Yesterday’s College Football Playoff was a real treat with Ohio State flattening out Oregon in a 42-20 rout. The game was really no contest. Even with Ohio State’s four turnovers, Oregon couldn’t come close to handling Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes.
Oregon was clearly outmatched, outwitted, and outplayed, which brings up several questions: Why was Marcus Mariota selected as the Heisman trophy winner in the first place? What is the Heisman all about? And does the mostly White College Football Heisman selection committee just feel it needs a player who is not Black to hold the trophy?
Being a Hawaiian native, Marcus Mariota is not who people would identify as “White” traditionally. But in the world of sports, there seems to be a clear Black/non-Black divide where some sports fans tend to root for a Great Non-Black Hope to rise above Black players’ superior finesse, athleticism, and intelligence.
This year, quarterback Marcus Mariota was the Great White Hope for College Football.
Unfortunately for him, the mostly White Heisman selection committee often hoists non-Black players into their discussions of greatness, despite their ability to live up to the expectation.
This was also the case for Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, the previous Great White Hope for College Football.
Despite all the hoopla about “Johnny Football” winning a Heisman trophy after his freshman year, the trophy was not deserved. For all his scrambling around the field and wild passes, Manziel never had one impressive season. He never made it to the SEC championship or the national championship, so let’s just say he never won any game of merit.
But anyhow, on the wings of his Whiteness, he was given the Heisman trophy and a free pass to the NFL.
We’ve all seen how his stint in the NFL has turned out. Or maybe we haven’t seen it, considering he hardly plays in any games.
In years prior when the 2012 Alabama team won the College Football National Championship, either T.J. Yeldon or Eddie Lacy, now of the Green Bay Packers, could have easily snagged the title for the year’s best player. That is, if the mostly White Heisman selection committee wasn’t hell bent on giving the Great White Hope Trophy to Johnny Manziel.
Now Marcus Mariota has been hyped up to be the greatest offensive threat that has ever held a football. His cheerleaders cite decisive victories against Oregon St. and Stanford as evidence to support this claim, two teams that have never had any prestigious history of football to their names.
This game was crucial for Mariota to prove he wasn’t all hype and no action. In the end, Ohio State exposed his weaknesses. Namely, that he would not stand the repeated hits he would take against any defensive player in the NFL; he can’t have a running game when a team decides to take that away; and he can’t throw anything, long or short passes, out of the pocket.
It’s simple logic that if he can’t throw out of the pocket, he has no business whatsoever playing the quarterback position.
Truly, Ohio State exposed Mariota’s inability to run an offense in a pressure situation.
As Oregon’s resume shows, any team can stack up points against another team when they are clearly ahead, which is what Oregon has been doing for most of its season.
But it’s hardly the case that a team rises to the occasion of greatness unless it is great. (Sorry, but beating a Florida State team that was debilitated by Murphy’s law, with 5 mostly self-made turnovers, does not count.)
Call the Heisman trophy anything you want—a publicity stunt, White propaganda to allege that people who are not Black can also excel in the 10 percent physical, 90 percent mental aspects of sports—but we certainly cannot call the Heisman an award that goes to the best player.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cardale Jones, Jameis Winston, and a number of other players have demonstrated that they are much better at their worst moments than Mariota is in his most glamorous dreams.
If you don’t believe me, ask the experts—you won’t hear one sports reporter say that Mariota will go above any of those guys in the NFL draft.
Don’t be hoodwinked by the Great White Hype of the Great White Hope. The Heisman has long lost its status as a reputable trophy.
It is really just fool’s gold.