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Ben Smith

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Associated Press
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, left, could win the Heisman Trophy despite playing for a non-BCS school.

Nonexistent Heisman vote goes to QB Lynch

– I do not have a Heisman Trophy vote.

This is an indication that good things do sometimes happen, all evidence to the contrary.

I do not have a Heisman vote, which means I don’t have to worry about possibly casting it for a guy who might be charged today with sexual assault. To vote for Jameis Winston or not to vote for Jameis Winston? That is indeed the question.

And, yes, that’s the least pertinent question in all of this, considering we’re talking about a serious potential crime which has already had seriously damaging consequences to the alleged victim. In that context, it almost feels dirty to be talking about who wins or doesn’t win some glorified doorstop.

I don’t have a Heisman vote, but if I did, I wouldn’t cast it for Winston, even though, absent everything else, he’s the slam-dunk obvious choice. Everyone else has taken himself out of the running with ill-timed losses, so-so numbers or a distinct lack of the sort of heroics that so often decide these things.

So Winston stands alone. Or would, without that certain elephant in the room.

But if not Winston, who?

Two words: Jordan Lynch.

Yes, he’s an outside-the-box pick, considering he plays for a mid-major school (Northern Illinois) in a mid-major conference (Mid-American Conference). But the kid’s putting up ridiculous numbers (2,457 passing yards, 22 TDs, 5 interceptions, 1,755 rushing yards, 20 TDs) for a school that, lest we forget, played in the Orange Bowl last year. And if there were any year when you could justify going outside the box, this is it.

Besides, it’s not a totally crazy notion. Steve McNair of Alcorn State finished third in the voting one year, and Randy Moss from Marshall fourth another year. Gordie Lockbaum of Holy Cross was third yet another year. And one year, a Division III player, Joe Dudek of Plymouth State, finished ninth in the voting after Sports Illustrated picked him as its Heisman candidate.

Jordan Lynch?

You’ll see him Friday in the MAC championship game. Watch him. Then tell me he couldn’t play, and excel, anywhere he wanted.

Anyway, he gets my vote. Not that I have one.

Ben Smith has been covering sports in Fort Wayne since 1986. His columns appear four times a week. He can be reached by email at bensmith@jg.net; phone, 461-8736; or fax 461-8648.

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