Brett Elliott: the best in the land

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Last week, the Heisman Trophy was awarded to Matt Leinart, the quarterback at #1 USC. Now, Matt's a great football player and I'm a USC alum, so I'm certain he was the best player in all of Division I-A football.

But, the Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to the "most outstanding college football player in the United States." Not the best in Division I-A; the best, period.

Brett ElliottAs far as I'm concerned, the best football player in the land this year is Brett Elliott, the quarterback at Linfield from Lake Oswego.

Not only did Elliott quarterback his team to a 13-0 record - winning the Division III national championship earlier today - but he set the record for most passing touchdowns in a season at ANY level of college football.

Check that again: Brett Elliott threw more touchdowns - 61 - than any other quarterback in college history at any level. Heck, he's thrown more touchdowns in a season than any NFL quarterback - and they get far more games.

It's too bad that college football has become so focused on the Divison I-A game -- ignoring extraordinary feats at the Division I-A, II, and III levels.

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    Coming from Kari, the most vocally supportive USC alum in Portland, this is saying something, people...

  • Brian Wagner (unverified)

    kari- as much as you gotta show some love for 61 (even Peyton was only projected at 59 for a high end), it's not fair to hold Leinart up to the same standards as a QB at Linfield. You would never throw Linfield up against Miami, Oregon, or maybe not even a D-IAA team like Harvard (i think that is waht they are). Simply put, it is not expected that his team would perform as well against what is acknowledge to be a higher level of competition. It's like someone winning an NCAA singles championship in tennis--people talk about them having a future, but no one says they are as good as the #10 player in the world tour. The difference between Linfield's and USC's opponents are at least that broad, so as much as you might like to lean for Elliot over Leinart, its not really a fair comparison. Its like comparing the NFC to the AFC this year--you always know who is better. Now if Elliot ever gets a chance to prove himself on a tougher level, where the competition is acknowledged to be equal to the challenges that Leinart faces (say, the NFL), then we can start talking.

  • Brian Wagner (unverified)

    Of course, NOW I see your post on; leaving out in this post that he was the starter at Utah is definitely a factoid you shouldn't forget to post here if you are making any sort of an argument. It helps deflect elitist D-I attitudes like mine (well, i dont even know what level my team is. We're like D-Ivy, a lesser version of D-I).

    Yet despite the news about Utah, we still dont know how he would have done with the Utes in D-I, or if he would have been better than Alex Smith. When you look at 2002, when he WAS the starter there, the team went 5-6. His numbers included only 1500 yds, 10 tds, and 8 INTs. Not exactly suggestive of a Heisman future. Though maybe he will be the next Kurt Warner--stuck in a smaller league as a star, but is able to eventually break out in the big leagues.

    And generally, the largest numbers in college football occur in the lower divisions because the defensives are not as well-coordinated. You can find huge performances and huge years for QBs, RBs, WRs, etc.

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    Yes, yes, of course - Matt Leinart is a great player on a great team. (I am a diehard USC guy, after all.)

    But the Heisman isn't for the best player on the best team. It's not even for the best player.

    It's for the "most outstanding player".

    For example, in 2002, I thought it should have gone to Ian Smart at Division III C.W. Post University over on Long Island. The guy ran for more yards in a season and in a career than anyone ever had in the history of the game - and scored more touchdowns ever.

    How can performances like Elliott's and Smart's be less outstanding?

  • Brian Wagner (unverified)

    I would say because of context, plain and simple.....and of course, cold, hard commercial one, the Heisman committee prob. figures, cares to follow a Linfield QB

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    it's an outstanding performance to be sure, but because the talent is not the best that Elliott could face, it can't really be the most outstanding IMO. I appreciate the sentiment--and I agree that giving the Heisman just to QBs, RBs and the occasional WR as they do ignores other more outstanding performances at other positions--but hitting a hole in one at putt putt isn't as outstanding as doing it at Augusta.

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    There should be a Heisman equivalent for each of the lower divisions: that way, athletes are compared on a level playing field. I'm sure there is such an award, we just don't hear about it much.

    I probably, having spent enough of my formative years in the bastion of East Coast bias, New York, have as much West Coast bias as anyone. I'm happy, therefore, that the Heisman went to Leinart. Oklahoma's vastly overrated, and shouldn't be SC's opponent (instead, the Trojans should be playing Auburn - a better team that did better in a better football conference). Therefore, I spent the ceremony hoping it wouldn't go to Adrian Peterson or (God forbid), that stiff of a QB the Sooners have who won it last year.

    Still, I'd like to see how Elliott does on the next level. Maybe Mel Kiper can pimp him into the 3rd or 4th round of the draft.

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    John, there is.

    In Division III, it's called the Gagliardi Trophy - and this year, it was won by strong safety Rocky Myers from Wesley College (Delaware).

    In Division II, it's called the Harlon Hill Trophy and was won this year by Chad Friehauf, a quarterback at Colorado School of Mines.

    In Division I-AA, the top player used to get the Walter Payton Award, but that now goes to the top offensive player. The top defensive player gets the Buck Buchanan Award.

  • DWilson (unverified)

    Hello - my first visit, and I'm disappointed that you've locked your text size. Read Jakob Nielsen at - the hands down usability guru and former Sun Microsystems engineer - the population is aging and text size should be adjustable. Thanks

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    D... Our text size (and all other typographic and design choices) are in CSS, so feel free to turn off if you'd like - or deploy your own CSS.

  • wildcat (unverified)


    The Gagliardi is NOT given to the BEST DIII player in the country.

    "The award, presented to the outstanding football player in NCAA Division III, honors excellence in athletics, academics and community service."

    The committee that selects the award weighs grades and community service just as much as football performance.

    Linfield didn't even nominate Brett because since he transferred in the Spring of 04 he didn't even have a full year of grades at a division III school.

    He'll be nominated next year but he didn't meet the qualifications to be given the award.

    Heck, those of us how follow DIII like a religion didn't even know who Rocky Meyers was until he was awarded the Gag.

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    You probably meant to address that comment to Kari, Wildcat. I didn't even know what the trophy was called, just that I was pretty sure D3 had one. Turns out, I guess, that it's not purely based on athletic achievement. And that's not good or bad, it just is.

    Anyway, if Brett's a junior, I look forward to a Linfield repeat next year. As much as it pains me to say it, being a WOU grad, we can't seem to crack the likes of Humboldt State for at least the next little while. Hope that changes, too.

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