By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) I live in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. When he’s not living the life of a college athlete, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch resides there, too.
I drive past St. Christina School every morning on the way to and from work, the grade school at which Lynch began his football career. He and I are both graduates of Mt. Carmel High School, where, while me being nine years his senior, my legacy certainly had a residual effect on the young man.
There is a sort of Lynch fever in this section of the city that hip listicles ignore, though I’ve managed to not let myself get caught up in it. I get the whole reflected glory thing and have been guilty of it in my lifetime, but I still let out sighs of various levels of audibility when my Facebook newsfeed gets hit with a bombardment every time a piece is written on or an interview done with Lynch. Such is local celebrity, though.
The worst assault yet came after Rick Telander wrote this product of concussions on Tuesday evening. After eliminating candidates from number one on his Heisman ballot—a ballot Telander once used in 2002 to vote for Miami’s Frank Gore who had not played that season—due to highly logical reasons like one was accused of (but not charged with) sexual assault, one is unlucky enough to play on a good team, one “was a bit like a sailor in port” (oh, for the letterman sweatered days of Telander’s college purity), one he hasn’t heard of (again, this man has a vote), and one might lose to Michigan State in the future, the old scribe argued of Lynch, “But this guy has done all he can, and in voting dominated by regional bias, if a voter doesn’t stand up for what he recognizes in his own backyard, who will?”
Intelligent voters will.
Ones who understand that Lynch, while a really good college player, is not the nation’s best, and winning this award has a massive impact on a player’s life, and I would hope if I ever were in a position to earn something so prestigious that there wouldn’t be people involved so reckless in deciding my merits.
Telander’s argument is a rhetorically terrible one, as is any that find Lynch to be most worthy of the Heisman because his story makes one’s inside the warmest and fuzziest. Any lover of college football should appreciate a good story but also recognize what the best looks like and of what it is deserving.
Jordan Lynch is going to lead the Huskies to another MAC championship Friday night. Yes, the MAC is the weirdest, silliest (in a good way) wild card of a conference college football has, and any outcome is possible, but NIU is the obvious king there, and a Bowling Green win would pale only to the final play of last week’s Auburn victory over Alabama as the most shocking of 2013.
Lynch will not be winning the Heisman Trophy, though. That was known months ago. Shortly after it was announced that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would not be charged with sexual assault (and was then bumped up to the top of Rick Telander’s ballot, I assume), Darren Rovell, always one to have his finger on the pulse of his own robot equivalent of a prostate, noted that Winston’s odds of winning college’s top individual award jumped from 1/20 to 1/30.
So it’s fait accompli that the favorite son of “The MTG” is not going to win. And—repeat after me, South Siders, Lynch’s fellow alums, and lovers of little guy narratives—that’s okay.
That trophy doesn’t change Lynch’s fantastic stats or his team’s accomplishments, the latter of which I’m fairly confident hold more importance to a guy like Lynch. His NFL draft position—which might actually be nonexistent—won’t fluctuate. You will still get to say “I know Jordan Lynch’s second-cousin’s friend’s ex-boyfriend” with pride.
After Jordan Lynch moves on to the next phase of his life and career, I’ll still drive past his grade school. We’ll both still get the same emails asking for donations to our high school.
And I fully expect in the coming years to see my Facebook newsfeed filled with posts from fellow South Siders about Jordan Lynch being a successful person somewhere. A football trophy isn’t needed for that.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his degree from Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). Got a comment for Tim? E-mail him at email@example.com. You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @TimBaffoe , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.