Best Already on the Right Track

Let's be real, biases do exist in college football, and nowhere are they more pronounced then the Heisman Trophy voting…

Saturday's blowout win against Maryland was about redemption.

Redemption for a team that failed to show the country a year ago that it had fully bounced back from one of college football's colossal collapses.

Redemption for a program that had been on the cusp of national relevance for so long, and failed once again to emerge as a contender.

Redemption for a highlight reel runner that was supposed to begin his two-year campaign for the Heisman Trophy in College Park, but instead became a YouTube hit for a completely different reason.

But just as Cal's 52-13 stomping of the shells showed the nation that the Bears are back and perhaps more impressive than ever, Cal's jaw-dropping win has propelled Jahvid Best into uncharted territory.

The Heisman hasn't necessarily been the most Cal-friendly piece of hardware.

While it's not completely shocking that no Bear has ever won the award, Cal hasn't even received much consideration.

Not even J.J. Arrington, who led the country in rushing in 2004, received enough votes to crack the top five.

Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson seemed to have the most realistic shots, but being that Jackson was a receiver who, for whatever reason, couldn't deliver unless nationally televised, and that a lingering pinky-toe injury kept Lynch's touches down, neither figured into the race at season's end.

After just one week, however, Best's chances are as good as anyone's.

The Heisman is largely regarded as a two-year campaign—one to get noticed and one to prove worthy.

The way Best finished off '08 caught everyone's attention, and a big game against Maryland would surely legitimize Jahvid as a threat to Southern quarterbacks everywhere.


Best's 10-carry, 137-yard, two touchdown performance was as good a stat line as two and a half quarters would allow, but it was his second touch that the Jet could be looking back on, fondly, in December.

Let's be real, biases do exist in college football, and nowhere are they more pronounced then the Heisman voting.

USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma have combined to win over one-third of the trophies on their own, and there hasn't been a non-Trojan winner on the West Coast since Jim Plunkett in 1970.

That established, few East Coast or Southern voters would have been awake long enough to care about/witness any second-half heroics in a game that kicked off at 10:00 p.m. eastern…only a big play, early, would have done the trick.

And with Best scampering 73 yards on the Bears' second drive, he obliged, and provided the last image of college football's opening Saturday for many tired sports writers who stayed up way past their bedtime.

It wasn't Tebow's one-yard plunge or McCoy's 300-yard performance against LA-Monroe that crept its way into the voters' dreams, but the vision of Best's cut back at the 10.

Of course, Best must also fight another Heisman stigma—the notion that it's become a quarterback's award.

But while seven of the last eight trophy winners have been signal callers, don't fret just yet.

In 2005, Reggie Bush went up against what many believed to be three of the top QBs in college football history (Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Brady Quinn), and broke the Heisman record with 2,541 voter points, a total that still stands today.

That said, Best is already on the right track.

Bush opened up the ‘05 season with a decent performance against Hawaii, in which he ran 12 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns, a far cry from Best's output on Saturday night.

Cal Sports Digest is the new home of lead writer Jon Doss' award winning Daily Cal column "Who's the Doss". Jon will weigh in on hot topics pertaining to Cal and the Pac-10 conference throughout the season.

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