And it’s not fiction. Although it sure seems unreal.
At the beginning of the season, Ingram wasn’t even a star. There was zero pre-season Heisman hype for Ingram. He wasn’t pictured in many of the team pre-season photos — the sports information people preferring Terrance (Mount) Cody, Rolando McLain, Javier Arenas, and Greg McElroy. After all, Ingram wasn’t even a starter last year.
Alabama fans have always questioned whether we even wanted to have a Heisman winner — the idea being that in a team sport, individual awards shouldn’t be emphasized. We’ve always celebrated team accomplishments around here: national and conference championships, bowl victories, that sort of thing.
Indeed, many were pulling for Colt McCoy, hoping a Heisman would do for him what it did for Gino Torretta in the 1992 Sugar Bowl. It’s called the “Heisman curse” for a reason, you know. The superstitious among us consider Ingram’s Heisman a bad omen indeed.
Nonetheless, when Ingram’s award was announced at the UA – Purdue basketball game, the crowd went nuts. Mark Ingram is a very popular player — because he’s a team player. Saban never gave him an extra carry to help him pad his statistics. In fact, he had to split time with two other excellent backs, because that’s what was best for the team.
When Ingram was asked where he’d store the trophy, without hesitation, he said the University has a great trophy case where it would fit. He’s not even planning on taking it home with him. He really means it when he says it’s a team award. (Maybe that’ll break the curse — knock on wood, rub rabbit’s foot, throw salt over shoulder.)
And speaking of impressive people, Tim Tebow knew he wouldn’t win it this year, and he was gracious enough to notice how very nervous Ingram — a true sophomore — was. Tebow asked him if he could pray from him, and shortly before the broadcast found a quiet place to pray with Ingram that God would give him peace. That Tebow is an impressive young man, too (and, boy, am I glad he’s finally graduating!).