The QB doesn’t feel added pressure
At Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas last week, Utah State unveiled a Heisman marketing campaign for Jordan Love. Using the hashtag #10VeforHeisman and “Whole Lotta Love” as a tagline, the program is fully behind pushing the junior playmaker’s name and credentials for the highly-coveted college award.
Though he most likely won’t win the award, the effect of the campaign will be a net positive for Love and the university.
Regarding the campaign, Jordan Love has maintained a positive, yet realistic and grounded attitude.
“It doesn’t put any added pressure,” Love said at Mountain West Conference Media Day. “I come out the same way. That stuff is going to be there, but you just have to put it to the side and stick with your main goals.”
Love has noted several times in the past that winning a Mountain West championship is the main goal of the program and that he’ll continue to prepare accordingly.
With this healthy perspective, I’m not concerned any of the pre-season buzz will weigh too heavily on the Aggies. Prior to the Heisman campaign, the team has placed a heavy emphasis on winning the conference and that still remains the focus.
Jordan Love deserves to be on the Heisman watchlist
Anyone who paid attention to college football in 2018 knows who Jordan Love is and what he’s capable of. After nearly pulling off a season-opening upset at Michigan State, he used his arm strength and finesse to help the Aggies roll-off 10 victories in a row before coming up just short at Boise State. Both losses were very close affairs and Love’s talents kept the games in reach for the Aggies.
Altogether, Love passed for 3,567 yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions, while also rushing for 63 yards on 43 carries (1.5 ypc) and seven touchdowns. He finished the 2018 season first in the MW and 10th in the nation in passing efficiency (158.3) and completed 64% of his passes. Those are excellent numbers, and they likely would have been even better had Love not sat out entire quarters or halves in some of the more notable blowout wins.
On top of great statistics, Love has shown up on multiple 2019 watchlists for other major college football awards.
The Davey O’Brien award is given to the best quarterback, and the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards go to the best all-around player. Only the best players in college show up on these lists, so it’s a high compliment and testaments to Love’s abilities that these organizations are recognizing him.
Can Jordan Love win the award?
The Aggie fan in me, of course, wants to say yes, but realistically Love doesn’t have a good chance. On top of bigger names on the list such as Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, and Wisconsin RB Johnathan Taylor, Jordan Love is a quarterback of a G5 school.
The schedule is weaker and the national exposure is altogether thinner than what some of the P5 school athletes have. The last time a player from a non-P5 school won the award was BYU’s Ty Detmer in 1990. The historical trend has not been favorable to G5 school players and there seems to be little reason why that would change this year.
Practically speaking, Jordan Love would need to have the Aggies go undefeated or near undefeated to even have a shot at the award. He also would likely need to top last year’s stellar numbers or differentiate himself in another way.
The last G5 player I can recall that put themselves in this good position was NIU’s QB Jordan Lynch in 2013. His team finished the regular season 12-0, a great followup to their 2012 campaign where they made it to the Orange Bowl. In 2013, Lynch could have made NCAA history as the first player to pass and rush for 2,000 yards in each category in a single season. With a better bowl performance, he likely would have made that benchmark, too.
Utah State played that NIU team in the Poinsettia Bowl and held Lynch to just 39 net rushing yards, denying him history. Even with great stats and wins, Lynch only managed to finish 3rd in the Heisman vote that year. Great play only gets you so far if the powers that be feel your schedule is weak and your program’s tradition doesn’t run too deep.
Jordan Love won’t win the Heisman award. And that’s okay.
USU started this campaign to increase exposure for the university and boost Love’s profile. Both of those desired outcomes will come together naturally if he plays well and makes some good highlight reels. He may even be able to boost his NFL draft stock if he chooses to declare early for the draft at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Regardless of what Love does, if he puts up great numbers and stays healthy, Utah State is poised to capitalize on the increased attention and use it for recruiting and advertising purposes. If that helps build the program, then we Aggie fans are all better off for it.