Should FSU's Dalvin Cook be a Heisman Trophy finalist?
As I wrote in today's paper, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook's Heisman Trophy campaign is one of the most compelling things about this weekend's ugly slate of local games.
Cook made it clear Saturday that he believes he should win the award. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher agrees.
"Do I think he deserves it?" Fisher said. "Yes. I think he's not only one of the best backs, I think he's one of the best players in the country. But that's for everyone else."
And everyone else doesn't seem quite sold. Cook is sixth this week in ESPN's poll of 10 experts. Sports Illustrated ranked him fourth, behind Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Alabama running back Derrick Henry and Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Cook's statistics compare favorably to just about anyone. He leads major-conference players with 8.1 yards per carry and six runs of at least 50 yards. He is also averaging almost 197 rushing yards against teams with winning records. According to FSU, his rushing average per carry is the most of any Heisman finalist since 1980 (excluding USC's Reggie Bush, whose performance was later vacated).
One thing that could hurt Cook's chances is FSU's lack of success (a relative term, mind you). The Seminoles are 8-2 and could take another loss later this month against Florida. The Heisman has recently been awarded to the top player on one of the nation's top teams, even if that wasn't the intent of the honor.
"That's a shame to me, because it's supposed to be an individual award," Fisher said. "You're punishing your guy because he didn't go to a school that wins the national championship or played for it. That's where I think we've gotten out of whack with it.
"Best team gets the National Championship. Best player should get the Heisman."
I don't think Fisher was necessarily campaigning for Cook - although FSU has started a marketing campaign for him.
It's also worth pointing out that neither Fisher nor Cook brought up the issue themselves. They were asked about the award and responded accordingly.
So what do you think? Should Dalvin Cook be in the Heisman conversation? Who would you put ahead of him?