Decade Debate: 15 Best College Football Players

Judging which college football player was the best over the past decade can be a tricky endeavor. Do you rank a player that has won a Heisman higher than one that has not? Do you penalize a player if he played in a pass-happy system that allowed him to put up lofty numbers? Do you judge his performance based on the talent around him or the difficulty of his competition? As part of our ongoing Decade Debate series, here is a top 15 ranking of the best college football players of the past decade. Perhaps more than any of our lists in this decade series, this one could be debated the most given the factors that surround it.

15. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

If you want to be entertained, try turning on a Clemson game and watching Spiller for three-plus hours. He’s a terrific runner, an electrifying return man and one of the deadliest weapons in college football. He is the only player besides Reggie Bush to post 2,500 yards rushing, 1,500 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 yards receiving and 5,000 yards in punt returns. He’s also tied a NCAA record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns with six. If it weren’t for a lackluster junior season, he’d probably rank higher on this list.

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Heisman voting done too early?

Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times makes a great point that the Heisman Trophy shouldn’t be voted on until after the bowl games have been played.

Troy SmithEvery year, the voters are forced to decide the winner too darned early.

For years, this has been the most annoying thing of all about the Heisman. The committee just can’t wait to give it out. The movie is still going on, and already, these guys want to toss Academy Awards at the screen.

This year, for instance, voters are supposed to have their ballots returned by Dec. 10. At least the voters can wait until after Tebow and his Florida teammates play top-ranked Alabama for the SEC title and until either Bradford or Harrell or Texas’ Colt McCoy play for the Big 12 title.

On the other hand, the national championship game won’t be played until Jan. 8, almost a month after the deadline. Who knows? Perhaps it will be Tebow vs. Bradford. Maybe Tebow vs. Harrell.
Just asking here, but shouldn’t that game be factored into the voting?

In his article, Shelton has a table that illustrates how several winners in the past decade (Ohio State’s Troy Smith, USC’s Reggie Bush, Oklahoma’s Jason White, Nebraska’s Eric Crouch) all won the Heisman and then turned in average to atrocious bowl game performances.

He brings up a fantastic point – why isn’t the national championship factored in to Heisman voting? It’s supposed to be the most important game in the college football season, yet it doesn’t play a factor in determining who the best player in college football is? It’s not fair for a player to lose the Heisman with one bad performance, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to (and I’m borrowing Shelton’s point) hand out season awards when the season isn’t even over.

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