Why Not Toby?

Coach Jim Harbaugh has often asked "Why not Stanford?". This week our football-crazed nation is being asked another big question: "Why not Toby?". There is no answer. Toby has done everything one could ask of him and then some. Had we handed off to our hero in the waning moments of the Cal game, we might not be as nervous as we are today, but why beat a dead horse, unless it is a "Trojan" one?

Why Not Toby? 

Answer: There is no reason. Toby...should..."be"...the 2009 Heisman winner.

We will soon learn whether the Heisman voters' collective recognition of Toby Gerhart's outstanding, remarkable 2009 season overcomes the triple challenges of long-established regional bias, pre-season hype requirements, and yes, even stereotyping.

If he wins, #7 will have done it the old-fashioned way, he will have earned it! In the last few days, polls appear to be favoring running back Mark Ingram of Alabama, who admittedly had a terrific year for a tremendous, talent-laden 12-0 Crimson Tide team, but when the dust settles, it will be mighty tough for anyone to deny that Toby Gerhart of the Stanford Cardinal, a unheralded team picked prior to the season to finish near the bottom of the Pacific 10 Conference, was the most consistently outstanding player in the nation. With his finest performances against the most difficult competition, Gerhart brought it all to the table: performance, statistics, signature plays, stamina, competitiveness, toughness, relentlessness, leadership, character and perhaps above all, program-raising ability, his contributions to his team's success. A true student-athlete who did it all on the field while getting it done in the classroom, a kid who added humilty, humor, and respect for his coaches, teammates and opponents, just for good measure. 
Did I see every game in which each of the 2009 Heisman candidates played? No. Would I have if I had a Heisman vote? Yes, I would have tried to have.
We all know one thing, whatever happens. Toby "The Juggernaut" Gerhart is certainly "deserving" of the Heisman Trophy. We all know it, not only in our hearts as fans, but in our minds as observers. Does that mean "Nwhathisnameung" Suh wouldn't deserve it if he won? No, dude is a stud, although Suh wouldn't be close if he hadn't had a conference championship appearance advantage over Gerhart). Does that mean McCoy or Ingram wouldn't deserve it? Uh...yes! McCoy should be judged on his performance this year, which means he shouldn't win. Ingram. C'mon. Let's keep it real. Let Alabama win its national title to honor its team accomplishment, let's not simply give a Heisman because they are 12-0, or 18-0 or whatever they are. 

Should he become Stanford's second Heisman Trophy winner (and he should!), he would follow in the footsteps of quarterback Jim Plunkett in 1970. We are not jinxing anything here folks, the votes are already in. The results of the 2009 Heisman race are about to be "revealed" at 8:00PM ET, not "decided".

What will happen tonight, who knows? This is a strange world we live in. No Country For Old Men won the Best Picture Oscar in 2007. U.S. President Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize, one he openly acknowledged he had done little to deserve. Stanford OL Steve Jubb made honorable mention All-Coast in 1971 without even having played football that year.

Regardless of what happens, win or lose, we all want to thank Toby and his Cardinal teammates for a very special 2009 season, one that has brought Stanford Football back to national relevance and made it exciting fun to be a Stanford fan again.

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