in the history of the award has gone to a junior of senior. It usually isn't a one–season award, whatever is claimed, so a year or two of building a reputation helps. There may also be the thought amongst voters that, hey, the kid can wait for next year, this guy over here needs it now, before he heads to the NFL.

M is for MAGIC. A Heisman winner needs to perform the impossible, to astonish beyond reason. There needs to be some 'wow' plays, some come–from–behind victories, tackle–defying moves, or games where they defy the odds. They need to produce some signature moments for the highlight reel. It usually helps if they do some stuff that is outside the standard for their position: QBs who run, RBs who catch, WRs who return kicks, CBs who play offense.

A is for A WINNER! [are you sure? — Ed.]  A great player on a great team, a contender to the end. Quarterbacks usually get blamed when their teams lose games, running backs sometimes get shut out of the game plan when their teams fall behind. As long as their team is a contender, they're still in the national headlines come late November. So a Heisman winner more often than not comes from a team with very few losses. It's rare that a loser is a winner.

N is for NUMBERS. Preferably offensive numbers — pass yards, rushing yards, combined yards, touchdowns. Interceptions is good, but the only defender ever to win the Heisman had to tally some offensive numbers too. However, big numbers in small conferences are treated with suspicion, as are great statistics from a 'system' where every previous QB put up the same numbers (before sinking without trace as a pro).

Okay, so this year's Heisman winner will most likely be a lone superstar, senior or junior, quarterback or runningback, from a roughly 1 or 2–loss team in a BCS conference. Or in other words, Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, Juice Williams, Chris Wells, Todd Reesing, Chase Daniel, or Cullen Harper. So out of 10,000 competitors, we've got it down to a short–list of seven before we even start.

Can we vote yet? I'd hate for the likes of sophomore Knowshon Moreno, receiver Michael Crabtree, or a loser like Rice's Chase Clement to get us all muddled now.

Chad Ocho Cinco
Speaking of spelling things out, you may have read that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson has officially changed his name to Chad Ocho Cinco, so that no.85 doesn't get fined again by the NFL when he wears his nickname on his back, sideline or not. This has, of course, roused the Chad haters.

I don't get the anti–85 thing. What has Ocho Cinco actually done other than entertain. He's a distraction, yes, but wow, the Bengals have had bigger distractions than that over the past two–years. To my knowledge, Chad hasn't been arrested, suspended, shown up fat, hasn't held out into the season, has never criticized his fellow stars, and has never played less than his best. Which is, by the way, is pretty good — he has more yards, more scores, more 1000 yard seasons, more yards in a game and more yards in a season than any other Bengal ever.

I think it's funny he's changed his name. I find most things funny that he gets fined for. I just wish he would change his name to Chad LightenupNFL. He's the best thing about the Bengals and I hope he stays there, doing this stuff.

And I'm a Pittsburgh fan.


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