Last Night's Winner: The Cam Newton Protest Vote

At least six media members have come forward to say they won't be voting for Cam Newton, the best player in the world, because of the allegations against him. What's the point?

Brooks has taken it upon himself to compile the names of voters who have announced, in their columns, Twitter accounts or otherwise, that they'll be leaving Newton off their ballot. They are:

Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi, Philadelphia writer Michael Bradley, Gene Frenette of the Florida Times Union, FanHouse's David Whitley, Kyle Tucker of the Virginian-Pilot and the Macon Telegraph's Seth Emerson.

Six voters out of 925 writers and former Heisman winners, give or take Reggie Bush's vote, isn't a lot. And of those six, Frenette's voting for Justin Blackmon, Whitley for Owen Marecic, and Emerson is abstaining from voting altogether. All three might as well be throwing their ballots away. Obviously Newton's not going to finish anywhere but first, so what's the point?

I get the concept of a protest vote. I'm someone who may or may not have cast a write-in vote in the 2004 Presidential Election. But if the Anti-Cam Six truly believe in the importance of integrity in college football, they probably should have changed careers long ago.

Let's say the protest votes work, and somehow, enough people are ticked off at the SEC's and NCAA's handling of the Newton scandal to deny him the trophy. The likely winner would then be LaMichael James, who pleaded guilty to an actual crime, something much worse than taking a little money for your services, at least in the eyes of right-thinking folks who understand that football's just a game.

As Brooks rightly points out, leaving Newton off the ballot isn't about his integrity; it's about the NCAA's lack thereof. The fact that Newton will win, and handily, is proof that not enough people care about recruiting violations or middle men or bylaws to stop taking part in award voting that's one of the NCAA's favorite institutions. To say nothing of the inevitable monster ratings for the BCS Title Game.

So do your thing, protest voters, and know a lot of people are with you. Just not the people who matter — those making money off the college football machine — and there's no fighting them.