Randy Smith: Heisman Trophy: Ultimate Award Or Ultimate Jinx?

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
The opening of the 2014 college football season is a mere two weeks away and football fans all over the country are counting down the days and minutes until kickoff. Florida State fans are always a bit excited and especially so after their Seminoles won the final BCS Championship just eight months ago. Going into the season, FSU is ranked number one in the country and is the odds on favorite to repeat as national champ. In addition, sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston is a big favorite to repeat as winner of the Heisman Trophy, signifying the best football player in America.

Winston, who won the honor as a freshman last year would be in pretty elite company if he wins again.
He would be just the second repeat winner of the award in history, with Ohio State's Archie Griffin winning back to back Heismans in 1974 and 1975. Griffin once told reporters that winning a second Heisman Trophy was a goal. That's not the case with Jameis Winston; he says he is more focused on his team repeating as national champion than winning the Heisman again, though he seems to be awfully proud of what he accomplished a year ago. "I'm going to be great, even better than I was last year," he said. "I'm going to continue to be myself."

Don't you just love humility? Neither one of the last two Heisman winners appeared to be very humble the summer after winning the award. A year ago, Johnny Manzeil from Texas A&M was investigated for allegedly accepting money for signing footballs. Nothing was ever proven so he was never really punished. In Jameis Winston's first off-season he was caught shoplifting crab legs from a Tallahassee grocery store. That is not nearly as serious of the rape accusation that was "swept under the rug" late last season.....before he won the Heisman trophy. So when Winston says, "I'm going to continue to be myself," that may not be a good thing for his teammates and coaches.

A grand total of 23 underclassmen have won the Heisman Trophy with Griffin being the only repeat winner. Griffin said that it is more difficult to win back-to-back Heismans now than it was 40 years ago. He said the distractions off the field were more stressful than any defense he faced.  I can see the truth in that statement especially when most of  Jameis Winston's distractions were caused by the player himself. At least his coach, Jimbo Fisher seems to have addressed at least part of the problem. "I have talked with him from the point of the responsibility that goes with it with your character and the things you do," Fisher said. 

Coach Fisher is right; if you're a Heisman Trophy winner or even a contender, you're in a huge fish bowl. Everything you do is being watched by someone, so the fewer the distractions the better. For Jameis Winston, there could also be a few on-the-field distractions. More than 53% of the team's offensive production from last year's squad is now in the NFL. Still, the Seminoles should be very good and could have enough to win it all; especially if Winston grows up a little and accepts the responsibility that goes with being a Heisman Trophy winner.


Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have four grandchildren, Coleman, Boone, DellaMae and CoraLee.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com

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