Jordan Lynch is really good, but he’s not Heisman deserving


jordan lynch-niu-football

In the argument for Jordan Lynch winning the Heisman, I often here people say, “well maybe he shouldn’t win the Heisman, but he deserves to be invited.” Well, it’s the exact same argument as saying “MLB player X is a Hall of Famer, but not a first ballot Hall of famer.” In other words, it’s a dumb argument. A really dumb argument. If you think Frank Thomas is a Hall of Famer, you think he deserves to be in Cooperstown regardless of ballot. He’s in the hall or he’s not. Voting margin doesn’t matter.

If you think Jordan Lynch deserves the Heisman, say it. He broke his own college football all-time record for rushing yards by a QB last week. He just ran for 321 yards against a pathetic WMU team. He had 316 yards rushing in his previous record setting game.

If you think Jordan Lynch deserves to go to New York for the Heisman trophy presentation, then you believe he deserves to win it. He doesn’t deserve to win it. And he won’t win the trophy, but it seems very likely that he’s going to NYC. Today, Jordan Lynch was named a finalist for the Walter Camp Award, which is very often a precursor to the Heisman.

If you’re a finalist for the WC, you’re a finalist for the Heisman; most of the time.


Obviously, when you bring up Aurora’s Big Ten Team (the NIU Huskies have a record of 2-0 versus the Big Ten this year, both the Illini and Northwestern finished 1-7 in the league) you have to mention Jordan Lynch’s Heisman chances. Well, he’s not really a viable candidate. Yes, he’s put up some really great numbers, and he’s a fantastic college football player. However, he doesn’t put up the huge numbers versus future NFL DLs and LBs like the QBs of the SEC, Pac 12 and ACC do. Maybe I’m pushing it with the ACC there. Jameis Winston faced Clemson, and that’s probably it.

However, Winston was the overwhelming favorite before today. And now that he won’t face sexual assault charges, it seems pretty likely that he’s got the trophy clinched now.


Jordan Lynch has the numbers, no doubt. Only Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr have more total yardage and total touchdowns than Jordan Lynch. Still Bovada has Lynch with 28-1 odds to win it. They have Winston as an overwhelming favorite at 10-19. AJ McCarron is next at 2-1, and Braxton Miller is third at 12-1. Is it fair? Yes and no. The football cliche “you can only play the teams in front of you” only applies in the NFL, where eventually things sort of even up. Every team in an NFL division plays its rivals twice and parity rules in the NFL where teams and much closer in talent level than in college football.

If you play for a mid-major, and you put up huge Heisman numbers, well, it’s great that you bloomed later in life, instead of never, but sorry, you weren’t good enough to get recruited by a high-major school. That’s your problem, not the Hesiman Trust’s problem.


Because mid-Major and low-major college football players face a bigger obstacle than statistics when it comes to winning the Heisman. It’s the problem of visibility. You need the press to win the Heisman. And you can only get it through big school level of media coverage. Traditional power in a tradition rich conference level of media coverage. Jordan Lynch has the talent, but he doesn’t have the headlines. I’m not saying this is right or wrong; I’m saying it just is. If Jordan Lynch, or more importantly, NIU Huskies football, attracted the page views, I would write about them all the time. If NIU content did huge numbers of web traffic, I’d be posting all the time about them. But they don’t. And this is just the world we live in.

Jordan Lynch was mistaken for his coach by a MAC journalist at MAC Media Day this summer. Sure, that’s on the media member for being horrible at his job, and Jordan Lynch’s appearance makes him look a lot older than he is. But the point is that those kind of mistakes never happen to superstars; they are always recognizable. And remember this happened to Jordan Lynch after he had already started a BCS Bowl game. And it was someone who covers the conference, not some slappy, who made the error.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS  Catch him Tuesdays talking Illini and Northwestern for KOZN 1620 The Zone, Fridays talking Chicago Bears for WAOR 95.7 The Fan

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  1. budding_novelist says:

    I found the tone of your piece to be quite disrespectful, not only of Jordan Lynch, but of NIU’s football program. Typical “Lynch is not a superstar” argument. READ the Heisman Trust’s mission statement. Nowhere in there does it say you have to play for a big school or be instantly recognizable to everyone who sees you. It talks about excellence with integrity. You show me in the mission statement, which I just read, that the player’s school has to be a certain size or he has to be a celebrity or he has to have beaten a certain caliber of team. The voters have turned this into a popularity contest that is less about the actual mission of the Trust and what the award is supposed to stand for and more about how many people know your name and which schools you beat. What no one stops to consider is that Jordan Lynch has achieved excellence with integrity (and you don’t hear any scandal swirling around his name). He puts in just as much work as Mr Winston or Mr Manziel or Mr McCarron, but because you don’t approve of the school he plays for or the schedule he was given to play, you don’t feel he’s worthy. I think that’s ridiculous. Is he supposed to go to whoever puts together the schedule and say “I’m sorry, but the sports writers don’t think this schedule is tough enough, can you change it for me, so they can take me seriously and not write me off as a joke?” Which he would never do because that’s just not how he is. He doesn’t make it about him. It’s about his team and what he can contribute to the whole rather than what he accomplishes as an individual. It just so happens that his ridiculous individual achievements have helped his team go undefeated and he’s lost only 2 games as a starter. But that’s not what it’s about, right? It’s about how often you get mentioned on the internet, or how many “worthy” teams you’ve beaten. It’s not about achieving excellence with integrity and putting in countless hours of work to make your team better. Oh, wait…the mission statement says it IS about excellence and not which teams you beat. My bad. You have every right to your opinion, but I can’t agree with it. Just another “journalist” who’s bought into the popularity contest so much that he can’t see past the celebrities and he can’t possibly consider that someone who isn’t Johnny Manziel might actually be worthy of winning. Do you think Michael Turner (RB, Atlanta Falcons) is a hack because he went to NIU? Because you pretty much say in this opinion piece (I can’t even call it an article) that if a player wasn’t good enough to be recruited by a “big school”, he’s a joke. Not your exact words, but the meaning was clear as day. Last time I checked, Michael Turner was a pretty darn good RB. You want to go tell him that his accomplishments are somehow not as impressive because he wasn’t good enough to be recruited by a “big school”?

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